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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Friday, October 8, 2010

WOE IS TO ME!

"The world is a book
and those who do
not travel read only
one page."
---St. Augustine

Every time I read this quote from a man who lived in the 4th century, born in 354, I can't help wondering what travel might have been like. It can be bad enough today! But we see great value in travel, leaving our comfort zone and seeing new things, connecting with different people.

We recently traveled up to the California Gold Country, Calaveras County of Mark Twain fame. We drove along highway #5 up through the central valley of California, once alive with agriculture, now eerie in its dust bowl bleakness. Crudely made signs are posted here and there, "Thanks Congress" they say. Our son Steve came with us, and a cousin from Denver joined us at our time share in Angels Camp. We joined another cousin and her husband for dinner who were up at their cabin in Arnold for the week-end. E-mail is good, but face-to-face is better.

We enjoyed exploring several little towns that arose in the midst of the 'gold rush'. It's like walking into a postcard of past times. The surrounding countryside is lovely with it's golden rolling hills dotted with large vineyards, cattle, sheep and horses grazing. A freak storm tore through So. California the day we drove home through a maze of clogged freeways. God showed his power, disturbing every one's peace by lighting up the sky with flashes so bright, and banging the clouds together. But then, He put, not one, but two rainbows in the sky. We drove for miles looking at this symbol of God's promise which came from Noah's time after the whole earth was flooded. It's a remarkable story of faith and God's faithfulness as well as a display of His wrath - not something we like to think about often. You can find this story in the book of Genesis, chapters 7 - 10. In Gen. 9:13 we read God put a rainbow in the sky as a promise that He would never again destroy the earth by flood.

I've been studying the wonderful book of Isaiah and in chapter 5 we see that God's judgement falls on the people of Jerusalem and Judah, those He had set apart to be blessed. Seems that they liked to 'party', a lot! Their music was raucous, there was no acknowledgment of God. Sound familiar? They wanted to do it their way and this will ultimately lead to the wrath of God.

There are six 'WOES' listed in chapter 5, we can all identify with some of them. Remember, this was written about 2800 yrs ago but we see many of these same 'woes' in and around us today. Back in chapter 3:13 "The Lord takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people".
God didn't put His plan up for debate. It is what it is. Many times through history He has shown us that He means was He says.

......Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden
......The flood destroyed the world
......The Tower of Babel dispersed those who worshipped man and confused their language
......Sodom and Gomorrah got completely wiped out, not one survivor!

Just to name a few, and all listed in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, ......we get it Lord! We must ask the question......Do Christians need to worry about God's wrath? I've often said that if you do not know what the Bible says...in total...you are so vulnerable to misguided and just plain wrong teaching. As you study, you will find the Old Testament is all about being saved from the wrath of God by God the Redeemer, the Messiah - Jesus Christ, the One who was sent for this purpose. John 6:29 tells us we are to believe in the One that he as sent. The New Testament tells us that we are not under the law, but under grace. The book of Galatians addresses that issue very well ..."So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we may be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." Gal. 3:24

In I Thessalonians 5:16 there are a number of desirable things we as Christians should be doing, such as 'be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, avoid every kind of evil.....and so on, think you get the picture of perfection being painted here. So often these verses are held up to get our attention that we are not perfect and fail to lead us to last verse in this passage, the one that tells us 'HOW'! Look at verse 24 of I Thess 5 and every day ask the Lord to help you recall this truth. When you see HIM working in your life, your love, worship and desire to know the Savior is greatly increased.

"The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it". I Thess 5:24....also,

"There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus". Romans 8:1

David wrote in Psalms 103 that God has compassion for "he remembers that we are dust. And yet, we are His beloved children.....you might say, dusty, dirty little kids. Knowing how little we can do on our own, He has provided all we need to be victorious in this life 'in Christ'. HE WILL DO IT. We simply stay connected to the vine, on our own we can do nothing....John 15:5.

Isaiah points out that God raises up his banner for distant nations and he whistles for those at the ends of the earth...Is. 5:26. No one will be able to escape the knowledge of Him.

Thank you Lord that YOU alone are the faithful one and will lead us home. Thank you that you make signs and whistle for us and we can follow you with complete trust. Why can we be so confident? Because God is sovereign, Psalms 103:19 says "The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all." Amen!