Monday, August 15, 2016

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In this blog, I provide encouragement and biblical teaching on seeking the Lord with all your heart, loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and living a life of holiness, righteousness, and truth.

As the Scripture says:

'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13)

And "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mat 7:13-14)

Some of the topics covered include seeking the Lord, prayer, worship, tithing, inquiring of the Lord, hearing His voice, obedience, grace, godly attire and adornment, sanctification, consecration, backsliding, repentance, brokenness, suffering, humility, the fear of the Lord, the role of the commandments for the disciple of Christ, and the conditions of the New Covenant.  I hope this will be an edifying and encouraging experience for you that will help you to grow in your walk with the Lord.

Seeking the Lord Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God Holy Fire Baptism
Lifting Your Face in Prayer Lifting Hands in Prayer Crying Out to God Loudly
Pressing on Toward the Goal Taking Heaven by Force God Exalts the Humble and Brings Down the Proud
Whom Are You Seeking? Should you fear the Lord? Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering?
Aim for Perfection Obedience by the Spirit Is Obedience Optional?
Salvation with Fear and Trembling Holy Living in a Perverted World Drifting Away
The Cost of Discipleship Deleted Scriptures in the Bible? Is Tithing Required?
Where Should You Give Your Tithe? Walking in the Perfect Will of God Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian
The Obedience of Faith Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross? Law of Love in the New Testament
The New Covenant Law of Love in the New Testament The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith Costly Grace The Law of Christ
The Eyes of the Lord Garments of Godliness The Three Elijahs
The Burning Ones The End Has Come Now, But Not Yet
The Happy Hunters on Fire You're Better Off Following Jesus God Chooses the Weak Things 
The Beauty of Brokenness Seeing Jesus, Loving Him, Character and Glory Hearing the Lord's Voice
Hearing the Lord's Voice Inquiring of the Lord Praise the Lord!
The Loving God Who Bids Us to Come One thing Righteousness, Peace, and Joy
Is the the Self-Help and Actualization Movement a Sham? From Self-confidence to Confidence in the Lord The Self-Help Gospel
Checklist for Revival God Has Not Rejected His Jewish People, Has He? The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer
The Flaming Sword Clean Hands and a Pure Heart The Spirit of the Law
Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy An Open Mind that Loves the Truth Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?
Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? The Apostasy Parables

The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught
The Disciples’ Prayer Is Tolerance a Virtue? Righteousness by Faith not Law
Life is Short. Eternity is Not. Noah's Ark a Type of Christ Grace, Mercy, and Peace
Ultimate Accountability Separation from the World The Knowledge of the Holy

The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness Ask for the Ancient Paths Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven
The Straight and Narrow Path Unhealthy Competition A Peculiar People
Listen to Jesus, Who Upholds Moses and the Prophets Hope for You

Beware of Philosophy and Empty Deception
The Love of Jesus The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer Having a Servant's Heart
Avoiding Worldly Worship Purge the Evil from Among You Who is God?
Living a Life Worthy of the Lord Praying for the Lord Jesus Who is God? - Part II
The Way, Will, and Word of God Overcomers in This Life The Afflictions of the Righteous
Saints Alive in Jesus Bowing Low in Worship Repentance That Leads to Life
Keeping a Good Conscience Remember Lot’s Wife Called to be Blameless
If -- A Picture Paints a Thousand Words The Lord Will Rejoice Over You

The Nature of Persecution

The Wardrobe of the Saints


Our gift of these articles by Len Lacroix is made possible in part by your gracious support of the ministry. Partner with us online.  You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Seek My Face" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org. Partner with us online by giving to DMI.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Wardrobe of the Saints

As I have written previously in my articles, Garments of Godliness and Godly Attire and Adornment, there is virtually a Christian "dress code". The Scripture defines what is appropriate and not appropriate for a disciple of Christ to wear on his or her body. That cannot be denied, even though some attempt to do so on the faulty premise that God is only interested in the things of the heart, not our bodies.

In this post, I would like to discuss the inward garments we are instructed in Scripture to wear at all times. We'll call this the wardrobe of the saints.

A Garment of Praise
We begin with a rather long but beautiful passage in Isaiah, which says:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." (Is 61:1-3, NIV)

The Lord Jesus read from this very same passage when He announced the beginning of His public ministry (Lk 4:18). He said the Spirit of the Lord was on Him, because the Lord has anointed Him to do all these wonderful things mentioned in this passage. One of those things was to provide for those who grieve in Zion -- to bestow on them a garment of praise. Therefore, we know from Scripture that one garment we must be wearing is this garment of praise, which the Lord bestows upon us by His Holy Spirit.

Praise is an action that we should continually practice, as part of our practice of the presence of the Lord. We should not take a vacation from praise, or only praise the Lord on a certain day of the week, in a certain building, or at one particular time of day. The psalmist David said, "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Ps 34:1). We should praise Him in the good times and praise Him in the bad times. May we never cease to praise Him. For He is worthy. Let's put on the garment of praise.

Clothe Yourselves with Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, Patience, and Love
The next passage we will look at is from the apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians. He wrote:

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Col 3:12-14, NIV).

We are supposed to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love as an outer garment.

Clothe Yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ
Paul also wrote to the Romans saying, "Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh." (Rom 13:14, NIV).

In the context of this passage, in the previous verse, Paul was speaking about our behavior, when he wrote: "Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy." (Rom 13:13, NIV). So this tells us that to clothe yourself with Christ or to "put on Christ" will involve a behavioral change. He also wrote to the Galatians saying, "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." (Gal 3:27). Christ not only lives on the inside in our hearts, but we must also wear Him outwardly, so that He shows on the outside and others can see Him.

Put on the Armor of Light
In this same passage and context, Paul said, "The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." (Rom 13:12, NIV). He contrasted putting on the armor of light with the deeds of darkness, so again it is a behavioral matter. On the one hand, we must put aside the deeds of darkness, while on the other hand put on the armor of light.

Paul described each piece of armor in detail in his epistle to the Ephesians. He wrote:

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Eph 6:11-17, NASB)

In this passage he says to "put on the full armor of God" (v. 11) and then again to "take up the full armor of God" (v. 13). He emphasizes the need to put it on and to ensure we are not missing any piece of armor. These are necessary to protect us from the schemes of the devil in this spiritual warfare we are in daily.

Paul also mentioned the armor in his epistle to the Thessalonians, when he wrote: "But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation." (1Th 5:8). Here we see that the name of the piece of armor that each virtue corresponds with is somewhat different than what he wrote to the Ephesians. Here he says that faith and love are the breastplate, whereas in Ephesians, righteousness is the breastplate. However, when he says here that the hope of salvation is our helmet, that is essentially the same as saying to the Ephesians that it is a helmet of salvation.

So what are we to make of this minor discrepancy? It is not critical to know which piece of armor each virtue corresponds to. For the most part, Paul uses the same metaphor to make the same point, with only minor differences. The important thing is that we put them on, and that they are to the soldier of Christ as armor is to a soldier of any worldly army. No soldier in his right mind would go into battle without his armor on, and neither should we. It's a daily battle, so we need to put these on daily. The adversary of our souls is always prowling around looking for someone to devour. As Peter says, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1Pe 5:8). Let's be sober and alert.

Clothe Yourselves With Humility
Just as Paul did, the apostle Peter also admonished us to clothe ourselves with humility. He wrote: "You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." (1Pe 5:5-7).

The reasons he gives for clothing ourselves with humility are fully sufficient for us. Since God opposes the proud, then if we fail to clothe ourselves with humility, we may behave proudly and find that God is opposing us. However, if we walk humbly before God, He will give us grace. If we humble ourselves beneath His mighty hand, He will lift us up in due time. Since pride is a weakness of young men especially, Peter addressed this admonition to them, but it applies likewise to all of us.

Clothe Yourself with Good Works
Paul wrote to Timothy, "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness." (1Ti 2:9-10). As I have written in my article, Garments of Godliness, this passage teaches how women should outwardly adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, so as to glorify God. It forbids certain types of adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, and expensive clothes, all of which apply to men as well. But it also teaches how women should adorn themselves spiritually by means of good deeds appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Bind Kindness and Faithfulness Around Your Neck
The proverb says, "Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart." (Pro 3:3). We are supposed to bind kindness (mercy) and truth around our necks, which is in contrast to the way the wicked wear pride as their necklace (Ps 73:6).

White Garments So That You May Clothe Yourself
In the book of Revelation, in the apostle John's letter to the angel of the Church in Laodicea, he wrote in part the following message from the Lord: "I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see." (Rev 3:18). This indicates that there are actually spiritual, white garments that we are supposed to wear and that we must buy them from the Lord Jesus Christ. May we all seek to buy from Him those white garments, so that we may clothe ourselves. In the case of the Church in Laodicea, the Lord said they were naked without these garments (Rev 3:17), and they needed them to cover the shame of their nakedness.

Be Dressed in Wedding Garments
In His parable of the wedding feast, Jesus said:

"Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”  (Mat 22:10-13)

The man who came to the wedding feast without wedding clothes was thrown into the outer darkness, which is hell. This is a stark reminder that not all who call Jesus “Lord, Lord” or are within the church will be qualified to participate in the wedding feast in the kingdom of heaven. To be fit for heaven, we must be wearing our white garments. As Matthew Henry once wrote: “Those, and those only, who put on the Lord Jesus, that have a Christian temper of mind, and are adorned with Christian graces, who live by faith in Christ, and to whom he is all in all, have the wedding garment.”

Be Dressed in Readiness
The Lord also taught us to "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit." (Luk 12:35). Other versions say, "Stay dressed for action" (ESV) and "Be dressed ready for service" (NIV). The original language literally says, "Let your waist be girded about," which is rendered in many translations with the expression, "Let your loins be girded about," (see KJV, MKJV, ASV, Darby, and YLT translations).

In Bible times, the men wore long garments, and when they were preparing for action, such as labor or a journey, they girded it up or tucked it up around their waist (loins). This would enable them to move freely without restriction (see Lk 12:37). Therefore, in using the expression, "let your loins be girded about," the Lord was teaching us to remain dressed for action. He was obviously speaking of a spiritual state of being dressed in readiness, rather than one that requires being in your literal day clothes, even though it may often times involve being physically dressed in certain instances.

Peter used essentially this same expression in the original language, when he wrote, "Therefore girding up the loins of your mind..." (1Pe 1:13a, MKJV; cf., KJV, ASV, Darby, and YLT). Other versions use a more dynamic equivalent translation, such as "Prepare your minds for action." (1Pe 1:13a, NASB). This helps clarify what the Lord meant in Lk 12:35. The point is to stay alert in your thoughts, so that you are always ready for action.

Putting it All Together
According to God's Word, there are some garments of righteousness that all disciples of Christ are supposed to wear at all times. It is our responsibility to do so. The expressions "clothe yourself," "adorn yourself," "put on," "take up," "gird up your loins," "buy from me," "be dressed," and "bind around your neck" are all actions that we must personally take. They are not automatically done for us and are not a one-time occurrence.

These garments include praise, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, and love. We must put on the armor of light, which is the armor of God that includes truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, the hope of salvation, love (once again), and the Word of God. We must stay dressed for action with our minds alert. We must buy from the Lord white garments, so that we may clothe ourselves. We must be dressed in wedding clothes. We must adorn ourselves with good deeds. Last but not least, we must clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We are not properly dressed unless we are clothed with these.

Attribution notice: Some Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®. The "Robes of White" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Home page. I recommend reading Garments of Godliness, Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy, Godly Attire and Adornment, Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, Tattoos and Body Piercing, The Beauty of Brokenness, Holy Fire Baptism, Walking in the Perfect Will of God, The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer, Is Tolerance a Virtue?, Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit: What's the Difference?, The Ways of Life, and The Way, Will, and Word of God. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Nature of Persecution

Dear God-seekers,

In my previous post, I wrote about The Persecution of the Saints, which seems to be on the rise in these last days. Today I would like to encourage you further, by showing you the nature of persecution. In other words, I want to show you how the enemy persecutes the saints.

You see, some may think that in order for someone to claim that the suffering they are experiencing is persecution, they must be under attack as a direct result of ministry activity, such as preaching or evangelizing. However, I will give you some examples from the Bible and modern times that illustrate how persecution does not necessarily have to fit that pattern in order to be considered "religious" persecution.

Daniel
Consider the way they persecuted Daniel. They knew they could not get him for anything he was actually doing wrong, so far as righteousness was concerned.

Then these men said, "We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God." (Dan 6:5)

He was thrown into the lions den for breaking the law of evil men, not the law of God.

"Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king's injunction, 'Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions' den?' The king replied, 'The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.' Then they answered and spoke before the king, "Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day." (Dan 6:11-13)

They found a legal loophole to get him thrown into the lion's den, which would have been certain death for him, if God had not rescued him from the mouths of the lions. Daniel was not actively proselytizing among the Babylonians, and that was not the reason he was thrown into the lion's den. He was living a righteous life, which they hated. He was in a high position of power, of which his enemies were probably jealous.

Joseph
Likewise, when Joseph's brothers threw him into the “pit” and sold him into Egypt as a slave, it was not for anything he had actually done wrong. Nor was it for preaching the gospel or conducting evangelism. It was for being the "dreamer", who was favored by their father favored above them all, and who dreamed of being ruler over them.

"They said to one another, 'Here comes this dreamer! Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, "A wild beast devoured him." Then let us see what will become of his dreams!'" (Gen 37:19-20).

Their motive was jealously. “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt." (Ac 7:9a, NIV).  They knew that Jacob loved Joseph more than any of them, and had given Joseph a robe of many colors, but they did not receive one. So they did not persecute Joseph for actively preaching righteousness or prophesying, but out of jealousy and hatred toward him.

Later when he was in charge of Potiphar's house, he was thrown into jail, based on false accusations by a wicked woman.

"It came about after these events that his master's wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, Lie with me.' But he refused and said to his master's wife, 'Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?' As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her." (Gen 39:7-10)

Joseph refused to do this great evil and sin against God.

"She caught him by his garment, saying, 'Lie with me!' And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside...So she left his garment beside her until his master came home. Then she spoke to him with these words, 'The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me; and as I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.' Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, 'This is what your slave did to me,' his anger burned. So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail." (Gen 39:12,16-20)

Potiphar's wife was jealous of him and wanted to see his downfall. She hated him for not fulfilling the lusts of her flesh. He was not actively proselytizing among the Egyptians. Instead he was simply living a righteous life, refusing to sleep with his master's wife, who was attracted to his handsome form and appearance (Gen 39:6).
                               
David
David was persecuted by Saul, but not for religious reasons. It was jealousy and spite, because he did not want David to take over the kingdom.

"It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. The women sang as they played, and said, 'Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.' Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, 'They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?' Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on." (1Sa 18:6-9)

He was also persecuted by his son Absalom, but not for religious reasons (2 Sam 15-19). It was a case of tyranny and usurping the throne. These things were no less persecutions just because they were not direct consequences of preaching the Word of God.

Paul
Paul faced many persecutions, but I would like to talk about three of them in particular. One of them was in Pisidian Antioch. The ministry of Paul and Barnabas was so successful in that city and drew such crowds that the Jews became jealous. "But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming." (Act 13:45). So according to Scripture, the underlying reason behind the persecution was jealousy.

The second persecution I want to mention happened in Philippi, when Paul and Silas were on their way to the place of prayer. They were not actively preaching or conducting any meetings, just headed off to prayer. They encountered a slave girl who had an evil spirit by which she predicted the future, and who continued to annoy them for many days by following them and shouting (Act 16:16-17). Paul eventually cast the demon out of her (Act 16:18). When the owners saw that their hope of making money from this girl was gone, they grabbed Paul and Silas, and dragged them before the authorities (Ac 16:19). The charges they made against these men of God were completely false.

"And when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, 'These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.'" (Act 16:20-21)

Because of the self-interests of the slave owners, Paul and Silas were falsely accused of "throwing our city into confusion," "being Jews," and "proclaiming customs unlawful for Romans." Because of this, they were beaten with rods and thrown into prison. Aside from the fact that Paul and Silas were of the Jewish race, there was no truth to these allegations, but this is the nature of persecution that I want to show you.

The third persecution of Paul that I would like to mention is when Paul was attacked in the temple in Jerusalem. He had simply followed the advice of James and gone through a seven day period of ceremonial purification with four other Jewish men.

"When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, 'Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.' For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple." (Act 21:27-29)

The accusations they made were false once again. They said he was preaching to all men everywhere against the Law and the temple, which was false. And they said he had defiled the temple, because they had previously seen a Gentile with him in the city, and they incorrectly assumed he was with Paul in the temple. Because of that, they dragged him out of the temple and were seeking to kill him (Act 21:31). When the Roman guard came and arrested Paul, some in the crowd were shouting one thing and some another (Acts 21:34). So again we see the nature of persecution, how it is often based on false accusations and not for actual ministry activities.

The Lord Jesus Christ
When Jesus was arrested, He was not doing any ministry activity. He had simply been praying in a private place at night with His disciples. Do you know why they arrested Him?

"Pilate knew that they had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous." (Mat 27:18, GW)

It was because of jealousy that they brought Jesus to Pilate for execution. When He was on trial, people were bringing up everything they could think of to try to accuse Him.  But there was nothing there. They found no ground for putting Him to death.

"Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward." (Mat 26:59-60a).

"And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed." (Act 13:28)

"In his humiliation he was deprived of justice." (Ac 8:33a, NIV).

This again demonstrates the nature of persecution. As the Lord said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Finally I would like us to consider a modern preacher who was persecuted. According to Wikipedia, "Dietrich Bonhoeffer (4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church...Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler's euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then executed by hanging on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing."

He opposed the Nazi's efforts to control the German Protestant churches. He initially avoided military service in the war for reasons of conscience, because He understood the teachings of Jesus to mean that He had called us to love our enemies and be at peace with them. But finally joined the Intelligence for the German military, working as a double agent against Hitler. He staunchly resisted Nazism. As an intelligence agent, he participated in efforts to help some German Jews escape to neutral Switzerland.

Why was he arrested? It was because Hitler's regime was determined to eliminate all opposition and establish total control over society. This was clearly motivated by self-interest. What was the specific crime that Bonhoeffer committed? It was his involvement in helping Jews escape the country. That is what led to his arrest, once the Gestapo uncovered his involvement in this activity. He was not imprisoned and executed for for his ministry of preaching and teaching. Nevertheless, it was still persecution in the sight of God.

Putting it All Together
Based on the examples I have just cited in God's Word and in modern Church history, the persecution of the saints is not always carried out in direct response to some ministry activity. Sometimes true persecution comes in the form of actions taken against the saints for other things they have done that would not be considered ministry activities. Often times the motive is jealousy, ill will, hatred, or self-interest. It is still considered true persecution, but the enemy and his agents often use false accusations against the saints or find some legal violation or infringement of some law that has been committed, in order to attack God's righteous people. Please beware of this tactic and be on your guard against it. Let us be sober and vigilant.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" (1Pe 5:8, KJV)

"Be on your guard against men..." (Mt 10:17a, NIV).

"The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (2 Tim 4:18, NIV).

Image credit:  "The Christian Martyr's Last Prayer" by Jean-Léon Gérôme - Walters Art Museum, image taken from Wikimedia Commons.  William T. Walters commissioned this painting in 1863, but the artist did not deliver it until 20 years later. In a letter to Walters, Gérôme identified the setting as ancient Rome's racecourse, the Circus Maximus. He noted such details as the goal posts and the chariot tracks in the dirt. The artist also commented on the religious fortitude of the victims who were about to suffer martyrdom either by being devoured by the wild beasts or by being smeared with pitch and set ablaze. In the painting, you can see one martyr standing and praying in the midst of other kneeling saints huddled in prayer, and others are hung on crosses about to be burned alive.

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Other Scriptures may be taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®.
  
Author's note:  If you enjoyed this post, I also recommend The Persecution of the Saints, Persecuted or Popular?, Faithful Until Death: The Glory of Martyrdom for Christ, The Cost of Discipleship, Confrontational Evangelism, The Rise of Antichrists, The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Popularity of the Gospel, Ask for the Ancient Paths, The Knowledge of the Holy, Separation from the World, Ultimate Accountability, Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian, and The Judgment Seat of Christ. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Who is God? - Part II

View Over Crystal Lake, C.V. Lacroix
Dear God-seekers,

Some people like to think of God in limited terms. In one sense, in their minds, they have put God in a box. But God cannot be put into a box. I want to show you from Scripture just how awesome He really is. Whom and what is He the God of?

The God of Shem
He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.” (Gen 9:26)

The God of Heaven and the God of Earth
“And I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live,” (Gen 24:3)

"The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, 'To your descendants I will give this land,' He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there.” (Gen 24:7)

"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!'" (2Ch 36:23; cf., Ezr 1:2)

"Thus they answered us, saying, 'We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth and are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. (Ezr 5:11)

'But because our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon. (Ezr 5:12)

"Whatever is needed, both young bulls, rams, and lambs for a burnt offering to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and anointing oil, as the priests in Jerusalem request, it is to be given to them daily without fail, (Ezr 6:9)

that they may offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. (Ezr 6:10)

"Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace. (Ezr 7:12a)

"I, even I, King Artaxerxes, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the provinces beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, may require of you, it shall be done diligently, (Ezr 7:21)

"Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with zeal for the house of the God of heaven, so that there will not be wrath against the kingdom of the king and his sons. (Ezr 7:23)

When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (Neh 1:4)

Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. (Neh 2:4)

So I answered them and said to them, "The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem." (Neh 2:20)

Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psa 136:26)

so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (Dan 2:18)

Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; (Dan 2:19)

"You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; (Dan 2:37)

"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. (Dan 2:44)

And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Rev 11:13)

and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds. (Rev 16:11)

The God of All the Earth
"For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. (Isa 54:5)

The God of Abraham
He said, "O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham. (Gen 24:12)

He said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD has guided me in the way to the house of my master's brothers." (Gen 24:27)

"So I came today to the spring, and said, 'O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now You will make my journey on which I go successful;” (Gen 24:42)

"And I bowed low and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had guided me in the right way to take the daughter of my master's kinsman for his son. (Gen 24:48)

“The LORD appeared to him the same night and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, For the sake of My servant Abraham.’" (Gen 26:24)

The princes of the people have assembled themselves as the people of the God of Abraham, For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is highly exalted. (Psa 47:9)

The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob
“And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, ‘I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.’” (Gen 28:13)

“And [Jacob] said to them, ‘I see your father's attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me.’” (Gen 31:5)

"If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night." (Gen 31:42)

"’The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.’ So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.” (Gen 31:53)

“He said also, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.’” (Exo 3:6)

God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations. (Exo 3:15)

"Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, "I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt. (Exo 3:16)

"that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you." (Exo 4:5)

At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. (1Ki 18:36)

"O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, our fathers, preserve this forever in the intentions of the heart of Your people, and direct their heart to You; (1Ch 29:18)

'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." (Mat 22:32)

"But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, and the God of Jacob'? (Mar 12:26)

"But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB. (Luk 20:37)

"The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. (Act 3:13)

'I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB.' Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. (Act 7:32)

The God of Jacob
"David found favor in God's sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. (Act 7:46)

Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high declares, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel, (2Sa 23:1)

For the choir director. A Psalm of David. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! (Psa 20:1)

The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (Psa 46:7)

The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (Psa 46:11)

But as for me, I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. (Psa 75:9)

For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of Asaph. Sing for joy to God our strength; Shout joyfully to the God of Jacob. (Psa 81:1)

For it is a statute for Israel, An ordinance of the God of Jacob. (Psa 81:4)

They have said, "The LORD does not see, Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed." (Psa 94:7)

Tremble, O earth, before the Lord, Before the God of Jacob, (Psa 114:7)

How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
(Psa 146:5)

And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isa 2:3)

Many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Mic 4:2)

The God of Israel
“And they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.” (Exo 24:10)

Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods. (Jos 24:2)

"Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." (Jos 24:23)

"The mountains quaked at the presence of the LORD, This Sinai, at the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel.” (Jdg 5:5)

He said, "O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart, (1Ki 8:23)

Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word." (1Ki 17:1)

Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said, "O LORD, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. (2Ki 19:15)

Then Huram continued, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a house for the LORD and a royal palace for himself. (2Ch 2:12)

He said, "O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart; (2Ch 6:14)

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen. (Psa 41:13)

You, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, Awake to punish all the nations; Do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity. Selah. (Psa 59:5)

The earth quaked; The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel. (Psa 68:8)

O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God! (Psa 68:35)

Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. (Psa 72:18)

But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, They will sanctify My name; Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob And will stand in awe of the God of Israel. (Isa 29:23)

"The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the LORD, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them. (Isa 41:17)

"I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. (Isa 45:3)

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, "Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. (Jer 7:3)

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the appearance which I saw in the plain. (Eze 8:4)

Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. (Eze 9:3)

When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. (Eze 10:19)

These are the living beings that I saw beneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar; so I knew that they were cherubim. (Eze 10:20)

Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. (Eze 11:22)

and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. (Eze 43:2)

"For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously." (Mal 2:16)

So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. (Mat 15:31)

"The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it. (Act 13:17)

Also see Exo. 5:1; 24:10; 32:27; 34:23; Num. 16:9; Jos. 7:13,19,20; 8:30; 9:18,19; 10:40,42; 13:14,33; 22:16,24; 24:23; Jdg. 4:6; 5:3,5; 6:8; 11:21,23; Ruth 2:12; 1Sa. 1:17; 5:7,8,10,11; 6:3,5; 10:18; 14:41; 20:12; 2Sa. 7:27; 23:3; 1Ki. 1:30,48; 8:15,17,20,23,25; 11:9,31; 17:1; 2Ki. 9:6; 10:31; 14:25; 18:5; 19:15,20; 21:12; 1Ch. 4:10; 5:26; 16:36; 17:24; 28:4; 2Ch. 2:12; 6:4,7,10,14,16,17; 29:7; 34:23; Ezra 1:3; 3:2; 5:1; 6:14,22; 7:15; 8:35; 9:4; Psa. 41:13; 59:5; 68:8,35; 72:18; 106:48; Isa. 17:6; 21:10; 24:15; 29:23; 37:16,21; 41:17; 45:3; 48:1,2; 52:12; Jer. 7:3,21; 9:15; 11:3; 13:12; 16:9; 19:3,15; 25:15,27; 27:4,21; 28:2,14; 29:4,8,21,25; 30:2; 31:23; 32:14,15; 35:13,17,18,19; 38:17; 39:16; 42:9,15,18; 43:10; 44:2,7,11,25; 45:2; 46:25; 48:1; 50:18; 51:33; Eze. 8:4; 9:3; 10:19,20; 11:22; 43:2; Zep. 2:9; Mal. 2:16;

The God of the Hebrews
"They will pay heed to what you say; and you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt and you will say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.' (Exo 3:18)

Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God, otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword." (Exo 5:3)

"You shall say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now." (Exo 7:16)

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. (Exo 9:1)

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. (Exo 9:13)

Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, "Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. (Exo 10:3)

The God of Jerusalem
They spoke of the God of Jerusalem as of the gods of the peoples of the earth, the work of men's hands. (2Ch 32:19)

"Also the utensils which are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem. (Ezr 7:19)

The God of Bethel
'I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.'" (Gen 31:13)

The God of all the Families of Israel
"At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people." (Jer 31:1)

The God of the Armies of Israel
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. (1Sa 17:45)

The God of Jeshurun
"There is none like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to your help, And through the skies in His majesty.” (Deu 33:26)

The God of gods
"For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.” (Deu 10:17)

Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psa 136:2)

"Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. (Dan 11:36)

The God of Hosts
He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." (1Ki 19:10)

Then he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." (1Ki 19:14)

Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, "Because you have spoken this word, Behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire And this people wood, and it will consume them. (Jer 5:14)

Therefore the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors; And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame. (Isa 10:16)

Behold, the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will lop off the boughs with a terrible crash; Those also who are tall in stature will be cut down And those who are lofty will be abased. (Isa 10:33)

Even the LORD, the God of hosts, The LORD is His name. (Hos 12:5)

'Now then thus says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, "Why are you doing great harm to yourselves, so as to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, from among Judah, leaving yourselves without remnant, (Jer 44:7)

"Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Behold, I am bringing on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them; because I spoke to them but they did not listen, and I have called them but they did not answer.'" (Jer 35:17)

"Hear and testify against the house of Jacob," Declares the Lord GOD, the God of hosts.
(Amo 3:13)

"Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts. (Amo 5:27)

Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, "Thus says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, 'If you will indeed go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then you will live, this city will not be burned with fire, and you and your household will survive. (Jer 38:17)

The God of the spirits of all flesh
"May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,
(Num 27:16)

The God of All Flesh
"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" (Jer 32:27)

The God of the Living
"He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken." (Mar 12:27)

"Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him." (Luk 20:38)

The God of All the Kingdoms of the Earth
"O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. (Isa 37:16)

The God of the Gentiles
Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, (Rom 3:29)

The God of the Spirits of the Prophets
And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. (Rev 22:6)

The God of Elijah
“He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, ‘Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?’ And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.” (2Ki 2:14)

The God of David
"Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David, "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. (2Ki 20:5)

"Go and say to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David, "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.
(Isa 38:5)

The God of Daniel
"I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever. (Dan 6:26)

The God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego
Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king's command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. (Dan 3:28)

"Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way." (Dan 3:29)

The God of our Lord Jesus Christ
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. (Eph 1:17; cf., 2Co 1:3)

The God of my Salvation
The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be the God of my salvation,
(Psa 18:46)

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day. (Psa 25:5)

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. (Psa 51:14)

A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. For the choir director; according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite. O LORD, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You. (Psa 88:1)

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. (Mic 7:7)

Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. (Hab 3:18)

For you have forgotten the God of your salvation And have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants And set them with vine slips of a strange god. (Isa 17:10)

The God of My Life
The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life. (Psa 42:8)

The God of My Strength
For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? (Psa 43:2)

The God of Truth
"Because he who is blessed in the earth Will be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Will swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My sight! (Isa 65:16)

"Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth." (Ps 31:5, NIV 1978)

The God of Justice
You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, "How have we wearied Him?" In that you say, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them," or, "Where is the God of justice?" (Mal 2:17)

The God of Glory
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters. (Psa 29:3)

And he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, (Act 7:2)

The God of Hope
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:13)

The God of Peace
Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Rom 15:33)

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Rom 16:20)

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Php 4:9)

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Th 5:23)

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, (Heb 13:20)

The God of Love
Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2Co 13:11)

God of All Comfort
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort..." (2Co 1:3)

The God of All Grace
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. (1Pe 5:10)

Putting it All Together
As we have just seen, God cannot be put in a box. Throughout Scripture we find that He is the God of Shem, the God of heaven and the God of earth, the God of all the earth, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of Israel, the God of the Hebrews, the God of Jerusalem, the God of Bethel, the God of all the families of Israel, the God of the armies of Israel, the God of Jeshurun, the God of gods, the God of hosts, the God of the spirits of all flesh, the God of all flesh, the God of the living, the God of the Gentiles, the God of the spirits of the prophets, the God of Elijah, the God of David, the God of Daniel, the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of my salvation, the God of my life, the God of my strength, the God of truth, the God of justice, the God of glory, the God of hope, the God of peace, the God of love, the God of all comfort, and the God of all grace.

"For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end." (Ps 48:14. NIV). If you already know Him, I hope this study has helped you know Him better. If you don't know Him yet, please see the section below where I invite you to do so.

Who is God? - Part I

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Where note, Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®.The "View Over Crystal Lake" painting by my seventeen-year old daughter, C.V. Lacroix. You can find more of her lovely artwork at A Brush with Life.

Author's note: You are invited to read Who is God? - Part I, The Loving God Who Bids Us to Come, The Bodily Form of God the Father, Is Jesus God?, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, The Cost of Discipleship, and Ask for the Ancient Paths. You may access the Main Directory for this Seeking the Lord blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org