Friday, June 30, 2017

Under The Law

“Thus says the LORD of hosts:
​‘​Execute true justice,
​​Show mercy and compassion
​​Everyone to his brother." Zechariah 7:9

So many prayer needs, and it isn't me this time! No, I'm not off the hook as far as the usual trials; the world still hates those who belong to Jesus. Sometimes though, we realize that the needs of others are much greater than the needs of ourselves and we have a prayer burden as we call it. We got our prodigal out of jail last night and I helped with the computer stuff, like finding him an airline ticket and getting a seat booked. Mike helped in many ways and others pitched in too. We pray that this prodigal made it home last night and to his bed. Of course I am understating what was a couple of days of much prayer and effort by many to help one we feel is being persecuted under the law.

The law of the land has a problem. All along the way it is written, enforced, and judged by people. Yup, fallen man is often our own biggest problem. In God's mercy we do get a lot of things right when it comes to the laws of our nation. If a person is murdering others and appears unlikely to stop on his own, then yes the law does well to lock him away from any further victims. And there are a great many examples each and every day of those serving the law doing right. On the other hand, sometimes compassion and understanding under the law are hard to come by. A person may get on the wrong side through a series of misfortunes and the law may come down on him or her with its full weight, making it very difficult for the person to ever get right again. A man or woman alone simply cannot bear the ponderous weight of the law.

In such times, it is well for us to remember who is greater: he who is in the world, or He who is in us. Through God's Holy Spirit we pray with an immediacy that a message sent by courier to Heaven might not have. (I am imagining a postal messenger in my limited human way; no disrespect intended to our Lord's angels.) Paul told the Philippians that the Lord is at hand. (4:5) At hand is good to recall when we or our brothers and sisters need that help; the kind of help that immediate needs require. Mercy and compassion are good to mix with justice. I pray that we see more of it in our land. And may we as God's people use mercy and compassion before we rush to judge others!

Have a great day in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What Awaits Us?

And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8

Paul neared the end of his race and he admitted to some knowledge of what awaits those who await the coming of Christ in His glory. Search on the word 'awaits' in the New Living Translation of the Bible (the NKJV and other versions use different wording.) and you will find 71 matches. Looking down through the search results is an interesting journey. The majority are prophecies of woe: 'what sorrow awaits...' There are a few other dooms that speak of destruction, ruin, and bitterness awaiting those who do the wrong thing. But now and then is a glimpse of what is to come for those who will believe in Jesus.

Psalm 37:37 - Look at those who are honest and good,
for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.

Jesus will make the difference when He comes, one might say. And indeed it seems that He does for a brief moment in Matthew 5:12 in the Sermon on the Mount. "Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way." Wait, what's this bit about persecution? Yes, the great rewards we are happy about come after the persecution, actually after mocking you, persecuting you, and telling lies about you. Then the results speak of more sorrow foretold by our Lord Himself to those who needed warning.

Throughout much of the Bible, God's love is spoken in warning to what awaits those who love the darkness. For those who believe though, there is a bit of treasure to grasp as the Lord grants a glimpse of what awaits us in Heaven. There is good news for those who work in Christ to spread His good news: "The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!" John 4:36. And of course there is the crown of righteousness we read in our verse for today.

Joy and righteousness await those who believe in Jesus, and we look forward to a wonderful future as He teaches us honesty, goodness and peace. Amen.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Witnessing Rocks

And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.” Joshua 24:27

Imagine traveling through the Holy Land and coming upon a particularly talkative rock. Too difficult? Maybe we could instead imagine a rock as a really good listener. That's easy enough for rocks in general don't seem to do much but listen, and maybe get in the way now and then. In the case we read about Joshua today, he made a rock stand as a witness to the people of Israel. Joshua said that this rock had heard all that the Lord had spoken to the people. A good listener indeed!

Joshua also said this rock shall be a witness. This brings to mind that time when the Pharisees tried to get Jesus to rebuke His disciples, who it seems were making a bit of noise about Him. The Pharisees wanted the Lord to shut them up. Jesus said that if He did the stones would immediately cry out. Do you suppose those Pharisees would have believed even then? No doubt they remembered the story of Joshua at some point. If witnessing rocks can't convince a person that Jesus is the Lord, then I don't see much hope for that person.

So, from all of us and the rocks, "Jesus is Lord!"


Monday, June 26, 2017

Not Quite Ready Yet

The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
​​And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
​​They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
​​For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
​​As the waters cover the sea.  Isaiah 11:8-9

As I stood watching the sprinkler start up this morning, a bird landed next to me. Of course the bird flew off when I twitched in a manner similar to jumping out of my skin. I guess neither of us is quite ready for God's new heavens and new earth.

If I am not ready, how will I ever get ready?

Leaving the preparation up to me would be a mistake. My 'Ready for Heaven 2017' program would likely focus on a certain body shape, a daily schedule, goals for the year with review every three months to check progress, an amount set aside in the bank, or some other accomplishment that would make me worthy of God's Heaven in my own estimation. The fallen imperfect one reaching toward the stars to claim his imagined perfection. Probably not going to work; it seems rather 'me' centered.

Nope, to get ready for God's new heavens and new earth, we need Him to make us ready. We need to not go alone. And since I cannot make you ready any more than I can ready myself, we need a redeemer who can get all of us ready for that twinkling of an eye. To become full of the knowledge of the Lord, we can always start with that Redeemer, the One who came to save us all. I'm glad that God provided just the One we need to ready us for His new heavens and new earth; His name is Jesus, and He is coming for us quickly.

Amen, Come Lord Jesus!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Meanwhile, Somewhere Else...

“For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.' ” 1 Kings 17:14

Rain is the story this morning, as in we've had some! June has been quite dry in our little town, both the big and little storms have missed us all month long until last night. Meanwhile, somewhere else there is someone waking up to an empty flour bin and a dry oil jar.

This is a verse from the story of Elijah and the widow. We might well imagine that the first day the rain came, she would have that reaction of, "Aaugh! What will we do now?" The promise of the Lord had been fulfilled and they ate from some miraculous storage containers for a while. Then the rain came. Rejoicing in a blessing from the Lord, we don't always pause to think that someone else may not see the event as a blessing. But, while the fulfillment ends one promise of God, there is another for all of us.

One day the rain will come for us too. Whether it be our passing, the Rapture of God's church, or the end of this age, the fulfillment of many promises will usher in the time of other good things the Lord has in store for us. Always, it seems, the Lord has better ready for us when His good promise ends with the coming of the rain. The widow may have asked, "What now, Lord?" but I'm sure the Lord already had His next blessing prepared. Meanwhile, far away in time and distance, we await the fulfillment of this time, and the coming of our Lord Jesus!

God's blessings to you!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Prepare For The Word Of The Lord!

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate. Genesis 18:6-8

Abraham had a duty as a host, but I don't think that he hurried, ran, and hastened just from a sense of duty. There was something different about these three men who appeared unto Abraham. Old as he and Sarah were by this time, someone quickened Abraham, lit a fire under his old loins if you will. Sarah even laughed, but probably not at my puns.

This was an unusual visitation in that three men, probably angels, appeared unto Abraham. They brought the word of the Lord, but they also had time to stay for a quick meal. This was perhaps the original fast food. We say that because in the story Abraham ran to meet them, ran to the herd, hurried into Sarah, told her to make the cakes quickly, and he hastened to prepare the meal. There is a lot of rushing about going on in there. We are not told what exactly lit Abraham's jets, but there is no indication that the three men or angels are in any rush. Then Abraham stood by while they ate. I wonder if he was puffing and panting. If he was, the angels didn't take offense, for they brought the word.

And the Word of the Lord was... you and that old lady in there are going to have a son. And Sarah laughed to herself. She saw the advanced age of her husband and herself, and she laughed at the word of the Lord. And the men knew it, and they caller her out on it, and Sarah lied...oh, dear. The flesh betrays us at the worst possible time! Caught in the act the flesh will still suggest a lie in denial, making us look foolish as it did with Sarah in that moment. God knows about that flesh though; how even in our old age it is quick to sin. The angels didn't smite Sarah or turn her into a pillar of salt as will happen to her niece-in-law shortly in the next chapter of Genesis. Sarah was caught unprepared for the word of the Lord, and the flesh was quick to get her into trouble.

We can prepare constantly for the word of the Lord, and we will most likely still be caught unprepared. For the Word is just so different from what we are used to, so strange to our worldly flesh that we cannot ever be as ready to receive His Word as we think we are. It's a good thing He gave the Word to us in book form; we can practice receiving the Word even as it does the unexpected within us.

Swift and powerful is His Word!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Marching Orders

Then Joshua said to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph, “Since you are so large and strong, you will be given more than one portion. The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners. And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.” Joshua 17:17-18

Two tribes from the nation of Israel, God's people, received their marching orders from Joshua. As you might imagine by reading this passage, the nation and peoples driven out of their lands by these two tribes are still upset about this thousands of years later. The order to clear as much of the land as you wish causes others to be upset in this age. As the orders came from God that this country was to be theirs, even the tanks of the age, iron chariots, would not stop the tribes of Joseph's sons from taking the land for their own and doing with it as they pleased.

It would seem that God and His people vs. the world and its prince is going to be a conflict throughout the ages, and they may have the tanks on their side.

Now, most every argument, complaint, and issue that the opposition is going to have with God and the orders Joshua relayed to the two tribes will begin with, "If God is so..." and end with some conclusion, "...then why not do this other thing instead." Yes, you might say that those who would oppose God have many suggestions for what He can go do with Himself. That hasn't changed much even today. A simple change, "If God is so...then why don't/aren't/won't Christians do this instead?" and we have today's version. We have noticed that God is no more willing to take the suggestions of the world today than He was in Joshua's time. God, it seems, is not much inclined to making peace with sin and those who love the darkness. Of course, I'm not just making this up, the Revelation shows how this ends with that final conflict at just about the same place it began. The good news is: He wins!

Have a great day in Christ!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Come To The Almighty

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

The great number of subjects available on the Internet by video promotes much learning in this age, and I found one day a compilation of Saturday morning shows from the 1970's. Okay, so some videos have more learning involved than others. As it neared the end, I was shocked to realize that one of the shows I watched back in the day was blasphemous. Yes, when I was a child I thought as a child and this child didn't think anything of it back then. But if the protagonist in the show calls out to 'almighty' something or other than God, then we have a blasphemy taking place, for there is only room for one almighty and His name is Jehovah.

Two almighties just won't work, for if they be different then inevitably there will be differences and one must prove mightier than the other. And by definition, one must always get his way and thus prove to be all mighty or neither is in fact all mighty. I can even see by the spell checker that there is no plural to almighty though I have tried to make one for demonstration purposes. There truly is only one Almighty.

In this life many things once considered mighty have proven less than trustworthy. Kings, governments, corporations, and many others have failed us in one way or many. Those who believe in Jesus have been rejected by each and all of them. It is awesome that there is one Almighty God who will not reject any who come to Him. Each of us as individuals can come to the Almighty. Jesus gave us the way, and by the way, we should certainly come to the Lord God, the Almighty as often as Paul meant by 'constantly'. Yesterday was Father's Day, and never was there a father who wanted all of us to come to him as much as our Father in Heaven wants us to be with Him!

Great is the name of our Father, the Almighty!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Forgiven Much? Forgive Much!

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Matthew 18:22

A test has come to us in the form of a man. This one proclaims his faith in Christ, and yet uses that as a weapon to shake down others for benefits to himself. Recognizing the tactic makes one quite angry. What to do?

Prayer is always a good first step in any situation for us. Speaking with the Lord and listening for that quiet, small voice has helped me avoid many an angry word. The question that I have heard, and you might hear also is: 'How much has been forgiven in your life?' Has the Lord forgiven me 490 times? Way more than that! Have my sins been such as to make not only others angry, but the Lord as well? Certainly. So, the test sets us on a journey of 490 forgivings.

No, I'm quite sure the Lord was not instructing Peter, the one who asked the question, to count until he exceeded 490 times and then let his brother have it. There will always be those we meet in this life who are such a sinful irritation that they could reach a mere 490 times in an almost breathtakingly short time. I believe the seventy times seven times was so that we forgive until the love God would grow in us is fulfilled; a complete forgiveness such as God has done for us through His Son, Jesus. Our Lord only needed the one time to forgive us perfectly for all time, but we who are reborn in Christ need some repetition to reach that neighborly love. With some we might need a few more forgiveness reps than with others but that doesn't make it any less our loving duty to the Lord.

Was a brother or sister in Christ an especially difficult test for you? I would like to read your story, if you have the time to send it my way. (If it was me, I'm sorry! Please forgive me.)


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Moved Against Inertia

Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Mark 1:41

Today, you probably don't want to move, or you do want to move but there is some reason you cannot or will not. Moving takes much energy and it can be a major expense. Plus, every time I have moved or been moved, I find that my biggest problem comes with me. It seems that I cannot yet escape that person I refer to as 'me'. So, I did a search on 'moved' in the New King James Version of the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation I found the word.

The ark moved across the waters, Abraham moved, the Israelites moved, the mountains moved, a ruler was moved with rage, and in the end every mountain and island will be moved from their place. If inertia is a resistance to motion, then I am moved against inertia in spite of myself. Yes, in Peter, holy men were moved by the Spirit to speak. God has often been on the move to bring motion to His people throughout the scriptures. There is so much motion in the Bible that Daniel prophecies a time when people will rush to and fro. So what moves God?

Of course nothing can move the Almighty from His throne, but we get an important insight in the first chapter of Mark as seen in our verse for today. Compassion moved the Lord Jesus to healing action. That is of course how our Lord came to us in the first place. A flood wasn't a permanent solution, a chosen people couldn't stay in obedience to the Law, but moved by compassion for us, God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to save us from our sin.

Caught up in our pain, we scarcely understand the love which moves the Lord to action on our behalf.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Does The Lord Get Me?

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5

Of course it is nothing but an arrogance to think the Lord who has infinite understanding would fail to understand even one such as me. Everything I have faced in this life by way of temptation He has met and overcome. The toys of this age may be different, but the lusts of the flesh remain the same. Job may have lamented that God does not know what it is like to be down here, but we know from the Gospels that He came down and removed that excuse from us. Jesus the Christ came as a baby and endured the same things we have. There just does not seem to be any room to accuse God of any ignorance for our part. Yes, the Lord gets me very well.

Great is the knowledge of our Lord! Not only does He get me, but He also knows very well all of those who want to kill and destroy us. In fact He told us the time of hatred would come because the world first hated Him. The Lord knows well our need for the Redeemer, but He also knows that many will reject the gift of salvation. Actually, if I try to list here this morning all that the Lord knows, which I can only know from the revelation of His word, we will be here into the next eternity. (Which is of course a silly thing to say, as there can hardly be another eternity any more than there can be a further infinity.) The Lord knows all!

We can be grateful today that our Lord knows our deepest need, and He has already made provision to meet that need: His name is Jesus.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Named For Comfort

Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.” (Genesis 5:28-29)

Ah, toil! It is that time of the year when toil can be especially miserable with humid days, legions of annoying and biting little bugs, and the dawn and dusk are a long ways apart to get those days heated right up. Thunderstorms rise up on clouds of humid air to bring much needed rain or to just wipe out the lot with hail or wind. And no matter how much effort we put into it, the cursed earth will never yield up its strength to us until our Lord makes all things new. It's just so much fun out there at this time!

Noah's parents made a bet on the name or they had the gift of prophecy, but they expected some comfort from Noah. We might even pause to wonder: Were Lamech and his wife still alive when Noah entered the Ark? Was their comfort in that not all would be lost of them because Noah and his family were going to make it? Maybe, but we do not get to know that from the scriptures as all the former people were gone when Noah and his little family landed.

In the same way we often try to name a day for comfort or rest by asking for a day off from work. But neither do we know what that coming day will bring. Calamity? Disaster? No day off work as expected? Anything might happen on a given day. However, the Lord is good, and we also receive comfort from unexpected places. Such as, your son becoming a boat builder and sailor. Lamech and his wife probably didn't expect that day to come.

God knows all of the unexpected too!

Friday, June 09, 2017

Working Horses

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
​​But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7

The second day of rodeo Bible camp brought an amusing observation: "Didn't I see you out there working horses last night?" Normally, that would be nothing unusual at a riding camp, but it was said to me. I guess if you see a stout fellow in front of a bunch of horses doubled over with laughter, then, okay, maybe, you might assume that I was trying to work horses. I'm fairly certain on which is the back end and front end of a horse, and I'm pretty sure you don't want all four hooves sticking straight up, but after that I'm cheerfully vague on what makes a horse work. Some people love 'em; I'm okay with leaving them alone. In Christ, we are just not all called to the same things.

Our verse today shows some understanding pity for those who would trust in the things of this world. We who believe in Christ trust in the Lord. We may enjoy one thing for a hobby and another for work, but we trust in the Lord. One of us may be an equine expert, and another may be more like me, but we trust in the Lord. I know a lot about information technology, others may look at a computer about the way I look at a horse, but we trust in the Lord! Praise God we are not all called to the same things in this life.

God bless and keep you (away from horses, if you so desire) on this great Friday,


Thursday, June 08, 2017

Thank You, Lord, For That Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

A message from the Lord may take several forms: angels, a still small voice, sermons from a minister, counseling from an elder, a leaning one way or another from the Spirit, and of course there is bitter experience. When we ask of the Lord for wisdom, we might foolishly go the way we think best without guidance from the Lord and experience learning wisdom the hard way. I'm not sure there are any of us who could deny having been down the path of bitter experience now and again. It is at those times that we appreciate most the messages of wisdom that are much less painful.

A pastor in church delivers a sermon that imparts some of the wisdom of God, preventing you or me from going down a dark path to some more tough experience. We are glad and praise God. There but for the grace of God go I, we might say according to the old saying. Wisdom without the pain. We read a story in God's word and a still small voice speaks to us saying, "That's you, don't be that way!" We pray up some gratitude to the Lord for teaching us the less painful way. Then there are those other times when we are just too dense or stubborn to learn from anything but experience. We get the wisdom from the Lord either way, but... Ow!

I think all of us prefer the Lord's way to learning from our way of tough and painful experience, and may I say for all of us, "Thank You, Lord, for that wisdom!"


P.S. Yes, today was Day 1 of the annual Rodeo Bible Camp. I have cooked the spuds and now rest in writing a little message. God bless all the campers today!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

In a Time of Doubt

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 2 Timothy 1:12

Paul was in jail, and that is about all we know about the things he suffered at this time. We can imagine many others, but the important thing is that suffering fits many of us too. Jail, hospital, the workplace, and many other circumstances can lead us to a time of doubt. Suffering in prison, Paul had many reasons to indulge in a season of doubt or even self-pity. Instead, he wrote to Timothy the verse we read above.

Maybe it was that thing Paul had committed that made it easier for him to have faith? Paul had committed his life, that seems fairly valuable. Throw in enough suffering and enough belief in what Heaven has in store, and many of us would gladly give up this life for eternity with Jesus. Career, reputation, a comfortable home, influence, and a project to throw himself into - yes, Paul had given up or committed all of these things to the Lord. We didn't live his life though, so it is hard for us to grasp those things. Ah, so maybe it wasn't so much what was committed, though Paul obviously considered it valuable, but who he made the commitment to.

Nevertheless, one and all who believe in Christ Jesus come to that point where we are convinced and persuaded by the One in whom we believe. We may consider this life worth much or little. Our career may be one of sterling achievement or just a job. Homes are more of less comfortable, and we can always find one that we wish we had, but it is His home that calls to our hearts. In a time of doubt, the Lord Jesus is the one who keeps us against that day and until that day of His return.

Great is His name in all the Earth!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Work, Struggle, When's The Next Break?

This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. 1 Timothy 4:10

That's it, sorry, it's Monday again. Struggle to awaken, put on the work clothes, and let's go at it one more time. Then we can wonder when the next break will come.

There will come a time, probably already has occurred for you more than once, when we don't think we can get up for yet another work day. A rough weekend expending too much energy or simply one of those 'too short' weekends, and we will face another Monday. Seeking energy in the self, counting on a chemical stimulant, hoping for a break, we trudge off to the toil. Sounds so very depressing, eh? Perhaps we seek our strength for the yoke in the wrong source.

Paul stated in a couple of his letters that our hope is in God. No matter how we feel on a Monday morning, the strength to endure another work week comes from God. We are much too weak to endure this toil and struggle on our own. Many there are who will not give the glory to God for the strength to endure, but many are we who will give God His glory and thank Him for the strength to work.

Thank You, dear Lord, for work and the strength to work on this fine Monday!


Saturday, June 03, 2017

Do We Make It Too Easy?

The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20:10

Scanning the news this morning, I see that John says, 'Don't trust men 40+', and then further down the page, it seems that he says, 'Girls, don't trust men under 40.' Well, that narrows it down for you. You can trust men at the age of 40. I don't recall being super trustworthy at 40, but as I am on the + side of that, maybe I can't trust myself on this. Sigh, another magical age that I seem to have blown by without realizing.

Back in the day, that is the day of Moses, an adulterous couple was put to death. No, they were surely put to death. I have tried to pay attention to the news for quite some time now, but I do not recall anyone being put on death row for adultery in these parts as far back as I can remember. If the death penalty seems too much for us, maybe we can make the sin more difficult in other ways. The man should mow the lawn of the woman he is wanting to commit adultery with, the woman would have to garden or trim in the yard of her intended conquest. If you are into that politically-correct thing, just switch the roles, if you wish.

With this sort of public service, the husband and wife who are not involved in the adultery could exercise their consent as well. The man might for example plant some land mines in his lawn. This would serve to make adultery more difficult and perhaps cut down on the sin a bit. Do you suppose this would work?

For more than a thousand years the Law of Moses specified death as the penalty for adultery. Yet, there sat Jesus drawing in the dust while a woman caught in adultery stood before Him. Not only had the law not stopped the sin, but they couldn't even carry out the penalty portion correctly as the adulterer, clearly specified in our verse for today, was not present. Surely we didn't forget that part, did we, gents? So if rapid and immediate death did not stop the sin, how would a poor attempt at public shaming help?

Always, always we need something that acts on the desire to sin, someone to save us from ourselves and that fallen condition we are born into. If the death penalty cannot frighten us away from the sin, and public shaming turns into a joke because 'everyone is doing it', then we must look to a savior. We need a rebirth into a better state, a place where temptation does not live and love reigns eternal. We need Jesus!

Our Lord Jesus, always and forever,

Friday, June 02, 2017

Inside Your Home

For the LORD will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the LORD will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down. Exodus 12:23 NLT

A little reboot for one of those 'minor' software updates and 'poof' no Internet. Fortunately, a simple reboot of the modem brought the connection back to life. We are a bit gun shy over our Internet connection in these parts; a day when it does not go down has become a cherished luxury.

Ah, that sound, yes, it is the sound of summer, the sprinkler making its little impact noise as it waters the lawn. I think that I will bring it inside the house to hear it better. Hmm, yeah, unless I want to change my decor to a rubber and plastic theme, and provide for sufficient drainage, that probably will not work. Shutting off all electricity would probably be a good idea in that case as well. Some things just don't work very well inside a home.

The Israelites didn't want a death angel inside their homes. The Egyptians of that time would testify that this is wise as their firstborn children were struck down and killed. The thing we cannot miss is what kept the death angel out: the blood of the lamb. What brought the blood of the lamb to the Israelite door frames? Obedience.

The bloody signs around the door seem almost like a pagan ritual. Yet, who are we to question the Lord's command? So often I find a desire in me to regulate the Lord. If He would just work in the ways I expect, we could all be happier. No, no, no, down with my way; we want the Lord to be the Lord. Then, we can stand back and enjoy the awesome wonder of His work and word, especially when He does not fret over meeting some silly expectations from the likes of me.

Enjoy the start of summer. Live in Christ!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

You Shall Not Give Me Anything

So he said, “What shall I give you?”
And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep your flocks. Genesis 30:31

Did Jacob gain nothing then? Well, we know from the other stories of Jacob that he is a sharp one. Jacob gained access to the herds of goats and sheep, and he did a little breeding until Laban had the pretty, but weaker flock, and Jacob had the speckled and stronger flocks. Jacob became quite wealthy with his breeding program. Sometimes it is easier to take offered money, but it may not be the best course in the long run. It is the 1st of the month, I apologize for bringing this up right after a payday. Yes, I took the offered money yesterday too.

While we might pause for a moment and wonder if the monthly bills could be paid with something long term in place of money, there is wisdom to be found in the stories of the patriarchs. Through wise decisions, mistakes, and sins, the men and women of old taught us much, and one of these is something often lacking in this age - long term thinking. We want the quick reward and the immediate pleasure. We want the pain to go away right now, without pausing to ask God if He has a better plan with a goal we cannot quite see. Yes, I am just as guilty of that as anyone: when it hurts, I want it stopped, please!

Endurance, steadfast, faith - these words speak of a longer time frame than we usually want to contemplate. We would rather enjoy a banquet this morning and enter Heaven this afternoon. The thought of a large number of tomorrows while enduring pain in steadfast faith makes us a bit faint and cranky. Trusting in God and His plan for our development is on the tough side of difficult. Praise God for the kind and loving encouragement and strengthening of His dear Holy Spirit. Couldn't do it without You, Mate!