Monday, August 19, 2019

Great Darkness, Great Fear

And the sun is about to go in, and deep sleep hath fallen upon Abram, and lo, a terror of great darkness is falling upon him. Genesis 15:12 YLT

This is that time of the year when the sun seems to fall out of the sky in the evening and has trouble getting up in the morning. Actually, we know it is just that seasonal change as autumn approaches about a month out and the long days of summer are passing in anticipation of school beginning once more. As for me, this is that time when I am once again getting up and going to bed at or near the hours of darkness. I'm avoiding the issue. Yes, it's true. Me and Abraham are scared of the dark!

I chose the Young's Literal Translation because it states that Abraham had a terror OF great darkness falling on him, while the NKJV, the usual version I use, states that horror AND great darkness fell upon him. Perhaps the translators of the latter one could not believe that Abraham might be scared of the dark! Actually, Abraham had good reason to be afraid as a prophecy of four hundred (400!) years of affliction for his descendants came to him from the Lord that very night. 'Horror and' or 'terror of' are both right it would seem.

As for me, my fears are not so much fun anymore. The boogies and bogeys of my youthful darkness fears have given way to the more mundane, such as running into a partly closed door edge in my skivvies or maybe cracking a shin on something I would have cleared easily in the daylight. Middle-aged fears of the dark just aren't quite so much fun as dreaming an alligator will snap at you from under a dresser in the basement. It's too bad too, those youthful bogeys had a way of waking a person right up!

Have a great new week in Christ!


Friday, August 16, 2019

Useless Help

Give us help from trouble,
For the help of man is useless. Psalm 60:11

We don't want to be known as useless. Okay, maybe when that family wants to move all of their heavy furniture (and six wagon loads of stuff) from the 2nd floor apartment across town to that house with the steep driveway and narrow steps, we might accept the title for a day or two then. Sounds like a job for professional movers to me! Most of the time though, we would rather not be known as the useless one; the one with no skills or knowledge that can help anyone. However, there are many situations in this world where the help of man is indeed useless.

Salvation would be the A-number one problem along those lines. No help from man is going to solve that one! As the scholars of the word like to remind us: if it were so, then the life of our Lord Jesus would not have been required at the cross. No religion, no ritual, no help from man can save one of us, for that is the Lord's work and His alone. There are further problems in which man cannot help too.

Separation from a loved one perhaps? Our brothers and sisters in Christ gather quickly together to offer comfort and support, but the only thing that helps is the promise from our Lord Jesus that there will be a reunion for all those who believe in Him. We appreciate the efforts of our Christian siblings, but bottom line as these separations strike their sudden and painful blows is that promise that it is not forever. Now when those brothers and sisters align themselves with God's great promise and repeat it to us. Yes, surely then they too are useful help in this.

In Christ alone,

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Last Days

...knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 2 Peter 3:3

It is just a bit of a sentence, but how well the words of Peter speak to us in this age.

You may have noticed in the news this morning a disturbing report from Philadelphia wherein some persons in the crowd taunted and heckled the police officers in a stand off. It was, the reported noted, only a small fraction of the crowd gathered there. It is, however, a mode of behavior that appears more and more in our society and gains attention each time. The man surrendered eventually, but not before wounding six police officers. With the difference from wounding to death being so small in a gunshot, this disrespect is unloving and ugly.

One of the signs of the end times is the love of many turning cold as lawlessness is increased. (Matt 24:12) We can read of this daily, but sometimes it stands above the crowd a bit higher than before, and this report bothered me a lot. It is like the Holy Spirit nudging me to note this well. Be ready brothers and sisters in Christ, the end is near!

Love and grace to you in Jesus Immanuel, our Lord and Redeemer!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Not One Is Missing

Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.    Isaiah 40:26 

What in your life would you miss today if it were suddenly taken away from everyone? Smart phones? A little app like Netflix maybe? How about an operating system such as Windows 10? I can answer to that last one; if I did not have a backup PC at work, then no writing the devotional for today! Yes, an update tried to install last night and no PC for me this morning. Now who is going to fix my PC?

Something missing from everyone and everywhere would be a real attention-getter to those left behind, don't you think? That is of course a big part of the Rapture of the Church coming along any day now. However, for God, who will give the word for that moment in time when all those who believe are snatched away from this world, not one is missing of those He will reunite with His Son. He knows all things by name, and as it stands to reason that you and I are a part of that set of all things, then we too are known by name by the Lord God Almighty.

Rest in that knowledge today!


P.S. I guess I know my project for this evening.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Word of Ancient Times

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15:1

We must admit to a bit of jealousy in this one thing: the word of the Lord came to those people way back in ancient times, and in a vision too. Adam walked with God in the cool of the evening, Abraham received the word of God in a vision, but what do we get? Of course, neither Adam nor Abraham had a copy of God's Word in text form that any of us can get freely from the Gideons and other sources. We might even spend some money and purchase a spiffy leather-bound copy at a bookstore.

However, that Word of God in spirit form has also come unto us, for one of the missions of God's own Spirit is seen in John 14:26: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." Even without a copy of the word in book form, we have the Spirit of God reminding us of all things Jesus said. We have the Word right here in us; it doesn't get more immediate and intimate than that.

So, in place of griping about how the word has not come to us; let us give thanks to God for His Word in us! And watch faith and love grow as we are each guided by the Word as we read the Word of God, both of which we have by the grace of God.


Friday, August 09, 2019

Your Story, In The Hands Of The World

“We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ” Mark 14:58

False witness is a part of the narrative of this world. Your story, in the hands of the world, is going to change in ways you never thought possible. I don't even have to cite an example, as I know already that you have experienced this in your life.

It doesn't take much: a confession of a phobia, a telling of an old story from back in the day, and suddenly a new story is spun! One in which you get to star, all the while chasing this new story on its quick little legs, and protesting, "It didn't happen that way!" A little exaggeration might begin the news cycle, a bit of hyperbole is thrown in to make it more interesting to the teller of the tale, and that little confession you made suddenly has Oscar potential. Too bad you didn't think to retain the movie rights!

Jesus faced the same problem. His story before the court had become something quite different; so different that the witnesses could not agree which false narrative was the correct one to tell! People lined up to call the Holy One of God names which were blasphemous. Others shouted at Him to do things while He was dying to save them from their sins! Just as our Lord was treated so badly in the public stories, we too will face tales that bear subtle and evil changes to the original.

The Savior we love is not viewed in the same light by all in this world, and we must be prepared to defend His good name by our testimony.

Rejoice in Christ the Lord!


Thursday, August 08, 2019

Two By Garrulous Two?

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Luke 10:1

The world takes it as a sign of strength that a person should go alone to a strange place and do business. Jesus did not send His messengers alone, but two by two. We are taught in business courses about efficiency, building wealth, multiplying ourselves by replication of effort, and other worldly ways. Jesus did not do it that way.

"Aha! Got you there," The unbeliever declares, "for that is exactly what this Jesus was doing." Sorry to disagree with you, Mr. Unbeliever, but the scripture says that Jesus was going to every one of those cities and places where He sent His disciples. They went to prepare the place ahead of our Lord, but not one pair of those disciples could be the Lord. We find in another place that even such illustrious disciples as John and James were not qualified to take places on either side of our Lord Jesus, for those two places were reserved for a certain pair of criminals. What? Criminals?

We know the story from the gospels, and it surprises us that two disciples could not be there with Him on those crosses. And yet, we are reminded that our Lord does not do things our way. One way that works out is in bearing witness. When you give testimony, you do not need to do it alone. Someone in the church going out to meet people? Don't make them do it alone; go with! Not good at speaking up for the Lord? He will provide a garrulous gospeler to go with you!

Have a great day in the Lord!