Tuesday, August 15, 2017

He is Near


The LORD is near, He is present, He is approachable, He is lovely and beautiful, He is a joy to be with, He urges us to seek Him, and He loves each one of us.

OK, it is true that the Lord God is the Almighty Creator, as it is implied in Psalm 8:3,4
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

And it is true that the Lord God is majestic and glorious, as it says in Isaiah 6:1-4
 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; 
The whole earth is full of His glory!” 
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

And it is true that He was previously unapproachable as is described in Exodus 19:12
12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. 


NEVERTHELESS, the focus here is on the fact that He is near, He is present, He is approachable, He is lovely and beautiful, He is a joy to be with, He urges us to seek Him, and He loves each one of us.  And His name is Jesus Christ.

We don't want to ignore the need for holiness or change while we focus on His presence.  Rather, I will argue that one can't come into His presence without being changed in the process, and one can't be changed (become holy) without coming into His presence.  The end result for us is that we are being conformed to His image.
I John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

So here are some scripture references that express this perspective or this focus.  ..............................................

Psalm 16:11 
11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 23
1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness 
For His name’s sake. 

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; 
For You are with me; 
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; 
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life; 
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD 
Forever.

Psalm 27:4
4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek: 
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, 
To behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

Psalm 27:8
8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”

Psalm 34:6-10
6 This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them. 
8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
9 Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.

Psalm 40:1-3
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me, 
And heard my cry.
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay, 
And set my feet upon a rock, 
And established my steps.
3 He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God; 
Many will see it and fear, 
And will trust in the LORD

Psalm 46:1,2
1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed, 
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Psalm 63:1
1 O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You; 
My soul thirsts for You; 
My flesh longs for You 
In a dry and thirsty land 
Where there is no water.

Psalm 84:10
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God 
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Psalm 91 The whole psalm

Psalm 95:1,2
1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

Psalm 95:6,7
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture, 
And the sheep of His hand.

Psalm 100:4,5
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise. 
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting, 
And His truth endures to all generations

Psalm 103:1-5
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s

Psalm 103:13,14
13 As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust. 

Psalm 123:1,2
1 Unto You I lift up my eyes,
O You who dwell in the heavens.
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, 
So our eyes look to the LORD our God, 
Until He has mercy on us.

Song of Solomon 1:2,3
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— 
For your love is better than wine. 
3 Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, 
Your name is ointment poured forth; 
Therefore the virgins love you.

Song of Solomon 2:4,5
4 He brought me to the banqueting house, 
And his banner over me was love. 
5 Sustain me with cakes of raisins, 
Refresh me with apples, 
For I am lovesick.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13
10 My beloved spoke, and said to me: 
“ Rise up, my love, my fair one, 
And come away. 
11 For lo, the winter is past, 
The rain is over and gone. 
12 The flowers appear on the earth; 
The time of singing has come, 
And the voice of the turtledove 
Is heard in our land. 
13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs, 
And the vines with the tender grapes 
Give a good smell. 
Rise up, my love, my fair one, 
And come away! 

Isaiah 55:6 
6 Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.

Jeremiah 29:11-13
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Matthew 6:6
6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 6:9-13
9 In this manner, therefore, pray: 
Our Father in heaven, 
Hallowed be Your name. 
10 Your kingdom come. 
Your will be done 
On earth as it is in heaven. 
11 Give us this day our daily bread. 
12 And forgive us our debts, 
As we forgive our debtors. 
13 And do not lead us into temptation, 
But deliver us from the evil one. 
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

Matthew 7:7-11
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Matthew 14:25-27 
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

(Jesus as He is now:)
Matthew 18:19,20
19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

(Jesus as He is now:)
Mark 11:20-24
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”  22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

(Jesus as He is now:)
Luke 10:38-42
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 15 - The lost and found chapter with three lost and found parables - especially the parable of the Lost Son

(Jesus as He is now:)
John 14:12-14
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

(Jesus as He is now:)
John 15:14,15
14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

(Jesus as He is now:)
John 16:23,24
23 And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Romans 8:14-17
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

(Jesus as He is now:)
Philippians 4:6,7
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

(Jesus as He is now:)
Hebrews 4:14-16
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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.

Hebrews 10:19-22
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 13:5,6
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say:  “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”

James 4:7,8
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

(Jesus as He is now:)
I John 5:14,15
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

(Jesus as He is now:)
Revelations 1:12-17
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

And He loves each one of us.

All scripture above is from NKJV
Larry Carroll

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Advice To The Bride And Groom


Helen and I recently attended our granddaughter's wedding. During the reception, there was the dance (a waltz) where all of the married couples got out on the floor and little by little were ushered off until just the longest married couple remained, and we were "it". (52 years in September) So, the MC gave me the microphone and asked us to give the newly married couple some advice.
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Here it is, short and sweet:
1. Forgive each other.
2. Lay down your lives for each other.
3. Give each other a big kiss at the end of the day.
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There wasn't time for anymore than that. But there is so much more to say, isn't there?!
So I'd like to address and expand just the first two points above.
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Marriage is the sacred, God ordained union of two imperfect people. The imperfections will cause hurts. So:
1. Forgive each other. This is so necessary.  Without it, we become bitter.
Also, since our marriages reflect the union of Jesus Christ and His bride:
2. Lay down your lives for each other. This also is so necessary.  Without it, we become isolated and self-centered.

However, we will eventually find out these are both humanly impossible. If we are aware of our need for help before things get too rough, good. Else, the enemy will start suggesting thoughts, such as, "Hey this isn't fair. I'm doing all of the forgiving," which is NOT true. Or, "I'm not happy," which probably is true.
What we need to do is to cry out to the LORD to fill each of us daily with the Spirit of God and enable both of us to do the impossible, which in this case is:
1. Forgive each other.
2. Lay down our lives for each other.
And don't wait for your spouse to go first! You pray!
The good new here is that the Lord God is eager to step in and deliver struggling marriages, if requested.
Helen and I have been there.
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OK, some of you will ask, "Well, how come He didn't save my marriage?" I'm sorry that He didn't, and I know it was extremely painful, but I have no answer for you. Sorry.
There is so much more to say, isn't there?!!!!

Larry Carroll