Monday, October 30, 2017

Awake, You Snoozers!

Therefore He says:
​​“Awake, you who sleep,
​​Arise from the dead,
​​And Christ will give you light.”  Ephesians 5:14

We ignore that admonition in the Proverbs and think we know what goes on in a cemetery. Deep down in the ground lie a bunch of moldering bones, some better preserved than others, but no one is asleep...or so we think we know. One way speaks of a bunch of zombies ready to come out on Halloween to seek for living flesh to eat. Another way imagines Jesus standing by the cemetery and telling the snoozers to awake. Which seems the more silly to our so knowledgeable flesh? Yet one of them has already been demonstrated to be quite possible.

Jesus stood by the cemetery and called out, "Lazarus, come forth!" (John 11:43), and the man did!

To the world, both ways mentioned above seem equally silly, though they have made many a movie or show about the former and hardly a one about the latter. Zombies, it seems, are quite safe with the world and its powers, but make a show about Jesus and Lazarus and see what happens! Hardly had poor Lazarus come forth to his renewed life and the powers of the world were plotting to murder him. The sleeper awakened by the authority of our Lord over death and the grave...and the powers of that time wanted to kill them both and be rid of them. What a world we live in. Praise God that by the authority given to His Son, the sleepers will soon awaken as His time comes.

Let Heaven and Nature sing!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Comes The Cold

From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind,
And cold from the scattering winds of the north. Job 37:9

I'm not sure why cold should be so much on my mind this morning, but the front that arrived yesterday might have something to do with it. The days have not yet reached Halloween and it is only 21° outside. Brrr! The house even sounds different when the temperature drops low.

I see that in the time of Job, which we are not sure what BC that is exactly, but Job lived sometime between Adam and Malachi, perhaps before even Moses' time. And in that time, the winds blew the cold down from the north just like in our time. At least we know that Job lived north of the equator, or maybe the equator hadn't been invented yet. Some things just haven't changed in the centuries between us and Job.

In the Olden Testament times they waited on Jesus to come, just as we wait on our Lord to come now. They did not know the date of His arrival and neither do we know the hour and day of His return. On a particular night in the winter months someone probably asked Job, "Is it cold enough for ya?" And Job wept for the many zillions of times that question would be asked by future generations before someone finally got tired of it. Of course once we grow some fruit of the Spirit we will patiently endure all things - even the seventy three thousand nine hundred sixty fifth time we must hear that dreadful question!

Happy Friday in Christ!
Bucky P.S. I copy this from my e-mail posting and I see that poor Job got left dangling in his time in an incomplete sentence. How dreadful! B

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Angel Answers

“Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:14

The funny thing is that we don't know unless our Lord tells us the answer to this. We can however make a decision on it. God introduced Himself to Abram again in Genesis 17:1, "I am Almighty God..." Now, the Lord our God is all mighty, and thus nothing is impossible or too hard for Him, or He is lying and something is too hard for Him, or He is a loony and several things are too hard for Him but He is in denial. You have heard the same choices offered by C.S. Lewis regarding our Lord. So, is anything too hard for the LORD? We who believe Him and take His word as truth would say, "No! Absolutely nothing is too hard for our Lord!"

But, what one angel asks, another might answer centuries later, or maybe it was the same angelic messenger come to inform a descendant of Sarah.

"Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:36-37

Yes, we have our answer, but the decision remains the same. We believe and receive the message, both question and answer, or we refuse to believe and remain condemned by unbelief. Well, there it is! I choose to believe through His Holy Spirit and for God nothing is impossible - including it seems enabling a doubter such as me to believe in that which I cannot see.

Thank You, dear Lord God, for enabling my heart to believe!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Cauldron of the Pharisees

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. Luke 18:11

In my teenage years I was desperate to join something and be accepted. I joined a church and was handed a rule book. I joined a fraternity at college and studied a rule book. I enlisted in the Marines, and wouldn't you know it, they too had some rules about how the ideal Marine behaved. Most groups have their rules for proper behavior. Not all rules are bad, but living under a system of rules hoping to save yourself is idolatry. The rules or the organization become the savior, or worse, a man or woman who speaks well becomes the idol who promises salvation by religion. Systems of rules can lead to all sorts of mayhem. So great was the Pharisee's faith in their rules they refused to recognize Messiah as He stood before them.

It is interesting that one of our first revelations from God's dear Holy Spirit is that we are indeed just like other men in our lusts of the flesh. Temptations have not changed since way back in Adam's time. Unlike Mr. Pharisee, we realize quite early after our rebirth in the Spirit that we have this baggage common to all men. Rules point it out to us in no uncertain terms, including the penalty for our lusts, but the rules do not solve the problem. All of us deserve the death penalty for thoughts and actions contrary to the Law of Moses, and yet we have this savior. A Savior the watchdogs of the Law quite failed to see though they thought they were keeping the Law.

As we approach Halloween, it brought to my pudgy little mind the danger of that bubbling cauldron of rules the Pharisees tended with such care. We want to watch out lest we fail to heed our Lord's warning about the leaven of the Pharisees. Flaying someone with a bunch of rules will not save them. Giving testimony of our wonderful Lord and Savior and how He saved us is the way of love.

May the love and grace of our Lord Jesus grab you in a big bear hug today!


Monday, October 23, 2017

Desperately Hoping

" a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:52

Do you know fear? Got a little phobia to contend with? You don't know fear. It is those who refuse to believe in the Christ who know fear. They have heard the prophecy of the Rapture, of how it will happen in a twinkling of an eye, and they are desperately hoping that Paul is wrong.

Boldly they scoff at the messengers, and then tiring of that they try to silence the Word of God as it goes out to the far corners of the Earth. In time they will see that not working and they will turn to stamping out the messengers of the Lord. Desperately hoping that if no one speaks it then the Word cannot be true, they make their final attempt to murder every one of God's messengers.

Many will come to God's Heaven as martyrs for their testimony, but the Word will remain true.

We think that we are desperately hoping for the return of our Lord Jesus, but we don't know desperate hope. We believe in the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Our hope is based on the Word of our Lord, and it is far from desperate, more like just a little impatient. No, desperation is the province of those who hope that by denying a thing it will just go away, somehow become untrue. As our Lord lives, He cannot become anything less than who He is, and He has always been Faithful and True.

Go forth in the great hope of Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior!


Friday, October 20, 2017

One Recipe

“Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it. Ezekiel 4:9

Good Friday morning! As October begins to wind down toward Halloween, I searched the Bible for coffee and pizza and did not find any. Sadness fell down over me like a drape cast loose by a breeze through the window. Should not the Bible come with just one recipe for great pizza?

Of course God had more important things in mind than baking when He inspired the Bible writers, or did He? I began to wonder if there was a recipe for anything in the Bible, and there is! Ezekiel bread. Ezekiel received a recipe for a 6-grain bread, something folks pay extra for in the grocery store these days. There is also a formula or recipe for a special incense to be used only in the Temple worship. When it comes to recipes in the Bible, I suppose it is what the Lord wants that matters most.

Searching the Bible for a great pizza recipe is looking for what I want. The Bible instead presents to me what God wants, and this includes what my Lord wants for me. Some of the things which we consider of surpassing importance down here, like a great pizza, might not be so important after we sleep for a bit. At the resurrection, we may not be so concerned with many of those earthly things we find so diverting here and now. I am looking forward to it, for many of the things that catch my attention so easily now are those things of the flesh that hold back my spiritual growth in Christ.

However, we should not give up our dreams of heaven either. For God as the greatest servant, who went so far as to die on the cross to save us, will not forget how much we enjoy good food. I recall a promise of some excellent fruit in the days to come.

Grace to you on this Friday!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

He Was Warned

However, he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner struck him in the stomach with the blunt end of the spear, so that the spear came out of his back; and he fell down there and died on the spot. So it was that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died, stood still. 2 Samuel 2:23

Try not to think too much about visualizing this one; it is biblical-ly graphic. The 'however' at the start of this verse does tell us that something went before, and indeed it did. Abner advised the man to turn aside, then Abner warned the man to turn aside and stop following him, or be struck down. I don't know if we can say that young Asahel got what he deserved, but he was warned.

In a similar way many people have been warned many a time to reject the way of this world and follow our Lord Jesus. They follow the way to destruction and one day will get what they have been warned to turn aside from. Ezekiel was responsible for those he did not warn as God's watchman, but those who refused to believe his message were not counted against him. We too have an important message for the world, but one day the time for warning will be finished and the danger shall arrive.

Why should that danger ever arrive? We have such good news for all those born into a world of sin! We should look down from Heaven and see the Beast, the Antichrist and the False Prophet looking around at an empty, well-shaken and burned up world asking, "Where did they all go?" Sigh, it surely would be, but that isn't what the Bible says, and as I believe the Word of God so I also know that many will refuse to believe in Jesus to their destruction. But that's no excuse to pass by even one lost sheep and give up him or her to the fate of this world. The Good News is good news!

Have a great and wonderful Lord in this day!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Troubled Sea

“I create the fruit of the lips:
​​Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,”
​​Says the LORD,
​​“And I will heal him.”
​​But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
​​When it cannot rest,
​​Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
​​“There is no peace,”
​​Says my God, “for the wicked.”  Isaiah 57:19-21

A little window on the world opens up before me by this modern marvel the Internet, and yet what do I see but a troubled sea. Knowledge has increased but love has grown cold. Peace abounds throughout the world, but war is threatened almost everywhere. People rush about busying themselves out of the fear and despair they carry with them. All of this foretold thousands of years ago by our Lord.

The sea of the world is troubled greatly, but the Lord God told us all of this would happen. Our Lord is on top of this! He knows all about it! God is not caught by surprise, nor did the message come to Him in the dead of night. A red telephone in His heavenly office did not suddenly ring with the bad news. If the Lord God is quite on top of all of this troubling news and He foretold it so long ago that it seems ancient history to me, then I have no need to worry over it. The darkness appears to grow and overwhelm, but it's all the last big show of this world's powers; and all it means is that my Lord Jesus is coming again soon.

Comforting peace in the Lord Jesus Christ to you on this day,

Monday, October 16, 2017

Strange Times Indeed

Your eyes will see strange things,
​​And your heart will utter perverse things. Proverbs 23:33

In Proverbs today, Solomon wrote or collected this one about what happens when a person is given over to wine, or any other alcoholic drink for that matter. Taken out of context it appears as a curse; maybe I should have used it last Friday. However, in this world of today, one might also describe following the daily news in just this same way. It fits as a description of what happens to one watching many of the prime time television shows or the movies offered to us just as well. Our culture is full of dangerous traps and snares in this age.

There may be more channels of temptation available in this age, but the temptations remain the same as what our Lord Jesus faced in His temptation: lust, greed, power, idolatry, envy, and so on. We can roll around in the stuff or we can look unto the Lord and rejoice in Him. We have the freedom in Christ to educate ourselves in every perversion or we can learn good and uplifting things from Him. It is a decision we are free to make, but stare at the world's darkness for long and you will see strange things. Praise God that our Lord is so good at finding His wandering sheep and bringing us back to Him!

Rejoice in the love of Jesus this week!


Friday, October 13, 2017

Listen To This!

​“Listen to this, O Job;
​​Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God. Job 37:14

There is something wrong happening down in Cuba. The suspicion of the moment rests on some sort of sonic weapon. The motives of the wielder, if such a weapon exists, are another question, but some harm has come to the alleged victims. From an article on Fox News: It is unclear whether the sounds are directly responsible for the attacks, which have been shown to cause hearing, cognitive, visual, balance, sleep, and other problems. So, they released an audio recording of this purported attack. If you listened to it and now have trouble sleeping, hearing, balancing, thinking, or seeing, you might want to avoid listening to such things in the future, or you may just be suffering the effects of old age.

I didn't play the recording. It seemed a sort of invitation to stupidity to listen to what might be a recording of the sound of a sonic weapon. I would much rather take the advice in Job and consider the wondrous works of God. "Listen to this, O Job," Elihu said in chapter 37, and in this case he gave poor Job some good advice. Stand still and consider...except that we know what comes next! Yes, Job chapter 38 when God comes to the meeting and asks some questions. Listen indeed, O Man, 'cuz God's questions will humble the proud quickly!

Stopping our headlong rush in this life to stand still for a time and consider the wondrous works of God puts us in touch with the Spirit of God within. In the beginning, God saw that His creation was not only good, but very good. We must take the time to stand still and see the wondrous works of our Lord. Although Man fell and the Earth became cursed for our sake, the wondrous works of God shine forth if we will stand still for a time.

Autumn has come, and one wondrous work of God surely must come to mind, stand still for a bit today and see it!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

All Too Well

He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition...
      ...making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:9&13

Proficiency in a skill or talent is something we strive for in our lives daily. We also like to watch people who have worked from a young age to increase their proficiency in a talent. Jesus pointed out something in the Pharisees that they performed all too well: rejecting the commandment of God.

And they probably didn't remember practicing for this skill.

We do some things all too well without even trying hard. Want proof that we are born in sin? Simply watch how easily sins come to children left without parents or with parents who cannot be troubled to raise them to obey much of anything or anyone. Think of that first lie you were caught in; where did you learn to lie? When were the practice sessions held? However, the subject at hand back in John Mark's day was over regulation. The Pharisees had so many traditions, 600 or more, that at least one had come into conflict with God's commandments.

We are of course law-abiding citizens of a great nation. Never would we be considered lawless, surely? I read a story of a project headed up by a Justice Department official to count the federal criminal laws in 1982. The team counted 3,000 criminal offenses over a two year project before giving up, and that was 35 years ago. How many must there be now? The Pharisees, it seems, handed down a tradition of rule making to our government that would make their most ardent tradition makers proud. 600, what a bunch of pikers! We don't even know how many criminal laws we have, and to think we are obedient in all laws - you and I might be criminals even as we sit here! Who could know?

How important is it then to behold God's law and keep it? Thanks be to God that Jesus our Lord gave us a great simplification: two commandments involving love, plus this new one: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." John 13:34

Amen, love one another!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Oh Dear! Proof of Him

But Saul became more and more capable, and was causing consternation among the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 9:22 NET

It seems we had some intense discussion in our little town board meeting on Monday evening. I was not there having worn myself out doing a trash-out on yet another foreclosed house, although by 6:30 that evening when I finished I certainly could have raised the stink level at the town meeting. Yes, a great consternation might have engulfed the meeting well before the fireworks began. But that isn't how Paul did it.

The word, consternation, is not used in the New King James version of the Bible, so I had to stretch out a bit. However that may be, Saul, the same we know as Paul, caused consternation in a group of folks by proving that Jesus is the Christ! Now that is the way to cause some consternation. For our education purposes: Consternation is feelings of anxiety or dismay, typically at something unexpected. While the sheriff and the mayor going at it in a public meeting is certainly unexpected, I think what Paul did trumps anything we might see in a town board meeting.

To a group of Jews, Paul proved that Jesus is the Christ. Had this come from a Gentile, it would have been quite remarkable, but Saul, as he was known by his Hebrew name, was one of them, a champion of Pharisee University, a former persecutor extraordinaire of those who followed the Way. Yet, here was the man with a changed life proving that Jesus is the Christ. May we also show our changed lives to the world through God's amazing Way.

Praise to God for old Saul!

Monday, October 09, 2017

Rejoicing in Hope

... rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; Romans 12:12

This verse is but a piece of a sentence from Paul, but oh what wonderful exhortations to us! Rejoice in how valuable the word of the Lord may be to us with just one verse. Notice the weight of teaching with just three little groups of words. We need much context with this lesson, but the Holy Spirit responds to the word with the riches of grace and faith.

Rejoicing in hope: Yes, we live in a fallen world struggling to pull a living out of a cursed soil. Whatever our job or profession there seldom seems to be enough for us to harvest. Yet, we have a great hope in Jesus, who has gone to prepare a place for us in Heaven. And it is this hope that allows us to be...

Patient in tribulation: The Lord said we would have it in this world (John 16:33) but to be of good cheer. Patience during the testing when suffering seems to be the only thing going for us is a tough road to walk. When pain comes, I think enviously of those Jesus healed with a touch, completely and in a moment. Healing that quickly has not happened yet for me, Peter's shadow has not fallen over me nor has the Master's touch been felt in my infirmity with an instant reprieve, but I do look forward to those healing leaves of Heaven. We have faith, and quite likely more help than we know in our Lord Jesus. We find our help and solace in...

Continuing steadfastly in prayer: It is our way to the Father's throne room, a small part of the sweet incense rising up before the Lord, our prayers are ever before Him. Steadfast prayer often comes to mind faster when the pain is more intense and longer lasting. However, Paul did not give us this advice for just those rough days but for everyday. Through steadfast prayer we can rejoice in hope on the good days too. Be of good cheer for one day we will no longer need patience in tribulation, and the rejoicing will begin for good!

Have a great week, winter is here!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Searching For Joy

So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 30:26

Happiness runs and hides from tough circumstances but joy is a more constant companion. I eagerly await my showers of joy from the Lord!

Hmm, I don't feel any showering. Maybe that is my problem. It may be that I have fallen into the trap of this generation in expecting everything to be handed to them with no work involved? In Turning Point today, Pastor David Jeremiah wrote about a man's search through the scriptures for all instances of joy (and cheer, gladness, happiness, blessed, and hopeful). Of course I rejoiced that all that he found would be quickly and easily handed to me. Uh, no, it was the search that caught my eye. A quest may be what the Lord desires of me for my development in His kingdom.

A word search is simple thanks to the Blue Letter Bible web site, or for the old-fashioned folks a copy of Strong's concordance, but what about the context of these instances of joy? That is where Bible study will come in with prayer to align myself with God's guiding Holy Spirit. A quest for joy in the Bible is a noble effort, one sure to produce rich rewards and a changed life. And we could surely use some joy in this dark age.

For example in the verse for today we find a joy that had not happened in quite some time. So long that the writer made note of it for future generations to read and study. If the joy of the Lord has left you and me for a long time, perhaps it is time for us to quest for His words of joy in the Bible and find something that hasn't happened since way back in the day.

May God work in us to work in Him on this great day!


Thursday, October 05, 2017

A Rapturous Self-Interest? You Bet!

Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” Revelation 6:1

It goes downhill fast from there. Scholars and ministers of the Word are not quite sure when the Rapture of the Church will take place. Before is the preferred timing because the judgments revealed in the Revelation are downright frightening. I will admit to a certain rapturous self-interest in the premillennial point of view on the Rapture. Sign me up! I don't want to be here when those judgments go from revealed in God's word to actually entering the stage of world events.

Three out of four people alive at the breaking of that first seal will not live to see the completion of the Apocalypse and the return of our Lord Jesus. Those are not great odds, and the one of four that makes it will endure all manner of suffering and deprivation for those seven long years. It is estimated that the odds of becoming involved in a deadly auto accident are one in three in a lifetime. That means two out three will not have to endure one - and I couldn't even beat those far better odds. How in the world could one such as me expect to survive the Tribulation? Yes, there is a bit of self-interest in the premillennial hope of the Rapture, and I wholeheartedly admit it!

The good news is that I want everyone else to go with us in this escaping of the terrible Tribulation. If the Rapture is the ejection seat that rockets us out of here before that first seal is broken, we should be pulling on that handle. I tried this morning, but Jesus hasn't pulled the safety pin to arm my ejection seat yet. Like all of you I will have to wait on His timing. While we are waiting though, we have this Good New of Jesus Christ to spread around, and a life lived in faith and His love is a great way to do it!

Here's to all of us going home before that terrible Tribulation!


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The News We Need Today

How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7

There is too much bad news in the world right now. We need to be watchful and stay aware of it, but it can be a temptation to stare into the darkness too much. Indeed those living in darkness have seen a great light, and He brought us the good news of eternal salvation. Far better for us to stare lovingly at the Light and the Life than to spend much time mulling over the darkness in the world. That darkness can seep into our souls and bring the most cheerful of God's children into despair over the state of this world. Prayer is our answer when all seems dark around us!

Prayer is our lifeline to the Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer takes the mind from darkness and into the light, and indeed is our connection to that great Light who shined in the darkness of Judea way back in the day. Let the darkness remind us of how much we and the world need our Lord Jesus. We need some good news today, and Jesus is the good news!

May the good news of our Lord come to one and all this day,


Tuesday, October 03, 2017

What Was Far Away

I was sad, as though they were my friends or family,
as if I were grieving for my own mother. Psalm 35:14

What was far away comes closer as the stories emerge of persons we knew nothing about on Sunday morning.

Death capriciously danced through a concert on Sunday evening in Las Vegas. A husband was taken, the wife left. A mother taken, the husband and children left. One friend is gone, the others are left to wonder why. Soldiers for generations have known that there is no accounting for who death will choose in a particular battle. Why leave one spouse to grieve and not take both? Of course marriages have been broken by death for as long as we can remember; it's even in the marriage vows spoken at the ceremony. And then, there was that grief from far away that came closer as we learned their stories.

David stated this so well in his psalm.

First it was just the names, but then the stories began to arrive. Unknown victims become persons with names, faces, families, and stories. We grieve over them though we have never met. Why? I believe that the Spirit of God grieves in us. Some will not admit to any such thing, I'm sure, but something connects us that we cannot explain. Someone grieves who is greater than us and we feel some of His pain. What was far away comes closer with this connection through our Lord God.


Monday, October 02, 2017

A Dangerous Anger

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3

The news headlines will have it in bold print this morning, I don't have to tell you anything. Another person with something against people he or she does not even know has shattered any illusion of safety in this land. It is a sad thing.

The Apostle Paul when writing his letter to the Thessalonians was not writing of someone who sets out to kill as many people as he or she possibly can. Murder whether of one or of many is against God's law and always has been. What Paul wrote was by way of warning. None of those Thessalonians lived to see the day of the Lord, and none of us living now may see it in this lifetime either. On the other hand, Paul was convinced that the signs pointed to soon, and we feel the same way in this age nearly 2,000 years later. The point is to be ready to be with our Lord on any day.

Could today be the day that someone is so angry at something entirely unrelated to me that he runs me over with a cement truck? Any of us might ask ourselves that question and come up with that ever present 'maybe'. For a day or two, I'll be extra careful when crossing the street! It is a dangerous anger that diminishes the life of another to where it can be ended so callously. There is only one answer for us when that anger is so far away: prayer. It seems like a powerless answer to many, and they are correct, I am powerless in this, but my Lord is not! Why didn't He stop it? Ask Him! My Lord is not afraid of us asking, in fact He calls for us to do so. See Isaiah 1:18 for your personal invitation to reason with our Lord God.

Have a prayerful day in Christ Jesus,