Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why does God keep making people?

Warning - you will not find the answer to the title question in this post.

Today, in my quiet time, I was reading Matthew 11-13. Verses of chapter 11, 25-27, read as follows: "At that time Jesus said, 'I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him'". (emphasis mine)

Then, in chapter 13, we have the parable of the tares and the wheat. Verses 24-30 read: "Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The slaves said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?' But he said, 'No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, 'First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.''"

The parable of the tares of the field is explained by Jesus in verses 37-43: "And He said, 'The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; for as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.'"

So, my question is, why does God keep making people when He knows most of them are going to hell? In the parable of the tares, we can see that evil is allowed to co-exist with believers. God has been teaching me that this occurs to strengthen the believers. You may know the story of the chick in the egg. A child saw a chick trying to peck its way out of an egg. The chick was struggling, and in an attempt to help, the child broke open the egg and the chick broke free. Unfortunately, the chick soon died because it was too weak. God had ordained the struggle of breaking through the egg as a time of developing strength that the chick would need to survive.
So it is with believers. We need the struggle of co-existing with non-believers in order to build our spiritual muscles.

In Matthew 11:27, quoted above, it states "and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him". Does this mean that not everyone will have the same opportunity? Will not everyone have the chance to learn about God?

Fortunately, we can find the answer to these questions in these verses - 2 Peter 3:9 - "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" (emphasis mine). Ezekiel 18:32 - "'For I have no pleasure in anyone who dies', declares the Lord God. 'Therefore, repent and live.'" Titus 2:11 tells us "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men" (emphasis mine).

God is not willing that any should be doomed to an eternal hell. Christ came to this earth, the embodiment of God, the revelation of God, the sacrifice for all sin - past present and future. After departing this earth, Christ sent His Spirit - the Holy Spirit - to indwell His chosen followers. As His chosen ones, we have each been given a mission to share the gospel to all who come across our path, and make disciples - teaching them in the ways of God (Matt 28:19-20).

Why does God keep making people? I don't know. I'm glad He made me, my family, my friends. I'm grateful that He still has faith in humanity, that He chooses to allow us to exist for this time - to be part of this piece of His Story. Pray with me that we would be aware of those around us who need to know His Story. Let us share the Good News of Christ and the salvation He imparts. And then let us teach each other and grow up in maturity in God's kingdom. Let us grow strong among the tares of life. For His Name's sake and for His Glory.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No More!

This past weekend, our Pastor taught of one of the spiritual tools in our tool chest. The lesson was from Mark 4:37-40. Pastor Mark taught that not every negative circumstance is from the enemy, and how we can know the difference.

Attack signs are loss of vision, dark clouds, an overall blanket of doom, thunder/rumblings - rattling lies, waves/high seas - you are going down.

The power tool is the storm cry. Realize that Jesus is in the boat - He has never left - He is there! Call on Him.

Rebuke the storm - Stand and declare the authority of Christ. Submit to God, resist the devil. Say to these lies & feelings - Cease! Be specific.

Replace with desired result - "Quiet down!" "Peace be still!" Rebuke & replace with faith prayers.

Those of you who know me know that my family and I have undergone an extended season of testing. Through it all, I've been submitting to God - searching my heart for sin to confess - praying to learn the lesson I needed to learn.

Yesterday, it happened again. That overwhelming sense of doom. All is hopeless. It's never going to get better.

Hunter was in another accident. His car is totalled. For those of you who are keeping score, that's 4 totalled cars between him and me since June 2007. Praise God, he is okay. The thoughts that overwhelmed me were about how much his insurance (already very high due to his previous accident) would be going up. How this additional burden would weigh on him as he's preparing for college. The cost of replacing his car. The deductible to be met. How this was just adding to the previous burdens we were facing - financial difficulty, job stresses. Wave upon wave of grief and despair were crashing over me. Tears were pouring like waterfalls from my eyes as I was driving to work. My face redder than Rudolph's nose. And then....

I remembered Pastor Mark's teaching from Sunday. I boldly gathered up all my courage and faith and shouted "No More! Satan, you and your demons are bound in Jesus' name from my family. You will have no more influence over us. You will keep your hands off of my son Hunter, off of my husband Rick, and off of me. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, remove yourselves now from our lives and begone. In Jesus name, in the name of Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again, who saved our souls for eternity. In Jesus' name."

Then the praises began - praises for Jehovah Jireh - our Provider, praises for El Shaddai - Almighty God, praises for Jehovah Rophe - the Lord who Heals, praises for Jehovah Shammah - the Lord is there. I praised God for the healing that would take place in my body, for the provision for our family, for the protection He would provide for us. Now it was waves of peace and mercy cascading over my soul. Tears of joy streaming down my face.

That was yesterday morning. Last night Rick found a position he may be interested in applying for. A friend of mine has a car for a decent price that he'd be willing to take payments on from Hunter. My appointment with my naturopath revealed that my body is handling things well, and we're moving to a new phase of treatment - a marked improvement from the last visit. Blessings from the Lord are overflowing.

I encourage you. If you find yourself overwhelmed as mentioned above, and it's not from everyday stress or your own sin, look to God. Bind the demonic influences from your life in the name of Jesus. Replace the void with praise. And watch God work in your life. Yield to Him. He will take you places you never thought you could go.