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,