Tag Archives: lord god

Greg Laurie – Why God Must Judge

 

“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the LORD God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ “—Ezekiel 33:11

God takes no pleasure in bringing judgment. In the New Testament we find Jesus grieving over the city of Jerusalem and weeping over her: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34).

And in Ezekiel 33, God said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (verse 11).

Then why does God send judgment? Answer: Because He is a just God. Abraham rightly said, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). If people can flagrantly and continually break God’s laws, committing murder and perverting anything and everything that is right and good, would it be right for God to turn away and ignore it? Do you expect God to simply turn a blind eye to all injustice? Or do you expect Him to do something?

“But it is not loving to bring judgment,” someone might say.

Let’s say that you were the parent of a toddler who was playing in your backyard. Suddenly a wolf comes along, and you see that wolf climb over the fence and sprint toward your toddler. What are you going to do? Are you going to run and give that wolf a big hug? No. The wolf has become your enemy because he is trying to hurt your child. Because you love that child, you hate anything that would harm the one you love.

God is saying, in effect, “I love you, and I hate this wickedness and this sin. I want you to turn away from it.” God’s heart aches over our rebellion.

Greg Laurie – Distorting God’s Word

 

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” —Genesis 3:1

A story is told of the comedian W. C. Fields and how, shortly before he died, he was flipping through the pages of a Bible. When asked what he was doing, Fields replied, “Looking for loopholes.”

In the same way, I think the Devil has been reading the Bible for a long time, looking for loopholes. In the Garden of Eden, he twisted the Scriptures. He took God’s words to Adam, which invited him to eat from every tree in the Garden (with one exception), and he twisted them into a prohibition designed to cast doubt on God’s goodness.

He said to Eve, in effect, “If God really loved you, He would let you eat from any tree you want. But because He is saying that you can’t eat from that tree, He clearly doesn’t love you.”

The Devil’s first words to Eve ended in a question mark, designed to cast doubt on God’s love: Has God indeed said . . . ? He was quoting God, yet he completely twisted what God said.

The same was true of Satan’s temptation of Jesus, where he said, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down [from the temple]. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone’ ” (Matthew 4:6). How interesting. The Devil was quoting the Scriptures, though he left out part of the original text.

Notice that with Eve, he questioned God’s Word. He didn’t deny that God had spoken; he simply questioned whether God had really said what Eve thought He had said. That is what the Devil will do with God’s Word. He will misquote it. He will mischaracterize it. And he will distort it.

John MacArthur –Praying with Fervency

 

“I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Dan. 9:3).

The more you understand God’s holiness, the more you’ll recognize your own sinfulness.

People view prayer differently. For some it is a last resort after all human options have been exhausted: “All I can do now is pray for you!” Others liken it to a spiritual spare tire—something used only in the event of an emergency. Many who should thrive on prayer have been lulled into complacency by an affluent and godless society.

Daniel, however, saw prayer as an opportunity to express the passion and fervency of his heart to the God he loved and served. In Daniel 9:3 he says, “I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him.” That implies he set apart a specific time to devote to thoughtful, earnest, and fervent prayer. That is further supported by the way he prepared himself through fasting and donning sackcloth and ashes—symbols of humility and deep contrition over sin.

It might seem unusual for a man of Daniel’s spiritual stature to be overwhelmed by his sense of sin, but the closer one draws to God, the more aware he is of his sinfulness. We see that in Paul, who called himself the foremost of all sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). That might seem like a ridiculous statement to us but Paul saw sin for what it was. So did Daniel.

The title “Lord God” in verse 3 emphasizes God’s sovereign rule over all things. Daniel knew that God had permitted the Babylonian Captivity and that He alone could deliver His people from it. Consequently, Daniel gave the Lord his undivided attention as he prayed and sought mercy for himself and his people.

Daniel’s fervency is a rebuke to much of the flippancy we hear in prayer today. It was profound because it was generated by God’s Word and grounded in His will.

James 5:16 says, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (KJV). Be like Daniel—a righteous person who prays fervently with great effect.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Ask God to give you a greater sense of fervency in prayer.
  • Be sensitive to any sin that might be hindering your prayers.

For Further Study

Read Luke 11:5-13.

  • What parable did Jesus tell to illustrate the benefits of humble, persistent prayer?
  • How did Jesus contrast earthly fathers with their heavenly Father?

John MacArthur – Praying According to God’s Word

 

“I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications” (Dan. 9:2-3).

God’s sovereignty doesn’t eliminate the need for prayer.

Have you ever wondered if it’s biblical to pray for things that God has already promised in His Word to do? Is it proper to pray, say, for the salvation of sinners, knowing that God will redeem all the elect anyway, or for Christ’s return, knowing that it is a sure thing? Daniel gives us a clear answer.

God prophesied through Jeremiah that the Babylonian Captivity would last seventy years (Jer. 25:11-12). When Daniel read that prophecy, he realized that the time was near for his people to return to their homeland. That inspired him to pray fervently.

In Daniel 9:19 he cries out, “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay.” He was in tune with God’s Word and understood that somehow his prayers were part of God’s plan.

The exact relationship between God’s sovereignty and our prayers is a mystery, but it is clear that somehow God’s Word and our prayers are co-laborers in achieving God’s will.

Like Daniel, you and I live in a time when many of God’s promises seem near to fulfillment. Never before have world events pointed so dramatically to the nearness of the return of our Lord. Consequently, this is not the time for complacency or over-enthusiastic speculation. It is the time for careful Bible study and fervent prayer.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His faithfulness and the sure promises of His Word.
  • Ask Him for spiritual wisdom and insight to discern His will and then live accordingly.

For Further Study

Jeremiah 24:1—25:13 gives some background to Judah’s captivity in Babylon. After reading those verses, answer these questions:

  • To what kind of fruit did God liken Judah?
  • What did God say would happen to King Zedekiah?
  • What warning did the prophets give to Judah?
  • What was Judah’s response?
  • How would God deal with Babylon?

 

Greg Laurie – More Like God       

greglaurie

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” —Exodus 34:6–7

An unforgiving Christian is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. To say you are a follower of Jesus Christ and yet harbor unforgiveness in your heart is simply wrong.

Jesus touched on the issue of forgiveness time after time. It was a theme of so many of His parables, it was part of His prayers, and He hammered on this issue again and again in the private talks He had with His disciples.

You are never more like God than when you forgive. Alexander Pope wrote, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” We reflect the nature of God in such a dramatic way when we are willing to forgive. If you really want to be like the Lord, then you need to be a forgiving person because He is a forgiving God.

Exodus 34 gives us this description of God, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (verses 6-7). Therefore, if we want to be like Him, we should do the same.

Jesus taught us to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12), but He also taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (verse 10). What is going on in heaven? The worship of God, the exaltation of Christ, and the granting of forgiveness. Therefore, we should be worshiping God. We should be exalting Jesus Christ. And we should be forgiving one another.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

John MacArthur – Praying with Fervency

John MacArthur

“I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Dan. 9:3).

People view prayer differently. For some it is a last resort after all human options have been exhausted: “All I can do now is pray for you!” Others liken it to a spiritual spare tire–something used only in the event of an emergency. Many who should thrive on prayer have been lulled into complacency by an affluent and godless society.

Daniel, however, saw prayer as an opportunity to express the passion and fervency of his heart to the God he loved and served. In Daniel 9:3 he says, “I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him.” That implies he set apart a specific time to devote to thoughtful, earnest, and fervent prayer. That is further supported by the way he prepared himself through fasting and donning sackcloth and ashes–symbols of humility and deep contrition over sin.

It might seem unusual for a man of Daniel’s spiritual stature to be overwhelmed by his sense of sin, but the closer one draws to God, the more aware he is of his sinfulness. We see that in Paul, who called himself the foremost of all sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). That might seem like a ridiculous statement to us but Paul saw sin for what it was. So did Daniel.

The title “Lord God” in verse 3 emphasizes God’s sovereign rule over all things. Daniel knew that God had permitted the Babylonian Captivity and that He alone could deliver His people from it. Consequently, Daniel gave the Lord his undivided attention as he prayed and sought mercy for himself and his people.

Daniel’s fervency is a rebuke to much of the flippancy we hear in prayer today. It was profound because it was generated by God’s Word and grounded in His will.

James 5:16 says, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (KJV). Be like Daniel–a righteous person who prays fervently with great effect.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask God to give you a greater sense of fervency in prayer.

Be sensitive to any sin that might be hindering your prayers.

For Further Study:

Read Luke 11:5-13.

What parable did Jesus tell to illustrate the benefits of humble, persistent prayer?

How did Jesus contrast earthly fathers with their heavenly Father?

 

Greg Laurie – An Appointment with God

greglaurie

The Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” —Genesis 3:9

In addition to walking in harmony with God, Amos 3:3 provides another nuance of meaning. It also gives the idea of keeping an appointment. Did you know that you have an appointment with God? You do. It is there, written in eternity. In fact, God wants to meet with you on a regular basis.

I wonder just how many times each day that God wants to speak to us, but He can’t get a word in edgewise. The Lord might say, “I have wanted to talk to you for a long time, but you are too busy. This morning I wanted to talk to you, but you didn’t have any time for Me. You read the newspapers and watched TV and talked on the phone. You never opened the Word. You never prayed. At lunch I tried to say something, but your prayer was so fast. Later I tried to talk with you. You have been so busy. You have an appointment with Me. Why don’t you keep it?”

Remember how Adam had an appointment with God every day in the Garden of Eden? He would hear the voice of the Lord in the Garden in the cool of the evening. One day Adam missed that appointment because of sin. God said to Adam, “Where are you?”

I wonder if the Lord would say that to some of us each day: “Where are you? Where were you? I have been looking for you. I wanted to speak to you. I want you to walk with Me, and I want to walk with you.”

Just imagine, the Creator of the universe wants to spend time with you! Is there any appointment that is worth keeping more than this one?

Max Lucado – God Surrounds Us

Max Lucado

God surrounds us like the Pacific surrounds an ocean floor pebble. He is everywhere:  above, below, on all sides. We choose our response—rock or sponge? Resist or receive? Everything within you says, harden your heart. Run from God, resist God, blame God.

But be careful.  Hard hearts never heal.  Spongy ones do! Open every pore of your soul to God’s presence.  Here’s how. Lay claim to the nearness of God. He says in Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Grip this promise like the parachute it is. Repeat it over and over until it trumps the voices of fear. The Lord God is with you, and He is mighty to save. Cling to His character.  Quarry from your Bible a list of the deep qualities of God and press them into your heart. He is sovereign. You will get through this!

From You’ll Get Through This

Charles Spurgeon – Prayer—the forerunner of mercy

CharlesSpurgeon

“Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.” Ezekiel 36:37

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Samuel 22:9-23:5

First, I enquire what the promise is. I turn to my Bible, and I seek to find the promise whereby the thing which I desire to seek is certified to me as being a thing which God is willing to give. Having enquired so far as that, I take that promise, and on my bended knees I enquire of God whether he will fulfil his own promise. I take to him his own word of covenant, and I say to him, “O Lord, wilt thou not fulfil it, and wilt thou not fulfil it now?” So that there, again, prayer is enquiry. After prayer I look out for the answer; I expect to be heard; and if I am not answered I pray again, and my repeated prayers are but fresh enquiries. I expect the blessing to arrive; I go and enquire whether there is any tidings of its coming. I ask; and thus I say, “Wilt thou answer me, O Lord? Wilt thou keep thy promise. Or wilt thou shut up thine ear, because I misunderstand my own wants and mistake thy promise?” Brethren, we must use enquiry in prayer, and regard prayer as being, first, an enquiry for the promise, and then on the strength of that promise an enquiry for the fulfilment. We expect something to come as a present from a friend: we first have the note, whereby we are informed it is upon the road. We enquire as to what the present is by the reading of the note; and then, if it arrive not, we call at the accustomed place where the parcel ought to have been left, and we ask or enquire for such and such a thing. We have enquired about the promise, and then we go and enquire again, until we get an answer that the promised gift has arrived and is ours. So with prayer.

For meditation: Asking comes in two shapes—questions and requests. God is able to give us all the answers we need (Luke 11:9,10).

Sermon no. 138

28 June (1857)