Friday, May 27, 2016

Is There Room for Rejoicing?

It's the Friday of Memorial Day weekend! I hope you are keenly anticipating a weekend of fun. A verse I keep in memory is from Paul's letter to the Philippians: "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice!" (4:4) This verse holds a command that is not that easy to follow. Even on a holiday weekend there is much sad news in the world, many deaths to mourn, and the knowledge that many will never choose to believe in Jesus the Christ. We have enemies aplenty and of course the usual stuff that everyone has to face in this world system. However, there is that admonition from Paul: rejoice always in the Lord. How in the world are we to accomplish that?

The key as always for those of us who believe is in the Lord. Alone, we are easily overcome by the cares and sorrows of the world. My strength is of itself insufficient to outweigh the ponderous package of prickly problems that rests on the other side of the scale. The thorns of life are just too sharp for me alone. Praise God we have a Savior who bore His crown of thorns to the grave and rose victorious over Death! Our Lord and Savior also established holidays to help us rejoice in a world fallen into sin. So, do your best and count on Jesus for the rest! Rejoice in the Lord this wonderful weekend!


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Good News Today

We dread the bad news of the day. We sometimes feel that our only similarity to poor Job's story is the messengers with their news all of woe. Losses, diseases, disasters, and grief are the burden for us and nothing can convince us of that final part of Job - his communication and correction by God. In time Job was restored to house, health, herds, and lands. He had more children and (we hope) enjoyed a life of gratitude for his many blessings. "Sure, and that will happen to me when?" our unbelief mocks the very goodness of God. Before all of that blessed restoration though, Job heard from God.

We too question God in so many ways, but does any one of us, even the great Job, deserve to hear from God when we are in that grumbling state of mind? With a series of unanswerable questions, the Lord brings Job back to humility and the narrow way. As soon as I can answer every one of those questions beginning in Job 38, I figure that I will have the right to grumble again. Not much chance of that when God asked questions like: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?" (Job 38:4) That's not one question I picked out from the bunch, that's the first question, and I 'm lost in even attempting to answer that one. Any answer at all would have to come from God's word, and I could not take credit for an answer given to me by the Questioner Himself.

So, I heard from God to expect good news today. There is no sense in continuing down the road of grumbly-hatefulness, so you and me might as well listen to the Lord's goodness and trust completely in His lovingkindness. When He says "good news", let us not expect bad news or some compromising mixture of good news and bad news, but the good news that flows from the love our Lord has for His children. Amen!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Stood Alone

Yesterday, for a brief moment in time, I stood alone. Did God forsake me? Was I left alone to fall down? No, I was simply on the wrong day. When asked, I stated with firm conviction that it was Wednesday, which somehow works quite well today; I'll get back to you when I have that figured out. For that brief moment in my firmly held confusion I stood alone. For Jesus is here with us today, never leaving nor forsaking us. Our Lord holds the future in His hand, but not for us to jump into with ignorant abandon. We live with Him today not tomorrow.

Tomorrow is fraught with anxious worry. When I seek to steal a little tomorrow from the Lord's hand, I will gain that which I cannot hold. So hot in my sinful hand is that bit of tomorrow that it burns me with fear and dread. I can be wise and prepare for a tomorrow, but that is still work for today. To reach out and snatch a bit of tomorrow from the Master's hand is like that child who so wanted to be strong like his Dad that he raced ahead to grab the heaviest suitcase only to fall hard, yanked back by the violence of his snatching as the terrible weight of the suitcase overwhelmed his child-sized strength. The Lord our Father easily lifts the heavy suitcase of tomorrow; we are better off leaving it to Him for the duration of this journey.

Of course I'm being a bit silly. I wasn't really trying to leap ahead to another day, I was just having one of those moments where I stand completely baffled by this thing they call the calendar. It is after all such a complicated device at times. Weeks begin on Sunday and end on Saturday, but sometimes I just have this confusion about which day in between those we are enjoying at the moment. One thing I know in complete faith: whatever day this is, we walk it with our Lord and Master, Jesus the Christ!

Have a great today with Him!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Write The Good News

Paul was the master at writing the good news. His letters to the churches and to his personal friends were masterful. Of course, Paul would likely be the first to tell us that masterful letters are because they are full of the Master. The good news of Jesus Christ flows from Him. I cannot generate it within myself; He must enable me through His dear Holy Spirit. Paul said much the same thing in thanking God for his faith: "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me." (1 Tim 1:12)

A sinner may teach from the Bible like an actor reading lines, but to truly teach from the Word we must be enabled by the Lord. All of us who believe in Jesus would have continued down the path to destruction without His intervention. None of us can be saved without Him. Not one can be counted worthy without His sacrifice on our behalf. In order to write the good news, the good news must be enabled within me by our Lord Jesus Christ. To preach the good news a pastor must be enabled by the Lord. Enabling, it's what He does in us!

May God bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you as you go forth this day!


Monday, May 23, 2016

Meeting Fear

If you cannot recall any childhood fears, you are likely in a minority. Congratulations, vocal and public outrage of minority groups is in vogue these days; you can get outraged over missing out on childhood fears. I think most of us remember fears from our childhood and how we were taught or left alone to deal with them. However, childhood fears tend to be child-sized, probably through the mercy of our Lord. That is not true in all cases of course, some children do meet very adult-sized fears and are left with the scars, mental and/or physical. I thought that I had met fear, but I don't think I met fear in its biggest baddest form until all my strength was taken from me.

After that time, Fear, became a bit like mad cousin Jarvis, always showing up when least wanted and at unexpected moments, and then staying around rather longer than his welcome. Furthermore, I began to know Fear as one of the chief princes of the demonic realm in this present darkness. That may not be a popular doctrine in Christian circles these days but denying the existence of an enemy does not prevent him from clubbing you to the ground. And Fear does wield a fearsome club capable of laying out the strongest of humans. So, why doesn't this prince of this world just lay out everyone with his mighty club?

Ah, therein lies the answer to our fears: Fear is not the mightiest power, the strongest ruler, or the final answer. We need a sovereign to overrule our fears; to put them aside and at ease, to calm the stormy sea with the word of His command. We do have a Sovereign Lord and His name is Jehovah, and He sent His Son, Jesus, to meet us right in the same place that Fear leaves his mark, our hearts. Thank you, Lord, for Your Son, mighty to save us from the Fear we fear and Comforter of our trembling hearts. May His name ever be praised!


Friday, May 20, 2016

Passing Droughts

In the business of selling stuff sometimes we come upon times when no one seems to want what we are trying to sell. We try for patience but the second guessing and anxious worries begin. The children will starve, the bill collectors will circle like ugly vultures, and bankruptcy is imminent. We enter a season of drought. We may have droughts in other areas of our lives too.

Israel had the regular droughts in the Old Testament and it had a drought of the Word of God for a few hundred years. Now that's a long drought, but it too passed. We can call them droughts or we can call them tribulations, but in either case they will come. The experience we have in these tribulations allows us to comfort others during their season of drought. I had a second-guesser in the office just the other day I tried to comfort, but his impatience was like a suit of armor on him. The current drought you and I may be enduring may be to teach us patience.

Let us endure the passing droughts with steadfast trust in God our Father. He will provide us the strength to endure to the end.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Glimpse of Battle

A present darkness lies on this age. Daniel received a brief glimpse of this battle when an angelic messenger arrived and told him of a delay in his coming.

"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia." (Dan 10:13)

We feel the need for a memoir of this great battle; a blow-by-blow account with color commentary, perhaps a bit of in-depth analysis to help us retell the story of the victory. But in the following verse, the messenger starts in on making Daniel understand the vision. Wait, is that all we get, just that brief glimpse of battle?

I get the impression that this messenger lived by what Jesus told us: "We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us." (John 9:4 NLT) The battle was past; the mission was now, and God's assignment would not wait. Yet, the understanding begins with telling Daniel how it was all about the latter days and that many days must pass first. Later, Daniel will even be told to go his way for all this wasn't going to happen in his lifetime. So, why the rush?

Of course, we know that God's time and timing is never about a rush in the offices of the Holy Trinity. We must quickly be about God's work because it is God's work. The past is done, we are about the present moment and the tasks Christ has given us for the building of His kingdom. The message will not wait because it is of God and we respect our Lord too much to delay in the delivery. When we are delayed by the actions of the enemy, good help is sent. Like Daniel's messenger, we too may find that we have been left alone with the enemy's kings; a marshmallow surrounded by crushing stones, a cheese puff besieged by sledgehammers. God loves His little puffballs well, and delayed or not, His mighty help is on the way!

God's grace and blessings to you on this day,


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What You Have To Say

I don't have to ask this question, but I will anyway: Have you ever been interrupted in conversation? Few have not experienced this and those few would of course likely be the ones causing the most interruptions. Here's another easy one: Have you ever been asked how you were doing and felt the interrogator had no interest at all in the answer? Sure you have, for that is quite common too. Today I feel the urge to tell you about someone who wants to hear all that you have to say!

When we come to God in prayer, we sometimes start with a list of needs and wants. Other times we remember the model our Lord gave us and start with an acknowledgement of our Lord's greatness. Most of all, I believe, the Lord God just wants to hear from us, and yes, He wants to hear all that we have to say, without interruption and with complete attention to how we are doing. God is interested in you and me!

This is not a fair-weather ear for us to use only when things are going well either. God listens intently when the crushing meanness of the world bears us down to the ground. Our Lord hears our prayers when the indifference of the universe causes us to call out to Him. Nothing can bring the ear of Jehovah more quickly than the sound of our tears falling to the floor. Feeling crushed? Pour out your cares to Him, and yes, He likes to hear our good tidings too!

He hears you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dear Dad: You Stand On The Stage of Eternity

The fear we feel before some sort of performance is known as stage fright by those who perform on stage. Kind of makes an obvious sort of sense when you think about it. We feel the same way about that most dreaded performance while we wait in the wings of the stage to eternity. "What if I am wrong?" is perhaps the most common question of those who face quite literally the performance of their lives.

As I leaf through the Bible, I like the answers that God has provided through Isaiah, Paul, and of course His Son.

But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

Paul then said: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23)

And Isaiah again:

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

The answer to that question, "What if I'm wrong?" is answered quite emphatically in the Word: I am wrong... and so are you, and so are we all. As I stand on the stage of eternity, I will be found wrong, with no hope in myself for salvation and eternal life. My best hope in myself is that there is nothing after this life but dissolution of the body and soul into nothingness. What kind of hope is that?!

Who is this 'Him' that God laid my iniquity on, anyway? Of course we know that is Jesus the Christ who took my iniquity on Himself. Why did God do that if my best hope is that there is nothing more after this life and I might as well lay it aside, hopeless and bereft of dignity at its sorry end?

There is another hope and He has a name I trust. His name is Jesus and in Him my hope becomes reality. There is more after Paul states that all have sinned. In the Bible his famous quote stops with a comma for good reason. Read of our great hope in the rest of Paul's words.

"...being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26)

That man whom God laid our iniquity on paid the price for our sin, that is propitiation by HIS blood, that we through faith in Him are living proof of HIS righteousness, that He has satisfied God's wrath on our sin, by solving that riddle only God could solve: How does God show His love through salvation of those who cannot pay the price for their sin and satisfy His own justice at the same time? God came down in His Son, Jesus the Christ, paid the price we could not and as Paul said, is just and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.

That is all there is: Ask Jesus to forgive your sin and believe that He will do what He said.

In the love of Christ Jesus, who will see us together in eternity,

Your son, Denzil

Monday, May 16, 2016

There Is a Seven

A little rain this morning after a weekend in which we didn't see the sun much. Praise the Lord for the rain. At times we speak of the coming Tribulation; a period of seven years that is the time of the Antichrist, judgments from God, and other horrors that we would just as soon not think about too often. Where does this come from though? The Revelation does not say that it lasts for seven years, and adding up some of its 1,260 days and 42 months prophecies might lead us to believe it is longer. Paul didn't say it lasted for seven years. Jesus said that the time was shortened so that some few might make it to the end, but not specifically seven years. Where does this come from?

Of course, we know that Daniel received the seventy seven's prophecy in chapter 9 of his book, and we just assume that a seven is seven years, right? Not so fast. We like a prophecy in the scripture to be backed up with scripture. Like the Bereans, we search the scriptures to test the prophets who come our way. Gabriel does not explain what a seven is in his message to Daniel, but since the seventy sevens is a part of his explanation, Daniel must already know what a 'seven' is and perhaps use it often.

Daniel stood by the law of the Lord even in the face of death by lion's den, so that seems a good place to start our search for the definition of a seven. After a mere second or two of searching the Bible notes on the side panel of my study Bible, I found Leviticus 25:8, which does indeed define a seven quite clearly as a Sabbath of years or seven years.

The prophecy Daniel received goes on to speak of seven sevens, or forty-nine years as explained in Leviticus, and then another sixty-two sevens. A command will be given to rebuild Jerusalem, which we find in Nehemiah, and then the Lord's Christ will be cut off, but not for Himself. Sixty-nine sevens are easily accounted for but there is one floating out there, somewhere, and that is where we get that final 'seven' which is a Sabbath of years yet to come.

The prophecy received by Daniel shows a period of an undefined number of years in which there is an ongoing war and desolation. Take a look at the photos of the many wars we can think of without even trying hard and you see ruined cities, homes, fields, and lives: desolation. We live in that period of war between the ascension of Christ and His return. Somewhere, at the culmination of that time period, there is a Seven.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Joe's Handy-Dandy Running Shoes

But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. (Gen 39:11-12)

And it came to pass that there was many a temptation involving sexual immorality in the latter days and the sons of men easily fell to these things, and in that age the men needed a tool to help in their plight.

May we introduce Joe's Handy-Dandy Running Shoes for the discriminating Christian man. Easy to put on, quick to take flight, and fleet in their fleeing motions. These running shoes named after an Old Testament hero of the faith will take you from the situation of temptation in a most expeditious manner. Your choice of colors include: Lightning White, Flashing Yellow, Fading Orange, and our staff favorite, Quicksilver Escape. We think you will agree that when discretion is the better part of valor and your job is on the line, there is nothing faster in flight than Joe's Handy-Dandy Running Shoes. Leave your toga behind and fly to the store nearest you!

There is an area of life where most Christian men fail: sexual immorality. It may be in the physical world as Joseph found, or solely in the depths of his innermost thoughts, but men are quite susceptible to the temptation of sex. Fantasies spring up around the subject. Images are shown to us through a myriad of channels. So difficult is it to avoid that some religions attempt to stamp it out by draping their women in sheets from head to toe. (One would think the offending party should have to wear the sheet, but logic often fails in this area.) One solution might be to emasculate all men in the literal sense, but...ouch! Another might be to lock up all the women in like a nunnery or something, but again, shouldn't the offending party have to bear the punishment? Also, it's been tried before and failed. Locking up thoughts is very difficult too.

We can resist the Devil and he will flee from us. We can try to fight city hall and maybe score the occasional victory. But when it comes to sexual temptation, our best chance might well be in running away. Joseph was no spiritual weakling. He had wisdom, a sterling work ethic, and the Spirit of God within him. Yet, when the illicit offer came, he fled the scene. His reward? Jail time. But Joseph went to prison with a clear conscience, and that is something most of men yearn after in this latter age of quick n' easy temptation.

In Christ,

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Spirit of Wisdom

Where do we get some of that wisdom? I could use a goodly dose of wisdom on most any day you want to name. In fact, I have quite the palate of memories in which I can recall wisdom not being present in my words or actions. Searching for where wisdom began in the Bible, I was surprised to find it seems to have begun with the building of the sanctuary and clothing and other articles in the Exodus. Yes, we might well say that wisdom began with the worship of the Lord.

"So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest." (Exodus 28:3)

That is where it all began: artisans filled with the spirit of wisdom given to them by God! The source of wisdom is God, and the start of wisdom was in the worship of Him. Makes a lot of sense when we pause from our busyness to think about it. That means when I need wisdom, usually right before I speak in many cases, I need to seek God and worship Him. Prayer is the great way we have of doing just that. Jesus even said that we should go that way when He told the people, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matt 6:33)

The final mention of wisdom is near the very end in Revelation 17:9, and this time it is about recognizing the enemy who is to come. Wisdom begins with the worship of God, and it ends with us being watchful so that we might give warning to those who are lost. Yes, a spirit of wisdom is my request from God on this day. With His wisdom perhaps I can store up less memories of those times when wisdom was conspicuously absent in my deeds.

Have a wise day in Christ,

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What Is He Doing?

The noise of the hard drive doing many read/writes is disturbing my morning peace. "What is it doing?" I ask of no one in particular. Due to the programming of the operating system and bios, our computers will at times take off doing something when nothing appears called for or commanded. With God, it is a totally different sort of thing. We often wonder what He is doing when it appears that nothing is happening in a particular area of need. We worry when God seems to be doing nothing. But is that true that our Lord is not busy as we deem busy?

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that He upholds the universe with the mighty power of His command. Ignorance might bring out a sarcastic remark to that, but the more we know about the physics and mechanics of the universe, the more we stand in awe of that mighty power of our Lord's. What about sovereign control of history? Imagine accounting for some 7 billion people arising this morning and going about the innumerable individual decisions of the day. How far will the consequences of those decisions spread? Who will be affected, moved, and perhaps destroyed by those decisions? How do I manage this mess they have made? While that answer is far beyond my ability; it is perfectly under the control of my Lord. How does He do that?

My Lord has just the right amount of time to love me. All the time in the world to be there for me. He is as busy as He wants to be. Perfectly content in being Him and happy in His job of being God. Nothing disturbs His repose, upsets His schedule, or causes Him a panicky moment. I cannot understand all that He does, but I can learn deep in my heart that He is God. History is His story and it has never been out of His control. The universe is headed right where He wants it, and it has a date with the return of my Lord Jesus. We need not fear. God has all those individual wills accounted for, and all that seems chaos and random is in His plan for the day. What a glorious sovereign is our Lord!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Enduring Faithfulness

We easily find it in ourselves to pray for, even to demand, God's enduring faithfulness, but what about our own? Daniel confessed the sins of his nation in chapter 9 of his book of visions. In his confession of sin, Daniel admitted that his people had committed unfaithfulness. Prophets had come and gone, giving the word of the Lord to kings, princes, priests, leaders, and the people themselves, yet of all the sins that Daniel might have listed unfaithfulness stood out as one that covered all. God kept His covenants, His word, His love, and His faithfulness to the people of Israel; they turned away and were unfaithful. We may well pray the same prayer of confession in our land on this day.

As we look at reports and evidence of the many and varied sins in our land, let us pray for an enduring faithfulness in our own hearts first. Then, once God has established His enduring faithfulness firmly in the heart of His Christ-ones, we can pray for that faithfulness in our neighbor's heart and in the nation as a whole.

Enduring faithfulness to God must be our fondest wish, a desire like that of the young man in Mark 9:24, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" We often feel the temptation of doubt, the despair that calls for us to give up on our nation, our states, towns, and finally even the church. Withdrawal is an easy path; standing forth in faithfulness to God appears fraught with peril on every side. But, let us keep our eyes on Jesus and pray for enduring faithfulness. Amen.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What Can We Say About Tomorrow?

Sure, we can make some plans and cause God a chuckle or two. We might even say what we think will happen on the day following this one. We have a likely knowledge of what probably will happen given our past experience of work and our workplace, but what do we really know about tomorrow? Nothing at all. That is a sobering assessment of my intellectual and analytical powers!

Yes, only God really knows tomorrow. For us it is that day after this one that continually escapes our grasping imagination. As today arrives, tomorrow is one more day away. What happens on the morrow is beyond my control. Well, praise the Lord for that! I would much rather it be under my God's sovereign control than in my fumbly-stumbly fingers.

We can say with all confidence that our Lord and Savior holds the future in His mighty hands. We can tell of the love and goodness we see today, and know for sure that God's wonderful good works will continue in His love when tomorrow becomes today. We know without doubt that the salvation given on the cross so long ago is just as effective on that next day as it is on this day.

This morning, lift a cup of your favorite morning beverage and give the glory to God, the Holder of our tomorrows.


Monday, May 09, 2016

Wearisome Toil At A Desk?

It is kind of funny, but in all those thousands of years between the expulsion from the Garden of Eden and right now, no one has come up with a solution for toil. We can turn over some work to robots, but then several human jobs may be lost, their families will starve, and civilization will shut down. We can decide to do no work and see how long the government will support our lack of effort, but those doing the effort and paying the taxes will get tired of supporting that sort of thing. We may work in a creative pursuit and earn nothing for our toil, and become one of those starving artists. We might work hard physically and earn much and have no energy left to enjoy it. Or, we might get that coveted, high-paying, desk job where all will be right with the world, right?

Solomon took it upon himself to find out many things and he wrote down what he learned in Ecclesiastes. Unfortunately, he found something all desk jockeys have long since learned: it's still toil. I have found many a time that I am weary at the end of a day when I did nothing physically demanding in the manner of tossing hay bales or serving customers their fast food kind of way. How did toil catch up to me when there was no toil involved? Solomon told us:

And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. (Ecc 12:12)

Students and clerical/administrative/managerial workers all over have found the same bad news: we just cannot escape that toil no matter how hard we try. God said it would come, and toil we must until the world is made new by Jesus our Lord. Do you think that when God says this thing will happen, we should just believe Him from the start? Yup, I'm all for it. No experimentation needed; Jesus is coming again!


Friday, May 06, 2016

Great To Have An Advocate

In this life we run into legal challenges at times. Even making a will so that loved ones do not have to worry can cause more of the very problems we attempted to avoid if we do not seek legal counsel. The law of the land is an enormous beast, filled with a complexity we cannot hope to understand on our own. Yet, there is help in human advocates in this area. And isn't it great to have an advocate when these legal troubles come to your doorstep?

Look at the law in the Bible now; see how close you are to keeping all of God's law, every jot and tittle. Make sure that in this life you have every base covered regarding the Law of Moses, loving your neighbor as yourself, and above all loving God with all of your heart, mind and strength. Never fallen down once with the least of these thoughts? You're in good shape! Ah, yes, I think I saw a doubt there little one, perhaps a rampaging herd of doubts on the stampede each labeled with a 'remember that time when you...' John has an answer for those of us with those rampaging, stampeding doubts over our fitness to enter His kingdom:

"My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1)

Isn't it great to have an Advocate in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, May 05, 2016

Forget the Word of the Lord, I'm Going It Alone Today

Uh huh, that ought to work out real well for you; do you mind if I stand far away and off to the side a bit? Your disaster is imminent and I don't want to be caught up in it.

We know better, but sometimes that little earthly rebel in us wants to stand up and say something like that title on a fair morning. Perhaps things are going so well that the little rebel wants to take some credit for himself. After all, the rewards of this life are surely pointing to doing something right, right? On the contrary! We say, peace with the world likely points to the lack of something right in a life. You may have not declared for the Lord and the world considers you one of its own. The world has no hatred for those who do not love Jesus and believe in Him. Maybe, but the world does seem to have plenty of hate to go around. However, there is a special hatred it bears for the Son of God, and we share in it when we join in His salvation.

"The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil." (John 7:7)

Ah, the Lord Jesus told His brothers that the world cannot hate them. So, if you don't believe in Jesus yet, as His brothers did not at that time, the world cannot hate you. Those of us who have believed in Him and have been reborn in Christ, we do have the world's hatred because He was first.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! (Matt 10:24, 25)

Oh to be like my Teacher and Master! One day that little rebel who likes to spout the worst at times will be vanquished forever, not in my strength but in His.

Have a great Thursday in Christ Jesus!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The Hand of God at Work

I saw the hand of God at work yesterday. No, I didn't literally see a disembodied hand as Belshazzar saw writing on a wall while he served wine in the Lord's golden glasses at his feast. However, I did see that the Lord had moved people and things and me as well in His mighty way. Of course without belief in Jesus and His saving grace, I could never have seen these things. Like the world, I would have attributed what I saw to chance or luck or some foreign deity of wood or stone. I have no special vision of the Lord's workings without first having faith in Christ, and even that faith is enabled by and given to me by the Spirit of the Holy God. There just is no reason for me to boast of me when I am held in Christ!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)

Paul saw the same thing at work and pointed out that great truth: we are His workmanship, and that gives us no reason to boast of ourselves. If we must boast of ourselves, Paul gave us another famous passage: 2 Corinthians 12:9. There we get to boast of something about ourselves - our infirmities! After a couple of afternoons working to clean out an abandoned home, I feel a few of those infirmities myself this morning.

Have a righteous day in Christ!


Monday, May 02, 2016

Old Age Stalking Me!

The day we celebrate my birthday must be one of...fleeing for the hills! Old age is stalking me! The Old Man Winter of Years is coming for me! Moses may have had that in mind when he wrote the 90th Psalm:

The days of our lives are seventy years;
​​And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
​​Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
​​For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. (v 10)

We don't get a lot of time on this earth, but Jesus had even less. As of today, I have exceeded the time Jesus had for His ministry by about 20 years. The temptation might be to ask what I have done with this time, given that we live in a sort of meritocracy where achievements are placed on our resume while friends and relationships are not. However, Jesus saved me; I cannot in any way save Him, and that must discount the fact that He needs no salvation. What I have done with my 53 years is dependent upon Him. Of course, I first have to get out of His way.

Indeed, since our Lord does not force salvation or sanctification on anyone, the obstacle most often in the way of His work in me is me. And I am still learning just how much I can get in the way of the Lord's healing, saving, and sanctifying work. The flesh calls out daily with its lusts. The tempters gather round me like a flock of hungry crows; they flutter about whispering of sin and just waiting for me to fall. Yes, old age is not the only thing stalking me. However, Jesus was there first and He was always here with me even in the years I wandered far. As the downhill side of life slides on by, I still wait for that great day when He shall bring us home!

Have a happy birthday on me!