Monday, July 31, 2017

Where Is The Contentment?

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10

It is difficult to form a loving relationship with money when it fails to stay around for long. As a couple, we just don't see each other often enough to really get to know one another. Me and money are a doomed and star-crossed thing it seems, never destined to be an item. So inconstant is money in my life that I don't have enough to buy it a ring. Ebenezer Scrooge, on the other hand, formed such a bond with his money that he refused to let it go anywhere without the prospect of it bringing more back to him.

Through the grace of God, I am making my way now and paying those bills, but the love of money is a present temptation. One can be like Scrooge and love the pile of money in a vault, or one can not have enough and pine away in unrequited money love. As Dickens pointed out, the world seems to hate both the rich and the poor with equal fervor. So, where is that contented place where one is neither rich nor poor, but able to fulfill obligations and put aside some for that proverbial rainy day?

In Luke 3:14: Jesus was asked by some soldiers what they should do and our Lord told them to be content with their pay. Note that these were not officers or even sergeants, but just soldiers, and as anyone who has served knows, the grunts don't make much. Tax collectors were considerably better off, at the expense of the people of course, and Jesus at that same time gave them the same advice: "Collect no more than what is appointed for you." (v13). Both speak of contentment, but where is the contentment found? I would say that it is in faith.

Faith tells us the Lord will provide what we need, whether it is more to the owner of several businesses who needs more to make his obligations or to the soldier who has less obligations and thus needs less. Faith says that we can be content through belief and trust in our great Lord. Faith is rather talkative on this subject because in the world we are so very tempted to be 'dis', as in discontented and disbelieving. Where is the contentment? It arrives on the wings of firm faith in our faithful Lord Jesus!

Now, firm up that faith with prayer and have a faithful week in Christ!


Friday, July 28, 2017

The Backward Perspective of the Unbeliever

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
​​You shall have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:2-3

We have read them before, and we knew right then that the Ten Commandments began with a restriction, a bounding of our liberty. Actually, as we can read now from the quickening of the Spirit within us, the Ten Commandments begins with an introduction, "I am the Lord your God..." and continues next with what the Lord has done for us. I use 'us' because we can see our former condition in the bondage of the ancient Israelites whom God brought out of Egypt as He said.

The unbeliever sees the commandments of our Lord as a bunch of restrictions to what he/she wants to do in the flesh. The believer gains a new perspective, one of the love and goodness of God. What do I see in a jealous God? One who does not want anyone or anything else to have me. Think on that for a moment!

Where there was restriction, now we have promise. Whenever the testing came the unbeliever was found to be a thief and a liar, but the one reborn in Christ will be set free of the bondage of sin completely when Jesus brings him or her home forever. So strong is God's word on this that the promises start with, "You shall not". It is so beautiful to me that the Ten Commandments are the law when facing unbelief, but a new promise when the salvation of Christ Jesus enters in to a believing heart.

Thank You, dear Lord, for the salvation that leaves behind us the backward perspective of the unbeliever through the saving grace of Jesus.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Was There Any Doubt?

And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” John 11:41b-42.

No doubt in Jesus, He was 100% in faith and in communication with His Father. Most of us fall a bit short of that. We might hit 99% on a good day, but there are those doubts that flap around our heads like little vampire bats. We rather like to have an acknowledgement from the other end of our prayer, but we don't always get it, and a doubt settles in for a quick 'bite o' the vampyre'.

God desires that all believe in Him and in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Doubts about the Lord, His providence, protection, and salvation are all rooted in moments of unbelief. Those vampire bats of doubt are sucking away at our faith as we entertain that short moment of unbelief. Adam and Eve failed to believe the Lord for just a moment and believed the Serpent instead; sin blew up in God's creation and death followed. Which, was just what the Lord said would happen had that first man and woman just believed Him. What a price Jesus paid for that moment or two of unbelief!

Fortunately for us, the price Jesus paid at Calvary bought for us some armor, including a Helmet of Salvation, good for protecting the mind where the vampire bats of doubt like to settle first. They may be some sneaky bats, but we are also given the Sword of God's Word, and that can cleave a vampire bat of doubt right in twain.

"But, but, I'm no swordsman," the doubter says with trembling lips. No, none of us are at the start, for our rebirth in Christ makes an infant Christ-one and we need His protection. However, in Christ we learn quickly and a few swings with such a powerful weapon can make a professional sword-swinger out of the most doubtful former unbeliever. This is one case where the power is truly in the sword!

Rejoice in the day with Jesus!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

He Was Obedient To The Word

“Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus." Acts 1:16

Reading the story of the betrayal and arrest of our Lord Jesus, one might well wonder why the Lord did not simply fire Judas and get another disciple. However, the reason we do not wonder over that is the very word of God, which as Peter states in our verse today, had to be fulfilled.

When it comes to those prophecies that are not yet fulfilled, 'when' is the only question left. We may not know the method of the fulfillment, but we know that God will take care of it in His all mighty power. Why is because God has His purpose for doing it. We may even debate literal fulfillment versus figurative, but we know that the time is near. When these things will happen we don't know, but we do know they will happen. The prophecy of God is an unstoppable force; a juggernaut standing firm in the river of time. We will meet it at the appointed time.

Jesus was the One who knew what was to come, including everything Judas would do to Him. Yet, He did not avoid the will of His Father, God, who gave the word centuries before. Our Lord Jesus, He was obedient to the Word.

Thank You, dear God, for Your obedient Son who died to save us from our sin,


Monday, July 24, 2017

The New Thing: Grace

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Genesis 6:8

Grace is a New Testament thing, right? We may tend to think so, but Noah somehow found grace, and so did Moses. Jesus brought us grace, but He did not mention it. Yet as the Bible reaches its grand finale, grace is written more and more until that final verse of the Bible when John blesses us with the grace of Jesus Christ.

Grace tells me that Noah was not chosen for his sinless perfection. The same goes for Moses, and everyone else in both Testaments who found grace through our Lord Jesus. Those who stand with John at the very end of this age will not be there to celebrate their own success at sin avoidance. They too will find grace, but how is this thing found? I suppose Noah found it the same way we all found it: He believed.

Grace does not speak of perfection from those who found it, but from Him who gives it. Jesus didn't mention grace because He didn't need it. He was, you might say, the very embodiment of God's grace toward us. We can know that we have found grace in God's sight by the fact that He sent His Son to save us. Like Noah, we must believe, for how can one receive something from the One he or she does not believe in?

God's grace, enabled because Jesus satisfied God's judgment, and the thing we sinners need for salvation. Have a grace-filled Monday!


Friday, July 21, 2017

The Hot Days of July

For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals. Psalm 102:3

Look! The Bible tells of the hot days of July! If you run to your scripture, as you should in this case, to look up Psalm 102, you will find that using this verse out of its context is to change the subject entirely. Although it may seem a spot on description of the effects our weather is having on us lately, this verse is part of a psalm that sings of one calling out to the Lord in a time of great trouble. (Sorry, a hot day may be tough, but it isn't usually 'great' trouble.) For all we know the weather may have been just fine outside as the psalmist wrote down the agony of his or her heart to the Lord.

Heading into the Bible with an agenda of my own, I can probably pick and pluck verses out of context to support about any point I can come up with; the Devil did when he tried to get Jesus to fall in the wilderness. The great thing about the Lord's word is that if any will read the story, the context of that plucked out verse, then great things will be revealed. One great thing will be the revelation of God's point in place our your own. What does God say about you and me in the hot days of July?

I invite you to read the Word of God and behold the wonder. Some verses can stand alone, but all have a context that goes further. Even the great ones like John 3:16 have a wonderful story with them, and how the mind does like a good story. Speaking of John 3, what better place to search for the key to eternal life! That's quite a treasure, and it sure beats stomping through the hot and steamy swamps of Florida like that Spanish explorer did. We can read the Word in the air-conditioned luxury of a home or office instead.

Enjoy one of the hot days of July, rejoice in the Lord Jesus!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Valuable Bits

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. Psalm 25:1

We talk a lot about the parts that will return to dust in the cold, cold ground. Okay, sorry, the ground lately has been anything but cold. Yesterday was one of the wettest and hottest days I've seen around here for a while. There I go again talking about the dusty bits. Has my soul been affected by the heat at all? That's a tough one, for I am created as God made me; I am not only a body, and neither am I only a soul in some fleshy container. God desires all of me to return to Him.

David, in the first verse of his 25th psalm offered up that part of him that is eternal right now. The soul does not return to dust, only the body. Am I moving into things that I can scarcely know? Yes, thank you for noticing!

Throughout my days I have learned of the world through the window of my senses. Anything spiritual was a lot hard to grasp, and much was ignored because of that. Upon my rebirth in Christ, the spiritual began to grab a hold of my attention. What is this soul he speaks of? How does he know he has one? These revelations can only come from the Lord. I cannot believe some guy from 3,000 years ago just because he wrote it down in a psalm. Yet, as an infant and growing new creation, something in me says, "Yes, your soul is valuable." Where will this soul go when the body returns to dust? How did it get here?

The soul of our Lord Jesus was so valuable to Him that He gave its keeping into the hands of the greatest and safest person He knew: His Father, God. Like Jesus and David, I too give my soul into the hands of my Father God. It is my most valuable bits, and there is none better for safekeeping than the Almighty.

Somehow in the resurrection He is going to bring it all back together, the soul and the dusty bits will become an incorruptible one. God's grace to you on this fine day!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Time For Maintenance

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. Titus 3:8

Playing with equipment in the field is much more fun than the hours of maintenance required afterward. Most of us have experienced this in many ways. Cooking dirties a lot of pots and pans. Camping means cleanup of utensils, tents, sleeping bags, clothing and bodies. Four-wheeling means washing off that part of the field your truck brought back; plus refueling, checking of other fluid levels and repair of the parts that broke. Maintenance doesn't seem to bring the same sense of having fun that the field work might.

Paul may have spent some hours debating the Greeks, more time writing letters, and plenty of hours in individual witness, but he reminded Titus of the need for maintenance. In this case, that maintenance was in good works. Paul reminds us of the daily need to maintain.

There are good works that involve others such as giving and volunteering. There are good works that no one notices but God. There are good works which are done more publicly such as singing in the choir. And there are the more maintenance related good works such as private prayer with God, studying the scriptures, and meditation to cleanse the thought life. Paul is reminding Titus to affirm to others to maintain the things which maintain our life in Christ. What a good work to do for a brother in Christ!

While we weren't looking, God's Holy Spirit did more maintenance work on us than we will ever know! Enjoy the day in Christ, and endeavor to maintain those good works!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

His Love Goes On Forever

A psalm of Ethan the Ezrahite.

I will sing of the LORD's unfailing love forever!
Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Psalm 89:1

Who was Ethan the Ezrahite? Probably never know, just another of those psalmists. Not quite, Ethan gets another mention in 1 Kings where he is second fiddle to Solomon's wisdom. I would take that if I were him! That is quite an honor to be second to Solomon in wisdom. Ethan was wise enough also to know a little fact about the Lord's love - it is unfailing.

The only way Ethan is going to sing of the Lord's love forever is for it to be as unfailing as he writes. Forever is one of those words that only the Lord truly knows. When I think of forever my mind kind of goes out a ways and then falters for terms. Forever can't be put in a box lest it fail to finite. That is why I leave the burden of forever with God. I'll trust in Him to keep me forever. Attempting to give you an example of forever is to try to cage the word, and it doesn't work. But perhaps worrying over forever is to miss the real blessing - His love.

The 'for all have sinned' crowd doesn't deserve any of God's love. We are rebels only deserving of the enmity of the One we rebelled against. Yet, Ethan reminds us of an unfailing gift of God: His love. We will one day join with our brother Ethan in singing of God's unfailing love, and yes we will do it forever; or at least as long as God lasts, which just might be the eternal side of forever and ever.

Have a great day in God's unfailing love!

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Given Command

Thus says the LORD: “Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and there speak this word, Jeremiah 22:1

The gift of the prophet: secret knowledge from God Himself that no one else has. Whoo hoo! Way to go me! The duty of the prophet: go on down there and disturb the king in his house. Hopefully he won't have his soldiers drag me out back and take my head. I wonder what the life expectancy of prophets were back in the day?

It does not appear that any calling from the Lord is without its peril. In the Bible, Jesus comforted us with the fact that in answering His call the world would hate us too. Peter, executed; Paul, executed; Stephen, stoned to death; James, executed; John the Baptist, off with his head... the list goes on throughout the ages. There are those in the world working to do the same to us. So, why would anyone answer the call to prophecy or to spread the good news of Jesus?

For every time Jesus told us how tough this life will be, He gave us promises of love, eternal rest, Heaven, His return, strength to endure, living water, and many other great and wonderful things that are to come. Our rebirth in Christ is but the start of an eternal life with our Lord. The struggles of this life are the tiniest preparation for the glory of God that will be our eternal home. Peter, Paul, and the others who died for their testimony were with Jesus just that much sooner, and I'm sure they would remind us these many years later of that very thing.

The times and the age will soon come to an end, go with God.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Not A Thing

And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Genesis 11:6

There is, inevitably it seems, one morning each year where I open the house up in the middle of the night and do nothing at all to change the inside temperature of the house. Not a thing, except maybe to exchange some humidity with the outside air and make it uncomfortable in here. Is there any power in man to change things?

Well, yes, it seems that we do have some power among us to effect a change. In Genesis 11, we read the story of a mighty work, so mighty that the Lord Himself took note and decided to change things up a bit. The confusion of languages made by the Lord that day changed the world. So, just how much could humans accomplish together with a common language and cooperation in place of the conflicts we have now? We cannot know yet. But it seems that even in our fallen state, those created in God's image have a power to build that would likely impress even the most critical among us. What was the problem with building a tall tower in Babel? Maybe not quite what I tend to think.

I have a tendency to think that height was a problem for God, since that does seem to be prominently mentioned, but it may be that other thing they said, "Let us make a name for ourselves." And to think about it, why would the number of stories we pile up ever be a problem for God? However, that thing about a name doesn't sound good when it is His name we should long to bear. Such as in Matthew 12:21, "And in His name Gentiles will trust." As a Gentile saved by the Lamb, I identify with that! To make a name for myself is not a thing I need worry over. Isaiah the prophet foretold it, Jesus lived it, and now we have a chance to be known by His name and trust in Him. What a great project for us!

Have a wonderful Saturday in the love of Christ!

Friday, July 14, 2017

His Majesty

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

The style of David may be quickly apparent in these words of our verse today. David had the Spirit of the Lord in him, and in his words it comes out strongly. I was thinking about His Majesty today and the thought came from what is to us an unusual source, a man raised in the Islamic religion.

We may not think often enough of our Lord's majesty. Yet the Bible mentions it throughout, from Deuteronomy to Jude in the New King James version. That is not quite throughout though, is it? It is interesting that it does not bear mention in Genesis or the Revelation. Hmm, could it be that this man raised under Islam has a point? Oh, what was his point, you may be asking? The man wondered if God's majesty was less important to Him than His people. That is a rather profound question.

We have seen in history rulers who would not give up an aspect of their throne, perceived or otherwise, for any amount of their people. Yet, here is His Majesty, the Lord of hosts, arriving in this world, His world by our verse for today, through the birth canal of a girl. That last bit is not mine either, but from the point of view of this child of Islam. It is fascinating to read such a different point of view coming to faith in the same Savior, Jesus, as you and I did, and this man did through a great struggle. Testimony is so important for us, and, you might even say it is our mission, Jesus did.

Read Nabeel's testimony in:
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi

Have a fabulous, foggy Friday in Christ!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

This Little Sheep of Thine

​​“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
​​Against the Man who is My Companion,”
​​Says the LORD of hosts.
​​“Strike the Shepherd,
​​And the sheep will be scattered;
​​Then I will turn My hand against the little ones." Zechariah 13:7

Scattered were the little sheep of Israel in the day after our Lord died on the cross. The Shepherd was down and the sheep were lost. Not long after though, the gathering of little sheep from foreign lands began as the risen Lord put forth His Spirit onto the first of His own flock right there in Jerusalem. Soon thousands would be saved by the ministry of God's own Spirit through those names we know such as Peter, John, and Paul; and those we do not know so well in lands farther away.

Today, we stand in a land quite far away from Jerusalem, though our heart may yearn for its restoration as the Holy City of God. We are glad that the Word has spread to this far away land through the generations and ministers. And, we are glad to be claimed by the Shepherd who rose again from the grave. This little sheep of thine, O Lord, longs to praise Your name from the gallery of Heaven's throne room. Glad we are, dear Father, that You sent Your Son out into the fallen world to reclaim every lost little sheep. Thank You, Father, for Your great love in this cursed land.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Wednesday Weekend

And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there. Acts 27:12

If a body part should get injured, I'm one that is usually ready to end the pain well before recovery is complete. Two years, in my weak and wobbly opinion, is more than enough study for a four-year degree. One day's driving should be enough to get anywhere in the world I desire. And wouldn't it be great to start the weekend on a Wednesday? The lament of all fair weather sailors is that faith sure is tough when it is put to the test!

Many an upstanding Christian has fared well when the going is calm, the winds gentle and consistent in the direction he wants to go, and the boat well-provisioned for the journey. As God loves His sheep though, the journey of growing faith will not remain easy. Contrary winds will give way to the storm. Supplies will run low and the weakened spirit will call out to the Lord to bring the vessel into the peaceful harbor before the voyage is but half done. Yes, I have been a quitter and know the feeling well!

Many is the time I have come to the end of myself, wanted to quit, and been shepherded to the end of the journey by the Lord. Every voyage that grows faith will be too much for me to handle. If getting only halfway there was good enough, I would develop only faith in me and what I could do. The growth of faith in God requires me to develop a faith in what He can do, and often what He can do doesn't show plainly to my weak eyes until I am ready to quit and call it good enough.

The owner of the cargo on this vessel paid for it on the cross at Calvary, and getting it halfway home is not what He desires. The harbor to the left of the course that looks so inviting when the storm rages may be full of hidden mines or submerged reefs. The Master knows all and trusting Him to steer the ship to the right harbor, the destination where He awaits, grows faith in Him. The harbor where the quitter would go is just not suitable for the Master's precious cargo.

Great is His faithfulness in growing our faith!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

3,2,1...You're Ready To Praise Him!

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

The infirmities of the world do weigh heavily upon us some mornings. Whether you are afflicted with MS, CF, ALS, PTS, or just plain ol' distress, you are ready to praise the Lord. We are cut down by cancer, heart disease, stroke, accident, incident, and living too long, but we are ready to praise the Lord. Since the Lord's strength is perfected in our weakness, then we have so much to offer Him! Whether your infirmity is heavy on you today or lightly borne for a change, you are ready to praise Him.

You love Jesus and this morning the world woke up hating those who love our Lord Jesus. Congratulations, we have set ourselves for Jesus and against the world and its ruling power. We will suffer some infirmities. How it must torque the bloomers of our enemy that the Lord would use those same infirmities to remind us of His strength and to show us the perfection in it. We have so much to live for, our great Lord who died for us, and one day we get to leave those infirmities behind and spend eternity with our Lord Jesus!

Thank You, dear Lord, for loving the infirm. We love You too!


Monday, July 10, 2017

No Strain To Feel

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

I have wondered in the days of my dim past, why could I not feel the strain of salvation in me. The explanation is in the grace of God, a gift. It should be no wonder because without the strain of making, earning, or performing this thing there is no strain for me to feel.

If there had been a way for us to earn or obtain our salvation through our own effort, then we might have one day in the past have come home sore and weary from the effort. We would know the earning of our salvation in the worldly way of paychecks received for work performed. God would then simply be a sort of salvation paymaster who owes us. But it was never that way. Fallen men could never work in a fallen world and obtain that which only the grace of God provides. If we could work for it, we could boast of it, but it doesn't come to us that way.

If one of us should by the generous spirit given to us by God's Spirit decide to present a gift to a friend, we would not expect that friend to join us in the effort to acquire or make the gift. It wouldn't fit the definition of gift if the friend had to earn it beforehand. The friend should feel no strain in receiving the gift, just as we cannot feel any strain from the gift of salvation. The gift was paid for by God's Son on the cross, and we most certainly cannot attempt to steal His glory by boasting of what effort we put forth at Calvary!

His gift, my salvation; He paid the price; I am glad to receive it. Praise the Lord!


Saturday, July 08, 2017

The Storm Hitteth Us

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10

We had a dry June with three weeks of no rain at all. However, last night as I watched the radar display, I saw a building storm that appeared to be headed right for us...from the north! One little cell, at least it looked little on the map, built up and jumped us with hail and rain. The rail (rail? Thank the Lord for proof reading, what in the world is rail?), I'm sorry, hail was mercifully on the small side and oddly there was little wind, said the man in the eye of the hurricane.

There are of course a couple of reasons for having no wind in a storm: one, there really isn't any associated with the storm except perhaps too high to feel; and two, the observer happens to be in the center of rotation, kind of like the dummy saying there is no wind in a hurricane as he popped his head out just as the eye passed right over him. We have watched Biblical prophecy in a similar way these past few years.

The important part about the alarming prophecies of the end times is that they will come. It may seem that no wind is blowing right now, or that the storms have been missing, but the Lord's day will come as Peter assures us. The signs we look for will coalesce into a fast-moving storm one day, and it will not miss. The Rapture, the Tribulation, the saints beheaded for their testimony, and the glorious return of our Lord Jesus will all happen along with the many other signs foretold, just as the Lord through His prophets said they would. One of those tribulation prophecies just happens to be zero wind on the earth. How very interesting!

May God have mercy on those who will not believe!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Tremble At My Name!

As fire burns brushwood,
As fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence! Isaiah 64:2

Does your name cause your enemies to tremble? Have any nations trembled at your presence? I cannot say that it has happened for me. The flames of my anger doth not affrighteth the heathenish as my flesh would liketh. The flesh strives for power as much as it lusts after other things. But for most of us there just isn't a lot there to impress the nations. In the American Book of Who's Not, I and most everyone I know made the listings in all three categories: Who's Not ...powerful, rich, or famous.

The verse I grabbed today is of course a prayer from the prophet to God. Isaiah wanted the Lord to come down and make His presence felt among the enemies of Israel. Well, that's a different matter entirely. Great is the name of our Lord God, the Almighty One! Does it seem like it in this age?

We have come to an age when the name of God is profaned much more than it is glorified in the popular media. A show written by an atheist uses the name of the Lord as an expletive. Want to show the heroine is surprised or frightened? Start her line with the name of our Savior. We see it often, but that isn't the end of this story. One day, the Lord will come and as fire burns brushwood, the terror of His name will sweep across the land.

What a great day when our Lord returns honor and fear to His wonderful name,


Thursday, July 06, 2017

A Lumberjack In The Forest Of Anxiety

Deliver Me from the sword,
​​My precious life from the power of the dog.
Save Me from the lion’s mouth
​​And from the horns of the wild oxen!
​​You have answered Me.  Psalm 22:20-21

All around us in the air are little seeds of fear. The Adversary does not want us to have an easy life and he especially hates those who believe in Jesus. David felt the attack of these seeds too, and he took a moment in Psalm 22 to list a few fears of his own. We like it when David is one of us. However, this psalm is also one of prophecy, and I just can't see Jesus on the cross worrying over swords, dogs, lions, or wild oxen.

Wait just a moment though! If our Lord was in all things tempted as we are, then I could see Him there on the cross contending with those unreasonable, uncouth, and unlikely fears that we all suffer daily. We might think that a man dying on the cross would have no worries over the horns of wild oxen, but that isn't the way of those devilish minions who shoot the flaming darts of unreasonable fear. They don't much care about a man's current predicament or how unlikely a fear is to actually happen in a given moment. I should think that Jesus did feel the temptation of an uncouth fear even in His worst moments on the cross. The reason He was without sin is that He did not let the seed grow up into the tree of anxiety.

Those who work at fear and anxiety long enough might even come to dwell in a forest of anxiety. This can become so bad that the person is lost in that forest as so many trees have grown from those little seeds of fear. We might even become a little comfortable there as it has become so familiar to us. What is that sound though? It sounds like a big saw!

When the Shepherd comes for His sheep, He is not shy about donning the gear of a lumberjack and clearing that forest of anxiety. Our Lord is the best there is for clearing a path right to His lost sheep, perhaps even one who is so lost that only the simplest prayer is left, "Save me, Lord Jesus!" Look up in hope, dear friends, there's a Lumberjack in the Forest of Anxiety!

May your faith in Christ grow strong today,

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The Best Side

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” John 20:27

You stand on a bridge just between the two sides of one of the large highways on the north side of London, that great city in England, with your back to the city itself. The morning rush hour begins and the inbound traffic roars toward you. Which side did you just envision all that traffic driving on?

I struggled with this as I tried to see in my mind's eye the traffic on the proper side of the highway. I would remind myself that they drive on the left over there, and then see the traffic coming in on the left. No, no, no! The inbound traffic to London, with my back to the city, would come toward me on the right side of the divided highway. Just the opposite of what would be familiar to me here in America. Which side is the best side?

Of course the best side to drive on either side of the pond is the side that doesn't cause head-on collisions. We want to be on the best side of Jesus too, but Thomas was commanded to reach out his hand and place it in the wounded side of our Lord. This is some invitation! If you have ever suffered a serious wound, touching is not the first thing that comes to mind. When that doctor showed up with his probe to explore the wound, you may have entertained thoughts of a vengeful sort, but you most certainly did not invite him to touch and root around in there. The best side of our Lord is the one that will cause us to believe, no matter what it may cost Him. Faith is what we need in this age, and I get the impression from our verse today that my Lord Jesus will do whatever it takes to give us that faith, up to and including letting that unwashed Thomas stick a grubby hand into His wounded side.

Thomas saw and believed; praise God for the faith to not see and still believe.


Monday, July 03, 2017

Working For God's Glory

Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. 1 Timothy 6:1

Past 0700 on my extra day off: plans - many; real accomplishments thus far this morning - zero. My effort on this day is not exactly a testimony to the glory of God. Such is the pressure of this world that one day off can cause such guilt and shame. Wait, is work for the glory of God and rest nothing but the laziness of the world? Does that mean retired folks are nothing but slackers and those who work themselves to death the real heroes of the age? Or, is work nothing but the pressure of our society to produce and not be useless? Golly, the modern world sure has made this confusing!

There are many reasons to rest and good reasons for work too. I cannot recall a day that work and rest were not intermingled anyway. As one gets older just getting up from the bed can be some fairly serious work. In our age, sitting down and thinking deeply to solve problems on a computer has become hard work, while walking, running or lifting weights after a day of desk work might be considered restful. Many times I have mentally collapsed exhausted into bed at the end of the day, while my body was no doubt wondering when we were going to get started. Confusion in what is work and what is rest may be a part of the Adversary's methods.

Writing may be a part of my work for God, while trimming trees or mowing grass might be naught but self-serving toil. Service, it seems, may be as much attitude as it is exercise. Many work only for themselves and put quite a lot of effort into it. Others serve the Lord daily and may at times appear to be doing nothing at all. It's those visual, on-the-surface, snap judgments about our neighbors that seem to get us every time.

Now, I'm thinking that the glory of God is asking a bit more effort from me than I have done so far this morning.


Saturday, July 01, 2017

I Get Grace; You All Obey The Law!

“I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Galatians 2:21

A man comes into the office professing his faith in Christ; he then proceeds to annoy, abuse, irritate, and anger everyone he comes into contact with, and this includes some fairly patient and easy-going folks. So, do I get to doubt his faith?

If I do, then shame on me, and what doubts must everyone have about my faith? You see, I don't get to live in grace while everyone else must be saved by the law. The actions of a brother in Christ do not necessarily speak to his salvation or lack thereof. As we know well, any Christian can have a bad day (or two or three). We are not immune from depression, anxiety or any other mental health illness. A brother in Christ may go through a long and difficult trial which may cause him to lash out at everyone. Prayer and forgiveness are the tools for us when a brother in Christ puts us to the test. And what a test it has been!

I don't want to fail in the test simply because I have met an annoying Christian. We are to love one another, but sometimes we may not like their actions or methods. Try to un-clench those teeth when he comes around. Pray for patience and understanding, or in his case - the strength for longsuffering and endurance to the end. Pray for his healing and mine. Which brings up another question: can a believer in Christ be possessed?

The grace of God to you; I promise not to try to keep it all for myself, no matter how much I need!