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Monday, January 13, 2014

Is Your World Stable?

Hebrews 12:28-29 (ESV)
28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,29 for our God is a consuming fire. 

Many people are full of regrets. Their lives have little to show for all their efforts. They have looked at the things of this world and found that none of what it has promised has filled their souls. They don't know where to turn. Their world is shaken.

A few years ago I was called to the hospital because one of the ladies in my church had been rushed to the emergency room. She was having internal problems which were partially caused by a previous surgery. The result was a bowel obstruction. She had so many before and knew that another surgery may kill her. I stood on the edge of her cubicle in the ER as the doctor urged her to go into surgery. She continued to refuse.

He said, "I want you to know that you must make this decision now because we won't be able to do surgery in twenty minutes."

She looked at him sincerely and said, "Doctor, I am not afraid to die." 

He had the most puzzled look on his face. It was as if his face said, "I want to know what you know!"

Twenty to thirty minutes later this lady went to be with her Lord. She knew where she was going even when she was rushed to the hospital. She simply didn't know when. Her illness did not shake her up because she knew the kingdom prepared for her was completely assured. It is completely stable.

The world we live in will be shaken and will shake us if we make it our home. It is not stable nor can it promise stability. It does not control its own events. There are too many factors which cannot be controlled. The weather, the earth;s crust, an asteroid, a virus or any number of natural events can shake the lives of those who make this their kingdom. Political strongholds can be broken, the stock market can fail, economies can be depressed and even the value of money can deflate. Nothing in this world has earned the right to be trusted.

But God's kingdom is unshakable. Nothing can make Him change. Nothing can take away His power. He will not remove His love. He cannot do evil. He never tells a lie. He can be absolutely trusted.

We worship God because there is no one else we can truly trust. We come to know Him because He has promised to know those who trust Him. Coming into His presence either evokes deep worship or total rejection. We simply cannot stay in the throne room without turning to Him or turning away to get out of the throne room. His presence will consume those who dare to come into His kingdom without worship.

This consuming fire refines the believer. His light shone on the heart reveals the flaws. But He does not reveal these flaws without a remedy. He forgives and places the sin as far as the east is from the west.

God is a consuming fire who can't be shaken.


sirnorm1 said...

Thank you
Good word

Anthony Chia said...

This is a good piece, Ps Prentis.

In one of the recent comments I made here, I said that our Lord and King has his set of highway on earth, and Satan, his. Believers are on the King's highway which is the Kingdom of God on earth, and it connects to the Kingdom of God in Heaven. One day, we would go, perhaps, on a sort of hyperspace mode on our travel, like in the Star Wars, and we get to Heaven, until then, we roam with the Lord, by His Spirit leading, on the network of highway of holiness. The Way or Highway referred to Isaiah 35:8-10 is conflated to this Highway of Holiness of God (those want an exposition of on this, can hop over to:

We, led by the Spirit, are to extend this highway of holiness to the end of the world, getting people to believe in Christ Jesus, and so, they, to get on this holy highway system. One is either travelling on this highway or he is on Satan's ground or highway. Satan's highway leads not to Heaven but to Hell (Is this metaphor out? No, Scripture did talk about 2 ways: the narrow way and the broad way).

When we read Isaiah 35:8-10, we can see that this highway system or the Kingdom of God on earth, is stable. It is stable because the Lord, by His Spirit, is leading the pack. It is stable because only the believers are on it. The evil ones cannot travel on it. I imagine it like a beam of light or network of light; and Satan’s ground or highway system, darkness. In any case, Scripture did use the metaphor of light to represent the Kingdom of God. I can imagine there are 2 ways things can turn out when darkness encounters light; it is either darkness is destroyed by light (God is a consuming fire!) or the object becomes a light bearer. We, believers, were once of darkness, but we have turned light bearers; we are NOT destroyed and can remain in the light (or beam of light). Evil dislikes the light and cannot stay in the light for long for it would be unbearable to them! And so, those NOT turned to be light bearers (believers), they travel NOT on this holy highway. Satan and the evil spirits do NOT travel on it, the way we travel on it; At most, they could only dart in and out, perhaps, trying to drag a traveller off the highway. To understand this, you have to picture the highway with your spiritual eyes; it is NOT a physical thing as such.

So, most often, evil is at the side-line, and tries to ensnare you to get off. If you get off, you better quickly get back on. When you are off the highway of holiness, and is in contact with "dirt" of the world (Satan's ground), and when you get back on (the holy highway), you got to be cleansed after being forgiven by the Commander of Host (The Lord, by His Spirit); and so, you do need to confess and ask for forgiveness for your straying off.

The King’s highway is completely trustworthy; it is lit, it is righteous and it is holy. It is led by the loving Lord who died for us so that we could get on the highway. The Lord is NOT just loving; the stabilizing element is that His love is love unto righteousness (`ahab love). Everything is predictable, for everything (including His love) is governed by His holiness and so, righteousness and justice.


Anthony Chia said...

COnt. from above

One thing we must remember and do, though, is that we are to always be abiding in the Lord; mortal death is then of no ill consequence, for we are then sure, in His time, we get to be “hyperspaced” to Heaven, where is no more Satan and evil, and sorrow. Isaiah 35:10 said this, of the endpoint of those who remain steadfast: “and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

In contrast, the network of Satan, the fallen world system of Satan, it is NOT lit, dark; things are like shifting sand; one does NOT even know for sure, what is it that one is holding onto! We cannot see clearly; the system is NOT transparent. Don’t be a fool and realise NOT, when the haze eventually clears up, Hell fire is before all who is here, and NOT on the King’s highway.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Craig Godfrey said...

I was reading this, when the house started shaking, and objects bounced off bookshelves. My son dived under the dining table. I hobbled down the stairs as quick as I could (after recent foot surgery), scooped up the dog, and joined him.
It was a 6.3 earthquake on Mon 20 Jan - about 100km away from our house in Wellington, New Zealand - but the house bounceed and shook like a freight train was passing through the dining room.
Thankfully no major damage apart from a few shattered nerves, but it was a timely reminder of how fragile our existence on this planet is, and how secure our future is in Christ!

Prentis McGoldrick said...

Amazing! An earthquake while reading this post! I suppose this world isn't stable but your world can be because this just isn't our world.