Friday, April 28, 2017

Fulfilling His Word

Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word. Psalm 148:8

Today we enjoy the snow and clouds part; I'm quite happy to wait until another day for the fire and hail bit. Whatever our condition of the day, God is always fulfilling His word. Weather comes and goes, our feelings go or stay, and the world news says this or that happened last night, but God is always fulfilling His word.

Is it not wonderful to know that God fulfills His word? So much of our world is disappointment. Government leaders are elected only to fail in their promise much of the time. Corporations rise and fall with the tides of economy, the whims of vogue, or the failures of leadership. The body, the brain, possessions, and man's machines may all fail at any time, but God continues to fulfill His word. That is good for us because there is so much of His wonderful word yet to come!

Much of the end times prophecy is of woe, but what comes after concerns eternal celebration, joy, peace, and the Coming of the Lamb of God in His glory. The final tribulation is brief, but the bliss of eternity lasts, um, a really long time. In gratitude for what His word promises to us His children and His faithful fulfillment each day, we give thanks to the Lord our God, now and forevermore.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fearing To Be Men

​​Put them in fear, O LORD,
​​That the nations may know themselves to be but men. Psalm 9:20

God is God, and I am not Him. We think that being a man is a fearful thing already, but here in the ninth psalm David asks for fear for the nations. One of the great humility lessons we learn in life is that we are but men and women. Salvation is of the Lord and we are incapable of providing it for ourselves or our loved ones. I am glad that fear has a purpose when I need to be reminded that I am just a man.

However, that is not the important thing, for what can I do to save the children of men? God is God, and He is good! Not only can He save the sons of men, but He sent the Son of man to save us all! The best thing about knowing that I am just a man is in knowing that He is God. Yes, I am beaten down and downtrodden and all those biblical words that in my youth I could not conceive of happening to the mighty me. Yes, I cannot lift myself up from the Slough of Despond where the pilgrims had fallen into the snare. The Prison of Despair overcomes the unwary Christian as it does me from time to time. These are the dangers of the journey when one leaves the Savior's side. These are the life of the fallen in a cursed world. But that is not and never has been His final answer!

Great and mighty is the Lord God our Father! Soon, the Lord will come for you and me.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Flight Plan Filed, Destination Set, ETA - Unknown

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only" Matthew 24:36

Jesus is returning, we know that by our faith in His good word. However we do not have an ETA on that. From our point of view on this fallen globe, a critical piece of information is missing.

A flight plan is made taking into account factors of weather, capabilities of the aircraft and pilot, (for us ground-lubbers) stuff about the intended route, and somewhere in all of that is an estimated time of arrival. This last is so that 'mom' the ATC does not worry needlessly over a missing plane. With thousands of flights taking place around the world every day, a vague flight plan just does not cut it. However, that critical information is not filed in the flight plan of our Lord for His return. He didn't know it, the disciples were not informed, and neither do we have that ETA. As the Bible said: the just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17, Habakkuk 2:4)

An important part of our faith is that we believe God will do what He says He will do. We don't get His time of arrival, though it is set and not estimated, because we live in the age of faith. Our most important decision is to believe without knowing in the way of touching or seeing. God wants us to have a little faith, and He gives it to those who will repent of their own way and follow His.

I don't know His day and hour, I just know He is!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Want To Go Away?

But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. John 6:68-69

Jesus our Lord had just been abandoned by many disciples and He asked the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" Peter then gives perhaps his greatest answer. In response did our Lord say what a great guy Peter had become? No, He pointed out that one of the twelve was a devil. That must have rocked Pete back on his heels a bit.

This time Peter may have the right of it, but he may have presented it as a 'look what I've discovered!' sort of thing, taking credit to himself and his fellow disciples. Jesus reminded the twelve that He chose them first, and, one of His choices was going to betray Him. John of course had the answer when he wrote down his gospel account, but at the time of the incident, Judas was unsuspected and well liked by all.

There have been times in my life that I wanted to go away. Most of us will feel the urge to take off for greener pastures at some point. However, if what I call 'me' was divided into twelve, one of them would be a devil, and he would come along for the journey. My greener pasture would have a deadly snake in it even as I arrived there. I know this; you know this about yourself, but to whom do we go for help in this matter? The same One Peter and the gang went to of course: Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Just as our Lord knew the devil among the twelve and eventually sent him on his way to do his dirty deeds, so one day our devil will be outed by the Lord and sent packing. Going away on my own won't help, but following my Lord will. Trying to take credit for myself won't do in that devil, but giving the glory to God will one day be our celebration as we bid the old flesh good bye.

Great is the name of our Lord!

Monday, April 24, 2017

With Us In All Things

For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 1 Thessalonians 1:8

Do you need the Lord today? According to Paul we don't need anything. Uh, right, did you just read over a couple of little words like I did? Paul told his congregation in Thessaloniki that he did not need to say anything about their faith which had gone out into the region. That flesh is always trying to pull a fast one on us, even to the point of hiding a couple of important words from God's word. When I look to the word it is because I need God always, both the eternal always and the every moment always.

It takes but a moment for the flesh to get in a thought or two of a sinful nature. We can hardly pick up a book or click on a website without some temptation presenting itself as the next thing to do. Every moment of each day we need our Lord Jesus with us in all things. Never do we want to hear our Lord tell us, "I'll just give you a moment alone."

A moment without Jesus is a moment in perdition. He is with us in all things!


Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Pasture You Have Set Before Me

So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture,
​​Will give You thanks forever;
​​We will show forth Your praise to all generations. Psalm 79:13

Asaph does not quite get the credit David does for psalm writing, but he or she has wonderful verses too. Like this one we read today for example. Gratitude, contentment - the sheep of God's pasture should be content where He has put them. Which is why I have taken up the prayer lately, let me be content in the pasture You have set before me today, Lord. Has it worked yet? Like faith, sanctification, love, and fearlessness, I'm still His work in progress, and the shortcomings are my fault all the way. I'd be content with fearlessness; can that be my pasture for today?

But do I know that? Early in life I learned to be fearful. Can I ever be content in fearlessness? Such questions are of that earthly terrible twosome: the flesh and the devil. Of course I can be content in all those fruits of the Spirit God has given. All I need is an unmovable faith in Christ my Lord. Great, where does this faith come from? It is a gift from God. So, are we getting to the point where all of the fruits of the Spirit grow together as we go through the trials of life? Well, yeah! Whoever said God was going to let a fruit or two lag behind? Therefore it is all His work in me and you. How do we learn to be content in today's pasture? Start with Asaph's advice - gratitude forever. Praise all the time. I don't have this life under control: God does!

Have a great Saturday living in the love of Jesus,


Friday, April 21, 2017


And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 2 Corinthians 11:9

Paul was a self-contained unit when he traveled, a burden to no one. Um, that is not quite what he wrote. Paul did say that he was a burden to no one in his Corinthian church, but he also admitted to his need being met by some other brothers. Paul did not claim to be self-sufficient.

We too will have seasons where we are in need, and seasons where we can help others in need. We might think that being rich in goods and loot would be the way to be all the time, but that has its own temptations, not the least of which is the tendency to forget our need for God. We don't want to hurt in this life, but I must admit that I talk to God a lot more when I am hurting. You may find some of those same tendencies in yourself. Rich and healthy: I got this Lord; thanks, but I'll call when I need you. Poor and in pain: constant prayer and supplication with full realization of our need for Him. Now which communication do you suppose God will prefer? Therefore the way to be is rich and healthy with constant prayer and a full knowledge of our need for Him, and a little gratitude won't hurt either! Yes, but until that season comes, we'll just have to learn gratitude and contentment in whatever field we find our grazing for the day.

It may not be Good Friday, but it's still a good Friday in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Steadfast Every Day

Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he is steadfast to observe My commandments and My judgments, as it is this day. 1 Chronicles 28:7

King David spoke the words of the Lord regarding his son, Solomon. By searching the New King James version of God's word, I find that the king also introduces us to the word, steadfast. We are glad of God's steadfast love for us, but what is this steadfast that we use so often? The online dictionaries report that it is firm and dutiful in adherence to what one believes in, and is synonymous with faithful. Well of course it is, for our God is faithful too.

For you and me, steadfast and faithful are a part of the day by day life we live in Christ. Salvation may be a sudden event, but steadfast is the journey afterward. It is what we strive for in Bible study; that daily faithfulness in the reading and application of God's word. Steadfast must be our courage for we will seldom find a day off from the attacks of the enemy. Indeed the older I get the less it seems that I have wait for the next temptation or physical failure of some body part or frustration at work or whatever the method of the day the enemy has chosen. Steadfast is our trust in God when the road we travel over on any given day seems especially difficult. And we cannot forget that steadfast is our faith also when the really scary things happen today. We get the chance to be steadfast in faith, or you might even say, faithfully faithful.

Be steadfast in Christ today!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

There Will Be No Dawn Here

When I lie down, I say, ‘When shall I arise,
And the night be ended?'
For I have had my fill of tossing till dawn. Job 7:4

I got up to make some photos at the break of day, but the sky was completely overcast this morning. There will be no dawn here. That is not exactly true of course, and at least I had a better night than poor Job. Though clouds may cover the dawning of the day, it will still dawn as the Lord has ordained since the Creation.

I think we have all suffered at least one night like Job did. A night can be excruciatingly long when sleep is not possible. The night before Jesus hung on the cross must have been one such night. Those who faced the terror of the lions' den or the fiery furnace may have faced a similar night. Paul and Silas may have sung because the other option was tossing to await the dawn. Today...well, these days we often do the same for what seems to be no good reason. Why are we so sleepless?

Perhaps we only think there is no good reason.

Paul spoke of the powers of this present darkness. What sort of powers might those powers be allowed in this dark age? "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph 6:12) I have thought that I wrestled against flesh and blood in many a sleepless night, but that may not be so. It may be that Job did not know what his enemy was capable of until God allowed the Devil to assault the man in terrible ways. What do I not know about this enemy who seeks to devour me like a lion or sift me as grain is sifted? The Word seems to withhold the intel on this enemy of ours, maybe that is because the terror of such knowledge would leave us paralyzed with fear. For my part, I will remember those words of comfort: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

Have a greater day in Him!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Now Is The Time

After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: John 21:1

We don't know the exact date this happened, but it was already tomorrow on the other side of the world. No, no, times and dates in the way we measure them are a human convention. I may say it is April the 17th as I write this, while someone in China or Australia might say at this moment that it is April the 18th, yet it is still now.

When the Lord our Father set down the hour and day of His Son's return, He was not caught short by a few humans drawing an international date line on a globe. When our Lord Jesus returns it will be at a certain now, and our conventions of dates and times will not matter anymore. When He says, "Now is the time!", that will be the Second Coming of Christ and we will be looking up.

Like the disciple whom Jesus loved, we will perhaps have a moment to say, "It is the Lord!" Or, maybe we won't, but, oh what a day! The return of Christ to Earth to gather up His children, to raise us up from this corruptible flesh, is the now we lovingly look forward to as we struggle against the powers of this present darkness. A promise that tests our faith to the breaking point will not break His sheep as long as He remains the Good Shepherd. Now may not seem all that different from last Monday morning at this time, but... one more week gone by means that He, the Son of God, is one more week closer to His return than last week. Praise God, that special now is closer than ever before!

Have a great week in Christ Jesus!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Just The Tiniest Bit

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:28-30

Every pain I have ever felt in my body is but the tiniest part of what our Lord suffered for us on the cross. On the judgment day I can make no claim to suffering that would assure my place in Heaven. Even at the last, Jesus mindful of every prophecy no matter how obscure or small-seeming made sure to issue one last chance for the world to abuse the One who had come to save her. That all might be fulfilled, how did He do it?

When I am in pain, I find it quite the challenge to think of others. Jesus gave the ignorant mob of scoffers forgiveness. No one forced Jesus onto the cross. Yet never were the Roman executioners in more dire peril than when they took hammer and nails to the Son of God. His obedience to God was all that saved them in that terrible moment. And yet, never were those same men in safer hands than those of our Lord Jesus, who obeyed His Father absolutely. Such love was shown on the cross that even the jeering mob of worldly powers was spared the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In our pains we suffer just the tiniest bit of what our Savior endured on the cross. I pray Lord that at all times we could produce the fruit of patience, endurance, faithfulness, and steadfast love that You showed to us on the cross. Thank You, dear Lord, for Your great love.

Enjoy a happy Resurrection Day!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Depression of David

Come quickly, LORD, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don't turn away from me,
or I will die. Psalm 143:7 NLT

David, the man after God's own heart, knew depression. Many of his psalms speak of it and his anxiety...and we thought this was a disease of the modern age. Hardly, God's word was prepared for and ready for us long before we saw the stirrings of mental illness in the world around us and later found that - ah! no - we are not better than the heathens next door. Like David, many a follower of Christ has felt the pain of depression, endured the hurt of anxiety, or felt the clinging fear of post traumatic stress. Truly we can be witnesses to Christ in one of the darkest corners of this earth, that depressed corner called the human mind.

I'm not glad that David had to suffer these things in his life, and yet I feel a kinship with this man who endured depression a thousand years before Christ was born. The very man whom Samuel anointed king of Israel; a man who knew the anointing of the Spirit of God within him from that point forward. From David's example we can know that mental illness does not disqualify any of us from the Lord's service. The Holy Spirit who knew the pain David endured, remains faithful in all those who have been reborn in Christ and yet suffer the pain of illness both mental and physical. Like Job, we are not rejected by the circumstance, for God cannot be anything but who He is: faithful, loving, good, and, yes, just.

That thing you endure? Probably not a punishment, but rather a way for God to show His enduring faithfulness. David turned it around with a prayer to the Lord, "May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing." (143:10b)


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

One Sin

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. 1 John 5:18

Suppose a person wants to save himself. One sin against God's law is all it takes to condemn. Since an atonement is required for this one sin, and the wages of sin is death, one life given in atonement should take care of that one little sin. Maybe, but only if God forgives.

For most of us, we would be forced to choose which of our many sins our one life could atone for. After that, we would be lost by the weight of the many other sins we couldn't cover with our blood. It would seem that this way is not going to work, for who among us could live even just a few years on this earth and only have one sin? And if there was this near-paragon of sinless virtue saved all by himself in his own little heaven, who could join him there? Saved in his lonely little heaven, he might just long for some company before very much time had passed. Even Adam needed a partner in the Garden, and Eden was created for him - he couldn't create his own slice of heaven.

There appears to be no question for us that Jesus is the way to follow. A lonely heaven is no heaven at all. An attempt to save only the self is selfish. His way, the way of the cross, was to save all who believe in Him. The promise of the Revelation is of a multitude to great to number. Now that gives us hope that all of us will be there if we just believe in our Lord Jesus.

Reborn in Christ, and I expect a lot of company one eternal day!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jesus Arrives

The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:

​ ​​

​‘​Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
​​The King of Israel!” John 12:12-13

Today begins Passover and Jesse our reporter on the scene has this news from Jerusalem:

"Large crowds gathered to welcome the man many say is the seed of David, the great king. Jesus of Nazareth arrived on a donkey's colt while the crowd laid palm branches before him in the tradition of welcoming a monarch. I don't know if you can make it out back in the studio, but the crowd is shouting, "Hosanna!" I believe they have proclaimed the man king of Israel. Herod probably won't like that, but the Romans may have a statement as well. Any news of them back at the studio, Joshua?"

"No, Jesse, from what we can see here, the Roman soldiers and officials at their headquarters in the Antonia fortress appear to be going about business as usual. Although my sources have said that they are beginning to wonder where everyone is today. It won't be long before they notice that crowd at the gates. Did Jesus bring his army with him?"

"I see about a dozen followers or disciples there, perhaps just eleven. With the crowd pressing close it's a bit hard to tell, Joshua, but there is no army here. I have a good view from the top of the wall, and there is no army encampment outside either. If the man has an army to challenge the Roman occupation, it is hidden too far away to save him on this day."

And so Jesus arrives, but not as a conqueror in the usual sense. The Romans probably took some time to notice what the crowd was all about. Their informers likely spoke of a traveling holy man who was the latest celebrity in town. Of course the elite in Jerusalem would reject our Lord to side with Herod. The priests would deny Him, and finally the people who had welcomed Him so enthusiastically would turn on Him just as quickly. So began what we call the Passion Week.

Mighty is the name of our Lord Jesus!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Not His Target

James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder” Mark 3:17

But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village. Luke 9:53-56

"And they went to another village.." Hopefully that village didn't hear what almost happened to this Samaritan village. For Jesus did not deny that James and John could do this thing, but instead rebuked them for even thinking it. The brothers likely thought they were serving the King of kings and were ready to punish with death anyone who disrespected Him. However, Jesus reminds them of His mission which is to save and not destroy.

I am so very glad that God has not given me the ability to destroy a town. Imagine a million Christians with this sort of power. We would be worse than any natural catastrophe, probably worse than a nuclear war. It's the old convert to my belief or die choice that Jesus did not preach. (His message is that you are already dead in your sins, believe in the Son of God and have eternal life.) The brothers never brought it up again and John went on to write a loving gospel.

As for the Samaritan village, we can give them a break too. They saw the Son of God with His face set. They were it seems much more aware of Jesus and who He was (is!) than their Jewish cousins. What they saw was a thunderstorm approaching complete with lightning and F5 tornado. They didn't want any part of that. What they didn't realize, because they would not receive Him, was that they were not His target. In His mercy, Jesus stopped the destruction of their village by His thunderous followers and went to stay in another place. We will run into people who fear the storm too, and they may well see it in our face. The words of the Revelation are not comfortable for those who still believe in this world and its powers. Be gentle and loving with them. Trust Jesus to save them.

Happy Passion Week!

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Surprising Sinner

Some men's sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 1 Timothy 5:24

Paul the apostle had looked around at men for many years both as a Pharisee and as a follower of Jesus. Paul also held the Spirit and the Word in him and learned deeply from both. As he poured out his teaching to Timothy, Paul observed a curious thing, or, perhaps it is obvious to us as well with the prompting of Paul's words and the dear Holy Spirit of God in us. Yes, some people have obvious sins according to the Law. No question, no doubt about it, they in their present darkness like to sin, can't stop themselves, and don't even try. These are the clearly evident sinners and Paul tells us that their sin is already reporting in to the judge even before their court date.

On the other hand may well be people we know. Their sins are kept compartmentalized in the private life. To the public these are pillars of the community, perhaps even ministers and deacons. Their sins follow later, but judgment is still certain. Now this is not to cast a dark shadow over ministers. Most ministers I have heard will admit that sins exist in their minds and hearts. Like our Lord Jesus, we will resist being called good for the knowledge the Holy Spirit has given us regarding our own sin. Yes, I will say us, because like many a minister before me, I have seen the beast of flesh born of this world in me and he is a sinner all the way. Paul admitted to having his own old man, and he didn't like the presence and weakness for sin his flesh invested in himself. So, are these the ones whose sin follows later? No, there is still another group.

There are those who sin privately and yet take their public persona as evidence of being good. They forget, if they have ever read them, the words of Jesus that tell of how sin committed in the mind is still sin. These will stand in the judgment and present their public face as evidence of their goodness and worthiness to enter God's Heaven. However, Jesus will not know these surprising sinners who looked so godly to us. He will know of their sins as they come later to bear an unholy witness.

Better to confess to our Lord right now than to face judgment with a pack of mongrel sins following along behind us. Give 'em up and let the Lord cleanse them from us!


Friday, April 07, 2017

No Forgiveness For You!

But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. Joshua 24:19

There it is, no forgiveness for you! Joshua said it to the people, and he meant it. What was the sin that caused these people to be forsaken, even though we sometimes think God does not forsake or abandon anyone? Ah, but wait just a minute... I have torn this statement from its story and tried to proclaim a doctrine. Not good.

The rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say, is that Joshua gathered the people together at Shechem and brought them to the point of decision: God or idols. The people at once proclaimed their allegiance to God, but Joshua wanted to see if they were serious. And thus, he said that verse we read for today. A warning that the people cannot have it both ways. The Lord, our Lord, is holy and we don't get to serve both Him and this world. The people responded that they would have the Lord as Lord, and would remain faithful to Him. Then Joshua warned them about the consequences of declaring for the Lord and then wandering away. We know from the histories in the Old Testament that this was prophetic, for that is exactly what came to pass as both Israel and Judea later followed idols and foreign gods of no value. As a jealous God, the Lord did as promised and stirred up foreign armies to demolish Israel, several times.

While it is not quite in my lifetime, there are many alive today who can remember the re-establishment of Israel as a nation. It took centuries for the consequences of Israel's idolatry to subside enough for God to relent and allow an Israel once more. This is the beginning of the fear of the Lord for us: to realize that God does not threaten, He promises, and should we fulfill the conditions required for His promise, as Israel did, we will feel the effects of His judgment. If only there were an advocate for us to take the judgment that we cannot bear! Oh, by the way, God in His mercy did send His Son to save us from the fires of judgment. Thank You, dear Lord my Father!


Thursday, April 06, 2017

Mercy All Around!

Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. Genesis 19:19

Two angels came to save Lot and found a reluctant sort of fellow. His sons-in-law thought he was kidding them. "Lot, ha ha, you old joker!" and refused to flee the city. Then the angels had to grab Lot and his family by the hands as Lot dawdled. Even when well set on the way to salvation, Lot didn't want to go to the mountain where the angels pointed. Lot bargained his way to the city of Zoar, a small city, but because of Lot's foolin' around, Zoar was saved too. Mercy all around!

In a similar way, we don't know how to do as we ought in Christ. His messengers show us the mountain of salvation, but we want to go to the city of the earth, just a little smaller one maybe, with, we hope, not quite so much sin. We are reluctant, try to cut a deal, turn around when we should go forward, refuse to believe the warnings, and generally get ourselves in all sorts of trouble. But through His great mercy and love, God often saves all those around us too. Like Lot, we look out the next morning at the ruins of the big cities all around, and hopefully we see the Lord's mercy and shun any credit for ourselves. While the little city dwellers wonder what they did right to be spared, we should get on up to that mountain and just maybe some of those spared will follow along as we praise God for His mercy and goodness.

Climb the mountain of God's mercy,

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Receiving Joy In His Grace!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Is there a component of happiness in rejoicing? Sure, we like to rejoice and are happy in that circumstance. Is that all there is though? I wouldn't say that. It seems that happiness will fail in the testing.

Lose your freedom and languish in prison for a time, and happiness would likely give way to a different attitude. It's hard to be happy in a hospital bed when the nurse approaches with yet another shot of something. Paul knew about prison and the time it takes to recover from serious injury, yet he wrote about joy. His happiness faltered as death approached in a cold prison cell and he complained of people leaving him alone and the need for a coat. That just makes me respect the great apostle all the more. So what is this rejoicing with the root of joy that we are to do always in the Lord?

Perhaps it is like the recruit still in boot camp trying to understand what it is like to be a soldier. Can the baby in the incubator understand what it is like to be a child in our culture? Let us hope not, but that does provoke a thought or two. Joy and rejoicing must come from elsewhere. We can be happy depending upon the circumstance, but joy it seems must come from a joyous place, like say Heaven or the heart of God our Father. Jesus and His Spirit within us could well be that fount of joy we have. The inexplicable knowledge that all will turn our just wonderfully though we must face terrible trials in this short time must come from someone who knows what our future holds. For if joy were circumstantial like happiness, I could see little reason for an enduring joy from the things of this age. If that were the case, one look at any news source on most any day should serve to dash all joy from us. But it doesn't; there is a God and He is good. His joy rests in us, and it is difficult to explain from this side of eternity.

Have a joyous day in Christ, and may He send a big dose of happiness our way too!


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Well-Plastered Faith

And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. Genesis 9:20-21

Noah, that hero of the faith, passed out drunk and naked in his tent. Is this a skeleton uncovered in the closet of Christianity? We easily put a lot of context on this event that is not stated in the Bible. The Word does not say that Noah intended it, made a habit of it, or couldn't get through a weekend without it. It is indeed quite likely that this was an accident.

Noah had been on his best behavior for a couple of years, what with the tendency of the cheetahs to swiftly spread rumors around the Ark and all. He tended to the needs of the animals with his family and listened for the absence of sound which would mean the rain had stopped. By faith, Noah knew that the land would rise again from the watery depths. When God sealed the Ark behind him, Noah also took it on faith that the rain would stop at some point. Noah couldn't know in the usual way because it had never rained before and has never rained like that since. After things dried out a bit, Noah took up farming and tried out that vine and grape thing he had seen before things got so wet. He squeezed his ripe grapes and put up the juice in bottles. Then fermentation happened.

Before the Flood, the world was a different place. With the waters above divided by the firmament from the waters below and all. Perhaps this fermentation thing was entirely new and unexpected. Whatever the case may have been, Noah imbibed in some of his grape juice and got well plastered. We make a big deal out of this because back many books and chapters, or centuries and millennia if you want to get technical, Noah got his name listed in the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11. Why that particular drunk? Not because of his behavior, but because he believed God - in other words, he had faith!

Each of us has a past full of those behavior problems known as sin too, perhaps even sharing one in common with Noah. However, faith in God is what counts in the end.


Monday, April 03, 2017

Out Of The Worst Tragedy

All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. Genesis 7:22

I would imagine this verse was written down on a Monday. The scribe taking notes from the elders, perhaps even Moses himself, looked up and said, "Everything died, really? And you want us to trust the God who did this?"

Trust in God who killed off all life on His creation save what could be loaded in one ark? Yes, that is the way we follow. Does the world agree with that path? Certainly not. Many is the time we read of how someone went to church, trusted God, believed in Him even, and then some tragedy comes along out of the blue, and they renounce all faith or religion.

"I used to go to church, then God took my son/daughter/mother/father, and I refuse to believe in a God who would do that," they say. How did God come to get the blame for this? Is the tragedy of this world His fault?

Right from near the beginning our two ultimate ancestors decided to go their own way. God's command wasn't good enough for them and with just a little tempting from the Serpent they walked away from their Creator. I suspect it didn't take long after that for someone to start blaming God for all the bad things that happen to us. And all God did was send His Son to fix this little problem.

And... we're late here. Too many wrinkles in the morning routine, but no blaming God! My fault entirely. And the subject is too big for a couple of paragraphs; I need to revisit this one. Why do some suffer a tragedy and turn to God, while others walk away?

Have a good week with our good God,

Saturday, April 01, 2017

The Supremely Confident Fool

A wise man fears and departs from evil,
But a fool rages and is self-confident. Proverbs 14:16

Today, for some odd reason, the subject is the fool, and not just any fool - the supremely confident fool.

We seem to be living in an age of outrage. Many are confident their view is the correct one and they shout it to the world with anger. Their angry self-confidence becomes unshakable to the point that nothing from a different opinion or point of view can enter in to their fortress of pride. I have lived this way in the past and found it quite comfortable. There is a serious danger in living comfortably wrong while firmly believing yourself to be in the right. Then God gave me a new life.

Out of mistakes, setbacks, tragedies, and plain old teaching, my Lord showed me that against the judgment of His law I have no defense and stand guilty as charged on many counts of sin. Confidence in me? What good would it do me to base my legal defense on such a leaky vessel as I? What I thought was strength the law showed to be weakness. Any good works could not hold their own against an avalanche of self-centered deeds and sins. And then came faith.

Saving my self by myself was a foolish notion in a fallen world. Faith brought me a savior before I knew the meaning of Savior. In fact, I am still discovering in His word the depth and breadth of His saving grace. The supremely confident fool was led to a place of humility and faith where wisdom dwells, and he could take zero credit for getting himself there. Truly I am blessed by the Lord!

Use this day, my fellow former fools, to remember all that our Lord Jesus has saved us from even as we discover more of His great love.