Loving God with ALL

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20 And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or 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. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. “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. Exodus 20:1-7

37 And He [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. Matthew 22:37-38

The Lord begins the Ten Commandments by reminding the people that He is God and that He has the authority to give these commandments. In fact, He repeats “the Lord your God” five times (vs. 3, 5, 7, 10, 12). These commandments were to help the Israelites know and understand how they were to love God with ALL…just some thoughts:

  • There are to be no other “g”ods…that would be no one or nothing loved, treasured or valued greater that the Lord whether it was a hand-carved idol or the image of creation or something on earth. No false gods, period. There is an entire listing that is appropriate for today…possessions, money, intellect, self, status, etc. the list of what is treasured more than the One True and Living God is far greater than I could list here.
  • The Israelites were not to bow down to them or serve them, nor are we. In 1 John 5:21, the Lord speaks, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” I believe this important to understand in this day and time when the enemy has sown the lie that we can love and worship Jesus and an idol. The enemy really doesn’t care which idol we choose as long as it is one that keeps us from loving the Lord with ALL. The Lord speaks to say, No other gods for I Am the Lord your God and I am jealous for you (Exodus 34:14). Please note, not “of you” but “for you.” I love you so much that I will not share you with an idol who cannot be compared to Me and can do nothing for you. God is our Creator, Deliverer, Rescuer, Redeemer and Savior! Surely, He deserves an exclusive relationship!
  • In verse 5b, the Lord is not saying that the children will punished for their parents sins (Ezekiel 18:4) but that the sins of the parents will impact the lives of their children. This will cause the children to sin and be punished. On the other hand, the right relationship with God, serving no other god, loving God with ALL will lead the children into blessings (John 14:23; John 3:36; 1 Timothy 4:8). Choices have consequences…we should make choices with the view of blessing our children instead of passing on the spirit of disobedience and rebellion.
  • The Lord is Great and greatly to be praised (Psalm 145:3). God is Great and greatly to be honored. We are to honor the Name of the Lord in all we say and do. The Name of the Lord encompasses His total being, His character and nature. The Israelites were to bring honor to His Name rather than throwing His Name around loosely in any kind of way: cursing, swearing, absent-minded invoking of this Name, promises made in His Name and then not kept. Jesus taught the disciples to begin prayer by hallowing the Name of the Lord (Matthew 6:9). Philippians tells us the honor that is due:  Philippians 2:9-11, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

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To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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The commandment of love

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36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

As we read the Words above, the veil is opened and we see the Old Testament being fulfilled in the New Testament. We gain further understanding of the principle, “the Old Testament is the New Testament prophesied and the New Testament is the Old Testament fulfilled.”

Now, please…no one take offense or get upset…but just in case, I thought this graphic which places the Ten Commandments in such simplicity would help us.

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  1. 37 And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.
    Commandments 1 -4.
  2. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Commandments 5-10.

We were created for right relationship with God and man…it is a relationship of love that puts God’s glory on display! Right relationship with God will always bear the fruit of right relationship with others.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16

Romans 13:8-10
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

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Wisdom Wednesday

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Blessings today! It is Wisdom Wednesday and the Lord continues to speak in regards to His commands. I pray you will be blessed and encouraged by the following Scriptures and quotes. Blessed is the Name of the Lord!

the-commandments-1 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:2-4the-commandments-2

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. Ecclesiastes 12:13the-commandments-4Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. Psalm 119:129
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And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the very commandment you have heard from the beginning, that you must walk in love. 2 John 1:6

the-commandments-6I delight to do your will, O my God;
    Your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8the-commandments-7“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17the-commandments-9“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:18-19

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The Lord that brought us out

The God Who

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:1-3

As I read the above verses, a post from nine months ago came to my mind and heart. The Lord brought us out of the bondage of sin for Himself, not that we would be enslaved to anyone or anything else.

“But he brought us out from there to bring us in and
give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors.”
Deuteronomy 6:23

Moses and the Israelites’ Exodus from Egyptian bondage is such a rich garden from which to feed. I believe the Lord is leading me to write from the Book of Exodus and am excited as it is one of my favorites places to read and meditate. I am blessed by your faithfulness to this site and that you will coming along with me. I am praying that the Lord would open His Word to us and then open our hearts to His Word that transformation would take place. 🙂

First of all, the word “Exodus” means “exit” or “going out” and as we eat we will see that it is the story of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage. As we look into this book, we will find God’s character including that He is a Promise Keeper who loves and keeps His children.

God will teach us that whenever He moves in our lives to bring about an exit, we also “enter” or “come in”.  His bringing out is always to bring us into a new realm or season as we will see with the Israelites. Deuteronomy 6:23, “But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. The Lord does not change as this was truth for the Israelites so it is true for all His children.

This principle is worth holding in our hearts. No matter how hard life becomes, the issues we face, the obstacles in our way, the things we so desperately want to hold on to and God is us urging us to let go, no matter strongholds and yokes, traditions and SELF…God is never desiring to harm us BUT to prosper us and give us hope and a future. All His plans and ways are perfect, it is okay…more than okay, it is safe to let go and follow. He brings us out to bring us into His great and glorious land and promises.

Exodus 3:8 records the plan the Lord had for Israel, So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” We will look at this is greater detail later but the place God has for us is ALWAYS the place of promise. It is to our blessing and benefit to follow Him all the way!

1 Peter 2:9 is the perfect example of God’s redeeming love and perfect plan and ways, But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

What place is God calling you to exit in order to enter or come into the new? Remember that His plan is not to harm but to bring prosperity, hope and a  future!

Beauty for ashes
The place of prosperity, hope, and a future!

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As we look back to the Exodus 20:3 verse, we see the Lord declare that the God who brings you out is the God you should worship. He is not only Savior and Deliverer but He is Lord! From there, He begins to give them the terms of the covenant. Remember from Exodus 19:8, All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

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A heart check…

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10 For cross over to the coasts of Cyprus [to the west] and see, send also to Kedar [to the east] and carefully consider; and see whether there has been such a thing as this:

11 Has a nation [ever] changed its gods, even though they are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory [God] for that which does not profit.

12 Be astonished and appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked and shrivel up with horror, says the Lord [at the behavior of the people].

13 For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, and they have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns which cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 2:10-13 AMPC

It’s heart month and many of us take this as an opportunity to test our physical hearts for any sign of disease or danger. This is wise for a good heart check and proper treatment of any revealed problems can bring us back to health, healing, and wholeness.

Perhaps, we should take the opportunity to check our spiritual hearts as well for the Scriptures do teach us that “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).” One of the reasons that this is so necessary is that God has also told us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9)?” The Lord has also counseled us to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test (2 Corinthians 13:5)!”

Since we have an enemy who has come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), a flesh which rises up to take control, and a world system that allures us to sin, it would be wise to test our hearts. We will use the above text from Jeremiah as our testing tool asking the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth (John 16:13). I have placed the NLT translation below as well.

“Go west and look in the land of Cyprus; go east and search through the land of Kedar.
Has anyone ever heard of anything as strange as this?
11 Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet My people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols!
12 The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the Lord.
13 “For My people have done two evil things:
They have abandoned Me—the Fountain of Living Water.
And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!
Jeremiah 2:10-13 NLT

Jesus is the Fountain of Living Water. He promises that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14) and in Isaiah 12:3, With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In these verses, we see the promise of life, joy, and satisfaction. Praise God. 

The Jeremiah verses speak of exchanging our Glorious Fountain of Living Water for worthless idols. God calls it abandonment, such a horrible exchange that even the heavens are astonished and appalled…in shock, shrinking back in horror and dismay. My, my, my…if this is how creation responds, how it must wound the heart of our Creator!  We do know that God sees it as evil (vs. 13). 

The devil will never tell us that God sees it this way, neither will our flesh or the world system. If fact, they will all chime in at the same time and sing the Whopper song, “Have it your way.” God says it is abandonment to choose the worthless idol instead of Him.

Most of us would quickly say, “I have no idols.” It is heart month and I believe the Lord is typing these keys to say, put it to the test by the Word and the Spirit. After all, those who worship Him must do so in Spirit and in Truth. You may say, what idols could I possibly have and the answer is shown in the text, anything we love, value more than God Himself is an idol. Perhaps it’s the love/practice of money, sex, power, prestige, intellect, wisdom of man, emotions…things like bitterness, not willing to forgive, greed, deceit, pornography, etc. These all speak of self-indulgence and self-exaltation.

God declares it all to be broken cisterns that have no possibility of holding water…cracked pots that are incapable of holding the Living Water that gives life, joy, and satisfaction. Not only does a broken cistern not hold water but it separates from the Fountain of Living Water which means death. Now, since we are God’s people, saved by grace through faith this blog is not about losing our salvation because the Lord has said that we can not be plucked out of His hand (John 10:28-30). Rather, it about the separation from the abundant, life to the full, intimate and soul satisfying relationship with our Creator, the Glorious Fountain of Living Water who so freely gives life, joy, and satisfaction. It is about valuing someone or something other than Jesus as our great Supreme Treasure which usually begins as little cracks along the way. So thankful that God had prompted this little heart check!

O Heavenly Father, Blessed is Your Name! We desire no other God but You. Please help us to examine our hearts and help us to know if we are chasing other ‘gods’ that separate us from a full, God-exalting, Christ honoring, intimate and personal relationship with You. We are mindful of Your Word, “Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you (James 4:8-10).” Bring us back to you as a person, people, and nation.”
In Jesus Name, we pray. Amen!

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Preparing to meet God

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And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”
When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, 10 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

I am sure that Moses was quite excited as he shares with the Lord the people’s response to His most gracious offer was “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” We then see the Lord share with Moses the next steps:

  1. The Lord told Moses that He would make certain the people understood that Moses was hearing from the Lord and trust his leadership. “I will come to you in a thick cloud, Moses, so the people themselves can hear me when I speak with you. Then they will always trust you (verse 9).” I am blessed that this is God’s work and not man’s. Many leaders could learn from God’s faithfulness to Moses as a leader. The walk of faith includes trusting God to do this and not try to do it ourselves by lording over people and becoming controlling. Faith allows leaders to trust God in His gifting within the entire body without fear of losing our leadership. “All these [gifts] are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as He determines (1 Corinthians 12:11).” When the people would rise up against Moses along this wilderness journey, the Lord handled it. We can expect no less today. God always calls His people, leader or not, to walk by faith and not fear.
  2. “Go down and prepare the people for my arrival. Consecrate them today and tomorrow…
    1. “…have them wash their clothing.”
    2. “Mark off a boundary all around the mountain. Warn the people, ‘Be careful! Do not go up on the mountain or even touch its boundaries. Anyone who touches the mountain will certainly be put to death.”
    3. “Get ready for the third day, and until then abstain from having sexual intercourse.”

The image is one of preparing to meet with the holy and righteous God. The holy God plans to make His presence known and make covenant with a sinful, rebellious people. Despite being chosen by God, for these people to approach Him in some type haphazard, presumptuous way would cause death.

The Old Testament reveals to us the God whose eyes are too pure to see evil and look upon wrong (Habbakkuk 1:13). But here He is ready to make covenant with sinful man and it is His love that provides them a leader and instruction that protects them from rushing into His presence and therefore, death.

This gives us a selah opportunity because as believers in Christ we know that this was a shadow or picture of what, or better yet, Who was to come. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” His Name is Jesus and He opened a new and better way into the presence of the Living God (Hebrews 10:1-25).

12 But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. 13 He is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. For after He says:
16 This is the covenant I will make with them
after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws on their hearts and write them on their minds, 17 He adds: I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts. 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh), 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Praise God, instead of saying stay back, because of the blood of Jesus we are now invited to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).” The Lord promises when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Praise His Holy Name! We don’t deserve this relationship any more than the Israelites did. It is all because of His ‘so’ love poured out in grace and mercy that we can proclaim

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

SELAH and give God praise, honor, and glory!

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To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Chosen by God

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Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”Exodus 19:5-6

We see today that the Lord was calling the people of Israel into a covenant relationship. Verses 5 and 6 gives three titles that God gave to this nation: 1) a treasured possession, 2) a kingdom of priests, and 3) a holy nation. We also see that the covenant was conditional…”If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant.”

Here we are facing the Sovereignty of God one time. In the midst of these titles the Lord declares “for all the earth is Mine.” Amen! I Am God! You may still have memory of all those foreign ‘g’ods in Egypt but please know and understand that there is no God but Me. Isaiah 43 comes to my heart:

10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
    “and My servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe Me
    and understand that I Am He.
Before Me no god was formed,
    nor will there be one after Me.
11 I, even I, Am the Lord,
    and apart from Me there is no savior.
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
    I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I Am God.
13     Yes, and from ancient days I Am He.
No one can deliver out of My hand.
    When I act, who can reverse it?”

I am God and I choose you as My treasure and desire to set you apart unto Myself as a holy nation dedicated to intimate relationship with Me as a display of My glory. The Lord instructed Moses to return to the people and put the Lord’s loving, gracious, and merciful proposal before them. We will look at the people’s response later but on today we give God thanks that He gives the believer a similar proposal.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

God has called those who placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to be:

  • A chosen race – I can’t help but smile even as I type this in the midst of times when the enemy is firing his darts of division and confusion, pitting one race against another…not just black and white but all races. God says, I call the believer into one race, the Christian race.
    So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:26-29) .” I can remember as a child when we would rebel against what our mama said she would tell us, “You better get over yourself.” So it would seem that any believer caught up in a movement of supremacy over other races or personally thinking such about themselves, best examine themselves before the Lord and His Word. As we sung as children, “Red, yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Selah.
  • A royal priesthood – a people who have access to God, who do not have need of another priest. Jesus is our High Priest and He mediated this at the cross. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:5-6). We are granted the privilege of His presence at all times and whatever we do should be in His service and for His glory. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession (Hebrews 4:14).” Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1-2).
  • A holy nation – a people set apart to Him and for Him, new creatures in Christ. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. We are transformed into His character and because He is holy, we are holy and we surrender our lives to Him as He transforms us from glory to glory.
  • A people for His own possession – He is our God and we are His people. As verse 10 declares, Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. This is truly a Shout Now, Hallelejah! Truth! Selah.
  • A people to proclaim the excellencies of Him – the people the Lord created for Himself that we might declare His praise. Oh my, what a privilege!

HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!!!
SELAH!

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Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

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Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
    if you would only listen to me, Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
    you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

11 “But my people would not listen to me;
    Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
    to follow their own devices.

13 “If my people would only listen to me,
    if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
    and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
    and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
    with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Psalm 81:8-16

The Lord speaks to Israelites in verse 8, “Hear me, my people, and I will warn you – if you would only listen to me, O Israel!” God demands their diligent and serious attention.  

Sometimes, there is a need to speak to our children in this same way,  ‘if you would just listen to me, life would be better.’ That’s what God is doing here. He is saying, ‘you are my child, I bought you with a price, I am your Lord and your Redeemer, you’re not to have any foreign gods among you and you shall not bear down to an alien god for I am a jealous God. I am not jealous of you but for you. I redeemed you, not for some other little, pretend ‘g’od but unto Myself!

It remains true today, Jesus paid the price for our freedom. It was not so we could go around tasting, flirting and playing with the powerless, imitation ‘g’ods of power, position, money, drugs, alcohol, night life, and sex; or our emotions, bodies, clothes, vehicles, and houses nor our spouses, children, and self- the biggest ‘g’od of today.

The Lord warns, you’ve got a taste for a whole lot of things that can only give you temporary satisfaction but know that I, the God who bought you out of Egypt, out of sin and bondage, am the all-sufficient God and the only One who is able to keep you and satisfy you.  But the Israelites would not listen (verse 11) no more than many today.

In verse 10, the Lord invites us, “open your mouth and I will fill it.”  The picture here is a mother bird and her baby waiting with its mouth open wide. Only its mother knows what to put, how to put, when to put, how much to put in its mouth that it will have the strength it needs to grow, mature and fly. The Lord says, I wonderfully and fearfully created you and long to fill, nourish, and to satisfy you like no other can…stop chasting and tasting everything this world offers for I won’t share you – you are mine, I have summoned you by name (Isaiah 43)!  Listen to Me, my child, I and I alone am your only true source, I Am that I Am, everything you need! Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.  I’ll fill your cup until it overflows.  Taste and see that I am good – the man who delights in me will lack no good thing.

I promise to satisfy your desires with good things (Psalm 103:5), satisfy you in the morning with My unfailing love, you will sing for joy and be glad all your days (Psalm 90:14), the man who hungers and thirsts (has a taste for) righteousness shall be filled (Matthew 5:6), satisfy the thirsty and fill the hungry with good things (Psalm 107:9), your soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods (Psalm 63:5). What a smorgasbord, a banquet!

Eat and declare with Jeremiah 15:16, “when Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear Your Name O Lord God Almighty.”  God is faithful; He speaks today and promises that if we will just open our mouths, our hearts – He will fill it! He is the only One who can truly fill us until we hunger and thirst no more.

He gives us the testimony of verse so we can see how the ungrateful hearts of the Israelites caused them to experience the justice of the Holy God as He “gave them over to follow their own devices.” I don’t know about you but just the thought of being left to my own devices causes my heart to flutter. 

Now for the saved, we’re not talking about losing your salvation but we are speaking of a relationship where a person has chased after everything this world offers instead of a real, true, vibrant, intimate and personal relationship with the God who saved them.  God says today, if you choose to flirt and play while in relationship with Me, but I warn you, it will only bring heartbreak, trouble, and discipline. He comes today to offer you the same Word of hope that He gave the Israelites in verse 13, “If My people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hands against their foes.” He says, it’s not too late, if you would but listen now, if you would follow My ways, I would subdue your enemies and feed you “with the finest of wheat and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

The Lord speaks, I want you to know that I sure do have a taste for you.  In fact, I’m hungry for you, that’s why I gave my Son, my love, my desire for you is just that great. You see, before you were ever born, I knew you and loved you and I’ve been courting you all these days of your life because I desire intimacy with you. I know you have other lovers but if you will just repent of them, and put them behind you, I will forgive and forget – it will be as though they never were.  I also know that you don’t have much to bring to this relationship but if you will just bring your love and your heart totally surrendered, I will do the rest. It’s time to stop tasting all those imitation ‘g’ods and allow me to fill you with Myself.  I promise that when you do, you’ll be able to sing with joy to God your strength; you’ll understand that you’ve got something to shout about.  O come on now, Taste and see that I am good; the man who trusts in Me will lack no good thing. 

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To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Bless the Lord – 5

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Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

We come to verse 3 and David’s specific reasons  for personally blessing the Lord begins. Remember that he has called his total being to participate, body, soul, and spirit. What a great example we have before us.  David doesn’t say, thank you Lord for all you have done in one catch-all sentence.  David wants his God to know that he has taken note of each blessing  and he knows they are not by his might or power or coincidence, they are not by any man. Only because of Your heart and Your hand, Father, and I want to thank you for my blessings right now.

David begins to recall the goodness of the Lord and may I say that he doesn’t start with the material stuff but with the most important gift God has given to any man. 

             In verse 3, “who forgives all our sins.” The Lord is the Great God of Grace and Mercy who forgives – ‘all’ – not some, not part, not many, but ‘all’ our sins, each and every one.  We should be thankful for the gift of confession, that when we come to Him and confess our sins, He is faithful and just and forgives us (1 John 1:9) – not because of anything we have done but because of the blood of His Son. One song writer penned, “I’m thankful for the blood of Jesus that washes white as snow.” Thank you Lord for the blood. Amen.  Forgiveness of sin is a gift that is free to us but it cost God His Son. Jesus is the greatest gift given. His purpose of coming to earth was to be our Sacrificial Lamb so we could be forgiven of our sin. Surely, it is our delight to treasure Him and bless His Holy Name. Let’s read further in Psalm 103:

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, His acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear Him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.
14 For he knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”
SHOUT NOW – HALLELUJAH!

David then adds to his list – bless the Lord who heals all our diseases.  We see the word, ‘heal’ is in the presence tense.  Our Lord, is the God who heals (Exodus 15:26) and He is equal to every disease of body, soul, and spirit that any man can face.  Disease and sickness came into the world by sin and just as Jesus defeated death at the cross so he defeated disease and sickness, by His wounds we are healed and given victory over the decay of sin no matter how it may try to manifest itself. Some may say well what about my friend who just passed. I would say, if your friend knew Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, if you could see her now, you would she her beholding the face of Jesus, delivered and healed.

But rest assured that there is not a disease, sickness, ailment this side of glory that Jesus cannot heal this glory if that is His plan and purpose.  I am sure that there is someone reading this post that the doctor gave a death sentence and yet they are still here.  I personally know someone that the doctor told them that their heart was blocked but the saints prayed and when the doctor looked again, Dr. Jesus had fixed it.  We could run the list of tumors and headaches and diabetes and blood pressures and broken limps and respiratory and emotions and prostates and cholesterol and pain and eyesight and blood disorders and, and, and…somebody has a testimony. Somebody is just like David, “Bless the Lord, O my soul and do it now.” Thank you Jesus!

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me,
and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church,
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” 
James 5:13-15

Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. Acts 5:16

I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17

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To know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Bless the Lord, O my soul!

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Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed. Psalm 103:1-6

When I read this Psalm, I immediately realize the call of God for personal praise from His children.  Personal praise means one to one – God and me [God and you]. The Psalmist says “Bless or praise the Lord, O MY soul.”  It’s as if he is speaking to himself, exhorting himself, speaking a Word to himself, preaching over himself…as though he felt the opportunity would pass him by if he didn’t stir himself and deliberately begin to bless the Lord and do it, now. 

What a daily privilege and blessing to focus on the Lord in worship, giving Him thanks and blessing His Name.  The blessing of waking up each morning and declaring, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us [I’m gonna] rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).

I believe blessing the Lord should be our first response and purpose to the day God has given. First, because He is worthy of our blessing. Secondly, because the distractions will cause the day to pass us by without our having our “one on one with God.” There is always something that gets in the way, especially in this age where we have our gadgets right beside the bed. There is always a reason to go for the phone or tablet first, right? We must check the weather or check the time or even read Scripture.

I have learned it is best for me to begin the day with blessing the Lord before my eyes open and continue on in prayer and the Word before the gadget ever is looked at…because there is always a distraction waiting there.

The opportunity to bless the Lord without the distractions of the day will pass us by, no matter our good intentions, if we are not diligent about putting first things first. If we are not focused on blessing our Lord for Who He is, thanking Him for what He has done, what He is doing, and what we believe by faith He will continue to do in our lives, families, community, world; we will come to the end of the day never having experienced the intimacy of time alone with God which truly is our source of joy, hope, and strength.

David speaks to himself, stirring his own soul, communing with his own heart, focused on fellowship and communion with His God.  He knows one thing and one thing only, at this moment he must, he’s got to, he can’t help himself, he must bless the Lord!

When I was very young in Christ, I didn’t understand this whole thing of me blessing God.  I mean, how could that be – after all He’s the Sovereign, Most High, Awesome, Mighty, The Great God I AM and I’m just little ole me, as this Psalmist says in verse 14, I came from dust.  How in the world could “I”, could “dust” bless this Great God? 

Let me share with you what God has taught me over the years and is still teaching me right now. He has assured me I had one part right. He truly is the Great, Awesome, Mighty, Sovereign, Creator, Holy and Righteous God and I live, move and have all my being in Him, without Him there would be “no” me. As one song writer says, “I can’t even walk without holding His hand.”

It is true; every good and perfect gift comes from Him. The Lord is the Blesser! He has blessed us with His love, grace, and mercy. He blesses us with His salvation, favor, protection, provision, hope, peace, comfort and joy. He is our shield, refuge and very present help. He is the All-powerful, All-knowing, and Always present God. I could go on and on but let me sum it up by saying as one writer put it, “man is blessed of His heart and His hand only.” Amen. 

He is altogether holy, righteous, pure and perfect – He lacks nothing and nothing can be added to Him. Anything and everything we offer to the Lord already belongs to Him. 2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” “The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1a). As the older folks would say, “He is God all by Himself and He doesn’t need no one else [in order to be God]. He is the All-Sufficient God, whole and complete in and of Himself.

What a Great God! He did not leave me alone with my finite thinking but He taught me that despite by being made from dust and my life being like a vapor, I can still bless this Awesome God. We will discuss on Thursday but the verses below show us that we bless the Lord when we acknowledge His Divine Name and Word with fervent love, devotion, and passion.

“I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks
to Your Name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness,
for You have exalted above all things
Your name and Your word.” Psalm 138:2

“O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is Your Name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:1

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To know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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