Friday, August 31, 2018

The World Terrifies Me

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

Trembling on the border, the Israelites had zero confidence in their ability to win the promised land. The world terrified them; the world terrifies me. When we look at the strength of the world, of course we are going to be afraid. There's certainly more of them for one thing. One against 7 billion is pretty steep odds. But then, if the entire world turned against God, it would still be 7 billion against One.

That is the wrong point of view that we often share with the Israelites of long ago. We look at the world and see such strength and even ill will directed against us. We must look to the One who loves us and know His sovereign strength.

Water from a rock in the desert. A sea parted so that the people walked through on dry land with walls of water on either side. A blind man made to see. A paralyzed man takes up his bed and goes home. So, which side has the power? Who stopped God when He acted for the Israelites? Who can stop God when He acts to save us from the world? Afraid today? I think I look in the wrong direction!

Trust and live in the Lord Jesus Christ, He stills the raging sea of fear in us!


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Pharisee U's Biggest Fan

Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Acts 9:1-2

This Saul was not only fervent in his unbelief, but murderous, threatening, and connected! Saul was the Pharisees champion. At Pharisee banquets he would be invited to the top table and given the honor of the after dinner speech. The old hands would praise his energy and enthusiasm for the task, and better still he was useful to their plans. Saul went right into the high priest and received letters to the synagogues, and these letters would have meant that he had no worries over a hotel room or servants to see to his needs. No worries about collecting receipts for the bean counters back home. No worries over dates to the best restaurants in Damascus. He had it made!

As Saul journeyed down the road to Damascus, we would have seen the pennant of the Pharisee University Authoritarians on his cloak, a Pharisee sweatshirt on his back, and a heavy gold ring from the PU class of '35 on his finger. Saul was all Pharisee and charged with what he thought was a holy mission approved by the powers that be in Jerusalem. He was Pharisee U's biggest fan and proud of it. Saul belonged, felt the warm glow of official approval, and had purpose in his stride. And, as we know from the scripture story, Saul was all wrong.

The Pharisees had declared for the Antichrist way back in Mark 2, and Saul was their golden one, the champion they could count on to destroy the Way and His followers. Only, as we have read in the scriptures, the story does not continue from here quite as the high priest and the Pharisees thought it would.

Seldom is a rebirth in Christ such a big change to an earthly life and career as Paul's was, and yet, each of us has undergone a similar change in our new life in Jesus. Your/my change may not be so dramatic, so sudden, or affect our career like Paul's did, but be patient, the change will be just as profound and far-reaching when our Lord is done.

Glory to His name,

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Living For A Living

​Her heads judge for a bribe,
​​Her priests teach for pay,
​​And her prophets divine for money.
​​Yet they lean on the LORD, and say,
​​“Is not the LORD among us?
​​No harm can come upon us.”  Micah 3:11

Micah knew nothing of us in this nation right now...or did he? Reading through our verse for today we might see Micah living right now in this time. King Solomon noted that everything comes around again, and here we are filling the prophecies of Micah in this time quite well. So many seem to be in it for the money. Take away that money and watch, would that fellow run for his senate seat again? Would that pastor get up and preach in that show or revival if it were without compensation? Is the prophet more accurate with her invoicing than in her predictions? So many of us today are living for a living.

And then, they look around and say, "The Lord has our back; we cannot be harmed. Everything is going so well!"

Those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior find a problem with that. It is after our rebirth in Christ that the real testing begins. Poor decisions or rough circumstances may have laid us flat on our back and brought us to realize our need for salvation, but the cheerful walk in the rose garden we looked forward to with our Lord does not often come in this life. Problems come in their battalions at times and we never seem to 'get ahead' as the saying goes. One quick rest in the valley of peace leads to yet another hike up the mountainside of woe. And strangely perhaps, it is on that mountainside that we say almost the same thing as those others, " The Lord will not allow us to be harmed. We will get through this tough time with Christ our Lord!"

What difference then? Those others demand and expect the Lord's protection while they roll in their money, worshiping Mammon deep down. We live where the Lord leads us, whether in wealth or poverty or somewhere in between. We climb the mountain of woe knowing that our Lord is leading us higher for our sanctification and also that He is right there with us. So, the question to ask then: Is money a useful tool in life, or is it the main pursuit of your life?

And thank you Lord for all those who have used their money generously to Your glory! I am glad to know so many who are not like those others.

In Christ the Lord,

Monday, August 27, 2018

Evil From His Youth

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. 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 8:20-21

Great are the Lord's promises in this passage of scripture, but oh, we seem to have yet another indictment of our condition in there. That imagination of ours, the sins of the flesh play out there daily it seems like dirty movies at a sleazy theater in the worst part of town. We might well ask when that place will be shut down?

Trusting in the Lord includes faith that what needs to be changed in us will be done on the Lord's schedule. It may be that particular theater is under renovation even now. The next movie shown there may be one of love and forgiveness. Actually there is no 'may' about it. We believe in Jesus and removal of sinful imagination is already well underway. Just don't be that dirty old coot that keeps getting in the way of the demolition crew.

Imagine a closer walk with our Savior today, that will help the remodeling move along,


Friday, August 24, 2018

Adam Had A Purpose

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2:15

Our father, Adam, was not dumped in a nice place to simply goof off. He had a purpose and an assignment. However, we should not think that this was something that Adam was unsuited to perform like me on roller skates or something.

Even in my youth I was not well suited to rolling around on shoes with wheels. What some appeared to do effortlessly backwards or forwards, I struggled on the edge of disaster to perform at all. You will note that I did not become a professional roller skater. The one who invented that trite phrase about becoming anything you want to did not see me roller skate back in the day. There is something though in this life that I am suited well to perform.

This something will require training and practice, as toil is our lot now since the fall of Adam, but most of all it will require my Lord Jesus. To attempt the accomplishment without our Lord is nothing but a vanity. Solomon discovered that human vanity after much study and experimentation in his life, but most of all he had an overflowing measure of wisdom from the Lord. Paul wrote much that we learn from and struggle to implement to this day. He did it after years of study and practice, but mostly he did it after a powerful visit from the Lord and a constant presence in his life of the Lord's Spirit.

We do not work alone. The Spirit of our Lord God is in us this day. Want to accomplish something, have a purpose, and work for the kingdom of God? Look to the Lord and receive from Him the faith, wisdom, knowledge, and steadfast effort we need to work in His house. And don't act like He is holding a whip to drive us to this thing! Our reward in the doing will be greater than we can imagine.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Hear What The Spirit Says

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." Revelation 2:7

The midst of the Paradise of God sounds like a good place to go and stay forever. But, we have to do one thing which we are not very good at: listen to the Spirit. We go like that Yoda character, "My own counsel will I keep..." so often are we so smart in our own estimation. My own counsel has led me to some rough places where I was able to sample extensively from the consequences of my own failures. Could it be that God has a better way?

We so easily take the lesser way and the lower road, counting on difficult experience to teach us the right way to go. God is already righteous, would it not be much better to learn from Him? If we listen to His Spirit, would not the teaching be both better and easier? My own counsel has proven to be such a wicked servant, I'm thinking that learning to listen to the Spirit at all times is the ear to develop. How wise is that? The Lord gives me the ear to hear what the Spirit says to the churches, so I can claim no wisdom for my part. Seeing no wisdom of my own, I must ask for wisdom from God.

And thus do we start down the road to righteousness and wisdom and love and all the other fruit of the Spirit by realizing that we have none in ourselves and learn or get them only from the Spirit of God. Great is the name of Jesus!


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Rejoicing From The Lord's Mercy

Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
​​That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Psalm 90:14

From a psalm by Moses. This psalm has been around a long time. I think I write that every time this psalm comes up here. Moses perhaps feels the span of many years here and asks for a satisfying measure of God's mercy early in life. Rejoicing and gladness all our days would be something, and what to us is a long time later, an answer comes!

​Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
​​Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
​​Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Jeremiah wrote the Lord's answer, we have new mercies and compassions each morning. It is indeed a mercy from the Lord that our sin does not consume us each day. It is the compassion of the Lord that is given each morning to start a new day in the love and grace of His wonderful Son. It is the Lord's mercies that take away our vision of the Lord God as a hammer and His Son snatching us away from the awful descending blow. It was always God's mercy and compassion that failed us not, and from His love and goodness came our Savior Jesus the Christ.

Now that makes for a day of gladness and rejoicing!


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Jesus And The IQ Test

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. Hebrews 6:1

"Daddy, what was Jesus' IQ?"

Go ahead, you wanted to be a father, a question such as that one is where a father earns his daddy points. If Jesus were to take one of our IQ tests and scored anything less than perfection, the test would be flawed. We know that perfection is one of His qualities. The Pharisees, on the other hand, refused to know such a thing and tested our Lord constantly. Which brings up another interesting point. If testing the Lord was their job, and the law and the prophets was their excuse, then why didn't they test the Lord in the way they knew was laid out by the prophet?

If the prophet in question, Jesus or John the Baptist or any pretender, simply enjoyed the tithes and offerings brought and failed to bless the land then they would be exposed as a fraud, right? Well... the tithe test never did benefit God directly, as He does not need our provision, and such a test can easily expose the motive of the tither. That is, if we work out the percentage carefully, and take the $57.33 it works out to into the temple expecting God to respond with a winning lottery ticket by way of blessing, then we expose the greed behind our selfish giving. It would be moot anyway; Jesus already passed the test that matters most to us: He laid down His life to save us and then took it up again exactly as He said He would proving His love and His word beyond question. Now the test is on us: do we believe in Him?

Hmm, now it is a noon devotional because I walked out this morning without sending it. I think that is one of those old age things I was warned about!

Love in Christ,

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Little Deep Sleep

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Genesis 15:12

Yikes, usually a deep sleep is a cause for celebration. A deep sleep seems to become more difficult to attain in my later years, but if this is going to happen I'm not sure I want to keep trying. Reading back in the story though we find doubt, uncertainty, fear the Lord will not do just as He said. Yes, Abram wanted a confirmation sign after the Lord had given His word.

The word of God is the very best assurance because of who He is. We doubt Him at our peril. The Lord said that He is coming back to take us to the home He went to prepare for us, and that word is all we need. Did Abram's descendants get 400 years of slavery because Abram would not believe without a sign? We hope not for Abram's sake, but that doubt did bring a prophecy of the years of toil they would face in Egypt. However, the Lord also comes back with that prophecy of a large Israel, one that has not yet been seen upon the Earth. Perhaps Abram was able to get some better sleep with the thought, "I messed up again, but God is good!"

Read the word of God, and have some sleep without doubt,


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Is It Not Possible?

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:23-24

There has been many false christs and false prophets even in our time, but not the signs and wonders spoken of by our Lord, at least not that I have yet seen. I say that because these signs and wonders are going to be impressive by the Lord's description of them as 'great'. We will not fail to miss them, just fail to believe in them. When our Lord says, "if possible," I get the sense that this deception is not going to happen to the elect. Why?

I have in my time fallen for a great many deceptions. Some were harmless but not beneficial, and fell into the dead weight category. While others were very harmful and required a running away or shunning of them. And in some cases I looked the fool (and was foolish too), and occasionally I must confess to having been there and done that. We all learn the hard way sometimes and I am no exception to that. So, how could it not be possible for a believer such as myself to fall for these great deceptions?

Of course we know the answer to that! First, it isn't me or you that is not deceived. Second, it is the Lord's precious Holy Spirit in us that keeps the elect from these impressive deceptions. It is that "Whoa!" deep inside the soul that prevents us when the flesh yearns to go. It is the turning of the eyes by the Spirit that shows us something the worldly ones cannot or will not see. It may even be the Spirit of the Lord that causes our feet to stumble and fall when the flesh has gone toward the deception too fast and is about to get us into trouble. The sheep may act dumb at times, but we have a divine Protector who will keep us safe.

Thank You, dear Lord, for Your Comforter sent to live in us,


Friday, August 17, 2018

What Is Just Out There, Maybe Tomorrow Morning!

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. Luke 1:13

Fear, it's a real let down. Usually this verse is a Christmas message, but today the Lord wants us to know that His love wants us to have the best. What is just out there in our future, maybe as soon as tomorrow morning, is all the good our Lord desires for us. Zacharias was afraid of the angel of course, we would be too, but the angel addressed all of his fears in this. The fear of dying with no son to carry on his family name, the fear of his wife's shame and loneliness, the fear of not having his prayer heard, and many others we might not think of in this age.

Do not be afraid is the command we receive often in the Bible. Change the fears around to our current situation and we are Zacharias worrying that our prayers are not heard. Will it take an angelic visit to remind us of God's goodness and love? Or, can we recline back into that faith we once had in our Lord Jesus and know that by God's grace we are waiting just a little time until the very best will be given to us once more? Jesus once said that the amazing return of anything we have given up for the kingdom of God will be given, not in the next life, but this one - maybe, just out there, tomorrow morning or even on this day.

Sometimes a little boost is needed in my faith, grant me that faith please, dear Lord Jesus!


Thursday, August 16, 2018

God's Most Difficult Case

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15

Oh, the pride in us when we dispute among ourselves those last five words. Paul claimed the title of chief sinner and set off an argument that has lasted for almost 2,000 years. Even as Timothy read the words, he probably disputed in his heart with Paul, his teacher and mentor. If God announced a contest to challenge Paul for the title of chief sinner there would be a line around the world, dead folks would be getting up from the grave to join the line, and believers yet unborn would try to make their claim for the title. Oddly, I suspect that not one demon or prince of this world would be in line.

Of course we look in the wrong direction in this rather unholy contest. We need only look to God and His Sovereign omnipotence to see that there is no such thing as a most difficult case for Him. Isaiah confessed his unclean lips and God sent one of His messengers to cleanse the prophet and prepare him for holy duty. Peter might be one to challenge Paul for that dreadful title, but he too was forgiven and saved by our Lord. Every Christ-one to Christ follower to Christian has tried to make like he or she was perhaps the toughest case for the Lord's salvation and all have been saved by our Lord Jesus.

If there were some 1-10 scale of salvation difficulty, you might be a 4 and I an 8, or you might be a 9 and me a 5, and yet it would make no difference to God's saving power through His Son. Paul might be surprised to learn that he was only a 3, or God might one day confirm that Paul was indeed the only 10 while all the rest of us were both easier and quicker to be saved. It doesn't matter because the statement that He is mighty to save is based on God's all-mighty sovereign authority, and there is nothing that can stop that once a person believes in the saving grace of Christ Jesus.

Let it be so, said the lesser sinner, giving honor of place to Brother Paul who wrote for God such wonderful letters that we learn from to this day.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Moving Ahead Of You

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah for the day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Abominable Biting Bugs of the Bible

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

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

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

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


Monday, August 13, 2018

The Smoke of Anger

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

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

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

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

Alive in Christ Jesus!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Far Away From Something

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

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

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

Amen, in Christ we stand!

Thursday, August 09, 2018

An Expression of Faith

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, August 08, 2018

We Have A Choice?

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

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

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

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

In Christ the Lord,

Monday, August 06, 2018

History Is His

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

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

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

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

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

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

All going according to His plan today,

Friday, August 03, 2018

Not One Failed Promise

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

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

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

Have a blessed Friday on that thought!

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Racing For Grace?

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

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

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

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

Saved by grace in Christ the Lord,

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

God's Old Ways

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

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

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

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

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

Rejoice in God's love today,