Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Moving Ahead Of You

"When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the LORD is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army." 2 Samuel 5:24

Waah! David got a sign; why can't I get a sign? We read in the context of this verse that David did not ask for or seek after a sign, but inquired of the Lord what he should do when the enemy had him in a tight place. The sign or signal was the Lord's gift to David.

We tend to seek a miraculous sign to confirm our faith, but faith has no confirmation only assurance. The flesh wants confirmation by the senses, a sign, but when Jesus stood before many back in the day, the many did not believe in Him even then! Yet, Jesus continued on His way and saved us from our sin at the cross.

Believing in Jesus is such a privilege, faith a precious gift from God. In Judea during the time of the Roman Empire, our Lord Jesus moved ahead of us and opened the way for us to return to God the Father. Reconciliation, peace, mercy, and forgiveness of sin, all brought about by God and His Son moving ahead of us. The sign has already been given, we have only to believe in Him and walk this life in faith.

Hallelujah for the day!
Bucky

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Abominable Biting Bugs of the Bible

And they did so. For Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and struck the dust of the earth, and it became lice on man and beast. All the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. Exodus 8:17

Insects get a tough rap in the Bible. Most of them are simply abominations under the Law, a few may be eaten such as crickets, locusts, and grasshoppers, and others are used to abuse Pharaoh and his folks. In the end times the two witnesses will have the power to inflict the insect plagues whenever they will and even the demons from the pit come out like locusts. Insects just don't get any credit in the Word.

Good, I can live with that! Most of us are probably in no danger of placing insects on a pedestal to worship anytime soon. They bite, sting, suck and cause all manner of itching and pain. Many carry diseases with which they have slain a significant portion of all those who have lived upon the earth. I'm glad the Bible comes down on insects hard. Little abominations indeed!

But, some would say in this age, life on earth is dependent upon the insects and bugs of all kinds. Sorry, but I believe that God is essential to life and I will stand on His Word. He is...the way, the truth and the life!

Bucky

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Smoke of Anger

​Smoke went up from His nostrils,
​​And devouring fire from His mouth;
​​Coals were kindled by it.  Psalm 18:8

Smoke is on my mind for some reason this morning; it might have something to do with the haze and odor of smoke over the area from the wildfires in the west. Then again it might be the sinus pain through the night and odd sleepiness yesterday.

Smoke, we have a rather comical vision of smoke coming from ears or nostrils because of its use in comic strips or cartoons. However, that vision did not start out in humor but in all angry seriousness in a couple of places - our verse for today, and in the psalm recorded in 2 Samuel 22 (which are remarkably similar). David showed us a picture of an angry God, complete with the smoke coming from the Holy nostrils. Directed at you or me this would be a cause for great concern, but David shows the Lord our God angry on his behalf. There is a similar vision of an angry God near the end when He comes to do battle on behalf of those remaining saints in Jerusalem and Israel. Notice that in both cases we don't fear an angry God so much as we fear God angry at us!

Good, keep it for a time. Fearing God's anger is a good start to avoiding sin. Just remember that Israel could not save itself that way. We live in grace, and grace came to us through our Lord Jesus taking God's anger at all sin upon Himself. The Judgment fell on Christ alone, and now we live in His righteousness!

Alive in Christ Jesus!
Bucky

Friday, August 10, 2018

Far Away From Something

For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. Ezra 9:9

Have you ever found yourself far away from something good? Ezra made note of this in a highly summarized story that yet has all the pertinent facts, all in one verse. What we are looking for today is how far away Ezra was from that good thing he longed for: the rebuilt temple. "We were slaves...in Persia," is not a very good start to this story. How many times have the masters willingly allowed the slaves to leave? Yet, the story goes of God's mercy, faithfulness, and strengthening until not only the temple was rebuilt but the wall of Jerusalem too!

So, how far away are you from that good thing you desire in Christ? His glorious return? We don't know how far away that may be, but the mercy and faithfulness of the Father are right here, right now. Maybe something a bit more mundane? The old transport worn out? The dwelling place need some repairs or remodeling? Perhaps a little body modification that seems so very far away when you looked in the mirror this morning? Yes, we know of these problems and we understand...that God is ready to revive you and strengthen you, and that He has never forsaken you no matter what form of slavery you have found yourself mired in at this time. God has saved those who believe and those who do not yet believe from every kind of addiction or trap that this evil world can invent. It may seem so far away this morning, but that first step is revived in us and ready to roll out! Trust in God.

Amen, in Christ we stand!
Bucky

Thursday, August 09, 2018

An Expression of Faith

The Mighty One, God the LORD,
​​Has spoken and called the earth
​​From the rising of the sun to its going down. Psalm 50:1

The earth is called by the Lord from east to west. The Good Shepherd does not leave out this nation over here or that one to the east from His sovereign call. Does it seem like many a nation in our time has ignored this call? Sure it does. No doubt from wherever Asaph was when he wrote this psalm he could see nations that did not appear to have heard this call so faithfully recorded by him. He wrote in his psalm an expression of that faith, a testimony to the call of our Lord to be saved one and all.

Asaph and his contemporaries probably still had those Philistines around. And, according to the prophecy of Obadiah, Edom never passed up an opportunity to kick Israel a good one when she was down. The reason Asaph wrote of the call of the Lord probably was not confirmed by the evidence of things seen but by the evidence of faith. We have that same opportunity to testify of our Lord in this world of today. We have our Philistines that hate the people of our nation and our Edom that will not pass up a chance to give us the boot. Stand in the middle of a street in many parts of the world holding up an American flag and your days will not be long on the Earth. Proclaim the salvation of Jesus to anyone in some places today and again, your life will not go on much longer. Yet, we can still affirm in our faith that the call has gone out from the Lord to one and all.

The Mighty One, God the Lord will return soon, the call remains in force and they can answer in repentance or answer to the judgment. All have that choice.

I prefer to answer in repentance; the Lord knows all about me, answering the judgment call would be just too terrifying.

Bucky

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

We Have A Choice?

​For He is our God,
​​And we are the people of His pasture,
​​And the sheep of His hand.
​
​​Today, if you will hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
​​As in the day of trial in the wilderness..." Psalm 95:7-8

Pharaoh, as in the time of Moses and the heart hardening, did not appear to have a choice in the matter. If so, then God will not treat Pharaoh unfairly in the judgment. We might look upon it as Pharaoh had a choice, decided his course, and God strengthened his resolve to maintain that course. Maybe, but that seems a bit out of line, as in translating God's words to what we think might fit better in our estimation. God said in Exodus 4:21, "But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go." Later in 14:4 God states that He will harden Pharaoh's heart once more. Those seem quite plain and straightforward, as in not allowing for me or you to transliterate and translate to suit our purposes.

The Israelites had a choice as of the time of Psalm 95, to harden their hearts and resist God, or to soften their hearts and obey the Lord. I believe that we too have that choice and it is in our eternal best interest to obey. So, all of my resistance is my fault? Yes, absolutely, but that does not mean that I or you are not without help in the heart-softening department. God's wonderful and gracious Holy Spirit runs through those hardened hearts of ours and works magic, as in the miracle magic of God and not the hocus-pocus deception of the world.

There are a lot of as in's going on this morning, I will take my leave of you for now, as in if God is willing we will share a devotional time together again on the morrow. But, maybe the greater will and resolve in this will have us all to be with Him tomorrow and we will rejoice in the clouds of His glory!

In Christ the Lord,
Bucky

Monday, August 06, 2018

History Is His

​“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
​​And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
​‘​I am the First and I am the Last;
​​Besides Me there is no God.' " Isaiah 44:6

In the Revelation He is the Alpha and the Omega, here in Isaiah the First and the Last, history is His.

Now, we live in the in-between times and there are going to be, and are already, a lot of pretenders to the throne. Paul, John, and Peter heard the words of these pretenders in their time and warned us of this time. Daniel foretold it and so did our Lord Jesus. We have reached that time when knowledge and lawlessness are increased all around. Communication of a new thing is so very fast in this age. And it all seems so out of control as we look at the news on any morning. Yet, history is His, and for that to happen, He must never lose control, not for one second.

You have probably been a part of some project where first one thing went wrong, and then another, and finally events spiraled out of the team's control until the end result seemed guaranteed to be complete failure. The recriminations began, management looked down upon you from their superior attitude and demanded a report of what happened (in simple form, with bullet points), but no one on the team could come up with how it all went so far to the wrong. It appears that is what is happening in the world today, and do we not have yet another earthquake in a diverse place?

That is and was prophesied by our Lord, and that is the point. All of this seeming uncontrolled mess is and was predicted and foretold by our Lord thousands of years ago. Nothing happening today has caught our Lord by surprise. There is no heavenly wringing of the holy hands of God this morning. Jesus our Lord is not sitting on the edge of His throne beside God wondering what to do. All is in His almighty control. Hebrews 1:3 gives us the word of what is going on:

  The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

All going according to His plan today,
Bucky

Friday, August 03, 2018

Not One Failed Promise

“Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. 1 Kings 8:56

King Solomon was a real wise guy. Yes, we like to say it that way, but we must acknowledge that when God gave wisdom to Solomon He gave it hugely. So, from the wisest man who ever lived, (Short of Jesus our Lord that is!) we have this testimony of our Lord God, not one failed promise. And the Hebrews had records to prove it too. That has not changed.

After Solomon, there were some promises made to those who would follow the foreign way of the idols and false gods. In the fullness of time, those promises arrived too, and first Israel was gone, and then Judah, just as God promised. No matter what Israel did by way of idolatry though, there was promise of a savior who would turn man back to the Lord. A bit later, a bit being after the Exile and return to Jerusalem and then another 400 years or so, Jesus the Lord arrived on a starry night when shepherds abode in the fields. Again, a promise fulfilled, and our Lord Jesus went on to fulfill a great many promises of the scriptures. Now, we look for promises fulfilled in our time. We may get them and we may not, but those promises will be fulfilled in God's time. You and I may not live to see the rapture but it will come, and waiting in the grave or waiting here in our days of toil, we will go to be with our Lord Jesus in the clouds of His glory!

Have a blessed Friday on that thought!
Bucky

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Racing For Grace?

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

Man was evil in his heart continually. That means Noah was perfect and God saved him out of all the others because of that righteous perfection, right? We may have thought that way without realizing it. But the Lord's word says that Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Wait, the word does say that Noah was a just man, that he walked with God. Does that mean the man saved himself from the deluge? Sorry, the word says that Noah found grace first, that means it is all God's work in him.

The flesh and its desire to save itself, and thus take the glory from God, wants Noah to be righteous in his own efforts, sanctified by his religious observance, and even obedient to the law in his own strict ways and training - something, anything that we as creatures of the flesh can achieve on our own without God. The flesh does not want to believe that Noah was just the same as those other men that God destroyed in the flood. The flesh dearly wants to know that Noah had something special to offer to God, something Noah achieved all on his own. Noah the superman, Noah the special one, but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

We are not racing each other for the last seat in Heaven. Like Noah we brought nothing special to the Lord's table and we have nothing to offer up to Him that would make us the guest of honor at His banquet. We found grace in the eyes of the Lord at His discretion; He chose us before time began, and our Lord did all the work of saving us from the coming destruction. To God be the glory, because grace certainly didn't come from me or you.

Saved by grace in Christ the Lord,
Bucky

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

God's Old Ways

“This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
Disaster after disaster
is coming your way! Ezekiel 7:5

Many of us grew up thinking that the Old Testament God was angry with all of mankind since the reaching out of Eve in disobedience. The Flood, Pharaoh and Egypt, the Philistines, and of course the exile of Judah, plus all those 'off with his head' punishments in the Law of Moses tend to point us to the divine retribution view of God the Father. Perhaps many a father and pastor reinforced that view at home in those days too. With this view we could not help but think of Jesus as different, a sort of shield between us and God.

But this simply cannot work with all of the words of Jesus.

The verse for today tends to backup our claim of God's hard old ways. However, even if we had only the Old Testament we could see that this is too narrow as well. The disasters came to Israel because of detestable sins; the miracles came because God wanted to do them. I cannot recall a single time that God said Israel deserved a miracle because of their good deeds. Blessings yes, that was part of the agreement for obedience to the Law, but miracles? No, every one was done because that mean old God wanted to do them. So, does that lingering view of God as mean to us hold up? Would the widow with her restored son stand with us in that antiquated view? Would the Israelites escaping out of the dried up Red Sea say that with Pharaoh's army drowning behind them? Pharaoh's soldiers might, but what came before that? Yes, hard-hearted Pharaoh and his detestable sin!

So, why doesn't God give us the smack down for our detestable sins? When our Lord God turns to us, He sees Jesus His Son and the full payment for every detestable sin. There is no shield from Almighty wrath, only a complete satisfaction of God's justice, leaving our Lord God free to love us completely. How can we know this? God sent Jesus to do His will, and greater love has no man...

Rejoice in God's love today,
Bucky

Monday, July 30, 2018

Cool Morning

I slept, but my heart was awake,
when I heard my lover knocking and calling:
“Open to me, my treasure, my darling,
my dove, my perfect one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.” Song of Songs 5:2

July is ending much the same as it began with cool mornings. It seems that in Solomon's time folks got up early to court; we tend to look upon it more as an evening pastime. Much of our lives might be spent looking for that perfect mate, perhaps we are searching during the wrong time of the day?

I thought last night that if I were somehow to find this woman who is not quite perfect, as only God is perfect, then just short of perfection as she may well be, she certainly would not want to entertain the likes of me. My only hope in such a situation would be the old opposites attract thing.

My hope of perfection lies in Christ the Lord, for in my own strength I will quit, give up, put it off 'til tomorrow, slack off, goof off, or just find it too exhausting. Of course there is the view that as an imperfect, fallen man I will not even apply my meager and weak efforts in the right direction to begin with!

Imperfection can hardly perfect itself, and that is why those of us who are given the gift of understanding how fallen we have become will surrender daily to the Lord our God.

Have a grateful new Monday in Christ,

Bucky

Friday, July 27, 2018

I Do Not Know You

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

Late in the evening I saw you. Yes, you! You know who you are. For everyone else, I must mention that your cape looked just spiffy, and those blue undies worn on the outside were quite the fashion statement. The two crooks you carried so easily to the waiting police van didn't stand a chance against such strength and speed. You are quite the superhero, almost comic book quality! I realized at once that I didn't know you quite so well as I had thought.

That may be a bit of Friday silliness, but it is also quite true that I do not know you. Your innermost thoughts are not available to me; those private parts are kept hidden from public view. If I cannot know my fellow humans so well, then how can I know God whose thoughts are higher than my own as the heavens are above the earth? And we know of course that without His revelation to us in His word and in the heavens and other places He chooses, I have no chance of knowing God. And yet, even in a foolish message such as this one, I can say, "We are saved in Him!"

Paul told the Corinthians that God was pleased to save us by belief: belief in His Son of course. We know in whom to believe also through His word and all that foolish preaching. The world may think the message foolish and by association the preacher just as far gone into foolishness, but we know through His wonderful word that this message is life to those who will believe in our Lord Jesus.

Have a great weekend in the love of God!

Bucky

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Job To Do

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:1-2

If our salvation can be likened to the plant world, it is that cracking of the seed and bursting forth into the air of that little plant. Now, we are like the little plant that finds great joy in that bursting forth, and then hopes that is it for the pain and suffering. We would rather grow at our own pace and in our own way because the old shell and pieces of shell of that former life in the flesh still cling to this little plant. However, we have a plant's job to do, and that is to bear fruit for the kingdom.

The rebirth in Christ for us was just the beginning. As each act of faith, love, or righteousness makes us grow more in Him, so will more testing come, which is the pruning mentioned in our scripture for today. We also come to know that each of us must become a branch of the true vine, who is Jesus Christ our Lord. If we started from a seed apart from Him, it must not remain that way or we will quite fail to grow and produce fruit. I simply cannot imagine billions or even millions of little plants growing into the true vine, but our Lord Jesus put His great work of salvation and sanctification into these garden terms so that we might have some understanding.

The great thing is that I don't have to understand completely all of His work or word, only that I can trust in Him completely to work it all out in me and you. My job is to believe in Him!

Rejoice in His work today,
Bucky

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

When God Makes Promises

Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” Genesis 13:17

Land would be quite important for a man promised descendants greater than the number of stars in heaven. Oh, that was another promise of the Lord our God.

Abram was one man, an old man, with one wife, also of that age where birthdays are no longer mentioned, and he owned no land in this new place the Lord had shown to him. Canaan, the land Abram was to take a hike through its length and width, was not exactly a suburban lot. Yes, the Lord made promises that only He could fulfill.

We are given equally impressive promises in the Word. A living man would lay down His life to save us and then raise Himself from the grave on the third day. That's an impressive promise. But, He then promised that He would one day return from Heaven to receive us from this cursed Earth. And, oh by the way, He also promised to make all things new. There are Galilee boatloads of other promises made to us by the Lord in His word. All we have to do is wait on Him!

The promises of our Lord are far beyond the capability of man, and He gives them to us. Gives? What have we done to deserve all of this divine magnificence? Nothing, but giving is what our Lord does for those who will believe in Him.

Peace to you this day in Christ our Lord,
Bucky

Monday, July 23, 2018

My Strength Is The Sand

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand." Matthew 7:26

Back in the day, I built a few houses on the sand. When that great fall came and I looked upon the wreckage of my former houses, I realized that my strength was the sand. Any strength of mine, emotional, physical, financial or otherwise, has been quite thoroughly washed away by the tides of this fallen world. And I was glad for that washing! No? Okay, I learned in the power of the Holy Spirit to be glad of that washing.

The danger in my strength comes in placing my faith in something so easily swept away by whatever tide may come along. My strengths were never so great as I had thought them, and thus my houses were easily put down. In this world there are those who have achieved great success and it is them I pity most. If anyone might come to believe in the ability to save oneself, it is those who have the applause of the world to listen to as they go to bed. How can that person come to realize his or her need for the Lord when they have so much fame, fortune, or physical ability?

Therefore, before we moan overmuch about our condition and the wreckage of those great houses we built on the sand, perhaps we should take a moment to thank the Lord for the knowledge that we all must have His salvation and depend upon Jesus Christ alone for life eternal. I like it! My strength turned out to be far too little for this life; I'm glad to have His strength for this life and the next.

God's love and grace to you on this fine Monday,

Bucky

Friday, July 20, 2018

A Prosperity Gospel

​“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
​​And do not return there,
​​But water the earth,
​​And make it bring forth and bud,
​​That it may give seed to the sower
​​And bread to the eater,
 ​​So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
​​It shall not return to Me void,
​​But it shall accomplish what I please,
​​And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:10-11

Now there's a prosperity gospel I long to hear! God's word going forth and prospering in the thing for which He sent it. What good news! What a delight to read! And it comes with God's guarantee.

When we send out a message many of our methods are by no means guaranteed. A letter from back in the day, thanks to the efforts of our postal service, almost always arrived in the hands of the addressee. However, simply addressing, stamping, and placing the letter in the hands of letter carrier was not a guarantee. Electronic means of today are even less guaranteed as e-mails are, digitally speaking, pretty much flung out onto the Internet and routed to the intended recipient. A number of failures could happen along that information road, though they do not happen very often. Other connection methods, cell phones for example, may be even more tenuous in their connection. On God's message comes a personal guarantee from the Almighty Himself.

The Word of our God shall not return to Him void, and it shall accomplish what He pleases. That is quite a guarantee. I could say that, but no message of mine would bear such a warranty. What is the difference? Oh, that is such a silly question! The guarantee of the Lord is backed by the Lord. Mine is backed only by me, and I'm just another message flinger without any means to assure the delivery and return. Yes, there is the tough bit, the return. God's assurance also guarantees the return shall not be void. Anyone might speak or write a message, but who besides the Lord can guarantee accomplishment and return with full accomplishment of His will?

As our Lord says, "I am God, and there is none like Me." (Isaiah 46:9)

Love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior,
Bucky

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Measured Wrong

For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Matthew 7:2

Myself approached the judgment throne and Myflesh showed the parade of deeds both good and evil. The deeds of evil trooped before the Judge in a powerful show of warriors mounted and fully armed; black was their armor and black were their horses in an array of cavalry too many to number. Myself swooned at the numbers and strength of those evil troopers as he saw their captains and corporals, rank and file led by a fierce colonel named Pride. Myflesh felt that pride as he looked upon a life going by that he had lived in the world.

Finally the good deeds came at the end and Myself was shocked to see a cartload of filthy rags pulled by a single broken-down nag of such an ugly appearance that he had to turn away. What was this? Where were the favors and loans, gifts and gratuities? Surely in a life of 80 years he had done enough obedience to the Law to be saved?

"Perhaps you measured wrong," a voice said, "those were all the things that were left behind at the Cross. These do not belong in this place."

Myself took a step back and Myflesh fled shrieking into the wilderness with his legions of evil warriors. I looked and beheld a glorious wonder, a man both bright and clean, of such purity that I trembled to look upon Him.

"Use My measure," He said to me as He handed me a measure labeled simply, Grace.

Bucky

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Constant Temptation

Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

It is for us a constant temptation to think of the Bible, God's Holy Word, as a work of man. It is the same temptation the Serpent offered up to Eve. Since that time we have desired to go our own way in the flesh, and one way to accomplish that is to dismiss the Word as a mere work of human imagination. Without the Word, so the temptation says to us, we have no consequences for the worst of sins, or for any sin at all. Without the Word we have no Christ.

For some this may seem an advantage, but to those of us who believe it is the very tragedy of life on this earth. No Christ? Without our Lord Jesus we have punishment for sin without mercy, life without grace, and no salvation. Oh, I see, the believer in the goodness of humanity sees that without the Law there is no sin and therefore he can do whatever he wants without consequence. Hmm, if I recall a story of a man named Job, to take away the God-inspired Word of the Bible is like taking away the four messengers from Job's home. Poor Job would still have the consequences of the Devil's assault, but he would be in ignorance.

The Word of God tells us that our sin is not the only sin. Job was righteous, but he still suffered the consequences of the Adversary's sin. Without the Word of God, the soldier may have armor and a shield, but no weapon to fight the enemy. Without the Word we have no comfort when the consequences of sin land upon us. How could a man such as Paul come up with the concept of a saving grace earned by Christ the Lord on the cross...without the grace of God to inspire this idea in his writing?

In Christ the Lord,
Bucky

Monday, July 16, 2018

Choose Now, The Midnight Cry Comes Soon

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Matthew 25:1

From instruction received in the Word we know the tale of the ten virgins and their lamps. Don't be foolish like the five who brought no oil for their lamps we are taught, and so we strive to keep our cupboards full and our refrigerators stocked. Does this parable teach us to be selfish with our oil? For at the exact moment of their greatest need, half of the bridesmaids were refused any sharing. As is the case with our Lord's parables, it is not so simple as that. We know from other teachings from our Lord about God's provision, and this is not about provision.

The world teaches us to accuse, kind of goes with the title of the prince of this world, aka the Accuser of the Brethren. We easily are moved by the flesh to find fault with the prepared virgins for not sharing with the foolish virgins. However, the parable is about a choice we all must make. Note that the ten virgins go out together to await the coming of the bridegroom. He appears to the virgins to be late, delayed by what they do not know and does not come at a decent hour. (Odd how the flesh seems to forget to accuse the bridegroom in this case.) Also, all of the virgins lay down to sleep together and all of them trimmed their lamps together. Caught unprepared at the midnight cry, the five virgins run to the store, at midnight no less, to purchase oil for their lamps. All the ten virgins did things together except in this one thing: choosing to take oil in their vessels with their lamps.

The choice is to believe in the Son of God or to be caught unprepared when His time comes. It is not about sharing, for there was always plenty of oil for all in the story, it is about being prepared while the door to the wedding hall is still open. A time will come when the gates of Heaven are shut up and closed down. The wedding of the Lamb and His Bride will take place and there will be some people left out. The parable is about those who want all the benefits of Heaven, but do not want to acknowledge the ruler of Heaven, the Son of God, as their Savior and Lord. The foolish virgins want to go their way and refuse His way until it is too late. The midnight cry sounds and they are found outside. We live in the time of choosing, but it will not last forever.

Our Lord wants to save all ten virgins; we who believe in Him want all of us to be there for His great wedding; the Holy Spirit of God works tirelessly to spread the oil of Christ around to every lamp. Choose now, before the midnight cry.

Love in Christ,
Bucky

Friday, July 13, 2018

Tempted By Little, Tempted By Lots

“All small animals that scurry along the ground are detestable, and you must never eat them. This includes all animals that slither along on their bellies, as well as those with four legs and those with many feet. All such animals that scurry along the ground are detestable, and you must never eat them. Leviticus 11:41-42

The Law as written in Leviticus did not feature mouse pie on the menu it seems. Not messing with the slithering things was probably not a problem for most of the Israelites though. However, it seems from my observations that there are two times in life when eating the forbidden critters might be a problem. One, a famine and people are starving hungry. Understandable to us, we don't like to be that hungry either. The second time though is perhaps less easily excused, and that is when people are rich and well-fed. Yes, we are in such a time for many right now, and what do they want to do in this time? Yes, to try every sort of food.

You and I may find the second totally alien to us in that we have never experienced that sort of wealth. This is not the big bonus at work, so let's go have a steak dinner kind of wealth that many of us have done, but the wealth where money rolls in so fast that we can't spend it all and we move to the house on Easy Street and get bored with even the finer things. It is interesting that the two worst temptations to the forbidden are total absence of a necessity and overwhelming abundance. In neither condition do we behave very well when left alone.

When it appears that a necessity will not be fulfilled we easily fail to maintain our faith and trust in God. When there is so much of a necessity that we have no reason to worry, then we get bored with even the good stuff and reach for the exotic, especially if it is forbidden. It is funny that the time of plenty is exactly what we pray for when things are a bit short. Yet, when we are overwhelmed with plenty, we never pray for a time of doing without. In the flesh, it would seem, we are never to be satisfied. In God's place we might be well be tempted to throw up the hands in disgust and walk away. Thanks and praise to God that He is not like us!

God sent His Son to save us because we do not have it in ourselves to simply be grateful for His provision without a profound change within that which we call the self. Always we would be running from one temptation to the next, and falling for all of them, if it were not for a new spirit born within us of the Spirit through Jesus Christ our Lord. In Christ, we are no longer temptation's plaything, and it is time we remember that as He leads us on toward home.

Kind of a long-winded day there, I hope that your weekend is just as long! Love and joy in Christ Jesus!

Bucky

Thursday, July 12, 2018

One For You

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble;
​​May the name of the God of Jacob defend you. Psalm 20:1

Diligent in my seeking in prayer after my needs, I lifted up my head to find a little time to request one for you.

It is true that our needs for ourselves are always right there, in the face and on the mind, and first at most times in our prayers. It is hard to ignore those immediate pains for example. A bit harder is to recall the needs of others and to send up a prayer for his or her need. Here we see the king offering up a heartfelt prayer for something that perhaps has not yet arrived. For each person, the day of trouble will arrive, and we do well to remember before the need is too great to ignore. It is that proactive prayer from King David, perhaps centuries before the word became a business buzz word.

Today, it feels good to offer up one for you, not that I wish a day of trouble upon you today, but that the Lord may bless you in this day and all days.

In the love of Christ,
Bucky

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Trust Begins...

“They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you." Deuteronomy 28:52

I have been known to bring my requests to God with a burden upon them, the burden of what I think is the best answer. It struck me last night that trust begins not when the Lord does what I think is best, but when I give my request to the Lord and wait on whatever answer He knows is best.

Now, with the power of prayer in mind, this technique seems to be fraught with peril. The Lord might not do what I want in this thing I have requested! The Lord God may provide for my need through a channel I had not thought of during my request. He might provide in a way that had never occurred to me. Dare I put it into words? The Lord may even say no!

Yes, trusting completely in the Lord's response is the beginning and where we may go from there will cause us in the fullness of time to declare Him wonderful. In time we will even name the Lord Wonderful, says so right in Isaiah 9:6. So, how does today's Bible verse relate to this?

This verse is a part of the curses on disobedience of the Law, but it also shows within itself where that disobedience was: they were trusting in earthly walls instead of the Lord! Indeed to begin our journey toward full trust in the Lord, He may have to knock down some earthly walls in which we have placed some trust. Does life seem unfair in the moment with a job lost, financial setbacks, health failures, or other pains and sufferings? Mayhap God is pulling down some of those trusted earthly walls we don't need anymore.

Trust in the Lord Jesus our God and Savior.

Bucky

Monday, July 09, 2018

Learning Our Place

And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ Luke 18:13

Tax collectors in Roman occupied Judea did not enjoy a wholesome reputation. In the minds of the people they were the worst. Not soldiers who had conquered, their attitude might be understandable, but betrayers from within - Jews who sold out their nation for a profit. The tax agents had a master in Rome to satisfy, represented by the governor, and a people not to upset so badly that rebellion broke out. The Pharisee sect enjoyed a rather different reputation.

The Pharisees were the rule keepers heroes. They kept the Law of Moses to the letter and added a few hundred traditions on top which they also kept to the last jot and tittle. The Pharisees in some or perhaps all cases were also rather proud of themselves and liberally awarded themselves pats on the back for their piety. If human effort alone could save a man, these would have done so and proudly told God all about it. Then Jesus came.

You know the rest of the parable from Luke 18, the tax collector lives with God in our memory as the humble sinner who knew his place much like the repentant thief on the cross. The Pharisee carved a place for himself at the top of society and religion, and was a hero of the law in his own mind, a real self-made man. However, our Lord's opinion of the Pharisee was not one of approval.

It is tough to learn our place before God. Some will never admit that they need help to be saved, much less that salvation is the work of Christ alone. I had to be humbled first and so did you in order to ask Jesus to save us. How do I know you did? Well, all have sinned and pride will not come to the cross to be saved. Pride stands before the altar and proclaims how good he is. Humility stands before God and admits our need for His Son.

Have a great new work week in Christ!
Bucky

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Giving Up Control...To the Lord

Take control of what I say, O LORD,
and guard my lips. Psalm 141:3

Most of us have watched a medical drama episode where the young doctor wants very much to solve the problem and goes too far in saving the body while losing the patient. The patient for their part ends up brain dead and connected to what we call life-sustaining machines. There is debate over whether this is life or not. Most careers involving problem solving have similar situations, though perhaps not involving a human life.

The story of my first laptop repair while here in Julesburg goes much the same, and I have probably told it before. For those new to this daily devotional, I get to tell it again. For the others, you can chalk it up to me practicing to be an old man, if you wish. A new friend had suffered a financial disaster in his life, and presented to me a dead laptop. (Presented, heh, watching too many medical videos.) No question, it was a dead laptop.

I had the owner buy a replacement battery. Nope. Then I began digging into the problem in earnest with no stopping point except to fix the laptop and give the man some good news in the midst of his financial and now legal and personal disaster. Before I quit, I spent about $300 of my meager funds and put at least $1,000 in labor into a dead laptop. My friend could no way afford this sort of bill in his condition and I never invoiced him.

In learning from this lesson, I realized that what I wanted was control, not over his life of course, but over mine. The focus of that control in the moment being that particular dead laptop. It still does not work and I still have the thing in a plastic tote down in my basement as a reminder. Even from strictly worldly terms it did not make sense to expend the effort and money that I did since the thing could be replaced for $200 with a refurbished model of the same brand and size on EBay. Sending my friend after a new replacement laptop would not cost anywhere near what I put into the dead one, though he could not afford to do that at the time. Problem solving can become an idol if we nudge the Lord aside by not listening to Him and by forcing control on that which we many have no control over.

The thing was dead and I could not fix it; deal with it and give up control to God our Father. And indeed once I quit sinking money and expending effort flogging the proverbial dead moose, the Lord provided a laptop of a larger size that someone no longer wanted which I sold to my friend. Wait, what? Provided, sold? Yes, by that time my financial situation was no better than my friend's and he would have in no case accepted charity from me. I hope that the lesson of that first laptop sticks with me, because in any career there is the danger of letting that which we think we have control over deceive us into thinking we have control over all things. That is called humanism and you will see it presented in many an entertainment and educational vector. Like that doctor in the show, we could also do harm with a manic grasping after control over life or death, and I do believe that God calls the shots on those things and many others. Perhaps that is why we know Him as Sovereign and Almighty.

Have an out of (your) control Saturday, give up control to God!

Bucky

Friday, July 06, 2018

Sport To A Fool

​To do evil is like sport to a fool,
​​But a man of understanding has wisdom. Proverbs 10:23

We can easily see the first line of this verse by thinking of a group of young boys. That's all it took, right? The script goes much the same: one of the boys suggests to another some act that the parents or elders (or even the law enforcement authorities) would disapprove of without delay. Others of the group may join in suggesting that the second boy is not all that he should be if he does not perform this act, and it is typically one of cruelty toward another. We can see that the parents of that boy are soon to be embarrassed. The group of boys will laugh about it until word of the deed spreads. Young boys tend toward the foolish like ducks to water; to them acts of cruelty can easily become sport if such things are not stopped and punished.

I passed through this phase of life without incident of course and can give no stories of my own to support my point. Mmm, hmm, sure I did. The problem is rather an overabundance of examples to choose from and a firm upbringing in the church and morals by my parents which saved me from many more stories of the regretful sort. So, how do we grow up and gain understanding to have wisdom?

Those we hurt during the growing up often remind us that such actions are not loving and kind, but these actions also store up a wealth of regrets along the way to wisdom. One would hope for an easier way or if easy is not the way at least one that manufactures no regrets along the way. You and I know already that our God is the source of all wisdom, and He gives for the asking. And, as our Lord would rather we not hurt each other, I'm thinking He will give this wisdom generously too! That is of course no startling deduction for my part, words and examples throughout the Bible show how generously our Lord gives to us His love and wisdom.

Rejoice in our Lord's loving generosity this weekend!

Bucky

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Apocalypse Ready?

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John. Revelation 1:1

The Apocalypse comes from the Greek word for an unveiling or revealing. God gave to Jesus, His Son, knowledge of how this world will end, and our Lord gave this revealed story to John and sent him to us. This came to mind this morning when I saw an advert for an apocalypse-ready rifle. That caused a laugh. What are they planning? To shoot the wrath of the Lamb earthquake? Blast away at the oceans turned to blood maybe? This humor may be unintentional as there is this zombie apocalypse which is an invented and imaginary thing, whereas the Apocalypse is real, very serious for all of humanity, and coming soon. I have to wonder though, are we as God's redeemed people apocalypse-ready?

We believe that the Rapture will occur before or as a first step in the Apocalypse, or that which our Lord called the Tribulation. Therefore we might easily forget our neighbors who could be the ones left behind to endure seven years of judgments poured out from the Lord. Can any believer be truly apocalypse-ready if a neighbor remains unbelieving and unsaved? Yes, because our Lord Jesus makes us ready, but our love for our neighbors will lead us to share the good news that a person can be made ready for anything. Even made ready for that crazy neighbor who grabs his apocalypse-ready rifle and blazes away at the stinging locust demons from the bottomless pit. Yikes! duck and cover, everyone!

Rejoice in the Lord's day!
Bucky

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A Larger Work By Far

The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
​​The lightnings lit up the world;
​​The earth trembled and shook. Psalm 77:18

The fireworks began last night, but they were overruled by the thunder. Man's works sure sound puny when compared to God's like that. The works of our Lord are larger by far than what we can produce. The Revelation is good for showing that as the works man has built up over the centuries are shaken down, burned up, and lost at sea. The huge population near the end that mankind may take credit for will be reduced in huge swaths even as final decisions are made by many. With God so powerful compared to us, why do so many come against Him near the end?

It must be a deception of such complexity that even the wise are fooled... or at least we would hope so, but it is more likely that the deception will be rather simple and as old as Eden. Adam and Eve did fall, and so have we all, but the larger work by far was done by God in His Son, Jesus Christ. Man sinned, Jesus saves!

Rejoice in our Lord this Independence Day!

Bucky

Monday, July 02, 2018

The Valley of Decision

Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision.
There the day of the LORD will soon arrive. Joel 3:14

Have you ever met someone who knows about Jesus but refuses to make that decision one way or another? Of course you have, for there are many in that valley and they are comfortable there as long as no one presses them to decide. In Joel, the Lord sends word that their time will not last forever. He warns that His day will soon arrive.

Two thousand and some hundreds of years have gone by since Joel wrote and published the word from the Lord. One can easily see the folks in the valley of decision thinking there will be thousands more before that great and terrible day of the Lord arrives. As with many things in this life though, it will soon arrive.

Nations have lasted for centuries, and certainly many lived and died believing their country would last forever. Rulers have handed down the reign to sons for generations, and no doubt some in the middle felt the solid foundation of the monarchy would last and last. In this age, companies have grown to such a size that it would seem they will last forever. Around these parts we know that last one is not true for every company. In other parts of the world, they know that boatloads of kings and queens are dead and their kingdoms forgotten. And even the mighty Roman empire has gone into the dust of history. That day of the Lord looks closer all the time.

We will make mission trips into that valley of decision, and there we will find the undecided. In love we will warn them that the time is soon to arrive when they must decide to go their way or His way. As there is only one Way to the Father, and His name is Jesus; the other must be the way to destruction, and we don't want those we love to go there.

Happy Independence Day week!
Bucky

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Gloriously Awful

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7

A little hobby has come my way as of late, it began when I got out an old stereo thing that I had, and then another came my way via EBay, and someone else gave me 2 sets of old stereo speakers, and it took off from there. More than a few vintage components of 70's or 80's stereo tech now litter/clutter/junk up my basement as I swap them around and play. There is no need to be too careful (and thus make it less fun), because I have spent little money on most of it and none at all on a significant portion. Yesterday, I bought a pair of Montgomery Ward speakers from the early 70's, and they are just the worst in vintage speakers: flat, tinny sounding, no bottom end (bass), in other words, they are gloriously awful to the ear. They have kept their value well since they probably cost $5 off the showroom floor in 1972, and they cost the same yesterday at the yard sale. I rejoiced; they are perfect for showing how much better all the other speakers in the collection sound!

As one of only 100 in need of repentance, you and I are in much the same condition; we make those 99 just persons from our group look good! No, I haven't seen any of those 99 just persons either, and perhaps we have hit upon the point Jesus tried to make to those 'good' persons from long ago. All of us are the one in a hundred because all have sinned and thus all need to repent. Heaven is supposed to be a joyous place, so our repentance is fuel for heaven!

Those cheap little speakers were like lost sinners at that yard sale - only one person wanted them. Like heaven does, I rejoiced in them they were so gloriously awful. 99 feel no need for heaven's help, but there is that gloriously awful one who needs the salvation of our Lord Jesus. From the repentance of that one the vaults of heaven ring with glorious harmony as the saints and angels rejoice together. And that sound I will not find on the earth even if I should spend billions at the greatest audio equipment store the world has ever seen.

Great is the sound of our Lord's name!

Bucky

Friday, June 29, 2018

Life, One Day At A Time

So he said, “Tomorrow.” And he said, “Let it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. Exodus 8:10

Whooee! Hard to avoid commenting about the hot day yesterday. The good side is that yesterday is gone and the forecast for today is for milder temperatures. It is not quite July yet, there may be more hot days on the way. How do they stand this where the hot days don't stop until September? Just like we did with yesterday, live life one day at a time.

A popular movie once exclaimed, "Like we have any other choice?" to the one day at a time thing that recovering addicts or alcoholics use. The point is that yes, we do have another choice, and we tend to use it often. That is the choice of imagining some future victory, a time of ease and triumph over our particular demons, while sort of ignoring today. It is so easy to live this way that many do it all the time. Now, a dream of heaven, as best we can see it in the imagination, may serve as a comfort during a time of stress, but the temptations of today are here today. It is good to reflect on the promises of our Lord while facing the trials of today, but we still must live life today, one day at a time.

Another way some avoid today is to live anxiously; borrowing imagined trouble from a future day to ruin this day. We do that rather well too. There is no comfort in those visions and no message from God to pass on as good news. Anxious worries over tomorrow are to be stopped at once as the Lord would not have us to live in unbelief. Trusting in our good and loving Lord is the way for today!

As Moses said, there is no one like the Lord our God. And, we will find Him here, living life today with us, if we can just stay right here with Him.

Bucky

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Who Is My Neighbor?

“But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.” Exodus 3:22

Neighbor: "Namely, of her who dwells near her house..." We might at times wonder what the Bible meant by neighbor, and quite early in the Exodus the word of God lets us know who our neighbors are - those who dwell near us. Just as we thought. So, how well are we doing at loving our neighbors as ourselves?

It isn't even the person dwelling next door that trips us up all of the time; sometimes it is that closest of dwellers in the neighborhood who does not enjoy the love he or she should have from us. Yes, your spouse is in fact your closest neighbor, or should be, and next to them are the children of the household. We have neighbors so close, and so much opportunity to learn to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Ah, the plundering. Well, that was a one-time deal for the children of Israel to collect their back pay for 400 years of slavery. We are not to plunder our neighbors, but notice the asking. God was at work there in that time and there was no theft involved. I did write 'here' first before realizing there are no ancient Egyptians around me, but here is good too, for God is at work here and now too! Perhaps I can share a little gold of the good news of Jesus with my neighbor today.

Have some of the love of Christ today, Internet neighbors!

Bucky

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Don't Want To Be That Way

"But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother
​​In the day of his captivity;
​​Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah
​​In the day of their destruction;
​​Nor should you have spoken proudly
​​In the day of distress."  Obadiah 1:12

We might try to make excuses for Edom, the nation this verse was sent to, by way of making an out for ourselves. However, we don't want to be that way. We must try to be more like that despised Samaritan in the story rather than the priest and the Levite who ignored the injured man or crossed to the other side of the road. We have learned this from the story of the Good Samaritan in our youth in Sunday School, so what is the problem here? A temptation.

Edom fell into that temptation to think more highly of themselves because Judah had been taken down by the Lord. We might fall in a similar way when someone we don't like is demoted at work. Perhaps a downsizing of the company has made a new serf out of a former ruler, so to speak. That ruler was one we really didn't like, and so we share a laugh at his expense. Whoa before the woe comes! Rejoicing in a neighbor's downfall is not the way of the Master that we should follow. Yet, it is so easy to find that thought floating around in there, "He/she has been taken down a notch, therefore I must be right and up one on them." Perhaps it is more of an image with you and less wordy, just a little puffing out of the chest when passing by the new cubicle dweller who used to have an office; a little gloating for old times sake. Either way, we should flee from that pride that caused Edom's fall.

Thank You, dear Lord, for the lessons of the Bible, and may I ask for Your kind help in applying them too!

Bucky

Monday, June 25, 2018

No Law Against It

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

It would seem silly to us for a government to pass laws against qualities of character that we all desire to see in ourselves and others. Yet, we shouldn't give up hope, for governments have proven themselves capable of all forms of silliness, no matter how extreme the silliness may seem to us. This makes a certain amount of sense with governments being elected quite often by people who have a certain capability for silliness in themselves. We are not talking this morning of the kind of silliness where we act the fool for a laugh, but of the kind where we are the fool and it is no laughing matter.

The infamous 'whatever did I do that for?' moments help us to learn, but the fruit of the Spirit seems a much better way to go. If I knew and practiced love, it would be quite difficult to hurt my neighbor. Practice faithfulness and things like idolatry and adultery are tough to fall into. A life of goodness will not produce a reputation for badness. And then there is that toughest one of all for some of us: self-control. I'm not sure that I have faithfully practiced self-control ever in my life in what could be called a period of longsuffering. The occasional moment or two being about the best I have done.

Thank God it is list of the fruit of the Spirit. That means I have God's support and help, and, yes, authority to practice these fine qualities in myself. And as always, with my will being the weak and puny thing that it has been, the fruit production will come because God wills it in His sovereign and almighty will.

Bucky

Friday, June 22, 2018

Joy Outside The Camp

Hear the word of the LORD,
​​You who tremble at His word:
​​“Your brethren who hated you,
​​Who cast you out for My name’s sake, said,
​‘​Let the LORD be glorified,
​​That we may see your joy.’
​​But they shall be ashamed.”  Isaiah 66:5

Inside the camp is a form of religion but a denial of its benefits. They have discovered self-righteousness. Paul was convinced of his righteousness until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. In just a short time, he was cast out of the camp of the religious ones. God showed it to Isaiah in his time, we read of Paul's story in the Acts, and we can see it now or will very soon. Of course our prime example is our Lord Jesus Himself, who was finally rejected by the religious camp so much that the Romans were obliged to have our Lord executed. And all along, those inside thought up a convincing righteousness for themselves.

So, I left you hanging yesterday, but today is the explanation and we are indeed joyful outside the camp with our Lord Jesus. That is of course the key point. We want to be where Jesus is. We are glad to be cast out with Him, as long as it is with Him. We don't want to be cast out for being obnoxious or rude. Nor do we we want to be cast out because our sin is so bad that even experienced sinners are appalled at the sight of us. None of us seek a casting out, it just comes with believing in our Lord Jesus.

So happy outside the camp! Have fun in Jesus today,
Bucky

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Salted, Pure, And Holy

And the LORD said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal amounts of each. You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. Exodus 30:34-35

According to the definitions, these things are in the not sure what they were category. Curiosity must remain unsatisfied. It is good for us in this age when so many things are easily obtainable in trade on the internet. We cannot fall into that curiosity and profane an incense that was to be used for one thing only.

Holy and pure was the incense, and to make some just to smell left the novice perfumer with a problem, what does one do with the incense now? Throw it out? That formula is holy to the Lord! Quietly burn it outside the camp? The novice would have plenty of time as expulsion was the penalty for mixing up a bit of holy incense for an unholy purpose. Two of Aaron's son's made a profane incense and they were slain by the Lord. There is no exception to holy. Compromised has no purity.

For the law to remain the law, it must remain salted, pure, and holy. And there is none further outside the camp of the holy people than those Gentiles - impure, unholy, and without any salt. Glad I was born one of 'em!

Bucky

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Verse For Myself

As for the man whose hair has fallen from his head, he is bald, but he is clean. Leviticus 13:40

Not all of my hair has fallen out, therefore I must not be all the way clean yet. It is easy with our search apps of today to find a verse to my benefit in the Bible. If I don't like what comes up with one search, I can try another word or phrase until I find just the right verse for me. However, God is not simple or easily fooled like I am. Verses come along in the Bible that I must decide on. That one about everyone sinning and falling short of God's standard, I can search but there is no exception for me there. That bit about how one must be born again, or that Jesus is the only way to God the Father, or many others I will come to fail to provide me with exceptions for myself.

How about those verses about marriage? I am not married and have not been married, so I can ignore all of those, right? Not so fast Single-Slider! One day, for my hope is in Jesus Christ, I will participate as a small part of the Bride of Christ in that wedding of the Lamb. What better time than right now to practice those things the Bride needs like submission, love, understanding, and all the other fruits of the Spirit our Lord has planted in me? Submission is a tough one too, eh? The flesh rises up right quick when submission is mentioned.

All of the Bible is to my benefit as the word from God Himself. However, the flesh and the new spirit of Christ in me argue constantly about what is beneficial. That old guy just wants to do what he thinks is delicious and tasty in the moment, while the new spirit at the urging of God's dear Holy Spirit wants to learn things like submission to God's word. Praise God that old man of the flesh will be left behind one day to return to the dust. Did you ever see the great promise of our Lord Jesus in that light? The time will come when two men will be working in a field, one will be taken and the other left. The new and reborn man of the spirit will not miss that old man of the flesh as he is left behind; I'll be looking at my Lord and Savior in the clouds of His glory!

Praise God for the day!
Bucky

Monday, June 18, 2018

Encourage One Another

I weep with sorrow;
encourage me by your word. Psalm 119:28

It's that little bitty psalm again! Of course any chapter of the Bible produces wonderful verses to study and quote, but one with 176 verses does stand a good chance of having a quotable verse or two. After that many verses the psalmist(s) surely have life under the Lord worked out, surely? The final verse, numbered 176, speaks to what I feel today:

I have wandered away like a lost sheep;
come and find me,
for I have not forgotten your commands. 

Our Lord Jesus is of course the first one to find and encourage each of us in our walk toward our eternal home with Him. That does not mean that we are without a duty of love to one another in this journey called life. Encouragement from one to another is one form that the love commanded by our Lord for our neighbor takes in this life. Every brother and sister in Christ will face the test, and the testing brings with it the need for encouragement. The more difficult the test, the more we need to encourage one another.

Thank God for the opportunities He provides daily for us to share the love through encouragement!

Bucky

Friday, June 15, 2018

Get Up, Slug!

​I long for Your salvation, O LORD,
​​And Your law is my delight. Psalm 119:174

Whatsa matter? Didn't want to get up today? I'm right there with you and oddly enough my computer was too. Must be some sort of Friday morning blues going on around here. The stove and coffee maker worked just fine though; they must be the good servants, the ones God would really like to have in His kingdom.

We have been told that somewhere, have we not? Unquestioning obedience to the law is the way to go. Be a good boy or girl and you'll get to heaven. That may be the clue there. Once upon a time we wore right through a parent's or teacher's or preacher's last nerve, dropped that final childhood straw on his/her back, and the threat of God was called down upon us. The ultimate authority in our young life was displeased and we didn't measure up to the law of childhood behavior. Or maybe it happened later in life.

Whenever we came to find the legalism that many a Christian has gone through in his or her development, that is when we came to believe that God had particular favorites and they were the unquestioning, uncomplaining, servants that He desired above all else. That is why among twelve choices, our Lord picked one who would betray Him to the death, a despised tax collector, a zealot, and all those rough-tongued, tough-talking fishermen from Galilee. What? Peter, James, and John must have been the bestest of that fishing lot? Yeah, our Lord was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton because He spent 24/7 in the local synagogue. Sure they were sweet little fishing fellows.

Before you and I think that the one who wrote our verse for today was among that group of perfect servants, we might think of those our Lord God has plucked up from the depths of little private hells created on this earth by circumstances, bad decisions, and of course, sin. Many of us have been there and wondered why we weren't more religious, pious, or how in the world God chose us to save when He could have had more of those perfect servants.

I guess love does not always choose what looks best on the surface to us,

Love in Christ,
Bucky

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Going Somewhere?

Jokshan begot Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. Genesis 25:3

Yeah! Nothing like a good Bible verse to get us started for the day. This verse is perhaps not one of those that Christians memorize and sticky-note to their cubicle walls at work. Given this verse for today, where do we go with it? A bunch of names that we likely cannot pronounce correctly. And yet, given Genesis 25 in the timeline of the world, one or even three of these names could be way down deep in the family tree of any of us. The names in the list don't seem to go anywhere, but wait, wasn't there a Queen of Sheba who came to gain wisdom from Solomon a few years, oops, centuries later? There must be some distant relationship there, maybe the Sheba founded the nation of Sheba? To us it might seem as though Dedan didn't like his sons with the names he bestowed on them, but that is probably cultural bias.

Yet, if we read the rest of the story, we find that these are some of the family Abraham produced after Sarah was gone. Produced in his prime years approaching 150 or so years old that is. Oh ho! now we can begin to appreciate some Biblical history. One word does stand out here, begot. It seems that God's command to Adam, and then to Noah, to be fruitful and multiply was in the begetting even as man fell from his special place in the Garden. However long this took place after Noah landed, the (great) grandsons and granddaughters of Noah were getting on with begetting on. Every once in a while, the ladies got their credit too as Keturah is the wife Abraham married after Sarah had died, and those mentioned in our verse for today are listed as her sons.

Even as the end of the age approaches, we too are begetting the sons and daughters who may see Jesus our Lord coming in the clouds of His glory, or maybe that generation is us!

In Christ, Bucky

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

If I Had Only...

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 2 Corinthians 1:9

To think that I could know a 'would have been' is to suffer from pride. In our verse for today, carved out from one of Paul's long sentences in the NKJV, Paul reminds us of what we had to offer Jesus by way of value in us. Umm, yeah, not sure why our Lord would want to give His precious life to purchase that, but love must be the answer. All that I have to offer includes knowledge of the future that does not know what would have been had only I made that decision back then, or even just yesterday, another way. Therefore, I do not know what will happen tomorrow from a decision today, and, I cannot see, yet, what Jesus saw that was so valuable in us. Okay, onward we go content in today!

Many of our decisions are not so history-of-the-world altering as we might like to think. Had I chosen some other career after high school, the world would likely look much the same as today. This is due to the fact that I am not in charge, God is. Why do I think I might know this? Because the Lord our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Whatever His plans are for you, and for me, and for the world, these will come to pass in His way and in His time. It may well be that the pathways I might have chosen back in the day would all have led to right here; not fatalism, just trust-in-God-ism.

May God keep us on His path for today,
Bucky

Monday, June 11, 2018

Great Is His Name

“Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple; then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name. 2 Chronicles 6:32-33

From Solomon's prayer of dedication for the temple in Jerusalem, we read of those foreigners, people like you and me, who came from a far country because of the great name of our Lord. I like to read of the mighty hand of our Lord too; the hand not raised in judgment against me for the sacrifice of one man: the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord God's beloved Son.

Did I get up one day and realize that I deserved the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus? No, quite the opposite really, and that I deserved all of the judgment the mighty arm of the Lord could lay on me.

From that far country we came, you and me, knowing the weight of the Lord's judgment, only to be relieved of it by the Son of God, and later to know that the Father was not so different from the Son as we may have thought at the first. For Jesus did only what the Father commanded, and it was always the prodigal's father who desired our return and the bestowing of eternal life on those least deserving of such a great thing. Great is His name who loved us so much that the life of His Son was given in our place.

Now go out and have a great week in His great name!
Bucky

Friday, June 08, 2018

Bluster Boy

Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him." Matthew 27:41-42

How easy it is to take the mocking-scoffing position. How little courage is shown by the mockers when the Son of God will not come down. Ah, there we have the confusion they experienced. They thought that Jesus could not, when in fact it was that He would not. The temptation to come down from the cross in His great power must have been difficult for our Lord, but then He would have given the prince of this world the victory. The love of our Lord for us kept Him nailed to the cross through the bitter end. However, unlike the priests, scribes, and elders, let us not confuse our Lord's will to not come down with a lack of might or power on His part.

In every town or neighborhood, you may find a man who blusters his way past the fear. He is full of gruff and guff, probably tells all how he hates bullies even as he blusters like one, and hopes never to be called out or shown to be afraid. We can only compare Jesus with Bluster Boy in an opposite way, for our Lord never blustered or bluffed. His was the position of God's Son and He stood up in the boat and rebuked the storm to calmness. Our Lord's authority from God cast out demons, healed all manner of sickness and disability, and even raised the dead to life. Bluster Boy can do none of these things, but does enjoy some tough talk now and then to hide his fears. The chief priests, scribes and elders did none of these things, yet they mocked our Lord on the cross.

Changing subjects/times back and forth, ...help! You see, the world sends a lot of blustery information our way in this age to distract us from the Lord our God. Don't let it. Call upon the One who saved you from your sins. There is also a Bluster Boy who would have us scoff and mock, and especially, not believe in the One who saves. Don't believe his bluster; the time he fears is coming soon. Believe in the Christ and cling to Him!

Bucky

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Conditions Just Right

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Yesterday I took a look at the radar display on the Internet and saw no thunderstorms forming. To myself, fortunately, I predicted none for the remainder of the day. Good job! In the late afternoon a big one formed just to the west of Julesburg and stayed there for quite some time. In spite of my brilliant weather prognostication abilities, it seems that conditions were just right much closer than I thought. And so it may have gone with the heart of the seeming unbeliever just next to you there, much closer than you think.

Our Lord has waited patiently in the heart of many a believer for conditions to be just right for a blooming of the fruit of the Spirit. A Christian seemingly strong and secure in his own might is suddenly laid out with a serious illness, and perhaps strangely to us (or maybe not), the fruit of the Spirit suddenly seems to spring to life. Many of us have lived similar experiences wherein a storm of faith and belief has suddenly built up and broken over us because conditions not apparent to us became just right for the Lord. And what great analogies being so very wrong yesterday can produce today!

Thank You, dear Lord, for the guidance of Your Holy Spirit!

Bucky

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

The Bride of My Lord

And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Genesis 9:12-13

If you want to gripe about churches, or just a church in particular, you may find a myriad of characteristics to inflame your gripes. Little effort is required to find something wrong with any one church or all churches in general from one person's little point of view. Any one of us can set the self on the church as judge. What if that church belongs to Him though? Do we dare to judge the Christ? We do if we pick on His future bride! If a church belongs to Jesus, then we have no complaints. Our Lord will take care of any beautification that needs to be done in time for His wedding.

In the Revelation, I mean, His Revelation, Jesus sent messages to seven churches with specific criticism and praise. He also sent messages of Himself, as a young man engaged to be married might do in a similar way. If I, perhaps under some obscure local regulation, had to criticize a young woman about to be married, I certainly would not choose the intended bride of the strongest man in the town. As our Lord Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Almighty, criticizing His bride would seem unwise. So, how long until this great wedding?

As Noah came off the boat to his new land, God made with him and every living creature with him a covenant for perpetual generations. That sounds like a long time and it certainly should, for thousands of years later we still look at rainbows and remember. With many of His other agreements though, long times and end times included, there was a promised now. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a promise of the far flung future became a now. When Jerusalem was stormed under each time, whether by Nebuchadnezzar or the Romans, those distant futures became times of right now. So it will be when the bride of Christ, fully prepared and dressed by God our Father, is presented to His Son at the Wedding of the Lamb, one day this unfathomable and seemingly incredibly distant future promise will become a now. And great will be the rejoicing!

So, as the mightiest of men holds the hand of that most disorganized-organized, weak but strong, confused but certain and doubtfully faithful of future brides, our church in all of its disparate nations, peoples, tribes, and tongues, I think any criticism of mine will need to be turned over to my Lord Jesus for correction. I'm quite sure that He will prepare me for that big wedding too! What would my Lord say about His future bride? I believe He says even this day, "She is right where I want her, right now."

Great is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Bucky

Monday, June 04, 2018

Treasure Hidden

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Matthew 13:44

Find an archaeologist with a sense of humor, a translator for the imperial Spanish, and a willing storyteller who hasn't yet made any money at writing, and you have the team to start a new treasure hunt. The archaeologist can put, oops, find a few old timbers out on a barren seashore somewhere, the translator would make up, I mean, stumble across a few likely documents of indeterminate age, and the writer can spin a story out of thin air to start the legend. In no time, with the speed of social media, that barren seashore will be scanned, detected, dug up, and combed carefully for the treasure of the El Toblerone, lost at sea in a storm off the coast with all hands in 1782 with the treasure of King Juan XIV on board. Of course a fantastical amount must be mentioned, a million won't do anymore, so start at $1.789 billion as though someone did a careful tally by the old manifest and your story of El Toblerone is off and running.

You should have stuck with your million because that 'b' word just got the attention of several governments. Today, it is probably not worth our time to attempt a treasure expedition for the fabled lost ships of the Spanish Main. Spain wants their treasure back, the nations where the gold and silver (and jewels!) were mined want their stuff too ('cuz imperial Spain stole it in the first place), the country or state where the timbers washed up will lay a claim to the treasure, and watch out for the purported or at least convenient heirs to those poor skeletons that unfortunately rotted away before the timbers. So who wins the treasure? The lawyers do, of course.

Alas, Jesus knew how to get our attention and the mere mention of treasure has us running in the wrong direction. The point of the story is that the kingdom of heaven is the treasure that is worth all that we have to give. The Lord Jesus is the man who found that treasure and gave His all to save it. And in that field is a treasure He died for: us. Yes, you and me were the treasure our Lord bought the Earth for with His life. While the world runs after gold and silver, our Lord purchased with His blood a flock of hapless sheep. Do you feel like a treasure this Monday morning? You should, the blood of the King of kings was given to redeem you from the Earth!

Hallelujah! Our Lord has found a treasure!

Bucky

Friday, June 01, 2018

That Cursed Old Man

I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:25

Do you feel it? The flesh argues everything the Spirit of God reminds us of in life. That cursed old man of the flesh argues every good work the spirit of the reborn man wants to do. Want to help a neighbor in need? That cursed old man tells how much you need those resources for yourself. Want to quit that old habit formed in the days when the flesh ruled? That cursed old man tells of how enjoyable, refreshing, satisfying, and necessary that thing is in your life. Do you ever want to testify of the salvation given to you by our Lord Jesus Christ and find that cursed old man arguing how much you have done to accomplish this thing? It is even so.

The great backstabber appears to work perfectly in tune with that dread power of this present darkness. The fallen and cursed old man of the flesh does not want to let you and me go into that peaceful rest of salvation our Lord Jesus purchased for us on the cross. That cursed old man tries at every turn to stop our Lord's work and failing at that tries to steal credit for the very work our Lord paid the ultimate price to obtain in our behalf. How evil can the man of the flesh be? And with that we begin to understand what fallen means.

We have knowledge of the good, but we don't do it. Apt and eager is the cursed old man toward selfishness and evil. Ready to run from the Lord and hide in the darkness, that old man knows his sin but repents not of it. Only in Christ Jesus can we learn to love and of how utterly dependent we are on our Lord to save us. The change from that cursed old man of the flesh to the reborn son of God is so great that the former man can hardly believe it. He better start because the time of that cursed old man of the flesh is short.

Have a great day in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior!

Bucky

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Armed Against Us

And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Revelation 19:19

It looks dark in this present time. The beast has kings, we have a king; the beast has armies, we have an army. By the numbers things look bleak for our side. Yet, even as they are armed against us, I like our chances. It is the 'us' that does it for me; it is Him who sat on the horse that seals the deal for our victory. Indeed in the next verse the battle is over and the leaders of the wrong side are not only captured but sentenced and imprisoned. Apparently it was not a lengthy battle.

As we look around from our stand down here in the world, it does appear that we are outnumbered many to one. There are way more of them than there are of us. They have the armies and we have the One. Martyrs are slain daily and those going to prison are taken. And yet, it is that One who gives us the assurance of the victory. It is Him who sat on the horse who holds the sovereign power in His almighty hands. The prophecy of His total victory is so unbelievable that He just has to be believed!

Rejoice in our Lord Jesus; we will see His victory!

Bucky

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Lake of Jeopardy

But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. Luke 8:23

It is interesting that the word 'lake' in the New King James version of the Bible was used in Luke, and then used again in the Revelation to final effect. There were no lakes in the Old Testament. We can relate to that out here on the high plains, for without the cheating of dams and reservoirs we would have no lakes either. Like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, we would have no use for such a word if not for some blocked up streams. Of course even as the nation of God's people wandered the barren wastes, the Sea of Galilee was prepared for them just a bit to the north. The trial of the disciple's faith would come in its proper time as their Savior took a well-deserved nap.

On the lake of jeopardy, the disciples' faith was tested. Their Lord appeared to be unaware of the peril, unaware of their immediate need for salvation. They had quite given up on their faith and in Him. So easily do we give up in a similar manner.

The Lord does not sleep without providing for His flock of bleating sheep. We are not abandoned by Him though our eyes cannot see His holy presence at this time. When we give up on faith, we give up on Him, and that unbelief is a terrible sin. However long that trip across the lake of jeopardy may be, our Lord is with us. The very fact that He is not rushing about in a panic as we are should be our first clue that all is right in Him. Not simply all is at peace within Him because He is immortal, but all is right when we are firmly faithful in Him and taking every breath in Christ the Lord, fully believing and fully faith-filled. Where do we find this immovable faith? Why by trusting in the peacefully sleeping Savior as He takes His rest. The big trial at the end of things is coming, but there is no panic in Heaven. Trust in Him!

Have a wonderful and faithful day in Christ Jesus!

Bucky

Monday, May 28, 2018

For Those Who Gave All

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

Jesus our Lord lived His word by laying down His life to save us from our sin. Following in our Master's steps, there are those who gave their lives in service to our nation. We honor them on this day.

This is not a day to make criticism or judgment about the rightness of the conflict in which they died; save that for another day. For today, simply honor the sacrifice they made. For those veterans still living, thank us on another day. Today, we honor our brothers and sisters who gave all that we might be a free nation. Yes, there are numerous examples that not everyone has been or is free in this land of the free; but let us remember that does not diminish the sacrifice. If it did, then surely the great sins of mankind would long ago have diminished our Lord's sacrifice to nothing.

For those who gave all in service to this nation, let us honor their sacrifice on this day.

Let us honor our Lord who died for us and rose again from the grave. For it is His sacrifice that allowed those others to show their greatest love for friend, family, and nation. It is His resurrection that is our great hope to see our loved ones in a better time and place, one where the sacrifice of love proved by death is made eternal by the banishing of death, sorrow, and pain.

Faith in Christ Jesus and His greatest love,
Bucky

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Humbling

The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth. Isaiah 23:9

There are those who have a certain status on the earth. They are celebrated for visibility on our television monitors, or the wealth they have amassed, or the number of people employed by their company, or their influence in government or society. There are even a few who have all of the above. We might be tempted toward envy for their station in life, but the word of the Lord has a warning for them and us. The Lord has purposed to stain the pride of that earthly glory, even so far as to bring into contempt the honorable of the earth.

In the preceding verse the merchant princes of Tyre are defined as the honorable of the earth. Merchant princes have enjoyed their fame in our nation and do so today. The honorable in this case then are not those persons who behave with honor, but those who are honored by society for their status. Today we call them celebrities but they are the same group.

Through a variety of circumstances, and in many cases just enough work to cause the person to take credit for it, these people have an influence on others that you and I cannot realize. We might want it through the urging of that old person known as the flesh, but we must take heed to the Lord's word. A humbling has been proposed by Him, and that usually means a tough time for someone.

We learn through the teaching of God in His word and His Holy Spirit that idols of any type are coming down. All that you or I can do and do well in this world comes from our Lord. Make an idol out of a talent we have, and the Lord will take that thing down for our sake. Make an idol out of something we have built, and our Lord will faithfully knock it down so that in the humbling we return to Him. Always, the Lord has in mind the return of His little prodigals from that far country. If an idol or two or three must needs be knocked down, crushed, or burnt up to get the prodigal to look toward the Father, then watch out! The Lord will clear the way for His Son to bring the prodigals home.

Thank You, dear Father, for knocking down those idols I try to erect in this world.

Bucky

Thursday, May 24, 2018

To Start A King, Call 911

Then Jehu came out to the servants of his master, and one said to him, “Is all well? Why did this madman come to you?”
And he said to them, “You know the man and his babble.” 2 Kings 9:11

The rest of this story... could never be gleaned from just this verse. We do have some clues though. A meeting of some sort took place that the servants of the man's master did not attend, and they wondered what sort of message or conversation took place. Pretty normal really, we are curious about that which we know happened but did not witness ourselves. They dismissed the man as a madman, perhaps by the way he acted when coming to Jehu. For his part, Jehu tried to deflect the question by a derogatory comment about this other 'madman'. By quoting only the one verse, we long to know more, just like those servants.

The Lord sent a message through Elisha His prophet to Jehu. Elisha sent one of the sons of the prophets, not necessarily his own son, to Jehu with a message, or at least part of a message because when the messenger arrives he says much more than what he was told by Elisha to say. The curious thing is that the servant of the Lord was to deliver the message and then flee without delay. His protection provided by the Lord for delivering the message was a single chance to run for his life!

Jehu goes with the messenger and receives quite the message, nothing less than a new king, himself, who is to overthrow none other than Jezebel. Remember her? Even Elijah was afraid of that queen. So, the messenger was no madman, and Jehu no longer a servant. Why then the dismissive comment with the oil of his anointing still dripping off his hair? I guess Jehu didn't want to start his reign being anointed by a madman in private.

If you were called by the Lord to anoint a new king of the world today, and to do so you had to call 911 and speak to a dispatcher who, without a doubt, is going to mark you down for a visit by the men in white coats, what would you do? Yes, your only message, delivered only to you in your prayer closet is: "To start a king, call 911." I think I would hope for that one chance to flee for my life, 'cuz if the Lord sends His Word, I don't want to deny His message!

Have a wonderful day with Him who is called Wonderful,

Bucky

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Subject So Important

But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. Matthew 5:32

For a few moments of pleasure something dies, for the wages of sin is death. So, divorce is the pleasure and sex is the death. I have never been married so pardon me if I get something backwards here. What I wanted to study this morning is that subject so important that Jesus Himself gave an exception in the Sermon on the Mount, sexual immorality. Divorce is of course serious, and our Lord doesn't hand out exceptions without the most serious of reasons. This sexual immorality thing must be critically important.

I have read translations of the Word that use unfaithfulness in place of sexual immorality or even fornication. By that, one could see a wife being unfaithful with many other things including alcohol or drugs, gambling, an idol, or of course sexual unfaithfulness. Jesus used the wife in His great sermon, but I'm sure He well knew that husbands could be unfaithful immoral fornicators too. In fact, I'm sure he knows even as we think about it, you mental fornicator! It's tough when just the mention of sexual terms can get the flesh going in the wrong imaginary direction.

The good news is that there must be sexual morality too. I know from my early education that it involves drunken storks and lanky rabbits in sacks. And apparently it happened just outside of my house in the grass under the apricot tree, because I had a crop of baby bunnies this year. Too bad I wasn't called to participate, I might have learned all about sexual morality. There would appear to be some connection between marriage faithfulness and sexual morality too. I think our Lord counts on us to get it.

Have a great day, try out some of that sexual morality,
Bucky

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Feeling Joyful

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13

How do we go about feeling joyful in the midst of such suffering? Not by denying it, that's for sure. The Revelation shows us the Lamb with His robe dipped in blood. Not only did our Lord die to save us, but He also knows the suffering on the Earth and His robe shows it. However, His name is not bloody; it is called The Word of God.

In this is wisdom: first read the word of God and get to know the Word of God better. Leave off the news of the world for a while each day and study God's word first. It is easy in this age of information to open the news, but we must be prepared for what is reported to us in this dark age, and to do that we should first armor ourselves with the word of God. The Word shows us what is coming, and thus we should not be surprised by the blood in the news. The Word also shows us what is coming after this time of darkness, and that is a promise that is not dark at all!

On this foggy morning, imagine the fog clearing away suddenly to reveal a bright new world. And that is what will happen to this present darkness quickly one day. It will be cleared away by our Lord to reveal His bright new world, shining in the light of His love. Believe it, for it is given by His Word!

This fog will clear, trust in Him!
Bucky

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Happenings of Today

“Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. Acts 3:24

Peter said this around 30 A.D. and it remains true on this day as well. The prophecies of the Lord are happening today. Now the fulfillment may not be the sudden dramatic event that we look for, at least not yet, but the Lord's word is fulfilled even as we go about our daily lives. Each day someone believes in Jesus. Each day we contribute in our small way to the return of our Lord's kingdom. Each and every day the servants of the Lord go forth, most of us to a job that appears on the surface to do nothing for the kingdom of God. On the surface that is.

Meeting those in need of a savior is what our Lord Jesus did every day. He went into the taverns of the time and the synagogues. He walked in fields and rested in homes. He spoke to thousands in the daytime and met individuals at night. Our Lord was the messenger of His own message! We meet people in our work, and we have a chance each day to show the work of the Lord going on in us. Few work places will pay us to speak the word each day, but we show it in our passion for the work, attention to excellence, going the extra mile, and perhaps that hardest of all things in this age or any other: not complaining.

Yeah, haven't quite achieved perfection in that last one yet.

The prophets told us what is to come in their time, and much of that is happening today or is right on the doorstep. We have so much to eagerly wait for in Jesus!

Bucky

Friday, May 18, 2018

Faith In, Armor Up!

Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few.”
So his armor bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart." 1 Samuel 14:6-7

Here was faith in action, and yet those warriors of God did not strip down to their undies and walk over to the enemy camp. Why not? Wouldn't that prove the way of faith even more? It would seem alright then to demonstrate our faith in God along with our gratitude for the tools He has provided by the usage of what we have at hand. It may be in a time of tribulation that one of us has nothing to use in the fight - neither weapons nor armor - and are then dependent upon our Lord. It also may be that we have weapons or other tools near to hand and that we pick them up in faith and gratitude, for in that circumstance too we are dependent upon God.

There are so many different situations in the Old Testament stories that it is foolish to test God by dropping what He has provided to us without His express command to do so, such as when Gideon was told to send all but a small amount of his forces home. The saying goes that the Lord works in mysterious ways. Yes, but our Lord also works with what He has already provided to us, including the faith we have in Him.

And what about that armor bearer? We should have that same trust and confidence in our Lord Jesus. Whatever you say or do, Lord, I'm with you!

Bucky