Thursday, August 31, 2017

Truly He Says

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24

In the King James version we get the verily, verily's, but here in the NKJV we read 'most assuredly'. I'm not sure which gives the most emphasis, but surely we are to listen and receive the words of Jesus in this. Truly He says that for the price of hearing His words and believing in God we have everlasting life, and no judgment!

That great verse, John 3:16, said much the same thing. How is it that work, effort, toil, and all the other hallmarks of religious drudgery are left out of this? Where is the peak to scale? When do we get to claim a personal victory? Notice how He speaks as though it's all done already.

For simply hearing the Word and believing in Him, I have passed from death into life. You heard Jesus and you believed in Him, welcome to life eternal. Why didn't we have to pay an entrance fee to get here?

It had to be all Him, for fallen imperfection cannot perfect another fallen imperfection or worse, itself. If a crooked building with no knowledge of how to make a straight building tried to erect another building, it too would come out crooked and both would fall. Imagine a wild animal trying to raise tame offspring. Ah, but place the wild kittens with the tame mother cat, and though the wild birth of the kittens will show, they will not be the wild animals they might have become.

We too, once saved and instructed by the Lord's Spirit, can teach and train one another. Our 'wild' sinful birth does show at times, but we are becoming daily more meek before the Lord. Great is His name in all the Earth!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Conflict With Brothers

Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth.
But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?” Acts 23:2&3

At first we might say that Paul was no Jesus standing quietly as a sheep before the slaughter. But just a moment there, Jesus spoke to the soldier who struck Him, and it wasn't to say 'thanks, I needed that'. (See John 18:22-23) And, wasn't there a high priest involved in that one too? This is Jesus and then Paul, what happened to turning the other cheek?

It may well be that in simply repeating a bit of scripture in 'turn the other cheek', we have missed something in the context. Perhaps we are not to be the helpless victims that phrase appears to require?

Reading both incidents, we can see that in both cases the initial slap or blow was wrong. Jesus and Paul His servant could in no way participate in turning the other cheek to receive another wrong slap for that would be to encourage lawbreaking. Paul even points out to the corrupt hypocrite the breaking of the law. Jesus asks the soldier, "If I have spoken evil...then bear witness, but if well...then why?" We can see the gentle remonstrance of the real authority in the room in that question.

So, where do we use the 'turn the other cheek' rule? Well, for one thing, I do not believe that our Lord Jesus came to publish a new set of rules. The Pharisees of His time had plenty and to spare if rules were the game of the ages. In all things, in all situations and circumstances, we can count on the leading of His Holy Spirit. There may come a time when to save a brother we must turn the other cheek. And there may be those times when we need to stand up in the strength and authority of our Lord Jesus, and ask, "Why do you strike me, brother?"

Another thing we can take away from these two stories is that in neither case did our Lord or our brother in Christ take the opportunity to return the smack. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

School's Out For Summer! Nope, It's Over.

For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more. Psalm 103:16

Yes, the cyclical nature of events that Solomon noted in Ecclesiastes has come 'round again and the schools are open this morning to receive those who just finished enjoying a long summer vacation. I always feel a bit of the sadness in the air, and I don't even have to go! Well, I must not be looking toward those mothers who are jumping for joy and looking forward to a little time to themselves and a break from the summer noise.

The wind has passed over the summer school break, and it is gone.

It is no more.

It is a dead parrot.

Some of you will get that reference.

We can mourn over what has passed, or we can look to the joy that is in the day. In this time, it will always be easier for some than others. When Job was afflicted, his servants and children suffered too, but for the raiders who had stolen Job's herds it was probably a time for celebration. Often it is that way in this world. Some few raiders celebrate the consummation of a large deal and enjoy their bonus, while for others far away they are consumed with fear and worry by the loss of their jobs.

What we look forward to is that day when all of us will celebrate the return of our Lord Jesus, and no one has to lose anything! Anyone who wants to believe in Him can come; all have received an express invitation from the Spirit and the Bride. Alas, on that day too some will refuse the invitation and be left out of the banquet.

Accept His invitation and come to the wedding!


Monday, August 28, 2017

In This World

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.1 John 4:17

As He is, so are we in this world. That is a bit of a shock, because it sure seems like I am not at all where I saw the Lord as He walks through the gospels. So, I declare John a crackpot and my judgment is the one to listen to.

Even to me that seems the wrong way to go about it. Something is wrong if the fallen judgment of one is taken over the holy scriptures. And does this not seem much like what God told Paul about His strength and Paul's weakness? And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Ah, there it is, grace.

How can just reborn and hardly grown up followers of Christ Jesus be like him in this world? He declares it so in His love. We are so weak, yet His perfect love is shown by the perfection of His strength in our weakness. Grace is simply us taking His word for it that we are made like Him right now, in this world. If today is our judgment day, then we have boldness in His perfect love, and not in what we see of our meager strength which does not amount to nearly enough to save even the one of us much less all mankind. Thus we see the reason for depending upon our Lord's judgment and not our own. For, John the Baptist bore this witness: "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand." (John 3:35) I am glad to be one of those all things, for I would be lost without Him!

Walk in grace, the grace of Christ Jesus our Lord! His grace is sufficient for us all.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Slinging The Stumbling Block

So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. Romans 14:12-13

Paul included himself in a bit of slapstick going on in the Roman church - they were tripping each other up. Yes, probably a bit more serious than that. Paul asked for a resolution from the church that all of us avoid slinging a stumbling block into each other's path. Paul also addressed judging one another. No, Paul didn't include himself, did he? Does not our Lord only send us writers and ministers who have perfected their walk in Christ already?

Since Jesus ascended, I would venture out on a very short and stout limb to say: there has not been one perfect or perfected writer or minister sent to us. All of us who have taken up the pen (or keyboard), all who have stood in the pulpit, and any Christian with a kind word on the street has given cause in the secret places of the mind to be judged guilty. Yet, Jesus and then Paul said to us: don't judge others. How very odd.

Sorry, but if I had to write from perfection or wait until Christ has perfected me before His Father God, not one devotional writing would have passed my little fingers thus far. I'm not special in that; every minister, singer, preacher, and writer who has been saved by the blood of the Lamb will not claim perfection in themselves. Oh, but what about the Lord? Does He not inspire, remind us of scripture, and strengthen us to the task? Well, yes, every one of us who believe in Christ Jesus depends upon His Holy Spirit to send a message of good news out to the corners of the world. Those messages may not be spoken or written purrfectley, but our Lord uses them to spread the good news of His kingdom.

Thank You, Dear Lord, for using such fallen, reborn, hurting, healing, sinful, justified, imperfect, crippled up, shut in, stumbling, bumbling and fumbling folks such as we are to share Your gospel!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Said: Woe Is Me!

So I said:
​​“Woe is me, for I am undone!
​​Because I am a man of unclean lips,
... And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
​​“Behold, this has touched your lips;
​​Your iniquity is taken away,
​​And your sin purged.”  Isaiah 6:5&7 

In our scripture for this morning, we have a comparison of what a man, Isaiah, said and what the messenger of God said. Isaiah is acknowledged as perhaps the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. Yet, at his calling, he says, "Woe is me." After the Lord's seraph torches his lips with a hot coal, Isaiah does not disagree with the message he is given. We, on the other hand, might have a tendency from the flesh to say that coal thing was too easy; that somehow Isaiah didn't earn his salvation enough.

Many of us have struggled throughout this life with a feeling of unworthiness. This is a problem of the flesh and this world. Yes, we are born sinners and in need of salvation, but once we believe then we need to reach out and grab up all of those things God says about us. One of the big ones is that unworthiness thing. Jesus, the Son of God, went to the cross and died in our place. That alone puts a worthy seal on us that cannot be removed by any amount of moping about over our supposed unworthiness. Don't insult God that way! When He says that we are made righteous by that most precious blood of His Son, then righteous we are, and there is great worth in righteousness.

In the world, you and I have this problem of saying, "Woe is me!" In Christ, we have this good news: "Your iniquity is taken away and your sin purged!" Great is His name who can make such unworthy sinners into such worthy saints.

Have a saintly day in Jesus,

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Room For Learning?

“But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Matthew 23:8

We've been eclipsed; Sidney is now more than 150 years old, and our navy is beginning to look like the worst driver in the parking lot. In more earth-rumbling news, this is my first day cooking on cast iron, and my eggs got a bit mussed up; might be some room for learning in some of that news for today.

I see from our verse today that I no longer need worry about adding 'sisteren' to be politically correct. Jesus my Lord stated quite plainly to all gathered there to learn from Him that we are all brethren. One Lord, one Teacher, and all of us students in the faith equal one to another. Paul may not have allowed the women to instruct the men, but he made allowance for the time and place. We, who live now, have room for learning that men do not need to cast women down to be men. We can, in Christ, submit one to another - man to woman and woman to man - as students and disciples of our Lord Jesus.

Have I ever had trouble with a woman teacher of the word of God? Sure I have! There was the one who had such a physical attraction to my manly eyes that I couldn't keep my mind in the right place. Not her fault, I had to leave that one behind to avoid sin. Then there was the one with the voice that grated in mine ears until I doth screecheth in pain. Again, not her fault and nothing wrong with her ministry, also I have heard men with a similar effect in their voices to my ears. We are all fallen, and some of us lost sheep are saved through the Christ, but there is no reason for any of us to put down another. A quick look through the Bible and we see men and women of staggering faults and sins. Since each of us gathered here is chosen and saved by the Lord, we have joined a group of people with, sorry to be the one to tell it, staggering faults and sins. I guess we all fit right in. Yup, guess I do too, Lord. Thank You for choosing me as one of Your found sheeps!

Love in Christ Jesus,

Monday, August 21, 2017


He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. John 3:30-31

Today is the day of the eclipse of the Sun, and we are starting the day foggy. Any day that brings to mind an eclipse will also bring a couple of scriptures to mind. One is the darkening of the day at the death of our Lord on the cross, but the other is that great humility of John the Baptist.

For a brief time in the wilderness of Judea, John the Baptist shone as a light unto the world. But he knew that he was just that small moon coming in between the light of the Lord and His people for a brief time. As John passed, he knew that the Light of the World was about to shine forth and the Baptizer did not want to get in the way of the Son! To act as a herald for the coming of the Lord was a great privilege, but John well knew that he was not worthy to do more than his brief mission. "He must increase, but I must decrease," John said to his disciples in a wonderful display of personal humility.

In the same way, each of us must come to know in this life that we are not the Lord. Belief in Jesus is a vacating by us of the throne of life. Where once we called ourselves king and captain, we give up all to Him who died on the cross to save us. We step back that He might step forward. We learn to quit proclaiming ourselves and we bear witness to the Lord, just as John did in closing John 3:

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (v36).

John the Baptist was indeed eclipsed by the Lord Jesus, and that is the way he would have it. We too must learn to give place to the Lord, and become less while He becomes greater.

Get eclipsed today!

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Bad Law

And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king's decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” Daniel 6:12

Idolatrous at its very heart, the law was made worse by its immutability. And what were they thinking anyway? A 30-day holiday to put the king above God, really? Say it isn't so! Yet, we know the story best from its consequence. The plot behind the bad law was to catch up Daniel, the king's adviser and prophet of the Most High God. As it would hardly do to get the top adviser's advice on a law intended to cause his death, Daniel wasn't there to point out to the king the obvious pitfalls in the new law that could never be changed.

Well, as we like to say, where man rules, God overrules.

Daniel was indeed caught up in the net of this law and fed to the lions.

There it is, end of story.

Except that the lions of the king were subject to a higher law and God's messenger prevented them from feasting on the Lord's prophet. All night long and no law of the Medes and Persians could make the lions disobey God's messenger. However scheming plotters were good eating and pre-approved for the lion's menu. The scriptures tell that before the bodies could reach the pavement every bone was broken. It is a great story of victory in the Lord's service. That's why we like it so much.

What great stories await us in the Lord's service?


Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Great Privilege

But to the Son He says:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. Hebrews 1:8

Your boss and perhaps your boss's boss and so on up to the CEO of the company may claim an open door policy. Do you often see the serfs and peasants of the company hanging out in there? Is the door open but conversation actually discouraged? Which of us could long keep a job if we monopolized the boss's time with constant speech in his ear? Yet which CEO in this world is so enduring that he or she could keep that position more than a lifetime?

In the first chapter of Hebrews, quoted from Psalm 45:6, the Bible uses 'forever and ever' to describe the permanence of God's throne. I cannot grasp forever and ever, it is too long for my human mind to understand. Obviously the position of CEO cannot begin to compare with our Lord. And yet, Paul often writes of constant prayer. How did he keep his position while taking up so much of the Lord's time? Worse, the apostle exhorts us to continue steadfastly in prayer. What is he trying to do, get us in trouble?

No doubt you have noticed the great privilege we have in prayer. We are not only allowed but encouraged to attempt to weary God's majestic ears with prayer all the time and in every circumstance. We are allowed and even wanted before the throne of God with our petty requests and bothersome pleas for help. In fact, God reminds us of His great love, His infinite mercies, and a grace that does not fail. The One who raises up kings and CEOs wants such lowly creatures as you and me to come to Him in prayer. Isn't that awesome? In the world, you or I may hold the lowest job in the company, the one job that all others aspire to leave behind as quickly as possible, but in Christ we are children of the King of kings with constant access to the throne that is above all others. All we have to do to go there is to exercise the great privilege of prayer.

Have a prayerful day in Christ!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Our Ration of Ridicule

He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. Matthew 9:24

No can about it, it did happen to the best of us. Jesus our Lord gave His word, and they ridiculed Him!

A man of some repute, a ruler of some sort, came to Jesus begging for the Master's help. Jesus came to help and was ridiculed when He said the girl was not dead but sleeping. A man worships Jesus and begs a favor, his guests mock the Lord. How embarrassing for this ruler of mockers. We believe in Jesus too, what is our ration of ridicule?

Most of the time our ration is a collective portion. Those who believe in Jesus are mocked as a group in various ways through the mass media and in talk on the street. We feel this ridicule, sometimes more than others, and it does not go by painlessly. However, at some point every follower of our Lord may receive a portion of his or her ridicule in a more direct way, and in a personal way. That's when it really hurts.

Of course there are those times when my personal ridicule is well deserved. I believe in Jesus but that has not yet set me free of doing the occasional silly, bubble-headed, goofy, or downright dumb thing at times. I fully accept those times and even come to laugh along with the mockers, eventually. But ridicule for doing the right thing hurts deeply, and it is quite the right thing to believe in Jesus the Christ. We'll just have to live for His day; it is coming soon!

No ridicule in Heaven, just lots of good laughs with our Lord,


Monday, August 14, 2017

Eclipse: Wrath, Warning, or Wonder?

Behold, the day of the LORD comes,
​​Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger,
​​To lay the land desolate;
​​And He will destroy its sinners from it.
For the stars of heaven and their constellations
​​Will not give their light;
​​The sun will be darkened in its going forth,
​​And the moon will not cause its light to shine. Isaiah 13:9-10

One week from today we anticipate celebrating a total eclipse across America. Should we instead be preparing for the arrival of the Tribulation as some are predicting?

Eclipses (eclipsi?) of the Sun and Moon have long taken place and are quite predictable. I don't think that Jesus would make a prophecy about something we can forecast with great accuracy, and then say that no man can know the date and time of His return. Another problem with using an eclipse as a prediction of the Apocalypse or Armageddon, whichever term they are abusing today, is that it follows a relatively narrow pathway across the land. It just seems to me that when our Lord gives a sign, especially a warning He said to watch for, it will be for all people and seen by all people.

So, we certainly have reason to think that God's wrath might be upon us. The millions of babies killed in the womb since 1973 would be reason enough for the wrath of the Lord to be hot against us. But, there is also great repentance and faith in the land. Many of us will stand up to say that we believe in the Lord's Christ and that He most certainly has not forsaken us or our nation just yet. And as we believe in Him, we also know that He will never forsake us. So, unless the Rapture is scheduled sometime in the next week - and wouldn't that be a great and joyful reunion with our Lord! - I cannot say that this celestial event is a sign of wrath.

I apologize to all my Christian brothers who want to usher in the end times, but I'm going to go with wonder on this one. While any event such as this, or even any day of the week for that matter, is a good time to remind the unsaved that time is short, we can also take a little time to enjoy the wonder of God's creation. Let us give Him the glory on this one.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Who Is The Greatest?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Matthew 18:1

We seem to have this indefatigable urge to rank ourselves from the greatest to the least. Lists abound ranking teams, players, people of influence, wealthy folks, rich companies, strongest men and most beautiful women. Yes, there does seem to be a limit there somewhere. No one wants to know who is the homeliest living garbage can washer, at least I didn't find a list of the candidates although Google did produce a bunch of images of garbage cans, which is very strange. Yeah, anyway, we always seem to want to know the best of the best. I suppose it all came to a peak when the 12 disciples, already a select group to be sure, approached the Master with that question: Who is the greatest?

Jesus would go on to give a couple of measures by which we can know the greatest: whoever humbles himself as this little child, and whoever is the servant of all. How well are we doing at attaining and maintaining those two lofty goals? I don't know about you, but if I were to ever see myself as say the servant of all, I would probably brag about it and immediately fall to the sin of pride. How are we to become the greatest without tumbling right down to the leastest?

That must be why the salvation of 'me' requires surrender to Him! I in my strength can neither attain nor maintain the humble state of the child nor become the servant of all without some self-serving motive behind it; that motivation would be to both save myself and become the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven by some sort of personal merit. It just won't work for poor fallen me; fallen imperfection just cannot reach out and grab perfection.

The One who saved me is the same one who humbled Himself from the throne in Heaven to be born as a little child. That same One died on the cross at Calvary as the servant of all. Hmm, guess I now have a couple of clues as to who is the greatest. He is!

Jesus is the greatest, and I am content to be chosen by Him,

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lightin' the Fuse

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus. Matthew 15:1

Stopping right here with just this verse, it almost sounds hopeful. Coming to Jesus is of course the moment we all await when that great rapture takes place and we are called to Him. The scribes and Pharisees though? That in the gospels does not usually introduce a moment of levity. One at a time, such as Nicodemus, and we receive some beautiful truth from the Master, but when the group comes as a gang, well...

Indeed that was the case this time, as some scribe or Pharisee asked, "Why don't you guys wash your hands before eating?" (There may be a bit of paraphrasing there.) They lit the fuse on the ol' powder keg again.

Jesus takes a moment to chastise these teachers and recorders of the Law over a tradition they had adopted, not the one about hand washing before meals, that conflicted with the commandment to honor their father and mother. Then, just to make His point go deep, the Master spoke to all of those gathered there and to us in this age: “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (15:10-11)

We have plenty to worry about in regards to eating, just take a quick look at the mass media at any time, but the Master instructs us to worry about what we say. The words that come from an idle tongue will defile us. The opinions based on little or no fact, the rumors passed from one wagging tongue to another, the snap judgments arising from a desire to appear smart, these will get us defiled right quick, and they may light a fuse too when the person spoken about hears them repeated. But worst of all is to light the fuse of the Master and be called 'Hypocrites!'

A prayer to my Lord to guard my tongue and to make it a loving one when I must speak,


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Forcing the Law on 'Em

Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD! Psalm 27:14

That boss of mine is not one to sit still for very long, and sometimes that frustrates his clients and colleagues. Well, I received a new hot glue gun yesterday, heh, heh. We can fix this problem! That wouldn't work for long though; I can just see him running out of the office with the chair glued to his butt, so great is his desire to keep moving.

We face a temptation in a Christian religion to force the law on 'em. Other religions face the same problem and some take up the gun to enforce it. Even when there is no forcing, we may lament that everyone doesn't obey the same rules. Or, when enforcement is present we may cry that it is not enforced evenly for all. And we're headed south from where I wanted to go with this.

God, it seems, has a different method of getting us to obey His law, the heart transplant. Ezekiel 36:26 promises a new heart and a new spirit. An obedient heart and a spirit given to the Law. Of course not all prophecies are fulfilled as quickly as we might expect or desire, which should remind us to be wary of our expectations and desires. We may need to wait on the Lord and be of good courage. Strengthening of the heart may come in God's good time and may take years and even decades. In fact, Jesus may complete the work when we see Him in a different place than this one we labor in now. We may find the strengthening coming from a relationship with the Risen Savior and not out of a religion at all! And that, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, is why we no longer claim a religion but rejoice in a relationship with our Lord Jesus.

Religion likes rules; relationship likes love and life. Have a great day in Christ!


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Where Are We?

Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.” ’ Deuteronomy 1:28

Our brethren have discouraged our hearts... Does that stick out from that verse or what? How often have good ideas died because the voice of discouragement raised itself to be heard? How many times have you felt the anointing presence of the Holy Spirit on the pathway to blessing only to get knocked right off the way by a discouraging blow? We are so easily prone to being discouraged and it bloody well doesn't help when it is our brethren doing the discouraging! Where are we?

We don't want to be left discouraged on the shores of despair. Worse than that is to be that discouraging brother or sister who prevents the success of the effort. How terrible to be among those who stopped the children of Israel from entering the Promised Land. It is easy to point out the challenges, much more difficult to be like Joshua and Caleb who among the 12 scouts stood up to say, "We can do this thing!" Of course, they didn't say it without mentioning the One who gives us the strength of faith to get it done.

Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Discouragement is going to come at us in underhanded ways by the whispering of the worldly ones, or in very overhanded ways by that challenge that knocks us right off the path. Praise God for the strength to get up again. Yes, in this discouraging world that good idea cannot be done, but we are not of this world when we live in Christ and He in us. So, like Paul we stand up and say, "In Christ, I can do this thing!"

Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus, 'cuz that's where we are!


Monday, August 07, 2017

No Cause For Alarm

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
​​And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
​​Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
​​For the day of the LORD is coming,
​​For it is at hand. Joel 2:1

It is an almost weekly event; something so strange happens that an alarming news report comes out. In the report, someone, usually a scientist or government spokesman, will be quoted saying, "There's no cause for alarm." In other words, or I guess the same words, we have this event odd enough to have an alarming news report, but there is no cause for alarm. So we get this odd alarm - no cause for alarm thing going on. Is it any wonder there is so much anxiety in the world today?

Some little chicken just ran through yelling, "The sky is falling, but there's no cause for alarm!"

The prophet Joel, writing in the Lord's Word, reminds us today that there is indeed cause for alarm. The great and awesome day of the Lord is coming. Isaiah tells us the proud will be knocked down on that day. John in the Revelation tells of multitude horrors visited on the Earth on and before that day. Sounding the alarm of salvation would seem to be a loving action we can take for our neighbors, especially those that we deem unsaved.

Oh, we cast no judgments here, but the fruit of the tree does reveal what is in the heart. A lifestyle can speak to the lack of God's Spirit dwelling within, just as the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer will produce fruit of His kind. A trumpet sounding in Zion is cause for alarm to those who await the coming of our Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always!

Friday, August 04, 2017

God is Near

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18

Anyone proud of his or her pride, and strange as that may seem it certainly happens, will never know the presence of God like the repentant soul. David writes to tell us the key to salvation is the Lord, but the conditions wherein the Lord does His saving work are brokenness and contrition. That is of course the work of our dear Lord's Holy Spirit preparing that hardened spiritual ground for the planting of the seed of salvation. It is an earthy sort of metaphor, but from the dust we came and years of spiritual drought, likely brought on by that pride, produces some hard, tough soil in the heart of the human spirit.

When does the Lord draw near to us? When the heart is prepared to receive Him of course. No sense knocking on a door that is barred within and without, and the hinges are rusted in place from a lack of use. Yes, the Lord in His almighty power could break the door down, but that is not like Him. Love does not blast down doors. Love waits patiently for the door to be opened. Pride is not conducive to door opening; a broken heart is those bars laying splintered off to the side, and a contrite spirit is one that will oil the hinges and make sure the door swings freely.

The Lord is near because a broken heart and contrite spirit are ready for Him. Salvation is of the Lord, and, after that,

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
​​But the LORD delivers him out of them all. (v19)
Love in the Lord!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

God Is...

​​Trust in Him at all times, you people;
​​Pour out your heart before Him;
​​God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8

A thunderstorm is booming on in this morning. Imagine for a moment that this storm was attacking us instead of doing its thing as thunderstorms do. The booming would be quite a bit more frightening if this big unstoppable thing was out to get us. We might run to God as a refuge from the storm. And David may have been inspired by something like this when he wrote Psalm 62.

David called upon 'you people', that would mean all of us I'm sure, to trust in God at all times. There are times when due to a sudden and sharp change in things for better or for worse that I don't remember to trust in God right away. It takes practice to remember prayer first over all the other things we might think of doing in a moment of stress, and prayer to our Lord is the way to find the strength to trust in Him.

"Pour out your heart before Him", the man wrote so long ago. The heart is the seat of our feelings, and whether it be anger, fear, joy, sorrow, peace, or love, we should pour it out before the Lord. Telling God what we feel gives Him the chance to help us with it. Emotion can be overwhelming, and who better to help us with those strong feelings than the Almighty?

Then we come to a portion of that answer we seek to "Who is God?". God is a refuge for us, right now when the thunderstorm is directly overhead, and from that strong feeling of animal fear that comes when the thunder breaks right on top of the house (at least it sounds like that!) Any storm, physical or emotional, is good reason to pour out some feelings to the Lord, for as David knew and teaches us now: God is a refuge for us.

Have a great day in Christ Jesus!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Who Is God?

​​Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
​​Mercy and truth go before Your face. Psalm 89:14

Three little words and a question mark, and we could spend the remainder of our lives trying to answer it. Fortunately, the Lord provided a manual to help us get to know Him better. In Psalm 89, a person who went by the name of Ethan gave some answers to help us out.

If righteousness and justice were present without His mercy and truth, we might well be done for. The Bible also has verses that proclaim that there is none righteous, no not one. (Romans 3:10 for example). We could not face God's justice depending upon our righteousness alone. We need His mercy and His truth. Of course, Jesus our Lord said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. So we also know who His truth is. I am glad that God's throne is founded on righteousness and justice, but even more glad that mercy and truth are right in front of His face.

When we are shown the example of God seeing us through the light of Jesus, that is because Jesus earned God's mercy for us and by His own admission is God's truth. We owe a lot to our Lord Jesus, in fact we owe everything to Him. So, who is God? Well, the question is still too big to answer completely today, but we also know that He is Jesus because who could be His mercy and truth except the very embodiment of those qualities that are before His face?

But, but... so, did God make Jesus then? Well, Revelation tells us that Jesus is, and was, and always shall be. So, no. He was not made like we were made. And as you can see, a good place to answer our question for today is to read and study the entire Bible, which is God's word about Himself. And that is why we can spend a lifetime learning who God is!