God is doing an amazing work in our day!

“‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.'” (Acts 13:41)

Paul, preaching to the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, tells the Jews that they should expect the Lord to do a work that they would not believe. The work is that their wise men will perish (Is 29:14). In other words, God will do something among the people that will astound them – He will save the Gentiles. He bring those who they thought could not experience salvation to Himself. He will do it through their belief in a crucified Messiah. While at the same time, He will give the Jews over to their enemies (Hab 1:5-6).

After the Jews rejected their teaching, Paul explicitly tells them the work God is dong in verse 47 when he says,

“For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'” (Acts 13:47)

Again quoting from the prophet Isaiah to show that this has always been God’s plan. A plan that was hidden but is now revealed (Col 1:26-27). Salvation has come to the Gentiles. God’s plan has always been to unite them as one man in Christ (Eph 2:11-22).

Through Jesus we are all united to one another – Jew and Gentile, poor and rich, slave and free. In Christ, we are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters. We are adopted into the same family through the death of Jesus for our sins and the forgiveness extended by the Father and the work done by the Spirit to draw and regenerate. Because of the Work of God, an amazing work we cannot even fathom, we all experience salvation in Jesus alone.

God is doing a work in our day. A work no one would believe if told beforehand. God is uniting us all in Christ. He breaks down divisions. If we want to experience unity, we must turn to Christ. We must recognize that at the foot of the cross all men and women are equal. No one is greater than another. No one is loved by God more than another. We are all one, a new humanity, a new people in Christ.

In Uncertain Times Turn to the Lord for Rescue

“Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps 124:8)

God is the One who created all things. He is the One we should turn to for help. In Acts 12, God is the One who helps Peter. Wrongfully imprisoned and held until the feast of Unleavened Bread was over, Herod was going to have Peter killed at the pleasure of the Jews.

Peter, guarded by several squads of soldiers, found his way out of prison and out of the city. Peter’s did not fight his way out of the prison. Nor did a band of soldiers enter the prison and rescue him from the mighty Roman’s. An angel of the Lord rescued Peter. The angel rescued him without drawing any blood. The chains holding Peter literally feel off. They walked back the guards, and the iron gate leading into the city opened on its own accord. Peter escaped by the help of the Lord!

God is our help in present troubles. He has the power to help us. He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He literally fashioned the sun, moon, and stars in place. He molded the planet we call home. We were made in His image. Our Lord is our help.

Sometimes God rescues and restores in miraculous ways. Other times He does it in the ordinary. At times, He doesn’t rescue at all. In the same episode in Acts, James was killed while Peter was rescued. James’ death doesn’t point to an impotent or slumbering God. God accomplishes what He desires when He desires. We must remember God’s will doesn’t always match our will. He was done using James but not Peter. While James passed on from this world, he entered a greater world where he is able to see the Lord face to face.

In uncertain times, don’t turn to man to rescue you. Turn to the Lord. Trust in His will. He has a plan. His plan will not be thwarted. He will accomplish that which He has purposed. We should glory in God’s rescue as well as His use of us to accomplish His purposes.

Glory be to God!

In a time of political and national upheaval, turn to the Lord!

“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps 121:2)

In a time of political and national upheaval, the Psalmist’s reminder this morning is appropriate. Our help is from the Lord. Politicians and leaders come and go. They promise one plan of action and do another. They let us down routinely either in action or character.

The Lord, however, is not another politician or leader. The Lord is the One who fashioned the heavens and the earth. He keeps His promises and has the power to bring about that which He wills.

Instead of turning to man, we should turn to the Lord as our help. He does not sleep or slumber (vs 3-4). He is always alert. He knows everything that happens. He is our protector, promising to watch over and keep us on a daily basis, keeping us from evil and destruction (vs 5-8).

We can and should put our life in the Lord’s hands. We can and should trust He will always do what is right. We can and should rest in His ability to accomplish His perfect will.

In a time of political and national upheaval, turn to the Lord!

Through the difficulties of life, do you believe the Lord is there?

Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 118:4

God is a God of steadfast love. We can trust the Lord day in and day out. Because the Lord walks with us, carries us even, we can rejoice in the valley as well as on the mountain tops.

The Lord cares for those who are His. As the psalmist says in verse 27,

“The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us.” – Ps 118:27a

Do you believe the Lord is shining on you day in and day out? Through the difficulties of life, do you believe the Lord is there? Do you believe the Lord is in the valley just as He is on the mountain top?

Our God is a God of steadfast love. He never leaves us despite the position in which we find ourselves. God is always there.

In Luke 12:22 Jesus provides these words of comfort to the anxious when He says,

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. – Luke 12:22

God knows our needs. He will provide for our needs. As we daily depend on Him to provide, we grow in our understanding of and in our trust and dependence on God. Life is not about us amassing so much wealth that we can live comfortable lives (see Luke 12:13-21). If God gives us with wealth and the ability to live without worry of money, that is a blessing. But a comfortable life is should not be our goal. That is the American dream, not God’s will for our life. Sometimes we must live uncomfortably, if we even know what that is as middle class Americans, to grow in our trust of God’s provision, care, and steadfast love.

Our God is a God of persistent love. When we recognize God’s persistent love and presence is our life through His day to day provision, we can and will give thanks to the Lord. We can say that He is good. We should praise and worship Him despite our circumstances.

It is never too late

He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.

2 Chronicles 33:13

It is never too late to turn to the Lord. Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings in Judah. He reversed the reforms of his father Hezekiah, leading the people away from the Lord and to worship false gods.

The Lord humbled Manasseh. From captivity in Babylon, Manasseh prayed to the Lord and the Lord forgave him. He actually did more than forgive him. He brought him back to Judah restoring Manasseh’s reign as king. Manasseh then led the people to worship and follow God.

It is never too late to turn to the Lord in repentance and belief. He is the one true God who provides salvation to those who humble themselves by recognizing they can’t save themselves. Only through Jesus can we experience a reconciled relationship with the Lord and accomplish our God given purpose — to bring God glory.

Why should we humble ourselves?

Rehoboam is an example of the proverb. Even when warned by Shemaiah the prophet:

“Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the LORD, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.'”

2 Chronicles 12:5

Rehoboam did not abandon his pride. It wasn’t until Shishak, the ruler of Egypt, began to decimate his kingdom that he turned and humbled himself before the Lord.

How did God respond when Rehoboam repented?

Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is righteous.” When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”

2 Chronicles 12:6-8

The Lord relented His wrath on Rehoboam and Judah so as to provide them some relief. They were sacked and beaten down but they were not destroyed. God is merciful, but He is also just. Even though God’s heart is bent towards mercy, His character requires Him to act justly (Exodus 34:6-7).

The Psalm that accompanies our reading of 2 Chronicles 12, in our read through Scripture program, reveals how we should think of our relationship with the Lord:

“For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”

Psalm 73:27-28

We shouldn’t believe ourselves better than the Lord. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to stray from His wisdom and will for our lives. Instead, we should continue to trust in and seek Him. He is our refuge. It is because of Him that we find success.

Rehoboam learned this lesson the hard way, you can argue he never fully learned it because he continued to do evil all his days. Let us not learn the hard way. Let us humble ourselves before the mighty hand of our God all the days of our lives.