4-5-2020 Against the Elements

FROM THE PASTOR

April 5, 2020

 

I am thrilled that so many of you read the article from Israel My Glory I attached last week. I know many of you read it because of the questions I’ve received. However, one question no one asked is, “Why did I throw a challenge at you like “God’s choosing?” In all honesty, yes, it was in response to one of the discussions we had in Bible Study and, “yes, I did want to provide some additional information, but the real reason is I want your faith to grow strong.

 

Let me explain. The strongest trees in the forest are those that are exposed to the elements. Compared to the trees protected in the center of the forest, the trees on the edges look battered and twisted. One might even use the description that they are “battle scared”. But my oh my, are they strong. This makes sense when you understand that their strength develops because of the trials they endure during their growth. In a way that reminds us of James words…

 

James 1:2-4 (NASB)
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

By comparison, the trees in the center of the forest may look straighter, and maybe more beautiful. But consider what happens when the trees on the edge are removed and the center trees who have depended on others for protection are now exposed… I think you already know… they will struggle because they are weak, and because of that, they can’t stand alone against the elements? They crack, break, their leaves turn brown and drop and occasionally they can even uproot, fall to the ground and die.

 

It’s easy (perhaps convenient?) to rely on the Pastor or a teacher, or a commentary to protect you. But is that protection hindering you from develop personal growing strength in our Lord? And, if you’ve always depended on that protection will you able to stand alone when the storms of life hit home? That’s my purpose… not to confuse you with an unfair challenge that has no human answer, but to get you into God’s Word and challenge you to develop growing strength…  even on issues that make our minds spin. Especially when we as humans possess finite minds that only function linear when developing a thought.

 

Just remember… in trials God will also provide wisdom…

 

James 1:5-8 (NASB)
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

 

So, let me extend an additional challenge. This week study the following…

 

Ephesians 1:3-4 (NASB)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

 

Colossians 3:12 (NASB)
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

 

2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB)
13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

2 Timothy 2:10 (NASB)
10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.

 

Titus 1:1 (NASB)
1 Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,

 

1 Peter 1:1-2 (NASB)
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father
, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

 

Revelation 17:14 (NASB)
14 "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful."

 

And while you study, please don’t allow what seems in human terms to be a conflict, to frustrate you. Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you study. Pray for the wisdom God has promised if we ask in faith. And remember, as Christians who are in God’s Word, we must recognize that God does not think linear, but non-linear, and makes connections between many unrelated concepts. After all, as God, who knows all things actual and possible, instantaneously and simultaneously. He is also, holy and just which makes Him the justifier of all that there is resulting in all His proclamations being just.  And most significantly, He never contradicts Himself. so, if He indicates there is a ‘choosing’ of some fashion it most definitely is not in conflict with…

 

2 Peter 3:9 (NASB)
9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

 

John 3:14-16 (NASB)
14 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

 

So, did I mean to stir the pot… absolutely, guilty as charged. Just remember I’m not asking anyone to be an apologist… I’m asking you to be willing to get into God’s Word and grow strong in your faith even in areas where we don’t fully understand.

 

Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Be safe… we will soon be worshipping together once again.

Pastor Larry

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