Monday, June 18, 2018

Encourage One Another

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

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

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

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

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

Bucky

Friday, June 15, 2018

Get Up, Slug!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love in Christ,
Bucky

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Going Somewhere?

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

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

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

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

In Christ, Bucky

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

If I Had Only...

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

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

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

May God keep us on His path for today,
Bucky

Monday, June 11, 2018

Great Is His Name

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 08, 2018

Bluster Boy

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

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

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

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

Bucky

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Conditions Just Right

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

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

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

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

Bucky

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

The Bride of My Lord

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

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

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

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

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

Great is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Bucky

Monday, June 04, 2018

Treasure Hidden

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah! Our Lord has found a treasure!

Bucky

Friday, June 01, 2018

That Cursed Old Man

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

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

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

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

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

Bucky