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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Peace Be With You

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. (Isa 26:12-13)

What happens when we remember Jesus – you can tell the disciples remembered, because they were over-joyed when they saw Jesus, would you be over-joyed if someone you had forgotten about walked through the door (quite literally)? –

 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:19-21)

What happens when we don’t remember:

The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God. (Psalm 9:17)

In short; We have two possible “paths” to follow. – “We” meaning the USA as a nation – We can either start remembering God, or continue on our nice little down-ward spiral. Please pray that America would turn around from the path it is now headed in!

Let’s look at a different aspect of these verses real quick here:

O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

We have peace in our Christian “works”, whatever those may be. You’ll notice that right after Jesus had said “Peace be with you!” again, he sent them to do the will of that Father. – As if meaning that there is peace in doing God’s work. –

In conclusion; America has forgotten God; The war in Iraq is proof enough. That, and no matter what, as long as we are always doing what God wants us to be doing… God will give us peace. You’ll notice Christians more or less always have peace, that’s because whether we like it or not, God usually works in us “to will and to do” his works.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Seeking = Finding = Righteousness and Wisdom

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. (Isa 26:9)

It isn’t complicated; when God gives us an earnest desire to read his word and to pray to him, we do it. And when we do it, God gives us righteousness; you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)

It’s a simple equation, Seek God equals Finding God which in turn equals Righteousness and Wisdom. But how can we seek God?

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10:14)

First; we must hear the Gospel (of Jesus) before we can believe in/seek God. We must first believe in the Gospel (of Jesus) before we can seek, knock, or get any sort of Righteousness or Wisdom… Here’s my point in saying all of that:

Why are there so many quote and quote “dis-functional” families in the world today? One reason is Drugs, another is alcohol and another is lack of Wisdom on how to handle things. We need God to guide our families, finances and everything else for that matter. And the only way to allow God to essentially”take over”, we need to actually hear the Gospel and more importantly believe it! Then and only then will God take over you life, transforming you marriage, family, and even your mind for the better… All that to say this; Please accept God and his love today! The Gospel isn’t complicated, Jesus died on the Cross and rose again to save us, all you have to do is believe it to be true!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

A Storm Against a Wall

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the foreigners’ palace is a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall, (Isa 25:1-4)

There is a reason we should praise God… His name is Jesus! He has saved us from “the ruthless cities” and is protecting us from the Devil even now… In fact, not only has he saved us from the Devil; he has left his “city” in ruin! … Let’s look at this in full; We should praise God, why? Because when we were poor and needy Jesus came and destroyed the fortified city and the foreigners’ palace. But even though his city is in ruin, the “foreigner” is still determined to try to destroy us, but God has set up a “wall” to protect us. There isn’t much more to it:

“But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head” (Psalm 3:3)

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4)

Not only that; but lets look at the next two verses in Isaiah:

like heat in a dry place. You subdue the noise of the foreigners; as heat by the shade of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is put down. On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. (Isa 25:5-6)

Let’s look at this as well:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil;  my cup over-flows. (Psalm 23:5)

It doesn’t matter who we are or what we’ve done; God can come and save you and me!

“If you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. And Jesus said unto him, “If I can? All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out, and said, “I believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:22-24)

Jesus is everything. He is the one who saves us from. And gives us the faith to believe; and once we believe, he heals us.  Once we are healed, he protects us. Thank you Lord!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Strong Man

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Behold, the LORD will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. There you shall die, and there shall be your glorious chariots, you shame of your master’s house. I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your station. In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.(Isa 22:17-22)

Here we see a beautiful picture of Jesus! More specifically, I beautiful picture of Jesus over-coming the Devil! … If you’ll look in Matthew, you’ll see that Jesus is actually a decadent from Eliakim.

13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, 
   Abihud the father of Eliakim, 
   Eliakim the father of Azor, (Matthew 1:13)

And here is a reference to “the strong man” as referring to the Devil:

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

   29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. (Matthew 12:24-29)

Jesus has just cast out a demon, thereby “caring off the possessions of the strong man”…

Long story short; this is a wonderful picture of Jesus Christ “caring us off” from “the strong man”. And it caused me to worship, so I figured I’d share it with you.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Fled Far, Fell Further

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

All your leaders have fled together; without the bow they were captured. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away. (Isa 22:3)

Escape By Running by Laura Muhawesh (first two stanzas)

Today I will run as far as I can and I will not stop until I am spent. I will run from my fears, and run from the pain.

Today, I will run and I will run without gain. I will run, today, with a power to live. I will run with my love and my pride and my hate.

http://www.bpr.com/triathlon/poetry.htm

I thought this bit poetry described what I think of this verse fairly well… We can run with all our “love, pride, and hate” but in the end we won’t get anywhere. It doesn’t matter how far or fast we run, we “fall”. It doesn’t matter how good we try to be; we fall to flesh. And for that matter, – without God – we don’t even put up a fight! Without God’s all-consuming love and power we can not only not manage to escape from our sin, we gladly run right back to it! And you know something? The one and only way to not be “habitually in sin” is to be habitually in bondage to Jesus!

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a] 
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, 
   my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

Our one and only hope is Jesus and in him crucified! Otherwise we will continually run away;  just to be captured yet again…

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Terror, Altar, Sign, Defender, Strike and Heal

Hello again!

The title may at the moment seem like a babble of meaningless words (which at the moment it is to you), but read the following and I think it start to make sense:

And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians. Everyone to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the purpose that the LORD of hosts has purposed against them. (Isa 19:17)

There are so many verses to this, that I have to break it up into portions…

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them. And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. (Isa 19:19-22)

First we fear God and his people. Then we start to believe. Then Jesus comes and is a witnesses to God our behalf. Then God makes himself known to us. Then he tests us to see if we will stand firm. Then he heals the “wounds” he just inflicted on us. And now we are stronger than ever. That’s the progression from unbeliever to believer.

I think people honestly are scared of Christians, I mean, people praying into thin air would scare me too… It’s after Jesus overwhelms us that we finally “see the light” and instead of “fearing” Christians we know, understand, and love them like brothers. Which they spiritually are! But how did we/can we make that progression from fear to brotherly love? Jesus. He intercedes for us before God! And in doing so he gives us eternal peace.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Persecutor > Conquered

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom; and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will confound their counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums and the necromancers; and I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord GOD of hosts. (Isa 19:1-4)

If you’ll remember; the Egyptians used to rule over the Israelites, yet now they’re under the rule of a “fierce king”… Hmm, wonder what that means for us today. Maybe that the persecutor of Christians will be put under the control of the Devil? I don’t want that to be taken the wrong way, so let me clarify; as you already know from reading some of my other posts, that there are in fact consequences for our sin. In this case the Egyptians had put the Israelites about through Hell, and now they get their just reward. Now, I’m going to tell you why that no longer applies today; Jesus went to Hell for us! I’m not saying there aren’t consequences for our sin, but I am saying that Jesus made it so that we can now get to Heaven without having to be perfect, – Jesus is perfect for us, but that isn’t a “license to sin” – and therefore the persecutors of Christians in general now won’t just go to Hell for what they did, they have the option of being forgiven.

I apologize if I’m being confusing (I’m not trying to be); It’s just this is a somewhat confusing topic. Here’s the summary: Jesus saves, period! It doesn’t matter what you or any “persecutors of Christians” might have done, Jesus saves! But that isn’t a “license to sin”, here’s what Paul says about that in Romans 6:

1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” 

So… Jesus saves! Hallelujah!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

God and His Effect On Plants

Hello again!

This is what God has given me today in his word:

For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger, though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain. (Isa 17:10-11)

I think these verses are mainly talking to counselors and mentors… Why? Look at the part of the verses above – though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain. – Because, you can play all the soft music and dim the lights all you want; and you’ll get people becoming “Christians”… But the moment something difficult comes Bam! They’re out of here. And why is it you have to play that soft music and dim the lights (to make it emotional)? It’s because when you have to do all that; you aren’t concentrating on making God your vision! Don’t you remember the song “be thou our vision”?

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

http://songsandhymns.org/hymns/lyrics/be-thou-my-vision

Notice how it doesn’t say “be thou my soft music and dimmed lights”. Notice how it also doesn’t say “be thou my God who works on the emotions of people trying to get them to become Christians”… It’s true you will get “converts” when you do that… –  and make them blossom in the morning that you sow – But they don’t stay Christians for long. Again I ask why don’t they stay Christians for long? Because they are emotional Christians! … You’ve played on their emotions and more or less forced them through their emotions to become Christians. But the moment something (anything) bad happens in their life, can you guess what happens? Bam! They’re gone. In fact not only are they gone, but they’re out right fleeing from you! – yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain. – So if you are a pastor, mentor, or counselor of any sort. Please don’t fall into the trap of forgetting God and therefore leading everyone you talk to astray! It usually doesn’t turn out good for anyone.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Looking To the Maker

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Gleanings will be left in it, as when an olive tree is beaten– two or three berries in the top of the highest bough, four or five on the branches of a fruit tree, declares the LORD God of Israel. In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense. (Isa 17:6-8)

It doesn’t matter how hard we try, we can’t get into Heaven. Simple as that, we have no hope. Zilch, notta, nothing… At least, we didn’t have hope, and we don’t; up to the point when we look to our maker to save us.

When we find out that in reality, we aren’t perfect, – Gleanings will be left in it, as when an olive tree is beaten– two or three berries in the top of the highest bough, four or five on the branches of a fruit tree, declares the LORD God of Israel. – that is the time when we look to our maker (God almighty) to save us. When we are the deepest despair because we know that there will always be just a little (or huge) something that we can’t bring under control. That’s the point God uses in our lives (usually) to bring us to him.

Don’t you just hate it when you find out something you did, even though you were sure you did it right, turned out to be all wrong… Of course, I don’t hate that, I hate the consequences;  having to do it over again. The problem with salvation is that we don’t get another chance to do life correctly; instead, we have to face the full consequences of what we did or did not do in life… I believe that completely. What I don’t believe is that no one ever gets another chance; Jesus died and rose again for a reason!!! That reason was so that he could save us from our sins… If we accept him – in doing so, realize that we aren’t perfect and that we cannot be perfect – than Jesus saves us.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Desert Travel

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word today:

desert

For the waters of Dibon are full of blood; for I will bring upon Dibon even more, a lion for those of Moab who escape, for the remnant of the land. (Isa 15:9)

Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, from Sela, by way of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Zion. Like fleeing birds, like a scattered nest, so are the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon. “Give counsel; grant justice; make your shade like night at the height of noon; shelter the outcasts; do not reveal the fugitive; (Isa 16:1-3)

What did this mean to the Israelites? They hate the Moabites, but God is now telling them to get over it and accept them and even hide them?! What was God thinking? Well, I’d say he was thinking he wanted to save the Moabites… But what does that mean to us? I’d say it means we should always be willing to accept people… Let me clarify that; Jesus tells us that the sick need a doctor, but the well don’t. We should be willing to accept the spiritually sick into our churches and we should be willing to accept the way they are… “Come as you are just don’t stay that way”.

Apart from that though…

Interesting cycle wouldn’t you agree; Blood > Lamb > Desert Travel > Justice

We were bloody wretches, simple as that. But than Jesus came, died and rose again (thankfully). And now we get justice… Before we had Christ, justice would mean eternal condemnation, now that we have Christ living in us, it means eternal life with God.

We can try as hard as we can, we can try to be perfect, but frankly, we can’t do it. And that’s why Jesus finds us as bloody wretches; it’s because we can try to try as long and us hard as the Devil will allow, but we can’t break free of his grip for more than a little at a time… It’s called being in habitual sin. But than Jesus found us, died and rose again for us, and now intercedes for us every day. Hence the justice we get, isn’t the justice we deserve… It’s not even technically “justice”, what it is, is mercy.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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