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The hands of God

November 14, 2012 Terry Carver 0

The human body is a wondrous creation of God.  In an amazing fashion each part of the body has been designed by the Creator to function with all the other parts of the body to give us life.  When you think of all the many parts of the body and their importance, it is difficult to label any one the most important.  

But one part of the body that is especially important is the hands.  It is difficult to overestimate their importance.  We do almost everything with our hands.  But as important as our hands are, the most important set of hands belong to God!

You may ask:  “God has hands?”  Psalm 89:13 says, “Strong is Your (God’s) hand, and high is Your right hand.”  Joshua 4:24 says, “that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty.”  Yes, God is a spirit, but He describes Himself in human terms for our benefit, so that we can understand Him better.  On many occasions, the Bible describes the importance of the hands of God. 

His hands are the sustainer of all life.  Job 12:10 says, “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind”.  The only reason you live today is because God is sustaining you.

His hands are the source of all blessings. Psalms 145:16 says, “You open Your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”  Every blessing you enjoy comes from God.

His hands are the source of all judgment.  Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Do not take lightly the reality that you will be judged by the perfect judge.

His hands are the seat of all righteousness. Psalm 48:10 says, “Your right hand is full of righteousness.”  Your greatest need is not money, power or comfort.  Your greatest need is righteousness.

His hands are the security of all of His people. Jesus said, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”  You do not have to live in fear. Neither disease, affliction, tragedy nor even death itself can pry you out of His hands.

There was a time when my children were not too proud to grab hold of their father’s hand.  I understand why they don’t do it now.  But you should never be too proud to grab hold of the Father’s hand.  


The hardest thing Jesus said

October 18, 2012 Terry Carver 0

Every time Jesus spoke, He spoke the truth, but the truth is not always easy to handle.  There is probably no saying of Jesus harder for us to handle than the one found in Luke 6:27-28: “But I say to you who hear:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”

The ways that we naturally want to handle these people are reflected in the following bumper stickers:

Do unto others before they can do unto you.

I don’t get mad, I get even.

Keep honking, I’m reloading.

To err is human, to forgive is out of the question.

You cannot avoid difficult people who mistreat you, speak evil about you, or do you harm.  (By the way, before you start making your mental list, you should know that you are probably that difficult person for someone else, whether real or perceived.)

The reality for true followers of Christ is that we must operate under a set of values opposite that of the norm.  Jesus does not say to just refrain from hating them, to just put up with them, or to just ignore them.  He says to “love” them.  Not love them passively but actively.  So how do we practically show love to our enemies?  

Jesus said to “do good” to them.  That may mean mowing their lawn when they are out of town or cooking a meal for them when they are sick.  You may say, “They never did anything but harm toward me, why should I do good to them.”  Because God did good to you even when all you did was bring harm to His name.

He also says to “bless them” or speak well of them or wish them well.  We are not to just keep our mouth shut when we want to say something against them in retaliation, but to actually speak words of encouragement and hope to and about them.  We may not agree with what they have done or said, but we actually want God to bless them and do a great work in their lives that will lead to Him being glorified through them.    

We are to “pray for them”.  Despite their belligerence, you have a real concern for their soul.  Jesus modeled this on the cross when He said about those crucifying Him, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, (Luke 23:34).  

How could I ever do any of this?  This is impossible!  Yes, it is when your efforts arise from your own strength.  But Jesus modeled this for you and it is only possible by God doing a great work in your heart.  Admit your weakness and desperately seek the power of God to transform you into someone like Jesus, who loved you even when you were an enemy of His!


Repairing broken altars

September 19, 2012 Terry Carver 0

In the Old Testament we read of a time in which the spiritual climate of the day was tragically poor.  King Ahab “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (1 Kings 16:30).  Unfortunately, the people followed suit in rebelling against God.  They began to ignore God and put other gods before Him. That was no more evidenced than by the fact that the altars of God lay in ruins. Because of this, it had been some time since the people had experienced the presence and power of God in their midst.  There was a natural drought at this time, but even worse there was also a spiritual drought.

However, because of the actions of one man (a prophet named Elijah), who chose to repair the altar of God, the power of God was demonstrated once more in a dramatic fashion.  “And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down,” (1 Kings 18:30). As a result, God showed up and showed out.  Read 1 Kings 18.  Lives were changed, victories were won, showers of blessings came, and most importantly, God received great glory.  

The reality is this:  Nothing, absolutely nothing, can take the place of the power of God in our lives.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, can take the place of the power of God in our churches.

But the question is:  Is our altar in need of repair?  Is it broken?  It was when Elijah repaired the altar that a great thing took place – a “God thing”.  If you and I are to experience great things in our lives and the lives of our churches that can only be described as “God-things”, our altars must be in order.  All the necessary stones must be in place.

What are these stones?  Elijah used 12 actual stones to put the actual altar in place, but as he was doing that he was putting in place another altar – the altar in his heart.  He demonstrated complete devotion to God no matter what everyone else was doing.  He showed a fearless faith that truly believed that with God all things are possible.  He obeyed everything God told him to do no matter the pressure that society put on him to do otherwise.  He surrendered his all to God.  These are the stones that we must use to repair our altars.

Today, the church cries out:  Where is the God of Elijah?  Where is that same display of power that God showed on Mt. Carmel?  Why doesn’t God do that today?  Where is He?  The answer is:  He is right where He has always been.  The real question is:  Where are the Elijahs?  It is time to end our practice of casual Christianity and mean business with God.  It is time to repair our broken altars.


How God feels about you

August 29, 2012 Terry Carver 0

It is astonishing that God created us in His own image.  And as we certainly know, we are people of great emotions or feelings.  Sometimes our emotions can even be mixed.  Like the man who said, “I have mixed emotions when I receive Father’s Day gifts. I’m glad my children remember me, but I’m disappointed that they actually think I dress that way.”

God made us that way because He is that way.  The Bible ascribes many emotions to God, including joy, anger, and grief.  

We have to be very careful about our feelings.  They are not usually our best guide to making decisions, because they can be false and fleeting.  The difference is that God’s feelings are perfect and holy – they are never false or fleeting.  

There is a verse in the Scriptures that was brought to my attention at a time when I was asking questions.  Does it really matter to God what I do with my life?  With billions of people in existence, am I of any concern to Him?

In Ezekiel 33:11, God tells the prophet, “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.  Turn! Turn from your evil ways!  Why will you die, O house of Israel?’”

Israel had turned her back on God and was now suffering the consequences.  The people were in a very difficult situation without much hope.  But God reminds them through his prophet Ezekiel just how He felt for them and how He feels for you today.

This verse teaches us that God feels pain when you disobey (“I take no pleasure”).   God hurts when He sees you making wrong choices and suffering the consequences of those choices.  

He is very pleased when you repent (“but rather that they turn”).   When a wayward child returns home, all of heaven rejoices, (Luke 15:10), and the one leading the celebration is God Himself.

He feels passionate about your future, (“Turn!, Turn!”).  He is pleading with you to make the right choice and follow Him.   

He is puzzled by your decisions, (“Why?”).  God expresses puzzlement not because He is not surprised when you make bad choices or does not know why you do, but because it so astonishing when you do.

You really want to know how strongly God feels for you?  Look to the cross of Christ!  “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,”  (Romans 5:8).  You were on His mind when He was on the cross. 

Some of you may never have realized how God feels about you and some of you may have forgotten.  But be certain, God loves and cares for you!  


New Things

June 20, 2012 Terry Carver 0

The average American likes new things.  If it says new on it then it greatly interests us.  Sometimes we feel that certain new things will be the answer to problems we are experiencing in our lives or will give us the good feelings for which we are desperately searching.  We are even willing to go into tremendous debt to have new things.  Someone has said that when we buy a new home in the suburbs, by the time we pay it off, it is not a home in the suburbs any longer.

How many people do not want a new car, a new house, a new and better job, or better yet, how about stacks and stacks of new money!?

One of the catch-phrases that has become part of our culture and catches our attention is:  “New and improved”.  I have never understood this phrase.  If it is “new” then it could not have been improved.  If it is “improved” then it could not be new.  Yet we continue to use it.

God likes new things.  He doesn’t just improve them.  He makes them brand new!  Here is what He has promised us for the future. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.”  (Revelation 5:1,5)

But new things from God are not just for the future.  He makes things new now!  Most importantly, He makes people new!  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  

A person who trusts Jesus is not the same person refreshed or renovated, but he is a new creation with a new family, new future, new values, new possessions, new passion, and a new way of life that arises from the transforming Spirit of God now living in him!

New things can be costly.  These are new things that could not be bought with any amount of new money, but could only be purchased with the blood of Christ.  “For you were bought at a price . . .” (1 Corinthians 6:20a) He paid a price we could not pay for things we need but could not have – except through Him.

You can experience new life in Christ today!  Trust Him to make all things new!