Monday, October 31, 2016

Let The Spirit Reign

Jesus ascended to Heaven in Acts 1:9 and He sits at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3). This tells us that our Lord Jesus is not here, and we have His promise that He will return one day. Very shortly after His ascension to glory, Jesus gave the Holy Spirit, who came in a like a mighty rushing wind (Acts 2). So is the Holy Trinity split, one down here and 2 up there? How does that work? Of course, I cannot answer that. The mystery of our God who can be a Trinity and yet One is beyond my small ability to explain or even to understand.

In me I know the Holy Spirit of God is in for a fight that He will win. I know through faith in my Lord Jesus. However, I also see the lusts of the flesh, that old man, putting up quite the defense of what it considers its domain. Like the unbelieving child of the world that it is, the flesh of this body is not easily convinced that the Spirit knows what is best. My command to let the Spirit reign is met with the claws and teeth of that old animal within. Fortunately for me, the wisdom of God sent His Spirit right onto the very battlefield the animal flesh would defend.

Jesus did not send the Spirit to walk beside us or to stand over the top of us. He sent His Spirit into us, and the fight was on from then until our dying day. Faith says that victory is certain, but sometimes the lustful strength of our flesh can cause us to doubt. That is where faith calls us to let the Spirit reign. Our strength to fight ourselves is not nearly enough to overcome our birthright, and it sounds a bit self-destructive at that. What we are after though is complete victory, to become that man or woman who trusts and obeys God out of love. That can only happen when the help we need from outside of us comes inside of us and carries the fight to the enemy's home ground. We must have total victory, and only the Spirit can win it for us by the blood of the Lamb. Let the Spirit reign!

All glory to Him who will keep us until that day His work is complete, and bring us home to His Father forever!


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Oh, Praise Him!

Autumn Saturday mornings back in the days of my youth sometimes brought a parade. At least once, and probably two or three times, the band would march in these parades. Ours was a fairly respectable band of about 100 or more marchers from a small town, but we were also far from the largest marching band. Now, imagine a band of 10,000 marchers. No, not the one of now or even back then, the one where the middle would be out of step with the front and the back would be running to catch up because of the accordion effect. No, this band steps out at the same time and maintains perfect lines and rows. This band has no need of sheet music, for at the drum major's command it plays an anthem of praise composed right on the spot as it marches. Instruments and percussion accompany the voices of the crowd along the parade route as all work together to praise the Lord Jesus, the parade marshal.

Of course this is nothing but a dream right now. To coordinate such a large band now would be beyond our abilities. If you have ever marched in a large military parade, you know that the effort at practice required is tremendous just to get a battalion of several hundred marching in a military manner. In a division parade, which would be about 10,000 marchers, there is only one band, and it is quite a small part of the parade. Even physics would seem to be against us as it would seem to the crowd that the back of the band was playing a different tune from the front as it would take a couple of seconds for the 'oomp' of the tuba at the back to reach the 'toot' of the trumpet in the front. And to compose the tune on the spot? Yikes, try not to imagine the cacophony of 10,000 individuals making up their own music as they marched.

A praise parade is a vision for the days when we are marching up God's holy mountain in a time that has not yet come. It doesn't work now, but it will then. We are separated now by duties, jobs, and circumstances, many beyond our control, which conspire against such a unified effort at praise. We live and labor in a fallen world with plenty of enemies seeking our ruin. But it won't always be that way; we have our Lord's word on that.

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God,
In His holy mountain. (Psalm 48:1)

Have a blessed Saturday!

In Christ Jesus,

Friday, October 28, 2016

Whatever Comes

I am convinced this morning that whatever may come today, the Lord and I will face it together. Now, since my partner in this day has full knowledge of the day, and moreover, is all-powerful so that none can stop what He starts, what reason is there for me to worry?

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! (Rev 19:6)

Omnipotent - all powerful, Almighty, the one who walks with me and sees me through this life is all of that. What can hurt me when my God says, "No"; what can stop me when my God says, "Go!"? And just where might He send me on this day?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11)

Whatever comes this day, I know the Lord has a great future for you and me. Thoughts of peace from the Lord, who could certainly be our worst enemy should He so choose, are a great relief to such a sinner as we once were. A future and a hope are those things we can trust in completely from the Lord our God. I am glad this morning that the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!

Have a peaceful Friday in Him!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Waiting On Our Prayer

The calls have gone out, and some prayer has been raised to the Lord. Yet, I sense a waiting from the Lord our God for enough prayer and more prayer voices. Yes, the call for revival in our nation has become strong, but I don't believe the Lord will act until enough of His children get behind it in prayer and fasting.

We tend to think of revival as a whole bunch of unbelievers turning to the Lord to get saved, and it is! But first comes the revival of God's people to pray for those who do not yet believe. We come to Him in prayer with our request for revival. We sit out a meal in prayer to put some emphasis on our desire to see that revival. A little sacrifice to sweeten the incense of our prayer as it rises up to God. We follow our Lord Jesus in wanting to see the unsaved repent. We become the first fruits of the great awakening by waking up to pray for revival in our land. We hold in our hands the prayers that will send forth God's Spirit on a mission of revival!

America has experienced great awakenings before this time, and each time it was needed for great spiritual change in our land. I believe that before each of these awakenings was a time of prayer and a call for prayer that rose out of pulpits and pens. God's people responded by going to the prayer room and bringing a special request for God's action in revival. We can see the need: let us pray!

In Christ our Lord,

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

That First Summit

Way back in the bright ages of time - because why should they be dim when it is recorded in scripture? - Jacob and Laban held the first summit, so named because it was in fact on the summit. A peace treaty was made with conditions for both sides, oaths were sworn, and Jacob made a sacrifice to seal the deal.

Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread. And they ate bread and stayed all night on the mountain. (Gen 31:54)

And in the morning came the sound of scoldings from the tents of the brethren as the wives had their say. We too might ask why they stayed all night on the mountain after the ceremony. Was it too dark to find their way down? Not sure the wives would accept that excuse. Did the bread make them goofy, or did someone neglect to record what they washed it down with? Or, did the calling of God as witness require a solemn ceremony that lasted all night?

It is easy to put on the patriarchs all the sins we are tempted with each day. And while all these are certainly possible, the scripture has many stories of these sins, we don't have to force our sins on those of days gone by. God was called as witness and since this is recorded in His word, I believe He showed up for the ceremony and it took all night to celebrate the peace treaty. A family settled their differences, with God's help, and made peace.

Now, if only we could remember to call God to help us make peace in our families.

God's love and blessings to you,

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Morning Like No Other

Hmm, it seems there is some sort of anniversary today, but probably not the one some are thinking of on this fine morning. Yes, this is the anniversary of the Grenada landing way down south where it is hot, hot, and humid, humid even on the 25th of October. I didn't stick around for the end of it; we had a mission in Beirut calling us eastward. However, that isn't the unique morning I want to talk about today. That morning like no other is the one when Jesus returns.

It is both biblical and our experience that life can go on for years, decades, and even centuries where things are pretty much routine. Things do change, but not very quickly. Then, like that night when Jesus was born these many years ago, (like more than 2,000 years ago) something changes in a way that makes the word 'change' seem kind of, um, like small change. That is the day we are talking about when Jesus returns. Change hardly begins to describe that day, and yet we have such a small concept of it.

What will happen on the day that Jesus begins His 1,000 year reign on the Earth? Who will be around to see it? Will He have orders for me, or tell me to go be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth? I don't know; I'm just little (relatively speaking) old me on this side of the future, looking with my limited vision into the fog of the morning. This morning also is like no other because the Lord has given it to me for building my faith, rejoicing in Him, enjoying the company of my Lord, and other things. This is the day the Lord has given, we will rejoice and be glad in it! (Ps 118:24) The day Jesus returns will indeed be like no other, but it is my job to live this day; and just maybe one day, even today, those will be one and the same!

Have a great day in Christ Jesus!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Shining Brightly or Sinning Darkly?

The hail of June 27th ruined a switch on the streetlight next to my house. So, for the past four months I've enjoyed a street light that lights up in the dark, then goes out, returns to a dim glow, and then lights up once more, repeating this pattern all night long. It reminds me of my struggle with sin in this life. I am certainly hoping that my periods of shining brightly with the light of Christ's love are growing longer and the periods of sinful darkness much shorter, but it can be hard for me to tell. As for the other part, I think all of us can see the connection between me and a dim bulb.

So, am I shining brightly or sinning darkly? Both of course, for the fight between the old man of the flesh and the new man of the Spirit goes on. Even Paul the great apostle complained of doing those things he no longer wanted to do. How can we possibly be saved with this fight going on? One might well say that this fight between the flesh and the Spirit is the sign that we are saved, reborn in Christ. Without the Spirit in us we are back to obeying the law as best we can, or at least trying to not get caught. Without the Spirit we are at peace with the world. With the Spirit we are at peace with God.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 6:1-2)

We are justified by faith, not our actions. It may be that I will be convicted by the Spirit of sin right up to the very end of this life for one reason - to prove to me that I cannot save myself. Rightly do we say: Jesus saves!

Rejoice in the love of Christ this day!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Why Am I Planted In This Desert Waste?

And now she is planted in the wilderness,
In a dry and thirsty land. (Eze. 19:13)

This verse does not sound very hopeful to us down here below. Our view of God's great plan is often skewed to the depressing by the limited vision of our earthly station. In Ezekiel, the prophet tells us that the whole promised land thing just didn't work out. So, God sent them round the desert for a bit - a 40-year bit. And now she is planted in the wilderness. But what can God bring out of that planting?

We look around and sometimes we think that God must have made a mistake somehow. Surely, the land of the Lord's abundance does not look like this? Why, my house/shack/trailer/hut only has 2 rooms, and that car/horse/cart won't go this morning, and did you see the state of my fridge/pantry/garden today? And we don't even want to go into that job, the insecurity, the low pay (and isn't it always, no matter how much we are blessed with?), the terrible working conditions, and that boss, aagh, surely he/she must have been bred in the pit of hell. What a miserable lot of moaners and complainers we can be on a given day! Yet, the Spirit leads us back to God's planting.

What joy and mercy are in the planting right where we are this day! If we can hold that steadfast faith and release the Spirit to encourage and enlighten us, we might just see a bit of God's workings as He grows us in a barren land, or even realize that this land is not so barren as the prince of this world might like us to see.

Each of God's children, reborn in Christ and saved by the blood of the Lamb, may spend some time planted in a desert before we are ready for the promised land. However, grumbling against the Lord's will and way is probably not the way to grow in the faith. Trusting, believing, and obeying the Lord in all things no matter where He has us planted today that is the path of wisdom for us.

Praise God for His great and patient love!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Muddy Child

Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.’ Ezekiel 20:7

A muddy child played in a muddy bog throwing mud on himself declared, "I am cleaning up my self!" When at last he saw that it could not work, he invented a system whereby he and the other muddy children would take turns throwing mud on each other, each declaring the other cleansed. In time they agreed that could not work either Finally, a system of cleansing become popular where some would run a pump while others held a hose and sprayed mud upon the assembled masses of muddy children. And they saw that it was good.

In the scripture we read the story of the Israelites entering the promised land. Oh wait, they couldn't and instead spent 40 years wandering in the desert wastes. God asked them to throw away their abominations and they could not do it for themselves and to their own benefit. The fear they had in them, that they could not toss aside, prevented their entry into a land flowing with milk and honey. Fear, the abomination we cannot toss aside on our own.

God has a better way, the Way, and He is working in us to abolish that abomination of fear. It may be immediate or it may be gradual, but one day we will each fearlessly enter into the kingdom of God. There it is.

God's love to you in Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Time of Faith Building

For most of us, success hasn't spoiled us yet because we are not quite sure what that success thing is they talk about. However, we would like to maybe try some of it to see if it suits us. Perhaps a house in Hawaii for living along with a more modest home near relatives for visiting. A couple of cars just to play with and a really good one for when it is needed. A certain amount of money for investing and a plentiful flow to the ol' bank account to pay the bills - we have a pretty good idea of what we think success is, we just haven't experienced it quite yet.

On the other hand, we asked for God to build our faith when we gave ourselves to Jesus, and by now we have a much better idea of what trials and tribulations mean. We have more than once entered into a time of faith building...and the flesh didn't much like it. Times were lean, the flow to the bank account was too little or shut off for some reason, and the bills piled up without resolution. We may have enjoyed more than one car, but that was in the fervent hope that one of them would start to get us to work, if we had any employment to drive to that is. One house was more than we could afford and just a short vacation in such an expensive place as Hawaii was way out of our reach. We were building our faith in God, and probably didn't even see it for the tears we shed over our circumstance.

You know, young grasshopper, I'm not sure that we will be able to see all the faith our Lord built up in us until that day when He takes us to our eternal home. The struggle down here has grown a strong and tall tree of faith that only the Lord can see right now. We might become proud if we could see all that He has grown in us through trial, tribulation, struggle, and strain. And no, the flesh does not like faith building; it wants the easy life with luxury.

Have a faithful struggle today,

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Truth Never Changes

I had breakfast, and now I'm ready for a little nap-nap. I don't think the workday is supposed to start with a nap, but perhaps we can find someone who will do a study that will support my hypothesis that a morning nap is good for us and increases productivity. It seems that almost anything can be supported by a study in this age. I'm sure that with the application of a truckload of money, I can buy a scientific conclusion that consuming 30 cans of pop per day is just right for good health and a slender tush. With copious amounts of 'grease' to the wheel, we can get truth to roll anywhere we want in this day. Perhaps the psalmist looked around back in the day and thought the same when he cried out,

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle. (Psalm 43:3)

We need the truth that never changes, the one who will lead us back to God. Let us follow Him to where truth cannot be purchased, fact is not open to interpretation, and the joy of the Lord lives in us. Jesus is indeed the way, the truth and the life; let us find our certainty in Christ alone. Our hope is in God, for as the psalm ends, we find the voice of certainty asking:

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
​​And why are you disquieted within me?
​​Hope in God;
​​For I shall yet praise Him,
​​The help of my countenance and my God. (43:5)

Live in Christ, His truth never changes.


Monday, October 17, 2016

God's Physics Still Work

Proven! Yes, last week for one lunch, I set up a primitive lever with a sandwich on one arm and a serving of cottage cheese on the other. I set the plate, rather stupidly I might add, on a fulcrum and when I picked up the sandwich, the cottage cheese flopped over onto the floor. God's physics still work. No miracle stopped the cotto-flop in midair; I still had to clean up the mess I made. What does the Lord's Word have for us regarding consequences this day?

But those who neglect to celebrate the Passover at the regular time, even though they are ceremonially clean and not away on a trip, will be cut off from the community of Israel. If they fail to present the LORD’s offering at the proper time, they will suffer the consequences of their guilt. (Numbers 9:13)

Guilt, uh oh, not a very good companion to walk with on a journey of any length. Guilt can bring on depression, anxiety, and other dreadful conditions. We don't want guilt around as a consequence of our action or failure to act, therefore it would seem that obedience is a better path. Wait, are we not freed from the law? Yes, Jesus did free us from the law of sin and death, but we don't get to do anything we want without consequence. If you drive your car into a tree, the front end will get rumpled up. If I fail to put gas in my truck on an as-needed basis, one day the truck will stop running for me. Our decisions bring consequences and the Lord loves us enough to let us suffer them.

Yes, we can think back on life and consider how much we have learned from consequences. Some of those lessons are quite tough, but without them we would not have learned some basic wisdom; often stated as, "I'll never do that again!"

God bless you on this Monday morning!


Friday, October 14, 2016

The Place of Honor

A man came up to the front door in the customary way, his tool belt firmly hitched up, his shirt buttons buttoned, and name tag straight. A normal day on his job of repairing appliances in homes. However, this home was a bit more upscale than the norm. A butler answered the ring of the doorbell and firmly spoke, "You shall need to use the servant's entrance at the back of the house!"

In our nation this is not common. The repairman faced a choice. Insist on the front door over the wishes of the butler or make his way around back. The flesh is going to be insulted, perhaps insist on a bit of shame. The reborn spirit will rejoice. What a privilege to be called to the servant's entrance.

And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

To become the servant of all is our calling. Should someone notice our status, they must direct us to the place of honor: the servant's entrance. Surely the world will name it the servants entrance and direct the humble there, but those who are called to worship the name of Jesus will rejoice to be counted worthy to serve. Let the proud enter at the front and insist on the high place. Their time will be brief. We shall be glad to serve Him!

"Thank you," the repairman said, "it is my honor in Christ to serve!"


Thursday, October 13, 2016

I Rejoice In This Day!

This is the day the LORD has made;
​​We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

The verbal and video cannons were firing away again yesterday. Huge broadsides were traded down the battle line as the election day grows ever closer. Is there any hope for our nation? As it was four years ago, so it is today: if you trust in an elected leader to make all things better for us, then you should be very frightened of this election. However, if you trust as all who believe trust in God alone for the health, safety, and prosperity of our nation, then we have nothing to worry about.

Perhaps the choices do not seem so good this time around for our presidential election. Great! Rejoice in this day for it gives us all the more reason to come to God in prayer. Maybe the laws your state has on the ballot speak of nothing but woe to come should any pass. Hallelujah! Come to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving! The darker it gets in this world, the closer draws the return of our Lord Jesus. It may be that your ballot is so awful that you cannot see marking a single oval or leaving a single hanging chad (sorry, old year 2000 joke). Fabulous! God is still in control, and in His sovereign will we have nothing, I say, nothing to fear!

On this day the world backs up the truck of fear and dumps out a ton of worry on us, but I rejoice in this day. Not because I am so powerful or smart, but because my Lord is coming soon and my God is in perfect control of the situation. As the psalmist wrote: We will rejoice and be glad in it!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What If I'm Not One Of Those?

Sorry, yesterday was not election Tuesday, we have four weeks yet to endure of this thing. The privilege of voting is a blessing, but we do seem to pay a price leading up to the actual polling. Can we proclaim a 2-week period of quiet before the election for pondering? No? Ah well, I guess we will endure to the end. So, an election determines who will be our next president, but how do I get some of this compassion that Moses got to see?

Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19)

There is no vote here, the Lord decides. Well, praise God for that! Wait, what do you mean, "What if I'm not one of those?" This is the story of that time the Lord hid Moses in a cleft of the rock so that he would not be overwhelmed by the sight of the Lord. But did you notice what the Lord passed before Moses first? His goodness. From that I believe that we do not have to worry over whether we are selected by the Lord to be one of those on whom He has compassion.His goodness comes first and thus we are all those on whom He would bestow His grace and mercy. If you still have trouble believing that, then perhaps you fail to see the riches and depth of our Lord's goodness.

If you are burdened by a suspicion that you do not have God's grace and compassion available to you, then skip all the pre-election rhetoric and ponder on God's goodness for the next four weeks. Reading and learning about God's goodness and His grace is a far better thing than reading about all the slings and arrows flying back and forth in this election. Believe in the Lord, because you are one of those.

Have a great day in Christ!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Busyness of Our Business

The morning came really quickly today, something about going to the town board meeting last night I suppose. And what a view of our political process in action at the local level, what a privilege to attend. I may have to take some of that regular coffee to wake up. Sometimes there is just too much going on. One or two of you may be able to relate to that. Whether we are involved in a great many organizations, overwhelmed by one or two large events, or just mucking about in minutia, we tend to have too much going on at times. It is a wonder that God can shout through the busyness of our business in order to get word to those who claim to have given their lives to His business!

We may want to give life a little 'whoa' from time to time, and listen for the word of our Lord. The Word is so beautiful for those who take the time to read and study that which is the bread of life to us. His word begins with "In the beginning", but it does not end with "at the end of all things." What a glorious gift our Lord gave us to have life everlasting in Christ!

Now, to just get a bit less busy...


Monday, October 10, 2016

We Are Able, As He Is Able

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Num 13:30-33)

Ten people said, "No, we can't," but Caleb said, "Yes, we can!" So, how is it that of the twelve who saw the same things in the promised land, ten would say no and two would say yes? Was it a careful estimation of what forces were available to Israel and what stood against them in Canaan? Perhaps for the ten that was it, but God had already overcome a great many things in their sight, including the mobile infantry of a certain pharaoh, and a watery barrier called the Red Sea. So, it seems that the ten did not believe that God would continue to pave the way for them, like maybe they thought of God as unfaithful.

On the faithful side, Caleb stood forth and said, "We are well able..." Indeed, there is no doubt in my mind that Caleb included God in his 'we', because how else would he and Joshua arrive at a different answer from the other ten? All twelve men had seen God's work, all could count the fighting men of Israel, and all twelve had spied out the promised land. How could the answers be so different without faith being in the minority?

Whatever you and I face on this day, it is time for us to look to God and say, "We are well able!"


No humor in the Bible, huh: So, if the land devours its inhabitants, how did they all get to be men of great stature?

Friday, October 07, 2016

Man May Not Show, God Always Will

I remembered to go to the farmer's market yesterday, but there was a little problem. If you try to tell me that a little rain would never stop a farmer, I have a certain group of 'farmers' that put the exception to your rule yesterday. Perhaps they knew about the lightning, thunder, hail and snow coming later in the morning. Fortunately, like a good preacher I can use this group of no-shows as an example in my devotional.

​“God is not a man, that He should lie,
​​Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
​​Has He said, and will He not do?
​​Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)

This verse tells us where we should place our faith. If we look at our side of this verse, man does not come out looking very good. Liar, in need of repentance, not always a doer when he says, and sometimes we cannot make good on a promise. God on His side of this verse is exactly who He is, but we sometimes need that reminder that He is not like us. Now, don't go looking all cross-eyed at your brothers and sisters in Christ; they are reborn after all and it isn't that we intend to fail you, but we are not God.

The qualities we want to see in ourselves and each other are the fruits of the Spirit that God has promised to grow in us. Unfortunately, like that group of farmers, we sometimes get rained out too. God never gets rained out. We can answer those questions in our verse for today, When God says, He does! When God speaks, He will make it good! Our faith is in God, and He never fails us. Blessed be His great name!


Thursday, October 06, 2016

When The Doom and Gloom Grumbles

Back in that dreadful day, I was so given to listening to the doom and gloom when it grumbled at me. The only satisfactory answer to this assault upon my faith and joy was to look to Him. Now, this was not the time to look at our Savior beaten and insulted before the cross. That vision comes when it is needful, but in the time of doom and gloom we need the victorious Christ, the one from the Revelation chapter 19.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (11-16)

Today, for this brief time we have, look at verse 12: It begins with "His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns." This is the Christ we need to look at in those times of doom and gloom, when the forces of the evil one would have us believe there is no hope in our future. Jesus, Lord of Heaven and Earth, returns and shows Himself to John as He will come in that great day. Righteous, bright, with eyes we cannot look at right now so clear and bright are they; the flame of truth shining forth. And on His head, His crowns speaking of His unshakable authority and unstoppable might.

What we must remember to fight the doom and gloom speakers is that this might of our Lord is not reserved for some future date. His return will come on the day the Father knows, but His sovereign might is here today. Our Lord Jesus will say if we will fall, and if so, how far; and He knows how swiftly he can raise us up again. A descent into a dark valley may be our lot for a time, but the Light of the world goes with us. We need not stumble in fear.

Have a better day in Christ!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Well, Praise The LORD! That Makes Life Interesting!

When life serves up a catastrophe, I would like to get to that point of faith in God that I can say something like, "Well, praise the LORD! That makes life interesting!" So my company got sold and I may lose, probably will lose, my job. What an interesting life you do give me, Lord!

Yeah, that sounds just, um, not at all like what my reaction was when my job was the one terminated. That time was a tough blow for me, emotionally and financially, and I didn't always have that faithful response and loving words in my heart we might expect from the follower of Jesus. I had to work hard on the seventy times seven forgiveness our Lord commanded. In fact, I'm still working on that 490 times as the recent events back at the ol' barn do tend to give rise to the bitterness now and again.

So, the Lord Jesus has left me in a position of experience and acquired wisdom (From Him, thank you, Lord!) with which to comfort others who face the same circumstance. An article coming out today speaks of executive compensation and it mentions millions of dollars, much like what happened with a certain set of retention bonuses in my day. (And at least one of the persons involved is the same fellow as back then.) More experience, hard won and provided graciously by our Lord and Savior for me to use in helping others.

Answers I have, or do not have as the case may be. When David asked why the wicked prospered in their way, he did not get that definitive answer we seek. I don't know either, nor do I know that any of the big money receivers are even wicked by the Lord's definition. I don't know why some of us lose our long-held positions or why others prosper at the same time. The first does not necessarily mean that one is righteous, just as the second may not make the latter wicked. Like David though, we who believe can cry out to the Lord our frustrated sense of injustice and receive no answer as to why. Our Lord keeps His own counsel, and sometimes He holds it close. What we can receive is comfort from His wonderful Spirit, His marvelous Word, and from His most excellent children saved by Jesus. That last one is me, and you, and every one who believes in Jesus, most especially those of us who have suffered similar circumstances not so very long ago. We get to help out the Comforter! What a great and humbling privilege!

May God be forever praised!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

What Do We Say On A Day Like Today?

Many a day will come when there is nothing that the world's best writer can write to make it all better for a town suffering some sort of calamity, economic or otherwise. Now, whoever this world's best writer may be, since he or she cannot find the right words to help y'all out, what the 'eck can I write that will help in any way?

Fortunately, I happen to know someone who commissioned a series of books and letters that may help you when things look just the wrong side of awful. I have read these words in the deepest darkness of depressed days, and I have been raised up to new hope beyond any ability that I possess in myself. I have read words about people very like me and you suffering terrible calamities that were much worse than my own, and they too were raised up to new hope and sometimes even new life when all seemed desperate, depressing, and despondent.

Some may complain that this 'writer's' words are too old fashioned, too hard to understand, or demand too much from us, but I have not found that to be true. When bad news threatens to overwhelm me, God's Word is the book I reach for. Whatever the world may dish out to us, God's word reminds me that He has not been removed from His throne, and never will be. Blessed be the name of the Lord.


Monday, October 03, 2016

An Ill Wind Blows, But God is Still In Control

Pul king of Assyria came against the land; and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to strengthen the kingdom under his control. (2 Kings 15:19)

We sometimes think that by blowing back against an ill wind we can have some measure of control over our lives. Strain as we might though, there are those times when the principalities of the world have the victory. Job tasted the ashes of defeat for a time. Elijah fled to the wilderness. David didn't get to be king immediately even with his anointing by the prophet. We go through tough times too. One such may be approaching any or many of us even on this day. However, God is still in control.

An idolatrous king over Israel taxed the rich of his land and paid off the invader with a tribute (short for 'big ol' bribe'). For a time it seemed that Menahem had it all under control, but we know from the histories of Israel in the Bible that it only worked for a brief time before Assyria returned and Israel was no more (until just a few decades ago that is). Ten tribes scattered to the winds. The people could see no hope of a reunited Israel in their time. Ah, but what about God's time?

Indeed, we may face an ill wind on this day, but God is still in control. In His time, we may yet see the revival, the reunification, the rebirth, and the return of our Lord Jesus. Much may happen in a day, and only God can see all that will come to us out of His goodness. Times may look like a storm that will never end; your ship may be tossed until surely it must break up in the violence of the tempest, but always we must remember that God is in control. And Jesus said:

"In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!"

Face into that wind today, God is in control!