God’s Holiness

 “And he stood between the dead and the living so the plague was stopped.” Numbers 16:48

 

Observation

This verse is the culmination of the rebellion by the Israelites against God’s punishment of not going to the promised land.  They were sentenced to live in the desert because they lacked the faith to overcome the Canaanites as God had promised them.  This passage reminds me of the Indiana Jones movie, where the people who opened the ark of the covenant melted before God.  Here Aaron is running through the camp, seeing people die before him and live behind him as he carried the holy censor as God had directed.  Rarely do we hear and rarely do we see such an account of God’s holy presence judging the sinful heart of man in such a dramatic way here on earth.  It is a scary, sobering thing to witness.

Application

I am so thankful that the day I live in is covered in grace, patience, and long suffering thanks to the blood of the cross.  Yet I am reminded in this passage that one day there will be a reckoning for all we have said and all we have done.  Our God is a holy God, and we need to be careful not to take His amazing grace for granted.  It would be wise to live for that one day!

This passage a sober reminder of the holiness of God.  It inspires me to be about my Father’s business and leave behind the petty distractions of my human sin nature.  Today I will be different because my focus will be on God’s will and His perspectives rather than my own.

Prayer

Lord help me to move past my fleshly judgments, and what I have decided are my priorities.  Lead me according to what You say is important for today.  When I see You in the scriptures, Your awesome majesty overshadows my simple concerns for the day.  Help me to have a sensitive heart and sensitive eyes to see the Spirit leading and to follow it wholly devoted to you alone!

Wholly Devoted
Chris Van Bogelen
(Associate Pastor)

God is in Charge

God is in charge

Your unfailing love will last forever.   Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens……O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies!  Where is there anyone as mighty as you, o Lord?  You are entirely faithful…..The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours –you created it all.  Psalm 89:2, 8, &11

God is in Charge

My Daddy owns everything.  He owns the heavens and the earth and everything in the world.  I don’t need to worry, because He is in charge of it all.   He owns it all.  And He is a good, loving God.  He loves me very much and has good plans for me.  His love doesn’t fail!  It can be trusted.  And He always keeps His promises to take care of me.

Application

Today I’m glad to be reminded of who God is.  He is mighty and capable.  Everything answers to Him.  Nothing happens that’s out of his control.  I’m thankful that I can trust His love for me.  He won’t fail, and neither will His love.

Prayer

Help me, Lord, to keep my eyes above my circumstances.  Keep them focused on you and your goodness.  When I’m distracted by the wind and waves that blow through my life, keep this mantra on my lips:  God is in charge and He is good.

Surrendering to God’s Love,
Karina
(NLC staff)

A Thankful Heart

Moses and Aaron and his sons were to camp to the east of the tabernacle, toward the sunrise, in front of the tent of meeting. They were responsible for the care of the sanctuary on behalf of the Israelites. Anyone else who approached the sanctuary was to be put to death. Numbers 3:38

A Thankful Heart

God was very specific about who was supposed to do what in the tent of worship.  The people did not get to choose what they did, but each task was important and holy before the Lord.

Application

I think about the age we live in, and how particular we are about our jobs, about where we live, and how we tend to cut loose if we aren’t happy enough.  These men were set for life in these roles (as were their children most likely), despite having different personalities and gifting.  This was all ordained by a loving God.

Reading this reminds me how good I have life, where in this time period I have choices about where I work, and have so many creature comforts such as cars, washers, computers, plumbing, and electricity.  We need, I need, to be thankful for all I have.  I need to be thankful for the freedom and the beauty I see everyday living here in Santa Barbara.  And when I have to deal with a few unpleasantries at work or in life, I can remember a loving God put me here in this time and in this place for this season, as part of His great plan.

Prayer

Lord thank you for this day, and for my many blessings in my life.  I am happy to serve you in the tasks you have placed before me, knowing ultimately they contribute toward your kingdom.

With a thankful heart,

Chris VB
(NLC Associate Pastor)

 

A Little Faith Goes a Long Way

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house? Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”2 Kings 4:1-7

 

Observation

As I sat quietly before The Lord this morning I asked Him to show me where to read. Immediately I heard 2 Kings 4,  I read and stopped at verses 1-7. When the desperate widow asks for help, the prophet Elisha immediately asks her, “What do you have in your house”. She tells him that all she has is a small jar of oil. I don’t think that she expected that the answer to her need was something that she already possessed, at least in part. It doesn’t seem like she thought that she had anything of much value.  At least the amount she possessed wasn’t enough.

Application

But she had a desperate and obedient heart. As she did what Elisha told her to do, God provided a miracle through the generosity of her neighbors and the woman’s faithful obedience. He also provided her immediate need to pay her debts and keep her sons with from being sold into slavery.  Not only that, but  God supplied more than she needed; it was enough for them to  continue living on as well!

Prayer

As I cry out to God in the desperate areas of my heart, I’m now asking Him what is it that I already possess, at least in part, that I may not see as valuable, or enough, that He is able to use through my obedience to His leading. Lord it’s only by the increase of Your Holy Spirit that You can take the “oil” that I already possess and multiply it to meet the desires of my heart. Thank You Lord for renewal and a fresh infilling of Your loving presence.

Walking in Faith,

Carol Ricketts
(Children’s Ministry Assistant)

Finishing Strong

Uzziah did what was right in the eyes of the lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the lord, God gave him success, but after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the lord his God . 2 Chronicles 26:4

2 Chronicales 26 is a scary picture of a young person’s walk into manhood. He became king at 16 and was king until he was 68.

Unlike a Joesph or a David who both started strong and finished strong. Uzziah’s life ended in misery. When I look at the youth and the men of our church I can’t help but think of how many have started strong like Uzziah and are now following the wrong path . I wonder how many of our young men and women will finish in strength, following Gods direction.

One thing that stands out to me is Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. Uzziah had someone as a leader in his life instructing him in the fear of God. We all need this kind of close relationship that causes us to be challenged and accountable. In relationship so that bad decisions and foolish pride are exposed.

God never intended for us to live life alone .

I believe at some point Uzziah stopped listening to the leader in his life. Following what he thought was right which was the beginning of his pride .

Lord let me always keep a soft heart and a teachable spirit. May the men and women of NLC stand together and finish strong.

Amen.

Standing for the Long Haul,

Ronnie Taylor
(The Bridge-“20 Something” Leader)

Share the Good News

But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.   2 Timothy 4:5

Doing a good job as God’s servant means keeping the Message alive!  God never wants me to give up or get weary from telling people about the good news of Jesus and teaching people about God’s offer of salvation.  This is our primary job as a Christian.  This is what we are created for!

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15

David Platt writes in his book, Follow Me.
The will of God is clear from cover to cover of in Scripture.  From beginning to end, God wills to be worshiped.  He  wills for all people to hear, receive, embrace and respond the gospel of his grace for the sake of his glory all over the globe.  Jesus’ first words to his disciples in the book of Matthew if “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  His last words are the same, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”

If sharing the message of Christ makes me a good and obedient disciple, I don’t think I am always a very good one. I’m not sure I do a thorough job as God’s servant.  If I really call Jesus my LORD, then I must become more diligent in carrying out His desire and His mission.  I don’t just want to do a “thorough” job.  I want to go above and beyond my duty.

Lord, give me a heart that is fully submitted to doing your Will and help me to carry out Your mission with zeal and joy that comes from giving you all that You deserve.

Going fishing,

Amy

 

 

Living in God’s Love

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. 
2 Thessalonians 3:5

 

Observation

This verse is followed by Paul exhorting the people to “continue to do the things we commanded you.” Where did they get the power to live out the commands? By a full understanding and expression of the love of God. This seems to be step–by –step process.

1. Understanding the love of God leads to
2. Expressing the love of God resulting in
3. Doing the things commanded


And how do I achieve that “full understanding”? by God’s leading.

 

Application

It would seem that the one thing I need in life, is to understand God’s love. When that happens, my I will naturally act the way I should. My one goal in life should be to understand His love. From there, everything else will flow.

Father, I want to live a life full in you. I want to be sensitive to your Spirit’s leading and direction. I want my paths to be directed by you. And I want my life to be an expression of your love. So I agree with Paul’’s blessing. And I receive it over my life. Would you lead my heart into a full understanding of your Love. Open my eyes to see your love for me, and the love you have for those around me. And then let that love flow out of me in my daily life.

Prayer

I pray that you would root me and establish me in your love. Would you give me the power to grasp how truly wide and long and high and deep your love is, and to truly, personally know this love that goes way beyond my understanding—so that I can be filled completely, entirely, with all of you. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Following Your Direction,

Karina
(NLC church office administrator)

No Music Required

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him…Romans 12:1

We have all at one point or another sang along with some songs in the car, blasting away like there’s no tomorrow at the top of our lungs with no care in the world if the people driving next to us think we are weird or not. Some have even done it with their favorite worship song, singing and imagining yourself being the one singing the song in front of hundreds worshipping and ushering everyone into the third heaven as your voice is the envy of even the best of the best. Then you come crashing down from your daydream when all of a sudden your radio goes out!

Bummer, you were about to hit that perfect solo.

Normally what happens is that you just compose yourself, look around to make sure no one saw that embarrassing display of non-talent, and look for another station to follow.

But why did you stop? Why didn’t you keep on singing? Why couldn’t you continue to worship?  I think most of us have been trained to understand that, well music is always present when we worship. Worship HAS to have music accompany it right?

Can we worship without music?

Thankfully scripture helps us out with the answer to that question, in Romans 12:1 (ESV) it tells us to “give our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”. When God defines worship, we listen to his command and take note of it!
Worship is our lives showcasing what is on the inside, the inward expressed outwardly. It’s God’s love in us, in action.

As R.T Kendall put it…

What we are individually, twenty four hours a day, is more important than what happens in church once a week. The secret of acceptable worship lies in how we are at home, or at work, and when we are alone and nobody knows what we are doing. It lies in our total lifestyle”…

What or who are you worshiping today? What is the focus of your attention?

I pray as we go on today, that we all realize the importance of worshipping and lifting God’s name on high, whether the music plays or not. Because Love expressed sometimes requires no words at all.

Pastor Fernando
(NLC Youth Pastor)

Access to the King

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. 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. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.  Isaiah 6:1-5

 

Observation

Here, Isaiah is having a vision. He sees The Lord on His throne and he is seeing the angels worshipping The Lord, crying Holy holy holy to another in adoration of the King. Their faces are covered along with their feet. They can’t even look at Him and they aren’t speaking directly to Him.  He’s too holy for them to see, but they are so passionately worshipping Him that their voices are literally shaking the foundations of the threshold.

Application

Something that stands out here to me, is that Isaiah looks at The Lord and sees Him. Not even the angels in Heaven, created solely for worship, can look upon His face. Angels who are sinless, all they are doing is constantly crying out in awe of their King…. And they haven’t even seen Him!

How much more should we worship!

A people who were so unclean and so separated from Him because of our sin, who were so unworthy to even be in His presence. Yet, He loves us so much that He made a way through His son, Jesus and brought salvation to us so that we could be with Him, so that we could SEE Him. So that we could talk with Him and have relationship with Him.

We are the ones who should release such a sound, that the foundations of the earth are shaken with worship from grateful children reunited with our Father. His grace alone is enough for us to worship Him forever.

Prayer

Jesus, let us never forget the price that was paid so that we could have a relationship with Our Father. Thank you for giving us access to the King. May we worship you with a sound that would shake the foundations of the earth, because you are so Holy.  We love you and adore you forever. Amen.

Singing a new song,

Faith
(New Life Church worship leader and youth pastor)

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