House Of Prayer 

Isaiah 56:7
“For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

Isaiah foresaw a day when people from all nations would be adopted into the family of God. He saw salvation reaching beyond the borders of Israel to the uttermost parts of the earth. Seven hundred years later Jesus entered into the temple and saw the outer courts turned into a marketplace. Instead of people being encouraged to to come to God they were being hindered. The religious leaders for the sake of financial gain and status among the people were actually keeping people from the Lord. At some point a sign was placed on the entrance of the temple warning Gentiles not to enter under the threat of death. When Jesus saw the actions of the leaders He was outraged. He began to overturn the tables and drive out those who were buying and selling. It was at that point that He quoted from this passage,

“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

It is worth noting that Jesus was enraged when people stood in the way of others coming to God. We know it is the desire of God for all men everywhere to be saved. We know that a person is saved when they put trust in Christ as their savior and we know that people come to trust Christ through the witness of others. We should be seeking to live lives that properly represent Christ so that others will be drawn to Him rather than repelled from Him.

Jim

 

The Earth’s Language 

Psalms 148:1-4
“Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!”

As a child I was fascinated with the television show “The Twilight Zone.” While there were many episodes that thrilled me, there is one in particular that stood out above the rest. The scene began with a man stepping into a flying saucer as a passenger traveling to a far away planet after aliens had visited earth and convinced mankind that they were there to help. He was part of the committee assigned to translate their language, the man had discovered the basic framework of the alien language and translated the title of a book that had been given to them. The book was called, “To Serve Man.” Unfortunately they discovered too late that it was a cookbook and he was actually being invited to dinner not as a guest but as the main course.

The psalmist declares that if we were able to discover a way to translate the sounds of nature we would find that all creation is joined together in a beautiful chorus of praise. The trees filled with birds, the rocks and all that hide within them for protection are accompanied by the sea and its inhabitants as they burst forth in celebration of the God who brought them forth by the word of His power. Paul explained to the Roman church that part of their praise is a cry for Christ to return and make all things right again.

It is interesting that creation seems to be ever mindful of God and quick to respond to His commands. When Moses’ staff touched the waters of the Red Sea there was no argument, the sea simply parted. When Jesus spoke to the wind and waves they did not complain or give excuses they only obeyed. While all creation is subject to the fall it seems that the only part of creation that resists the plan of God is man. It is time to stop fighting against God and instead submit ourselves and our living over to Him.

Jim

 

Throne Of Grace 

Hebrews 4:16
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

It seems the Apostle Thomas sometimes spoke what the others were thinking. On one occasion, when Jesus spoke of where He was going, Thomas replied, “Lord we don’t know where You are going or how to get there” (John 14:5). To which Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6). It was through the cross that Jesus made a way. On the cross He bore our sins and their penalty, opening a doorway, for any and all who trust in Christ, to have access to God. That access to God has two applications. First, when we die, we attain heaven. Jesus was declaring, as emphatically as possible, that heaven is awarded to those, and only those, who trust Christ for salvation. This is not the only time this truth is declared.

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”

Acts 4:12 “Nor is their salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

But there is a second application this doorway into heaven provides. Hebrews 4 states, while we live, we have access to the throne of God. For the Christian, this is not a throne of judgment, where we are penalized for the things we have done wrong, or things we have neglected to do. Instead, it is a throne of grace, where we are able to receive from God the things that we need while here on earth. The word grace speaks of the giving nature of God. Because of His love for us, and our relationship with Him, He desires to give good things to His children. He will not hold back anything from us that would help us to become more like Him, or assist us in making it to the end of our journey and enter glory. Notice, at the throne of grace, we receive two things. First, there is mercy provided for the failures of the past. Second, there is grace given to help us not fall into those same snares in the future.

The way has been made to a throne of magnificent grace. All that remains is that we come boldly, consistently, and expectantly. I want to encourage you to take some time right now to sit before the Throne of Grace, pouring out your heart and receiving mercy and grace to help.

Pastor Jim