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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Fire and Water; Is the Christian Immune to Both?

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isa 43:1-2)

I for one didn’t know I wouldn’t be burned if I walked through fire! I’ll have to try it!

6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:6-7)

So you’re suggesting that the fire referred to is just representative of Hell? That’s a little disappointing… But at the same time I’m glad that it means hell and not actual fire, I’d prefer burning over burning. But what about the water/rivers part?

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” (Joshua 3:9-13)

So what you’re saying is that the waters and rivers that God says he’ll walk us through in the verse could represent God’s testing us or something to that extent? Well yes that makes sense when I think about it. But what does God’s walking me through the very tests that he gives me matter to me? 

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5)

Oh, so in other words I need Christ living in me in order to bear any Christian fruit? Well I suppose that does matter to me, seeing as without Jesus to walk me through any tests that he gives me, – such as a test of my faith in him – I couldn’t “pass the tests”… But can you tell me exactly what sort of tests God would give me?

1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

   “Here I am,” he replied.

 2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” (Genesis 22:1-2)

But God couldn’t possible expect me or anyone else to do something so incredibly drastic! Could he?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

That doesn’t make sense, you didn’t answer my question. What are you saying?

16(A) “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin. (Deuteronomy 24:16)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Let me get this straight; you’re telling me that because Jesus died for me while I was still a sinner, I don’t have to do that sort of thing anymore? Well that would mean that God doesn’t test me anymore, and I know that’s not true.

Job 1-19

OK, point taken. So overall what you’ve told me is that because Jesus died and rose again for me I am saved. But God will still test me, a little like he tested Job’s faith, but even in that God will help me.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

 

 

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Good Testimonies

Hello again!

This is a great link that you should without doubt check out:

http://forum.settingcaptivesfree.com/index.php/topic,64.0.html

Great testimonies from a great course focused on getting people free of drugs for depression among other things.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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An Eye Opening Experience

Hello again!

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

“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. (Isaiah 42:6-7)

We are supposed to evangelize

 will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

So what are we supposed to do again? Oh, noting much; we just have to free prisoners from the dungeon of despair, open the eyes of the spiritually blind, and free people from the prison of self. Should be easy! Now if only we actually knew how to do it… Well according to Matthew 5:14-16 all we have to do is just let ourselves shine in the World… Should be easy right? Well actually yes and no. According to the last part of Colossians 1:27 Christ actually lives in us, and therefore it’s Christ actually doing the work. But once again according to Matthew 5:14-16 it’s us letting ourself be seen (as it were). So which is right? Well the correct answer is both.

I’ll put it this way; without Christ we can do nothing, much less tell others about Jesus. Whereas with Christ all things are possible – Including evangelization. We need Christ in all areas of our life, but we specifically need him in evangelizing. Because without him we won’t so much as glimmer much less shine with the Glory of God!

God takes us by hand

“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you;

Alright then, but what does that actually mean? It’s not like God is going to suddenly going to appear grab my hand and stay there for the rest of my life. – So I repeat; what’s it (this part of the verse) mean? Well, I think it means exactly what it says, only not physically like you and I would think but Spiritually.

How many times in your life  have you felt even the least bit sad, or depressed? – you don’t actually have to tell me – Well Christ comes, takes you by hand, and walks you through whatever the trouble your having might be. Believe me when I say there is no better psychologist then the very one who created the brain, Jesus.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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The Sermon Today

Hello again!

Pastor Mike preached today for the most part about the Anti-Christ… He preached from 1 John 2:15-29... Which I wont copy and paste in this particular post for the sake of cleanliness…. Now then, how to put around an hour and some odd minutes into a couple of sentences:

Pastor Mike for the most part preached on 1 John 2:15-29 (as already mentioned). He warned us about the anti-Christ and gave a few examples of characteristics of the anti-Christ, mainly focusing around homo-sexuality (and how it’s bad)… He also “admonished us” (for lack of a better word) to share the Gospel with everyone we come in contact with…

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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Water, Lots and Lots of Water.

Hello again!

This is the talk I had today with God through his word:

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. (Isaiah 41:17-18)

Well, alright then… So what? I already had plenty of water why would I need more?

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[a] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39)

3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, 
   and streams on the dry ground; 
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, 
   and my blessing on your descendants. (Isaiah 44:3)

Oh, so what you’re trying to say is that the Holy Spirit is just being “likened to water”. Right? … Alright, but why do I even need the Holy Spirit, sure I get the whole part about how I would spiritually die of thirst without him but so what? What do I care if I spiritually die? In my opinion the here and now is what really matters.

28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

So what you’re saying is that I need the Holy Spirit because he in fact effects both my Spiritual and Physical life? Well I suppose that makes sense. But what if I told you I already have all the fruits of the Spirit?

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

But I am in Jesus (the vine), it’s just I don’t have the Holy Spirit living in me.

7 For there are three that testify: 8 the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. (1 John 5:7-8)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name (not names; plural, but name; singular.) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

Ah, so your telling me that if I have Jesus living in me I also have the Holy Spirit living in me… OK then, one last question. Since I am obviously the “poor and needy person who is seeking water (the Holy Spirit)” talked about in the verse… Why is it  I’m still seeking? After all I have Jesus and therefore the Holy Spirit and God the Father living in me… Is it just that Christians are always looking for the Holy Spirit to lead in guide them?

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

Oh, so what you’re saying is that because everyone needs guidance in everything they do, the Christian always has a hunger for the Holy Spirit and always should be asking God for more Wisdom.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Fear Not, For I Am With You

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. (Isaiah 41:10-11)

I now feel safe on Earth… But what about after I die, then what?

Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 41:14)

Alright but that still doesn’t answer my question does it? What happens after I die? Sure I can feel good and safe here on Earth. But what about afterwards? So far all you’ve told me is that I’m a worm, and that you are my (redeemer)… Oh.

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, (Ephesians 1:7-8)

18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

OK, I get the picture… God is my physical and spiritual savior and what not. But frankly, so what? What exactly does all of that mean?

 11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, (Titus 2:11-12)

OK but I’m already a pretty perfect fella. I don’t need any help in pride, worldly passions, self-control, or even living uprightly. I don’t even need to be redeemed; my perfection will get me to Heaven no sweat!

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

You must have misunderstood; I’m not like that! I really am perfect.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Alright then, point taken… So, how about that grace you were talking about earlier?

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Grasshoppers and Their Human Qualities.

Subtitled: God is Bigger!

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. (Isaiah 40:22-23)

I’m fairly certain we’ve all hear of grasshoppers, right?

Grasshopper

We’ve all seen one of these… Or at least, you have now.

So why on earth would anyone put us to the likeness of grasshoppers? … Because we are tiny in comparison with God. But what of a couple other references of people-grasshoppers? For example when the Israelites called themselves like grasshoppers, that wasn’t in any way related to God. In fact, quite the opposite I’d say:

33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33)

The Israelites thought this way because their problem(s) were so big, they thought it made them look small. It’s often the same with us today, our problems can seem so over-overwhelmingly huge it seems like we are practically grasshoppers in comparison. So what’s the point? What I am I trying to get at? Well, as Veggie Tales so quaintly put it… God is bigger than the boogie man. Along with the boogie man, Godzilla, scary furniture and a few other assorted items, God is bigger than all our problems! Though naturally that’s easy to say while sitting reading/writing this post from the comfort of where ever you might be sitting… But I just want you to remember one thing from this; even when it looks like Anak and the boogie-man (or, fill in the blank) are going to get you, God is still Bigger.

Maybe that isn’t what will be racing through your mind should you ever see the boogie-man, uh, I mean a debt collector come calling for your money. But it is true that God always provides a way. Maybe/usually not always in the way that you and I think he may, he always provides a way…

Oh, but wait, you say you want proof?

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4)

I’d say that death would be considered a pretty bleak (pardon the pun), situation. Would you? Yet Jesus through dieing and rising again for us made a way for us even in that!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

P.S. This is my all-time most popular post, simply because I added a picture of a grasshopper to it. The thing about it, though, is that I don’t even like it myself! I wrote this post awhile back, and have never bothered correcting the numerous errors in it. So, if you read this, and thought it was absolutely horrible, I ask that you please excuse me and my procrastination towards fixing it.

 

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But in Love You Have Delivered My Life

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, and said, “Please, O LORD, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. (Isaiah 38:1-5)

Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back. (Isaiah 38:17)

Have you ever felt like you were dead in the sickness of sin? Well, guess what… God sees your tears too! He hears your prayers too! (have cast all my sins behind your back) believe it or not it is for our good… Look what Paul has to say about it:

20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20-21) (See Romans 6:1-4!)

We can be on the point of death when God saves us… Why is that? How is it that drowning in our own sin can be good for us (aside from grace increasing)? Well there is always this to consider:

7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

OK sure, I understand all that now. But whats your point? … My point is this:

“Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.

My point is that God hears our prayers and answers them. Though not always the way we might want him to… In short; because Jesus died and rose again for us our prayers are heard and answered! Back then they had a limited ability to meet with God… Only the high priest could go to the “most holy place”… Whereas now we can all meet with God!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Who Among the gods Can Save You?

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'” But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” (Isaiah 36:20-21)

When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.'” (Isaiah 37:5-7)

Just to give you a quick bit of background information:

The king of Assyria has sent one if his servants to conquer Jerusalem. So the current king; Hezekiah, goes to Isaiah to ask him what God has to say… Now then:

Devil: Hey there Bob. Look over your shoulder, see that guy? He was no match for me even though he worshiped Buda, what makes you think your different? What makes you think that you can stand against me and win? … The truth of the matter is that we can’t stand against the Devil. The truth of the matter is that the only way we can stand against the Devil is if we aren’t the one standing… By that I mean that we can only stand against the Devil if it’s not us but Jesus standing against him.

One of the things you’ll see is that the people on the wall remained silent when “the servant” taunted them. Do you think that has any significance for us? I think so; after all, we have no power over Satan, and therefore we should just remain silent when the Devil talks to us right? Wrong:

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Look at this as well:

2 And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zechariah 3:2)

Even the Lord rebukes Satan in his own name! Why? Because we can’t say anything that can stop the Devil, but God can. Back In Isaiah again we see Isaiah talking to the King and the High Priests telling them that the Lord will make a way. It’s the same now! … Though not always through a Prophet God will make his way known.

Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me.

When God is reviled, he will “stand up for himself”:

9 When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10 The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God. (1 Chronicles 13:9-10)

In short; we can trust our God because he is the one and only true God. We don’t need to fear the Devil because we have God living in us!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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The Sermon Today

Hello again!

Just to let you know, todays’ sermon wasn’t preached by Pastor Mike. Unfortunately we had to stay home today because my dad is (was) flying people to/from Deli, India. So this was the sermon we watched at from home:


http://itm.edgeboss.net/download/itm/video/broadcast/2011/110522.mp4

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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