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Nate’s Notes: Satan Has Asked

by CCCLampasas

Luke 22:31-32 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

Job 1:9-12 Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”  The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man, himself do not lay a finger.”

It is a wonderful truth that Satan has limits. In both passages the Lord has sovereign authority. The Devil is a created being, an angel, but Yahweh has always existed. What are some ways that God and Lucifer differ?

God is the only necessary being. Satan is a contingent being. “It is commonly accepted that there are two sorts of existent entities: those that exist but could have failed to exist, and those that could not have failed to exist. Entities of the first sort are contingent beings; entities of the second sort are necessary beings.” The universe could exist without Lucifer; it cannot exist without God.

The Triune God is everywhere. Angels and demons are limited like we are to one location. The Holy Spirit is inside every believer. There is no where that we can go without the presence of the Lord.

Yahweh is the Creator. The Accuser can only corrupt what the Lord has already made. The Lord is the author of all good things. The Father, Son, and Spirit created the universe. Demons are fallen angels; they can only deceive and destroy. We are to stand firm against the Evil One with the armor of God (Ephesians 6).

God is the righteous judge. Satan and his minions will be condemned.

Revelation 20:10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The Alpha and Omega is omniscient! He knows everything and leads us as a shepherd leads their sheep.

Jesus has already won. Satan lost through Jesus’ incarnation, ministry, obedient life, death, resurrection, and ascension. We are awaiting with anticipation when Christ will return for his church.

The Triune God is the master of time. Yahweh never changes, and His plans will never be defeated.

Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Prayer:

Father, You are glorious and holy. May Your name be praised forever. May we rely on You when we battle against our flesh, the world, and the Evil One. Thank you that you are without comparison. In the holy name of Jesus, we pray, amen.

Pastor Nathan

Nate’s Notes: The Lord is Close

by CCCLampasas

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;  Psalm 34:17-19 New International Version

A dad wrote about a trip he took with his son. One day, while my son Zac and I were out in the country, climbing around in some cliffs, I heard a voice from above me yell, “Hey Dad! Catch me!” I turned around to see Zac joyfully jumping off a rock straight at me. He had jumped and then yelled “Hey Dad!” I became an instant circus act, catching him. We both fell to the ground. For a moment after I caught him I could hardly talk. When I found my voice again I gasped in exasperation: “Zac! Can you give me one good reason why you did that???”

He responded with remarkable calmness: “Sure…because you’re my Dad.” His whole assurance was based in the fact that his father was trustworthy. He could live life to the hilt because I could be trusted. Isn’t this even more true for a Christian? 1

Please read over the passage from Psalm 34 slowly and notice all of the verbs. The righteous cry out in their time of trouble and have many problems but all other actions are done by the Lord. The Lord hears, delivers, is close, and saves. Those are such beautiful promises to faithful believers. We receive so many blessings from the Father. Notice that the Lord is our perfect father.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19

The Triune God always acts rightly and is forever faithful. The Lord is close to all who call upon him! God is not a distant tyrant just waiting for you to sin, so that He can punish you. Yahweh is not an absent father who created the universe and then abandoned it. The King of Kings is not so high and lifted up that He cannot hear your prayers. God is not a mute idol made of human hands. God is holy and exalted; however, the Lord is also close and loves us as a mother cares for her child.

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you;  and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. Isaiah 66:13

God acts towards us a caring parent who comforts and aids us. This is a relationship. We also need to love God and love others as He loves us. This week consider your life with the being of all beings who cares for you more than any earthly mother or father. If your parents have died or you have a strained relationship with them, remember always that you are loved by the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Prayer:

Abba Father,

We praise you for your faithfulness and righteousness. Thank you that are near to us as a hen is close to her chicks. You will not abandon or mistreat us. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Nathan

Source:

  1. Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, Word Books Publisher, 1987, pp. 46-47.

Nate’s Notes: A Consuming Fire

Photo Source: Dr Timothy Haupt, Flikr used under CC BY-NC

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:25-29 NIV

Once when I was a teenager, I placed a frozen pizza in the oven. As an easily distractible boy, I left the kitchen and forgot about it. This is the only time I have ever made this mistake because I remembered the pizza after forty minutes and witnessed the apocalyptic results. I returned to the kitchen, saw smoke pouring out of the oven, turned the appliance off, and stared at a black piece of volcanic rock eerily reminiscent of a sunburned pizza. I picked up the big piece of charcoal banging it on the counter. It didn’t budge! I annihilated my food with fire.  

In this passage, and in many others throughout Scripture, we notice that the Lord Almighty controls all the elements of nature. The winds and waves obey Him. He speaks from the burning bush consuming evil and the workers of iniquity. God is a roaring lion, a mighty warrior. We are to worship the King of Kings with “reverence and awe.” 

4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.  Psalm 95:4-5 NIV

Nothing can oppose the will of the Father. His strength is without measure; Yahweh’s voice commands the angels. The Triune God sustains the universe and “in His hand is the life of every creature. 

7 But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12: 7-10 NIV

He will judge the world rewarding the righteous and judging the wicked. Christians are righteous because of Jesus’ sacrifice and not due to our own merit or virtue. Theologians call this imputed righteousness. Through his perfect life, death, resurrection, and ascension; Jesus took the punishment for our sins as a once and for all sacrifice for us. God has credited his righteousness to us. We are only holy due to the grace and mercy of the Lord. This is a reason to celebrate. If by grace through faith we accept the free gift of the Lord, then we will have forgiveness and peace with God. 

18 The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” 19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. Revelation 11:18-19 NIV

The good news of the gospel is that the Father loves us, and we will be with Him forever. We will walk in the light of Jesus and the fellowship of the Spirit. However, we cannot take the Lord for granted and live however we want. We are called to live righteous lives and to love both God and others.

Prayer: Lord, we recognize that you are perfectly holy and just. We praise You for your awesome power and majesty. May we never take Your grace and love for granted. Worthy are You for our unending praise with the angels and people from every age and nation. In the holy name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Nathan

Nate’s Notes: Evil All the Time

by CCCLampasas 0 Comments

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:5 NIV

Ligonier ministries commissioned Lifeway Research to interview 3000 Americans and ask them 43 questions about faith. Included in the survey are questions about human nature, sin, and the afterlife.

Ligonier founder and chairman, R.C. Sproul, says, “What comes screaming through this survey is the pervasive influence of humanism.”

Bob Smietana of Lifeway Research analyzed the results:

About 6 in 10 Americans (61 percent) say hell is a real place. Black Protestants (86 percent) and Evangelicals (87 percent) are most likely to say hell is real. Catholics (66 percent) and Mainline Protestants (55 percent) are less convinced.

Overall, Americans don’t seem too worried about sin or being sent to hell. Two-thirds (67 percent) say most people are basically good, even though everyone sins a little bit—an optimistic view of human nature at odds with traditional teaching about human sin.

Humanism is a philosophy or way of life that focuses on humanity and argues that people are basically good. Instead of God being on the throne, people take center stage. Yahweh and the authors of Scripture take a radically different approach to human nature. Before He judged the world with the Flood, the Lord observed:

…how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:5 NIV

King David in confessing his sins of adultery, lying, and murder; wrote:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5 NASB

Other sections of wisdom literature address our depravity.

Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20 NASB

The prophets also spoke and wrote about the human condition.

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 NASB

Jesus, teaching on our nature, noted:

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries Mark 7:21 NASB

Paul agrees concerning the condition of the human heart. Romans chapters 1 to 3 make a strong case for human depravity and the need for the Savior

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23 NIV

Acknowledging our sin is incredibly important in our relationship with God. Why should we care about this belief? The first step towards a solution is to acknowledge the problem. If people are basically good, there is no need for a savior. Why would God the Father send His only begotten son to die a gruesome death on a cross for us if we are good people already? Why should we share the gospel, witness to people, and send out missionaries if we are good without God?

There also is a historical problem with saying that people are basically good. War, oppression, and violence are ancient problems that have not gone away. Europeans at the turn of the 20th century embraced an age of optimism believing that scientific advancement and European civilization would transform the world into a peaceful place. The two most destructive wars in history followed this blind optimism.  The Nazis believed that racial purity would lead to a thousand-year reign of the master race. Many people believe that education will solve evil. People are only evil because of ignorance according to this view. Germany had the highest literacy rate in the world when the Nazis took over. Communists thought that getting rid of capitalism and greed would lead to a worker’s paradise. Getting rid of religion would free people from the chains of superstition and bigotry. The Soviet Union and China killed more of their own people than any other countries in history.

We need Jesus Christ as much today as the Jews, Greeks, and Romans did two thousand years ago. Education, technology, philosophy, and politics can not cure our fallen nature. The only lasting solution is Jesus, our Lord.

 Prayer: Father, thank you for loving us so much that You sent Jesus to be our precious redeemed and friend. To you be the glory for saving and purifying us. May we acknowledge our sins and transgressions while relying on Your Spirit to cleanse us from all our trespasses. In the name of the Lamb of God we pray. Amen.

Read the complete survey from LifeWay Research.

Nathan
pastor@ccclampasas.org

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Nate’s Notes: The Image and the Quasar

by CCCLampasas

The nearest quasar to Earth is in the Markarian 231 Galaxy.

Colossians 1:15-20 (NIV)  15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 

The greatest miracle of all might have been the creation of the universe. If God can create an entire universe from nothing, then anything else is possible. Not only was God the Father involved in creation, but we read in Colossians 1:16 that Jesus Christ also fashioned the universe from nothing. We read in the Psalms that God knit us together in our mother’s womb. Jesus created us and then later died for us on the cross.

Quasars have amazed me for decades. According to Space.com,

Shining so brightly that they eclipse the ancient galaxies that contain them, quasars are distant objects powered by black holes a billion times as massive as our sun. These powerful dynamos have fascinated astronomers since their discovery half a century ago. Quasars emit energies of millions, billions, or even trillions of electron volts. This energy exceeds the total of the light of all the stars within a galaxy. The brightest objects in the universe, they shine anywhere from 10 to 100,000 times brighter than the Milky Way.”

The infinite God of the universe gave the gift of his son, so that we can find forgiveness and grace. With the fast pace of our lives it is easy to take our focus off of God. Considering the majesty and grace of God, let us renew our efforts to focus on the glory of God, who created the universe and loved each of us enough to sacrifice his own son for us. Creation declares God’s glory.

Psalm 19: 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

When I gaze into the sky and observe the rolling clouds, the rising sun, or see the night sky of brilliant stars and other heavenly bodies; I stand amazed at the imagination and power of God.  Everything around us is a testament to our Lord’s majesty and intricate designs.

Prayer: Thank you for creating us and for the gift of your Son. Lord, teach us to walk closer to you each day and have an eternal perspective. Help us to apply your truths to our daily lives. Thank you for the gift of your son and the sacrifice he made for us.

Nathan

 

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