You’re Missing God in All This
Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness.
I provide plenty of light to live in.”
The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.”
Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true.
I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed.
You decide according to what you can see and touch.
I don’t make judgments like that.
But even if I did, my judgment would be true
because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience
but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father.
That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses.
And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me.”
They said, “Where is this so-called Father of yours?”
Jesus said, “You’re looking right at me and you don’t see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father.”
You Have Everything Backward
What you’ve been shown here is somewhat like a letter in a sealed envelope.
If you give it to someone who can read and tell her, “Read this,” she’ll say, “I can’t. The envelope is sealed.”
And if you give it to someone who can’t read and tell him, “Read this,” he’ll say, “I can’t read.”
The Master said:
“These people make a big show of saying the right thing,but their hearts aren’t in it.
Because they act like they’re worshiping Mebut don’t mean it,
I’m going to step in and shock them awake,astonish them, stand them on their ears.
The wise ones who had it all figured outwill be exposed as fools.
The smart people who thought they knew everythingwill turn out to know nothing.”
Doom to you! You pretend to have the inside track.
You shut God out and work behind the scenes,
Plotting the future as if you knew everything,acting mysterious, never showing your hand.
You have everything backward!
You treat the potter as a lump of clay.
Does a book say to its author,
“He didn’t write a word of me”?
Does a meal say to the woman who cooked it,
“She had nothing to do with this”?
And then before you know it,and without you having anything to do with it,
Wasted Lebanon will be transformed into lush gardens,and Mount Carmel reforested.
At that time the deaf will hearword-for-word what’s been written.
After a lifetime in the dark,the blind will see.
The castoffs of society will be laughing and dancing in God,the down-and-outs shouting praise to The Holy of Israel.
For there’ll be no more gangs on the street.Cynical scoffers will be an extinct species.
Those who never missed a chance to hurt or demeanwill never be heard of again:
Gone the people who corrupted the courts,gone the people who cheated the poor,
Gone the people who victimized the innocent.
And finally this, God’s Message for the family of Jacob,
the same God who redeemed Abraham:
“No longer will Jacob hang his head in shame,no longer grow gaunt and pale with waiting.
For he’s going to see his children, My personal gift to him—lots of children.
And these children will honor Meby living holy lives.
In holy worship they’ll honor the Holy One of Jacoband stand in holy awe of the God of Israel.
Those who got off-track will get back on-track,and complainers and whiners learn gratitude.”
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
” I am the True God, the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.“
A feeling of dread and awe rushed over Moses; he hid his face because he was afraid he might catch a glimpse of the True God.
Surely the righteous will praise Your name, and the upright will live in Your presence.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.
For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.
Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish.
(Psalm 33:5; 37:28)
The Earth is the LORD’S
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
The LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.
God spoke: “Let us MAKE human beings in our IMAGE,
REFLECTING our nature
So they can be RESPONSIBLE for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God CREATED human beings;
He CREATED them godlike,
REFLECTING God’s nature.
He CREATED them male and female.
God blessed them:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be RESPONSIBLE for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
Out of nowhere, time, space, and all the living whirl forth as God speaks the universe into existence.
With the utterance of His voice, creation takes form, chaos yields to order, light eclipses darkness, and emptiness fills with life. Not long after God creates the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, the story takes a tragic turn when the first couple disobeys the CLEAR instruction from God not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result, humanity falls from God’s intended perfection. The disastrous consequences of this decisive act are demonstrated in Cain’s murder of Abel, Noah’s flood, and the Tower of Babel.
It happened just as God said. God made earth-creatures in a vast variety of species: wild animals, domesticated animals of all sizes, and small creeping creatures, each able to reproduce its own kind. God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good. And God paused.
God: Now let Us conceive a new creation—humanity—made in Our image, fashioned according to Our likeness. And let Us grant them authority over all the earth—the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, the domesticated animals and the small creeping creatures on the earth.
So God did just that. He created humanity in His image, created them male and female. Then God blessed them and gave them this directive: “Be fruitful and multiply. Populate the earth. I make you trustees of My estate, so care for My creation and rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that roams across the earth.” (Genesis 1:25-28)
The crown of God’s creation is a new creature, a creature that can sound the heartbeat of its Creator.
That creature, made male and female, reflects God’s own relational richness.
The human family is to join God in the ongoing work of creation.
The earth below and the sky above with all their inhabitants are too beautiful and too good to be left alone.
They need the tender care and close attention that only God’s favored creature can give.
In the beginning God made from nothing the heavens and the earth. The earth was an empty waste and darkness was over the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was moving over the top of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good. He divided the light from the darkness. Then God called the light day, and He called the darkness night. There was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:1-5)
And God wanted good to come to them, saying, “Give birth to many. Grow in number. Fill the earth and rule over it. Rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Then God said, “See, I have given you every plant that gives seeds that is on the earth, and every tree that has fruit that gives seeds. They will be food for you. I have given every green plant for food to every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to every thing that moves on the earth that has life.” And it was so. God saw all that He had made and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:28-31)
This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, He made them in the likeness of God.
Dear friends, I have been trying to write to you about what God did for us when He saved us from the punishment of sin.
Now I must write to you and tell you to fight hard for the faith which was once and for all given to the holy people of God. Some sinful men have come into your church without anyone knowing it.
They are living in sin and they speak of the loving-favor of God to cover up their sins.
They have turned against our only Leader and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Long ago it was written that these people would die in their sins.
You already know all this, but think about it again. The Lord saved His people out of the land of Egypt.
Later He destroyed all those who did not put their trust in Him.
Angels who did not stay in their place of power, but left the place where they were given to stay, are chained in a dark place. They will be there until the day they stand before God to be judged.
Do you remember about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the towns around them?
The people in those cities did the same things. They were full of sex sins and strong desires for sinful acts of the body.
Those cities were destroyed by fire. They still speak to us of the fire of hell that lasts forever.
What False Teachers Are Like
In the same way, these men go on dreaming and sinning against their bodies. They respect no leaders.
They speak bad against those who live in the heavens.
Michael was one of the head angels. He argued with the devil about the body of Moses.
But Michael would not speak sharp words to the devil, saying he was guilty.
He said, “The Lord speaks sharp words to you.”
But these men speak against things they do not understand.
They are like animals in the way they act.
By these things they destroy themselves.
It is bad for them! They have followed the way of Cain who killed his brother.
They have chosen the way of Balaam and think only about making money.
They were destroyed as Korah was destroyed who would not show respect to leaders.
When you come together to eat the Christians’ love suppers, these people are like hidden rocks that wreck a ship.
They only think of themselves.
They are like clouds without rain carried along by the wind and like trees without fruit in the fall of the year.
They are pulled out by the roots and are dead now and never can live again.
They are like the waves of a wild sea. Their sins are like the dirty water along the shore.
They look like stars moving here and there. But the darkest place has been kept for them forever.
Enoch was the head of the seventh family born after Adam. He said this about such people,
“The Lord comes with many thousands of His holy ones.
He comes to say that all are guilty for all the sin they have done and all the sinful things these sinners have spoken against God.”
These men complain and are never happy with anything. They let their desires lead them into sin.
When they talk about themselves, they make it sound as if they are great people.
They show respect to people only to get something out of them.
Dear friends, you must remember the words spoken by the missionaries of our Lord Jesus Christ.
They said, “In the last days there will be men who will laugh at the truth and will be led by their own sinful desires.”
They are men who will make trouble by dividing people into groups against each other.
Their minds are on the things of the world because they do not have the Holy Spirit.
Dear friends, you must become strong in your most holy faith. Let the Holy Spirit lead you as you pray.
Keep yourselves in the love of God. Wait for life that lasts forever through the loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have loving-kindness for those who doubt. Save some by pulling them out of the fire.
Have loving-kindness for others but also fear them.
Be afraid of being led into doing their sins.
Hate even the clothes that have touched sinful bodies.
There is One Who can keep you from falling and can bring you before Himself free from all sin.
He can give you great joy as you stand before Him in His shining-greatness. He is the only God.
He is the One Who saves from the punishment of sin through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May He have shining-greatness and honor and power and the right to do all things.
He had this before the world began, He has it now, and He will have this forever. Let it be so. (Jude)
Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. (1 Timothy 2:8)
I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD. (Psalm 26:6)
DO NOT LET THE SUN SET ON YOUR ANGER
This is what the Lord Who made the heavens, the God Who planned and made the earth, and everything in it and did not make it a waste place, but made it a place for people to live in, says,
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret in some dark land. I did not say to the children of Jacob, ‘Look for Me for nothing.’
I the Lord speak the truth. I say what is right.
“Gather together and come. Come near together, you who are left of the nations.
They have no learning, who carry around their false god made of wood and pray to a god who cannot save.
Make your need known. Yes, let them talk it over together.
Who said this would happen from long ago? Who has been saying it for a long time? Is it not I, the Lord?
There is no other God besides Me, a God Who is right and good, a God Who saves. There is none except Me.
Look to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.
By Myself I have sworn. The Word has gone out from My mouth in truth, and will not turn back:
‘Every knee will bow down before Me. And every tongue will say that I am God.’
They will say of Me, ‘Strength and what is right and good are only found in the Lord.’
Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.
In the Lord all the children of Israel will be made right, and will give praise.”
Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.
A recurring theme in the psalms is the dwelling place of God and its importance in worship.
This Davidic psalm considers the moral qualities of the person who wishes to approach God.
Eternal One, who is invited to stay in Your dwelling? Who is granted passage to Your holy mountain?
Here is the answer:
The one who lives with integrity, does what is right, and speaks honestly with truth from the heart.
The one who doesn’t speak evil against others or wrong his neighbor, or slander his friends.
The one who loathes the loathsome, honors those who fear the Eternal, And keeps all promises no matter the cost.
The one who does not lend money with gain in mind and cannot be bought to harm an innocent name.
If you live this way, you will not be shaken and will live together with the Lord.
RAINBOWS ARE NOT *LOCATED* AT A SPECIFIC DISTANCE BUT RATHER:
RAINBOWS ARE *RELATIVE* TO A LIGHT SOURCE
RAINBOWS ARE CAUSED BY BOTH
REFLECTION AND REFRACTION OF LIGHT
IN WATER DROPLETS IN EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE
The Covenant of the Rainbow
“Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it.
And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.
“As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.” (Genesis 9)
NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS
You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: (Psalm 8:5-6)
In fact under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins.
By such means, therefore, it was necessary for the earthly copies of the heavenly things to be purified,
but the actual heavenly things themselves required far better and nobler sacrifices than these.
For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with human hands,
only a copy and pattern and type of the true one,
but He has entered into heaven itself,
now to appear in the very presence of God on our behalf.
Nor did He enter into the heavenly sanctuary to offer Himself regularly again and again,
as the high priest enters the Holy of Holies every year with blood not his own.
For then would He often have had to suffer over and over again since the foundation of the world.
But as it now is,
He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice
And just as it is appointed for all men once to die, and after that the certain judgment,
Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once
and once for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin,
but to bring to full salvation those who are eagerly, constantly, and patiently waiting for and expecting Him.
He who finds a true wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
For a man ought not to wear anything on his head in church, for he is the image and reflected glory of God
his function of government reflects the majesty of the divine Rule ;
but woman is the expression of man’s glory (majesty, preeminence).
For man was not created from woman, but woman from man;
Neither was man created on account of or for the benefit of woman, but woman on account of and for the benefit of man.
Therefore she should be subject to his authority and should have a covering on her head as a token, a symbol, of her submission to authority, that she may show reverence as do the angels and not displease them.
Nevertheless, in the plan of the Lord and from His point of view woman is not apart from and independent of man,
nor is man aloof from and independent of woman;
For as woman was made from man, even so man is also born of woman;
and all whether male or female go forth from God as their Author. (1 Corinthians 11)
A capable, intelligent, and ]virtuous woman—who is he who can find her?
She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.
The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely,
so that he has no lack of honest gain or need of dishonest spoil.
She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her. (Proverbs 31:10-12)
Every good gift and every perfect ( free, large, full) gift is from above;
Jesus: You know neither God’s Scriptures nor God’s power—and so your assumptions are all wrong.
At the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage. They will be like the messengers of heaven.
In heaven all will be devoting themselves to praise. It will not be a simple continuation of life on earth.
A key to this resurrected life can be found in the words of Moses, which you do claim to read:
“I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
Our God is not the God of the dead. He is the God of the living.
My dearly loved brothers and sisters, don’t be misled.
Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows.
We have a special key role in His plan.
He calls us to life by His message of truth so that we will show the rest of His creatures His goodness and love.
Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. Human anger is a futile exercise that will never produce God’s kind of justice in this world.
So walk out on your corrupt liaison with smut and depraved living, and humbly welcome the word of truth that will blossom like the seed of salvation planted in your souls.
Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you are going to find you have been deceived.
God the Father is the giver of all things and is looking for every opportunity to bless us. But many people have difficulty trusting and receiving good things, even when those things come from God. The problem is that we not only have trouble trusting God’s work in our lives, but we also don’t always respond to God’s voice. People often hear the Scriptures but don’t really listen. People store truths in their brains but never put them to use. For James, the only good religion is religion lived out every day.
If some fail to do what God requires, it’s as if they forget the word as soon as they hear it.
One minute they look in the mirror, and the next they forget who they are and what they look like.
However, it is possible to open your eyes and take in the beautiful, perfect truth found in God’s law of liberty and live by it.
If you pursue that path and actually do what God has commanded, then you will avoid the many distractions that lead to an amnesia of all true things and you will be blessed.
If you put yourself on a pedestal, thinking you have become a role model in all things religious, but you can’t control your mouth, then think again. Your mouth exposes your heart, and your religion is useless.
Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it.
Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.
When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as His children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child He loves that He disciplines; the child He embraces, He also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children.
This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children.
Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God?
We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live?
While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them.
But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best.
At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain.
Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.
So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet!
Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!
Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God.
Place Your Life Before God
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—
and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead, fix your attention on God.
You’ll be changed from the inside out.
Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it.
Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:25)
I saw Heaven and earth new-created.
Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea.
I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven,
as ready for God as a bride for her husband.
I heard a voice thunder from the Throne:
“Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making His home with men and women!
They’re His people, He’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.”
The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”
Then He said,
“It’s happened. I’m A to Z. I’m the Beginning, I’m the Conclusion.
From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this.
I’ll be God to them, they’ll be sons and daughters to Me.
But for the rest—
the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—
for them it’s Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!”
The City of Light
One of the Seven Angels who had carried the bowls filled with the seven final disasters spoke to me:
“Come here. I’ll show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.”
He took me away in the Spirit to an enormous, high mountain and showed me Holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God, resplendent in the bright glory of God.
The City shimmered like a precious gem, light-filled, pulsing light. She had a wall majestic and high with twelve gates.
At each gate stood an Angel, and on the gates were inscribed the names of the Twelve Tribes of the sons of Israel:
three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, three gates on the west.
The wall was set on twelve foundations, the names of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb inscribed on them.
The Angel speaking with me had a gold measuring stick to measure the City, its gates, and its wall.
The City was laid out in a perfect square.
He measured the City with the measuring stick: twelve thousand stadia, its length, width, and height all equal.
Using the standard measure, the Angel measured the thickness of its wall: 144 cubits.
The wall was jasper, the color of Glory, and the City was pure gold, translucent as glass.
The foundations of the City walls were garnished with every precious gem imaginable:
the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.
The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate a single pearl.
The main street of the City was pure gold, translucent as glass.
But there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God—the Sovereign-Strong—and the Lamb are the Temple.
The City doesn’t need sun or moon for light.
God’s Glory is its light, the Lamb its lamp!
The nations will walk in its light and earth’s kings bring in their splendor.
Its gates will never be shut by day, and there won’t be any night.
They’ll bring the glory and honor of the nations into the City.
Nothing dirty or defiled will get into the City, and no one who defiles or deceives.
Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will get in. (Revelation 21)
For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal.
I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture.
But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face.
In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God.
But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives.
The greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:12-13)
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
(Hebrews 12:14, 1 John 3:2, Revelation 22:4)
But as for me, my hope is to see Your face.
When I am vindicated, I will look upon the holy face of God,
and when I awake, the longing of my soul will be satisfied in the glow of Your presence. (Psalm 17:15)