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!


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,

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,

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!

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,! 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!


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!


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!


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!


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!


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!


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!


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,

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.


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,


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,

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!

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!


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!


Thursday, May 17, 2018

All Who Hate Me

All who hate me whisper together against me;
​​Against me they devise my hurt.
​​“An evil disease,” they say, “clings to him.
​​And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.” Psalm 41:7-8

David wrote this psalm from a position of paranoia maybe? No, David had enemies and lots of them. We do too, but we don't always think like this. We tend to think of those who love us, and let it be ever so! For God loves us, and our brothers and sisters in Christ do as well. However, if you think for just a moment of the enemy and his minions, we do have cause to speak as David does here in his psalm. There are those powers and principalities of this present darkness, as Paul pointed out, that mean our downfall, harm, and even death.

However, the best fix for this is not to think on those dark powers constantly, but to remember the sovereign almighty power of the Lord who loves us. In Job, the Devil had to get a pass from God to do what he would to poor Job and his family, and servants and livestock - let us not forget them. All who hate me do not get a free pass around God to do whatever they please either. God placed restrictions on what was done to Job. All who hate us would like to do whatever they please, but God's will is the stronger.

We need this fight, this present tribulation, to develop our faith, but always we are guided and protected by the One who loves us. We wear the full armor of God with good reason, but we do not stand alone in it.

Praise to our Lord Jesus who stands with us on this day!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Raw Deal

Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you?”
And she answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.” 2 Kings 6:28-29

Sons didn't go very far between two hungry women back in those days. Forgive me; it is a weak attempt to deflect with humor that chilling sentence in the holy scriptures: "So we boiled my son, and ate him." This is not that ancient equivalent of the modern cannibal horror movie, and the chill in the heart tells it. An Israelite writing ancestor of Stephen King didn't come up with this line, it was spoken by a desperate woman to a different sort of king.

It is interesting to see the king in his ignorance asking, "What is troubling you?" But, it was the injustice of her neighbor that seemed to bother the woman more. It wasn't, "Sire, we had to boil my son and eat him; when are you going to get rid of those armies besieging the city?" She was upset that her neighbor had reneged on the deal and she felt the raw end of a bad bargain in her hands. At least there was the desperation of extreme hunger in that time. These days mere convenience is enough to end the life of children.

So, is a raw deal troubling you today? I know, we can scarcely admit any raw deals on our part in light of such suffering in the scriptures. We have it easy in this age having never suffered a siege in this land in our lifetime. God has been good and gracious to us, and we have food to eat with many other comforts. Better than that is the deal we got on the price of our sin: God's Son paid it all!

Let us rejoice in gratitude to our Lord today,

Monday, May 14, 2018

Jerusalem, Capital of Israel

David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah. 2 Samuel 5:4-5

In Jerusalem, David reigned...3,000 years ago. The new king of Israel has not yet come, but today in Jerusalem, the United States moves its embassy back to the capital of Israel. And the angry seas of the end times have risen up in protest.

So what does that have to do with us way over here? A question that may arise today, but most of us do watch Israel in these times since so much of the end times prophecy concerns the Holy Land. This may be the start of the next stage. It may lead to that treaty which will kick off the final seven years. It may... not seem to do much. We have waited what seems a long time to us since we first learned of the Tribulation, the Antichrist, and of our Lord's return to claim us from the world's darkness. We may well wonder if this ceremony today will move it along.

Yes, there are days when the darkness presses on us that we long for the Rapture of the Church and the return of our Lord Jesus. We may run to the scriptures to see if we can mine a verse or sentence which definitively or vaguely or just might say that this event today means something that would allow us to determine the day and hour of our Lord's appearance in the clouds of His glory. But, it won't happen. Jesus said that no man knows that appointed time, only the Father in Heaven. Sorry, as auspicious as this day is, it isn't going to give away the answer.

Have a great day in Christ Jesus, and wait patiently for His time!


Friday, May 11, 2018

Right-seeming Lawlessness?

"Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." Matthew 23:28

When the snake fellows in that church out east get bitten and die, it is easy to understand the error. But when we go into that situation claiming the protection of God while practicing the foolishness of men we find it harder to understand why God would let us fall on our foolish backside. Of course Jesus gave us the answer as He answered the Devil during that great temptation in the wilderness when he quoted Deuteronomy 6:16, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God."

How do we recognize the times we are working a right-seeming lawlessness? As always, we need the discernment only our Lord can give. For man or woman has that human ability to convince the self of how right we are in almost any situation before the outcome is known. Sure, we can also recognize foolishness after the fact has lowered the boom on us. It is the discernment of the Lord we need when standing before the doorway of that thing we want to try: "Is it faith and trust in the Lord, or am I foolishly tempting Him?"

By way of example! Walking into a dark alley on the seedy side of town, you belt out your favorite tune, "I Just Got Paid and Have Lots of Cash Money, Honey!" Yes, a good example of stupid-seeming foolishness, the end result probably a robbery and maybe a good beating for your foolishness. On the other hand, you want to spread the Good News of Jesus into that same dark alley, so you walk boldly in trusting in God to save you from your foolishness. What? How is that right-seeming lawlessness? You might well ask. Take a flashlight, fool! Better yet, have a friend drive behind you with his car headlights on to light the way. What good is spreading the good news to an empty alley? (They left to spend that other fool's money.) What good is it to preach boldly while falling into that trench someone dug to repair their sewer line? And of course, make sure first that God says, "Go!" Without His blessing, even the right-seeming stuff can be lawlessness if we are in disobedience to our Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord on this Friday!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bubba The Baseless Prophet

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:1-2

With the first words of this passage of scripture our Lord Jesus shows that He knows each of us. "Let not your heart be troubled," says the Lord. And then He gives us the good news of faith and by that faith swiftly separates His sheep from the world: you already believe in God, believe in Me too. There our Lord Jesus stands equal to God the Father. If we believe that, the world will reject us, the religious ones of God's own nation will reject us, and those who refuse to believe there is a deity will reject us. Do you feel rejected yet? However, for those of us who believe in Jesus, these are not the idle words of Bubba the baseless prophet but the very Word of God.

That really is the faith, isn't it?

We read the words of our Lord and believe in this new place; the place He has been preparing for almost 2,000 years. Then, there are others, they may or may not read the words of our Lord, but they put those words in the same category as Bubba shooting off his mouth after a few drinks at the local tavern. Bubba, of course, has no more knowledge of our future than a stump rotting quietly in the pasture. For those who believe in our Lord Jesus, His words are precious and true, speaking to a wonderful future that we cannot quite see from here, and He has gone to get this place ready for our arrival.

Faith in Him is such a comfort in this dark age,


Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The Good Spirit

Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness. Psalm 143:10

Two things King David asks of the Lord in this verse: first, to be taught by the Lord to do His will, and second, to be lead by the Lord in the land of uprightness. Many years later in history, I and many like me ask those very same things. How does our spiritual ancestor, David, think to ask these things of the Lord?

David claimed the Lord as his God. This is serious business, for in order to claim God as his, he first had to acknowledge that God is. Many in this world refuse to do even that seemingly small step. Others will claim an easier way: that is, to manufacture a god or a bunch of them and live the way he imagines those deities would be pleased with were he in their place; which, he really is since they do not exist in the first place. To live with God, one must accept His word, and that word has much to say about our need for God and His salvation. It is in this word where we find David asking the Lord to teach His will. Therefore, David also acknowledges that God's will is better than his own will for living this life. There is a lot of serious business going on here!

Then, David makes a claim on God's Spirit: that it is good. I am glad for that because to submit to a god whose spirit is mean, or petty, or cruel, or worse, evil, would be the very worst thing imaginable and then some! Such important words to study and believe for us too: "For You are my God; Your Spirit is good." Our entire life to that moment of death hinges on this truth, and eternity is assured on it too. For if our God is not good, then we are doomed. Like David did thousands of years ago, we ask for these two things because of the other things in this verse. It would be perverse for us to ask this of a god who was anything less than good. It is from this verse that we say, "God is good." And may we always remember this verse in full and thank God for His eternal goodness.

God is good, and, He loves you!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

A Treasured Possession Of Our Lord

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:20-21

Believe in Him, for all those who believe in our Lord Jesus are the treasured possession of our Lord. Here in the garden near the end of His earthly life, Jesus our Lord prayed earnestly for those to come who would believe in Him through the testimony of His disciples. And we do! But how our Lord prayed that we would become one, just as He and the Father were in each other in their great loving relationship which we scarcely understand now. From His prayer, we must believe that this can happen!

From all those denominations of Christian, from the east and from the west, from the past and present unto the future, let all those who believe in Christ become His treasured possessions through our faith in Him. Let us know that we are becoming one in Christ, so that the world will see our oneness in Him and believe. It does seem a far country to travel to right now, but our Lord will guide us safely to be one in Him.

May God our Lord guide us swiftly to be one in Christ His Son as the end grows so very near. Amen.


Monday, May 07, 2018

Have Faith In Me

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Are you afraid of some outcome that is not yet decided? Probably, for that is a state we tend to slip into in this life. So many trials have come our way that we expect others to help us into another one just any day now. Some might say that we are defensively preparing ourselves for the worst possible outcome, but we only find a lack of faith.

Yes, the Lord calls us to have faith in Him. When we are sore beset by imagined terrors of an imaginary future, it is the Lord who reminds us to, "have faith in Me." For we must remember in those difficult times brought on by experience and imagination working together in the worst way that it is God who is in charge. As Paul found, it is no longer you and me living this life but Christ in us. The trial is not the circumstance we see all around us, but the decision to live by faith in God or a sort of anti-faith built of what we think we know.

Except for the revelation by prophecy that God has given to us in His Word, we cannot know what tomorrow will bring; so why then do we imagine a tomorrow and beat ourselves bloody with it? Good question! As we look around at the circumstance today, let us remember God's call to us: "Have faith in Me!"


Friday, May 04, 2018

Last of the Exiles or First of the Remnant?

And it shall come to pass in that day
That the remnant of Israel,
And such as have escaped of the house of Jacob,
Will never again depend on him who defeated them,
But will depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. Isaiah 10:20

Years ago we began buying new houses, and I was one of them in this case, until the new neighborhood in the old hometown was completed around 2003. This week, the last of those new homeowners from back in the day put their house on the market. It brought home to me the ending of the great adventure I stepped into way back in 1989. It gave to me once more that urge to grab the one responsible and shake him well and good until he admitted what happened to cause the great fall of this enterprise. I know better.

If there is one person at fault, he or she might be too afraid of some vigilante justice to admit the fault. More likely is that it is no one person's fault. Perhaps it is the fault of all of us who worked to build up what turned out to be just another sand castle in this world; another House of Usher coming to a great fall. I begin to wax literary.

What causes mourning in me over this is the broken and strained relationships. A family who became a part of that enterprise moved away this week. A couple of friends from way back in the early days retired not long ago. Others are still hanging in there. Are they that remnant? The problem with waiting for the remnant is that each of us is not permitted to know whether we might be the first of the remnant or just another sad story among the last of the exiles. I was in the first group of exiles, but where may others fall as the last of the sand blocks tumbles and crumbles to the ground?

The good news is that in Isaiah's day there was a remnant. And in our day, there is a rapture and we may get to meet Jesus in the clouds of His glory all together as one! The promises of God contain our hope in this dark world. And our great hope has gone to prepare a place for us!

Have a great Friday in our wonderful Lord Jesus!

Thursday, May 03, 2018

A Little Present

And their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: Take some of the best fruits of the land in your vessels and carry down a present for the man—a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. Genesis 43:11

A gift, the little comes from the balm and honey, but the gift itself was no small matter. Israel and his family were in trouble and they wanted some help from the man. So, Israel told his sons to take a gift to the man to open a second round of negotiations. They were hoping for much more in return, so they grabbed up some nice things from a land in famine. I wonder if salvation could work the same way?

Hardly. When we come to the Lord Jesus and offer up all that we have, we only offer the famine. No sweet honey, no soothing balm, just the contents of an empty cupboard do we offer our Lord in exchange for eternal life. We offer up no righteousness for Him to build on and no justice for Him to share. We might try to promise things that will be, such as what a great missionary we will be after He does the saving bit, but that is offering Him the future which only He can give. Pistachio nuts and almonds are quite tasty, what we offer our Lord to save is vile and repugnant. Yet, there is our Lord Jesus saving all who come to Him and call on His name. No best fruits do we have to offer, only the worst of sinners, and still the lovingkindness of the Lord saves all those who come to Him. What an amazing Lord we serve!

Thank you for all the kind birthday wishes yesterday!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Dare You Accuse The Elder?!!

Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 1 Timothy 5:19

Fifty-five is an interesting number, perhaps one worthy of double honor. Today, I am elder with a foot in the door of elderly. Soon I will be able to see the start of the footpath to ancient! There are two fives in my age now; not the childish five plus five of ten or even the youthful five times five of twenty-five, but the slightly (in my case) more mature fifty and five years of fifty-five. I am as old as those folks I once thought were old folks, but with the realization that those old folks weren't all that old yet, and some were nowhere near as old as 55. Yet, there is also the knowledge that there may be many more of these birthdays to come, or, do we dare hope for that great snatching away of the church before this comes 'round again next year?

Paul helped in the beginnings of the new church with rules such as this one. And it brings to mind that this day, though special to me, is not all about me. Today, a man stands accused at trial and there is only one witness, the alleged victim. An elder is a position of responsibility and maturity, not just elder like me, and it was a position of responsibility held by this man. Paul told Timothy to refuse even to hear the accusation unless at least one other person could be found to bear witness. Since not every circumstance has two or three witnesses, crimes after all may be committed by one person against another in a lonely place, how does a judge or jury decide who is telling the truth?

We cannot help with that, none of us were there. Which brings us to our wisdom point for the day: be sure in our positions of responsibility to have witnesses. We might call them accountability partners, mentors, or even Bubba the church secretary, but we need to have that witness. And we need to love them as we love ourselves. Paul in his love for his disciple would not let Timothy decide the one-on-one cases, and that is a good thing for us to remember too. It may not be possible for me or you to look at one party or the other, both perhaps dear to us, and decide which is right or wrong, truthful or bearing falsehood. We also, like our brother Timothy, must remember to wait, the first one to accuse does not get the benefit of the doubt when the other party may be unaware that an accusation has been made. People, other than writers of course, do make up wild stories with some ulterior motive in mind. While we are waiting, there is always prayer: God does wonderful works in loving response to our prayers every day.

Love in Christ Jesus,

Monday, April 30, 2018

A Good Story, With a Tough Point

Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Mark 12:1

Jesus told some stories with sharp points to them, and the religious leaders of Judea did not fail to understand some of the more pointed ones. The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers got them right in their religious pride and they sought to harm the storyteller. You can read the rest of the story in Mark 12:1-12, of how the wicked vinedressers hurt and killed the owner's servants until finally the son was sent. "They will respect my son," the owner thought. But the hearts of the vinedressers had become so evil that even the son was murdered by them. Was this foolishness on the part of the owner?

To the world, what is a provision of many opportunities to do the right thing looks like foolishness. We forgive seventy times seven times and the world calls it foolishness. The Lord continues to send prophets, preachers, missionaries and ministers; and these are slandered and slain, and the world may see this as foolishness. "Why does the master not come himself with force to slay those wicked vinedressers," one might ask. They will not see that when our Lord does come with the force of His vengeance against those who would hurt and kill His servants that it will all be over. No more chances to repent and do the right thing. The wicked vinedressers of the world will be cast into the outer darkness. It is a tough point, and one the world would deny. That denial will not change the ending of this story though. Repent while the Lord allows time for the world to do the right thing.


Friday, April 27, 2018

What is Poor? Which is Rich?

The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up. 1 Samuel 2:7

Some would claim that it is hard work that makes a person rich. That is a way to take credit for what appears good to us. If I am rich, then I must have worked hard and deserved this condition of wealth. Look how good I am! Poor on the other hand generally happens to someone. No one claims to be deserving of poverty due to his lack of effort, it just sort of happened. A different form of attention is desired here, one in which guilt and shame are not heaped on the victim. Look at me, this isn't my fault, pity me and give me another opportunity to become rich like you. Yet, what is poor? Which is rich?

If I could write a check this morning and purchase the Union Pacific Railroad, assuming the check did not immediately cause an unseemly mirth and choking fits of laughter such to render everyone helpless, I could be considered rich. In a realm closer to reality, I had a tasty breakfast this morning with bacon, fried eggs, toast with peanut butter, and coffee. I feel quite rich right now and I am grateful to God for His provision. So which is rich? Given that any check written by me with enough zeros behind a number to cause a large public company to pay attention would only cause hilarity at the bank just before they had me arrested, am I then to be considered poor? Perhaps not, but if I should have no food to eat or money to purchase any food tomorrow, would I be poor then? If our entire judgment of rich and poor is based on what we are able to do or not do, is this not a relative measure? So, what is poor and which is rich?

Am I lost in an argument that I can never solve?

Hannah prayed the prayer from which our verse for today comes. She prayed it way back before 1,000 BC, or something like 3,000 years ago. They had rich and poor then, and we have rich and poor now. This morning, I am not going to solve any problems we think we have between rich and poor with just a little writing on my own. God, on the other hand, must have a purpose and a plan going on, for He could solve any rich/poor thing right away and right quick. Whatever might be thought a problem on my part may in fact be on the Lord's training plan for me on this day. To be suddenly made from rich to poor or back the other way might delay my journey home from here in Prodigal Land, and I don't want that!

For the call has gone out for all of the prodigal sons of Adam and daughters of Eve to return to the Father, and it is toward home we must turn. Let us follow our Lord Jesus home from this day until our journey is completed.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

At That Time

At that time Michael shall stand up,
​​The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
​​And there shall be a time of trouble,
​​Such as never was since there was a nation,
​​Even to that time.
​​And at that time your people shall be delivered,
​​Every one who is found written in the book. Daniel 12:1

We know there is deliverance, this and other verses promise it, but we do not know the timing. "At that time..." our Lord says, and faith is content with the Lord holding that time safely for us against the many things in this world that would distract us. I don't like the foretelling of a time of trouble, especially one of which the Lord says, "such as never was since there was a nation." My imagination runs away and hides from that awful knowledge, for it does not take much to think back on all the persecutions, tortures, wars, diseases, and other troubles that have come and gone over the years, and then put a 'worse than' in front of them all to see something of this time of trouble that is foretold.

However, encapsulating all this time of trouble are those two great promises: Michael standing up - the one who stands watch over the sons of Daniel's people, and that deliverance for "every one who is found written in the book." Many other promises in the Word of God speak of deliverance for those who believe in our Lord Jesus. As that time of such trouble approaches in this world, it is these loving promises of our Lord that we must cling to in faith. Trouble will have its time, but at that time we have God who loves us in His everlasting goodness.

In Christ we live,

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What Is Good For This Life?

For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun? Ecclesiastes 6:12

Have you looked at your monitor to discover that a cough or perhaps a sneeze got by your cleaning vigilance and now, ew, the white background shows the funk? I hope you are not eating breakfast while reading this! I would like to present myself before God like that white screen: clean, perfect, showing not the smallest sign of the former funk of the world. My vigilance is suspect, however, tainted by quite large signs of self-interest. I want to see myself as good, but the Law shows a different picture. Without a cleansing by One who has no stain of sin to transfer to my 'screen', I am going to discover a bit of a mess where I hoped all would be clean and white.

Solomon, who was given all that we think good for us in life including wisdom, riches, authority as king, power, and talent, wondered who can know what is good for man in life. The wisdom granted the king by God is what caused him to ask the question. Where it leads those who will believe in our Lord Jesus is to, well, Jesus our Lord! Who can know what happens after? He does, for He died for our sins and lived again. Who can know what is good for man in life? He does, for He came down into a manger in Bethlehem and lived the life of a man. His life was one that was not spent in vain. His life was given for us, to save us and to cleanse us from the stain of our sin.

The good questions in life lead us to Him; the good answers are Him! Praise Jesus our Lord and Savior!


Monday, April 23, 2018

A Rotten Imagination

Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. Genesis 8:21

As the Lord promised in His heart to not destroy all life from the Earth again, man was tinkering around with a rotten imagination. Yes, I too have lived for brief periods in my rotten imagination. Some might call it daydreaming, but from my youth just as the Word states I have gone often to my imagination for entertainment, wishful thinking, and to churn over some emotions for a spell. And I can read in this verse that I'm not the only one who has done and does this. Some of you may not seem very imaginative to me, but this verse has told you out! Sorry, the Bible does not let the hidden things lie covered from those who will read and study its words of wisdom.

Alas, now that my rotten imagination has been exposed for the sinful thing that it is, I shall now write everything that comes to mind and share the burden with you. No, no, no! The Spirit calls for some much needed censoring even as He works within me to change that imagination to something better suited to the service of the Lord. Is it any wonder the dear Spirit of our Lord Jesus begins His work in such a dark place? Out of the heart, our Lord said way back in the day, comes all the rotten stuff that gets us into so much trouble with Him and the Law. Thank the Lord that His Son, who first paid the price demanded by the Law for this rotten imagination of mine, is the One who will faithfully cleanse me from all unrighteousness!

It's a great day in the Lord!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Right Now, Wherever They Are

I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.” Luke 17:34-36

Jesus tells us of that night in this passage of His holy word; He tells us of the Rapture, for the unbeliever a greatly chilling prophecy. We don't know the date or hour of this great event or what each individual will be doing when it comes, but we do know it will happen right now, wherever they are and we know that people in general will be sleeping or working. In this Jesus shows that He knows the times and time.

The time is so immediate and quick that men and women right beside each other doing the same activity, working or resting, will be taken completely by surprise. One will be taken and the other left behind. The times are what we have in this age in a deceitful attempt to confuse the issue. In one part of the world it will be dark and people sleeping, while in another part folks will be doing their work. Note how we typically sleep for 1/3 of each day or about 8 hours, and the Lord shows one pair sleeping and two pairs awake and active. He knows the times, and the times are right now, wherever they are. It may be just past midnight tomorrow in Auckland, New Zealand, but that won't stop the right now of the Rapture happening all over the globe at the Lord's command, and over here we will not have to wait for that tomorrow to come.

We may also see in this passage two men in one bed, and in this age of tolerance in the world that is indeed a warning for us that the timing of this great event is near. Has that not happened before in many an age? Sure, but acceptance of such things is perhaps more widespread across the world than ever. Time for us to be watchful; the time is very near!

Grace and peace to you in the Lord Jesus Christ,


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fallen Adam, Fallen Me

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

There is a temptation to think that one of us, or perhaps a hero of the faith from the list in the book of Hebrews, might have done better in Adam's place. After all, we think we have some small idea of the consequences from Adam's decision to partake with Eve, his wife, of the forbidden fruits of that tree. Surely, we pridefully think, that with such knowledge of what the fall caused we would not do such a thing and inflict it on the generations of man to come. Bah, in thinking such things we forget the advantages Adam had in that garden God made for him.

Adam had no genetic defects or conditions passed down through the generations of a family. None. Created from the dust of the Earth that God saw was good, Adam did not need to send in a saliva sample to test his DNA. He had no genetic twitch along the DNA chain that would cause him to think he was born a football or any other strange thing, a sort of claim that is oddly common in our age. Adam had no parents to blame for a faulty upbringing. A quick temper was not passed down from a father given to smacking little Adam around at the slightest offence. For Adam had no earthly father and he was never little. Even a mistake in childhood did not follow Adam into his adult years on that permanent record we were warned about as kids. Adam probably had no idea that alcohol, drugs, or many other things could alter his mood, make him act like an ass, or grab his mind in a near unbreakable hold. Adam was innocent in the best possible way, strong in all the ways a loving God created him, and able to walk shamelessly with His Father God in the cool of an evening in a garden without any danger to his person from the animals whom he had dominion over. With none of those advantages, how could one of us ever think we would not fall like Adam did but much more quickly and without the excuse of Eve doing it first?

As Paul pointed out in Romans, with a little summarizing by yours truly: fallen Adam, fallen me, and all of us need a new Adam to bring us back to the Father. Praise God that Jesus our Lord gave Himself to bring us home to God our Creator!


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fearing the Pain

Fear took hold of them there,
​​And pain, as of a woman in birth pangs. Psalm 48:6

Have you injured, sprained, strained, torn, or broken something in your leg at some point in this life? Often in such a condition every step can become an exercise in fearing pain. Soon, you may have trouble walking at all, and all the other parts of the body start sympathetically feeling the pain too. With so much pain going on it is no wonder that we begin to fear any more pain. With each step an adventure of the worst kind, it may not be long before a person gives up the fight and seeks help, perhaps even going so far as to visit a doctor! Fear takes hold of us in this life, and often it comes from pain.

It is interesting that today's verse sits in the middle of a psalm glorifying God, almost like there is more to the immediate picture than our pain. It is hard to know anything beyond the present hurting, but faith led the sons of Korah to write about the glory and beauty of God even as they too knew the pain and fear of this life. The kings of this psalm are all of us. We live in wonder as we look upon what we read of our God in the Bible. We wonder as pain comes and fear, and soon we are fearing the pain, and yet, there is our God. Beautiful, kind in loving, gracious in judgment, and always well aware of every painful and fearful step we take.

Take one more step, pilgrim, we are on the way to the Promised Land, and our God will see us there!


Monday, April 16, 2018

No Words Added

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” Revelation 6:6

I had to check this prophecy for eggs, but it does not mention the recent price jump we have seen at the grocery store. Once again I missed my chance to invest in the futures for some product that rose dramatically in price. If indeed the Easter celebration is to blame for the shortage, then we can certainly fix that next year. For the celebration of our Lord's resurrection is in no way dependent on boiling eggs. However that was not my question in looking at the Revelation this morning.

I wondered if we should in our keeping watch for signs of the end add eggs or peanut butter or any other shortage item to the list of those things mentioned in our verse for today? I don't think barley is all that common in our diet anymore, and I haven't worried over the price of wine for years. But there is that curse at the end about adding anything to this prophecy, and I don't want any of those plagues added to me.

We might be unsure whether Jesus or John added those words to the Revelation, but I think John did this and for a good reason. John, in his wisdom from the Lord, did not want the Revelation, already a fantastic prophecy, to become a legendary fantasy by storytellers adding embellishment over the years. John may have seen some embellishment on our Lord's ministry by the time he received the Revelation of our Lord Jesus, and he wanted to make sure that sort of thing was stopped.

So, no adding the eggs? No, but in place of John passing along an exhaustive list of every food product ever used from Adam to the return of Christ Jesus, we can know that any food will become short in supply and ridiculously expensive in the Tribulation. Good thing there is a Rapture first!

Rejoice in Christ today!

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Storehouses of Snow

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war? Job 38:22-23

A portion from that first one seems to be coming our way on Friday the 13th. According to the Lord though, this snow and hail is reserved for a particular day. Will the snow and hail be deployed to add to the confusion of battle or to put a stop to it? Blizzards will come and go as they have for many a year. The question put to Job was of a different order altogether. Storehouses containing such snow and hail that the time of trouble, that day of battle and war will be affected. Just how much snow and hail would this require? Like Job, we have no chance of answering that question, nor have we entered those storehouses. God knows things that we do not.

Of course He does! That does not mean that our Lord is any less good or loving. The mysteries of our Lord are not there to harm those who believe in the saving grace of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe those storehouses of hail and snow are set aside to put a stop to that day of battle and war, and to gain the attention of those who need to pay attention to our Lord. Among the many great and terrible things that will happen in the end times, this is another that is a shout from the Lord, "I am here, and I want to save you from your sins!"

Let us pray that all of them will answer His call. If they will not, the Lord may drop a snow drift on top of them as a timeout to reconsider.

Have a great Friday in Christ Jesus!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Bread From Heaven

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Exodus 16:4-5

Behold! The local grocery store shall open this day and there shall be no charge! But, each must take only what he or she needs for one day and no more.

You and I can imagine the brief period of chaos in and outside of the grocery store that announcement would cause. It would be quite difficult for any of us to obey the law with so many piling up cart after cart and hauling them out. Fights would ensue with shelves inside the store quickly emptied, and the police would have to be called in to restore order. Even with trucks lined up out to the highway to restock the shelves, it would take quite some time before people would gather only according to their daily needs, and some few would still attempt to gather more and sell it on Ebay. We know this would happen because we feel the temptation too.

Like the Israelites of ancient times, we do not have it in our fallen selves to obey the law. Therefore, as I cannot trust myself to only gather what I need, I shall go on a diet and not participate in that gathering. Nope, obedience to the law means not skipping my daily quota as much as it means not gathering too much. We cannot escape the law that way. Some have tried to move away from our Lord's command to love our neighbors by living where they have none. It seems once more that the answer to obedience comes from our Lord much like that manna did back in the day: daily, free of charge, and only available from Him. Maybe the answer is Him!

Yes, Jesus our Lord is the Bread from Heaven. How do we gather our daily quota of Him? The same way Paul and Silas did: prayer, singing hymns, thanksgiving, fellowship, loving, and the study of His word.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Deep Scars

And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Why? we might ask, was this necessary? Imagine living forever with a growing accumulation of deep scars. No, not those scars you see on your skin, the surface of the body, but those deep scars - the ones that do not show to the eye.

We have scars on the mind, emotional scarring, that does not show to others. It can come from many things in this life such as betrayal and the separation of a loved one by death. These scars are deep and they hurt us until we see our Lord and He dries our every tear. Now, once more try to imagine living forever with this sort of awful thing piling up as the decades, centuries and eons go by. Scar upon scar, emotional hurts and wounds going back to early in our lives and no end of it in sight, ever. It was a great mercy to us that God had Adam driven forth from the Garden and the tree of life.

Many of you have told me stories of these deep scars in your life. These things also tend to rise closer to the surface during those times of stress when we have taken on too much, or too much has come our way whether we wanted it or not. The best answer is to go directly to our Lord in prayer as quickly as possible, and so much is indeed possible in His love!


Monday, April 09, 2018

Died Without A Name

Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. Ecclesiastes 9:15

Fame: the flesh seeks after it desiring its imagined benefits. Here Solomon recalls a man who was the opposite of famous, and yet he did a great thing in his wisdom. No honors came his way, no one remembered his name or his face, and yet the city owed its salvation to him. Get ready O man or woman of Christ the Lord, for you and I may die just as famous as that wise man.

We may not live a life of notoriety; no one among the rich and famous may know us, and our name may not make even the list of Who's Not. Yet, we bear the words of light and wisdom: the good news of Jesus Christ. And the gospel of our Lord is the one thing that can save a city.

Poverty may be our lot in life, yet there is wisdom in the Word of God. The monthly bills may seem an unwinnable battle, retirement may have retired from your presence, and you may have no financial answer to a major disaster in life, but you do have the wisdom of knowing your Lord and Savior. You have the power of God in you to save an entire city!

What wealth we have in the Savior! The world may not know our name, but the Savior does! Rest in Him,


Friday, April 06, 2018

Made Manifest

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:10

To be manifest is to be made apparent or seen clearly.

There is going to be a change in those who give themselves to Jesus. John here points out that the touch of God is going to show in the behavior of the saved. While the world wants all to come together as one people, there is a division going on perpetrated by the very Word of God. The division that takes place internally in Hebrews 4:12, also is made manifest in the world as a population. We don't get to have the old flesh of sin show up in Heaven with the new spirit of righteousness.

Some would say that churches must include everyone in order to show brotherly love. However, the Word speaks in the Revelation of people who do not belong in His churches. There are those who are the children of the devil made manifest who also want to come into the church without repentance. It is like the Bride of Christ is putting on the robe of His righteousness while the enemy is handing her the filthiest of rags and demanding that she wear these too. And then the big lie is spoken, "See how judgmental this Church is? She must include all or she does not love as she ought." Sorry, but the Bride of Christ cannot be any less than perfectly prepared to wed God's Son. And for that we must be separated from the sins of this world.

Those saved by the blood of the Lamb earnestly desire our purity; and though we are not there yet, a manifest separation is taking place each and every day. The most obvious time will be that of the Rapture when one will be taken and the other left behind. Now that is a manifestation!

Grace and peace to you who belong to the Son!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

There's Something Wrong With You

Suppose a man marries a woman but she does not please him. Having discovered something wrong with her, he writes her a letter of divorce, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house. Deuteronomy 24:1

This verse today appears to be an easy out for a man. Moses gave us this and it is even done under Islam to the present time. Must be a good idea to have lasted so long, eh? When I read just this verse to start the chapter, as a writer I see the setting and characters: man, wife, house, and this is what is going on at this moment in the story. There is neither praise nor condemnation, just a statement of the circumstance. God is not saying that a man is allowed to do this and it is alright with Him. Later, Jesus seemed rather cold on the idea of divorce except in the case of unfaithfulness, and of course cold to my Lord Jesus means sin to me.

What is interesting is the abrupt termination of a relationship. Arranged marriage or chosen freely, this seems just too easy, too quick. It may not have happened that way, the scriptures are at times very understated. The man may have had to go before the elders and explain what exactly did not please him about the woman. Yes, it does seem unfair, but this devotional writing isn't about judging the ways and times of the folks back in the day. What it is about this morning is relationships. Every relationship, it seems to me, is going to come to that point where one discovers something wrong with the other.

Most of those wrongs are going to be simple differences in how we do things. Detail-oriented persons tend to irritated by the big picture types. A perfectionist would have difficulty relating to a 'good enough-er'. The neatness fan is rubbed wrong by the slob. There are a legion of examples. Yet, neither method may be wrong in God's sight. The relationship that gets past this point of irritation can grow into an excellent team with one partner adding the other side of a difference to the other and making the sum of the parts that much greater. (There's an old saying I'm mucking up there.)

So, when I get to that point in a relationship where I say, "There's something wrong with you..." the other person will no doubt have long since discovered several things wrong with me; I might even receive a detailed listing with cross references, but wait, that isn't the point I was trying to make! It is at that point that prayer and the guidance of our Lord's dear Holy Spirit will lead me to accept the difference, and then add it to our team to the glory of God. With God's wonderful help, I might even learn to not state it in quite that way!

Have a better relationship with one another on this day, even if there is something wrong with me.


Wednesday, April 04, 2018

From Him

Both riches and honor come from You,
​​And You reign over all.
​​In Your hand is power and might;
​​In Your hand it is to make great
​​And to give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:12

David knew from Whom his position and possessions came. Do we always know the same thing? I have on occasion laid back in a chair and stated that I had earned my rest. On what did I base that? My complete knowledge of how much work is required to earn a rest in that particular chair and at that that special time? How much time did I earn for that rest? Much better it would be to praise God for that rest which He dispensed to me at that time.

David knew that all good things come from God, and that gratitude and honor is our best action, not crediting the self with glory that rightly belongs to our Father. Rest is needed by us at times, but earned it? How could we ever know that? A grateful attitude can help me and you to avoid grabbing the glory that belongs to Father God. A 'Thank You, Lord' goes a long way with Him. A prideful attitude of how we earned something, not so much.

From Him come the good things in life we can enjoy without guilt. From Him come grace, faith, love, kindness, goodness, self-control, and all the fruits of the Spirit that we need. And, riches, honor, power, might, and of course, rest all come from our Lord God. Praise and honor to our Lord, who dispenses those good things without limit.


Monday, April 02, 2018

Esteemed Him Not

He is despised and rejected by men,
​​A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
​​And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
​​He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3

Esteem: respect and admiration, typically for a person. There was a day when no man gave our Lord Jesus the respect and admiration due the Son of God. We are so embarrassed by that situation that we will even try to deny it. Yet, there He was on the cross, bearing the death of a criminal along with all the sin of you and me. We cannot admire all that sin, even though some portion of it belongs to each of us. Isaiah, Israel, and all the rest of us did not esteem the Lord Jesus on that day. And then came the risen Lord!

Mary Magdalene thought Him a caretaker. A couple of disciples failed to recognize Him. And Thomas refused to believe until he could see and touch Him. Somewhere in the varied reactions and expectations, an example of each of us can be found. I might well have made the same mistaken conclusion that Mary did as my mind has been known to connect a few circuits in the wrong order in times of stress. And Mary had every reason to be stressed as she thought her Savior dead and buried on that Sunday morning. Peter and John had to be informed as they were not there in the cemetery. Peter might well have been sleeping the exhausted sleep of the guilty over his three denials, but the Risen Lord Jesus was going to fix that too.

Each of us may give up the shame of that day when we did not esteem Him, for in the Risen Lord we are healed by His grace. Let go of the unworthiness you think you know and live in the worth beyond compare our Lord has given to each of us by His grace. Once we did despise and reject Him, but in His death and resurrection we are forgiven and reborn to a new life in Him. Now is the time to live in Christ!

His grace, peace and love to you on this Easter Monday!


Friday, March 30, 2018

So Different

For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14

As the waters cover the sea... that is one thorough covering! Yes, though it may not look it now, this earth is due for a new covering. It will not be just any ol' whitewashing job either, but a renewal that only the Lord can do. Try to imagine for a moment or two the entire earth filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD. We can't; our imagination doesn't quite span that far, but we do know through faith that it will be a wonderful and amazing thing to behold. An earthful of glorious knowledge to be sure!

As we look and remember our Lord's death on this day, we see the Earth as it is now. Sin runs rampant around the globe and unbelief is so common that it becomes popular. Sunday, the day we celebrate our risen Lord, we will rejoice in the Earth as He will make it, renewed and risen from the dead. An Earth filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD will just be soooo different from what we know now, just like the difference death is to eternal life, eh?

Have a great Good Friday in the knowledge of our risen Lord Jesus!


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Who Has Believed?

Who has believed our report?
​​And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? Isaiah 53:1

So begins a chapter that without the gospel accounts of our Lord's suffering would be difficult even for us to believe. What sort of a hero or champion arrives to save others through suffering? How does one go about healing through taking stripes from a whip on one's body? The prophecy given to Isaiah is so alien to what a person might expect from a savior that many will doubt it, and yet that is exactly what Jesus did as this week came to a close back in His time.

Arrested in a peaceful garden as He prayed, taken to the chief priest's house to begin suffering blows to His body in the middle of the night, and suffering upon suffering piled upon Him until He was so disfigured that people could not look upon Him. Our Savior. How did He do it?

As our Lord said back in those days, He had the authority to lay down His life for us and to take it back up again. And this He did to save those who will believe. And all those who believe this report are those He gives the right to become the children of God. What a privilege! What a delight to know the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! How strange that He did it in this way, but there it is.

Have a great and holy delight in our saving Lord Jesus!


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Lion's Share

But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

Some days our burden seems lighter than others. Enjoy those days, for we know that will not always be the case in this boot camp to eternity we call life. It is on those days that the faithful look back and see that our Lord Jesus is carrying the lion's share of our burden. Each of us may never know just how much of that burden we groan under that He carries for us, and on the tough days the lion's share is just as much and perhaps more than on the lighter days.

It is in this Easter week every year that we do well to remember the burden our Lord Jesus carried to the cross, our iniquities. While our Lord struggled with His cross, probably already beaten and scourged past the point a human body could recover, He also carried on Him the sin of us all. It is here in our image of the written word of God that we best imagine that terrible burden. Yet, something changed from what seemed the victory of darkness over our Lord Jesus to what John saw in Heaven. The willing Lamb of God who died for our sins had become a lion, and not just any lion.

As the hosts of angels, strong angels, and mighty angels watched helplessly, none was found worthy to take and open the scroll that told of the end. John wept, until an elder from around the throne of the Almighty told him some good news. There is a message here for us too. Weeping over the suffering of our Lord is certainly a good thing, but better still is to look to the Lion as He bears the Lion's share and rejoice in His strength. The Risen Lord Jesus has carried our sin to the cross and won the victory that we could not. In Christ we live!


Monday, March 26, 2018

Integrity Breach!

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9

Integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, moral uprightness. This is what Job held onto even in the face of what may be the worst advice one person gave to another in all of the Bible. (Perhaps second only to: "Try this fruit, Adam, it's really tasty!") When we speak of our reputation or our good name, this quality is what we hold dear. Should a person gain a reputation for a lack of integrity many career paths will close down. Most newsworthy scandals involve an accusation or allegation of an integrity breach, and if it turns out to be true the consequences are often severe. Many people over here do not care one way or another about the sport of cricket, but you will see in the news articles about an integrity breach in the Australian national team, and you will feel some outrage over it.

We can know how important it is by the many ways in which we are tempted to breach our integrity every day. If we fall into that temptation, we can live with the regret for the remainder of our lives, even if we are never 'caught' at it. Of course, God knows all things so that little integrity breach you or I committed back in the day did not go unnoticed. Just sitting here and writing this, instances of my own integrity breaches come back to haunt me from the distant past. Which, at least shows how much the Lord has produced a desire in me for integrity.

So, like Job, we all want to hold fast to integrity because our Lord Father in Heaven values it, and because He has grown in us a desire to hold it tightly. How are we going to do that? In Christ the Lord of course! My grip is too weak to hold onto something so valuable on my own, I will trust in Him! As Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13)


Friday, March 23, 2018

An Infinite God Prepares The Bride

“Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?" Matthew 12:5

Jesus taught. Why? There must have been a need.

For a thousand years, back to David's time and more centuries back to the time of Moses, and even more centuries back to Abraham, Israel had the Law and the prophets. Yet, here was the Son of God teaching them. Those who had spoken with God had passed on what He said, yet more education was needed it seems. Yes, the people of God were not perfected yet, though some did try to claim it when the Son of God tried to teach them.

Today, pastors by the score preach on a Sunday morning, Sunday school teachers by the hundred teach classes, and there are countless prayer meetings, Bible study classes and courses, and written works by the multitude. Yet, still the Bride of Christ needs to learn and understand.

The Israelites were made blameless by their atoning sacrifices. The Church, the Bride of Christ, is made righteous by the blood of the Lamb, and yet we must continue to learn and grow. Not only are we not yet perfected, but we have an infinite God to study. Our Lord God is perfect from eternity past and will be unto eternity future. The Bride, that is the church of those who believe in Jesus Christ, has been made worthy by the blood of our Lord, but then we must be cleansed, prepared, and dressed for the big wedding. As the young woman takes a great deal of time to prepare for her wedding, so our Lord is taking the utmost care to prepare His bride.

Jesus hasn't returned yet? Well, we just need a bit more preparation before that great day of the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust in Him!


Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Whole Bleating Flock

“And he shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him regarding his ignorance in which he erred and did not know it, and it shall be forgiven him." Leviticus 5:18

Oh look, it is the law of Moses with all of its death penalties, but what is this about mercy for ignorance? Apparently ignorance of the law was not an excuse, but with the proper trespass offering it could be forgiven. No apparent about it, mate! It is stated in the law quite plainly. I am so glad that ignorance has an atoning priest and that He made the proper trespass offering for us long ago. While ignorance and atonement may not work in traffic court, it is a relief to know that there is mercy for us in the court that hands out the eternal penalties.

Imagine waiting your turn in the Court of Heaven with a few dozen of your fellows who have also just perished from the earth. You notice something to read on the walls of the hallway outside that dreaded court, and feel a bit of gratitude because your eternal fate is on the line in that courtroom. Like your fellows, you didn't want to hear about Jesus back there on earth because that was one way to become unpopular, perhaps even poor or worse. But you knew that you were basically a good person and while God might condemn someone like that dictator fellow who murdered all those people back in the day, surely He would not have it in for you, right? So you begin reading the law, the law that you will be judged against, and hardly do you start down the list when all these rules and regulations jump out. Sabbath, Passover, corners of the beard? What are these things? What does it mean to covet your neighbor's wife? Fortunately, there is our verse for today: you start looking around for a ram or two 'cuz your need for some trespass offerings has just become obvious.

Most of us can see that our chances of making it into Heaven by obedience to the Law were lost long ago. We came to Jesus for mercy and grace because the Law had knocked us down so often that we knew we had no chance against ol' Mose and his rules. Even if we just summarized it by the two commandments of love that Jesus gave us for the Law and the prophets, we knew that there was that time, and that other time, and the time last week, and no, even that could not save us, and a whole bleating flock of unblemished rams probably would not be enough for atonement under the Law. We may be ignorant of some laws in Leviticus or Deuteronomy, but as Resurrection Day approaches, we are not ignorant of a certain trespass offering who died to save us from our sins!

Thank You, dear Lord, for Your wonderful Son, Jesus Christ the Lord!


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

While the Earth Remains...

“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22

Near the beginning, this was one of the great promises from our Lord. Near the ending, which we believe is imminent, this remains one of the great promises of the Lord, though maybe a bit more ominous sounding than it was back in Noah's day. Yes, those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ make ourselves less popular in the world by speaking of an ending. While the Earth remains the lovers of the darkness get to play their sinful games of strife and money loving. The ending of the Earth means something else, perhaps even a judgment which those who love this world most definitely deny.

Spring has begun, at least on the calendar, and we wonder once more, will this be the last one before the ending? Not usually, no. Spring does not seem to be a proper season for the downcast countenance, the dour face, or the downtrodden words. We look forward to renewal and the blooming of plants; we celebrate the risen Lord Jesus and enjoy the warmer days. The Lord told us what is coming to make us aware and awake, not to send us into a depression. While the Earth remains, we can rejoice in the saving grace of Jesus Christ!

A choice of each day is to mourn our lot, or to rejoice in Him while we are content in where He has us right now. Spring is one season where mourning our lot in life does seem rather out of place. Winter is coming to a close and blossoms will soon appear on fruit trees. Our Lord Jesus rose again in this season and soon He will return in His glory.

Great is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Hear The Words of Warning

"But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,” says the LORD, “that this house shall become a desolation.” Jeremiah 22:5

Back in the day, God sent several prophetic messengers to Israel and Judah. At least some, perhaps all, of these messages were written down and preserved for us. We know from the prophets that the children of Israel were often in trouble with the Lord. Jeremiah is no exception to this and he gave to them a stern message from God, which we can paraphrase as: hear or be destroyed.

The key words are 'will not', for they are the heart of disobedience before the Lord. Eve was encouraged by the serpent to do her will and not God's will in the matter of one little fruit. Adam decided that he would follow Eve's will instead of God, and his disobedience caused all the thorns in the world. We have a decision we make quite often of a similar nature: my will or His will. In order to follow my will when it is different from God's will, I must say that fateful, "will not" to Him. When I or anyone else would follow our will as opposed to God's will, we must hear the words of warning.

Jeremiah passed on those very words to the kings of Judah. We know from the Bible that the kings decided for the will-nots, and Judah did become a house of desolation. Why was their will so important to them? The same reason ours is, I suppose, we want to be in charge when we drive our ship onto the rocks of perdition.

I am so glad that Jesus saved me from my will, for my will is such a dangerous thing to myself when it is disobedient to my God. The will of my Lord is what is best for me; so says the Spirit, as I hear the old man of the flesh screaming like the spoiled and willful brat that it is. Down, brat, let us follow the Lord!