Thursday, February 28, 2019

Imaginary Dreams

I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the LORD, have spoken! Jeremiah 23:32

We often wonder why so many in Israel had trouble believing the prophets God sent to them. The history of Israel has so many of the mighty works of God to recall, what was the problem? Ah, false prophets and their imaginary dreams. It would seem that for every prophet sent by the Lord our God, there were several or even many false prophets with an easier to believe dream or vision and probably instructions that were more desirable to the worldly mind.

The imaginary dreams of the false prophets catered to the lustful desires that so easily grab our attention. The false prophets preached those daydreams we tend to have in idle moments, the sorts of imaginary dreams that turn the idle moment into idol moments. We are all tempted by them, the false prophets turned them into a way of life. Israel was supposed to have a short way with false prophets under the Law of Moses, but they were instead celebrating the liars and being entertained by them. I would insert a movie quote here, but somehow it just doesn't seem appropriate all of the sudden. Truly we do need to watch what we might watch in dreams or on the screen!

Trust in our Lord's guidance,


P.S. And may we all wish my dear mother a happy birthday on this last day of February. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Word, Our Weapon in Hand

Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Nehemiah 4:17

That's going to slow down the construction. Today we would never do such a thing. Everything in the working world is about speed, productivity, and cutting costs. Think of the terrible production rates of workers with one hand holding a weapon. Think of the shrieks of dismay from the outraged at so many weapons in the workplace! It is interesting to note the political opposition to all three of the W's in this verse for today: work, weapons, and walls. We live in a strange time on the earth.

This verse is fascinating as we read about the accomplishment of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem while working in readiness to fight. Certainly not our vision of what Heaven would be like, but very much like what we face here on the Earth. As we work this day, we must have always ready to hand the word of the Lord, our one weapon in the fight against the Evil One and those temptations of the world. Once put down the Word, and a ravening horde of temptations claws at the door of the heart. Hold up that sword of the Word of God, and keep those things at bay.

And yet, all the time we work in Christ and keep the weapon of His Word in hand, the Spirit of God is in the heart of the believer, building and cleansing, polishing and pruning, always at work in us.

Praise the Lord,

Monday, February 25, 2019

Final, But Not Ended

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:21

A mite chilly this morning at 11° with an expected high of only 27° today, and we count ourselves among the fortunate. There's a lot of cold going on in parts east, again. But, what are we still doing here? And why did John have to end the Revelation with that bit about grace?

Long ago to us, but just a short time for our Lord who sees all of this history we live, John finalized the Revelation and sent it out, but it was not ended yet. Much of the Word from our Lord is prophecy, and even in this day these centuries later, it remains a prophetic word. We need grace for today just as John did in about AD 95. We need His grace.

While it seems to us that the ending of all this must be just oh so close, day by day the march goes on toward that great day when our Lord returns in His majesty. We live today as though our Lord returns for us on this day, yet we also know that it may not be until tomorrow or even the next day. And because we can only live in today, we need our Lord's grace. Amen.


Friday, February 22, 2019

Heman the Singer

And these are the ones who ministered with their sons: Of the sons of the Kohathites were Heman the singer, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel, 1 Chronicles 6:33

If you enjoy music, then you probably have a lot of singers in your life. These singers may be of the local variety or international pop sensations, but they minister to you through the song. The singer might be a real he-man, like the one in our verse today, or a bit more feminine in tone and timbre. Boo hiss, I made a bad joke about a person's name from the Bible. Tell me it didn't occur to you as well and I'll promise not to do it again for at least a day or two.

For the musically inclined, singers are a blessing from the Lord. However, a singer may use his or her voice for the good news or to preach something a bit less moral. Yes, I know you were listening to The Devil's Greasy Creatures album by accident, but perhaps tossing it out a little sooner might have kept that tune from bouncing around inside your head, hmm? We must be careful and wise about what we listen to in song. For the mind of flesh does tend to grab onto things that excite its lusts, and that monster is certainly one we should feed less.

Enjoy a blessing or two in song this weekend, and remember to thank the Lord for His gift!


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Watch and Pray

"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

My decrepit old flesh seems to get weaker with each passing day. As an old man in training, I think I have passed the first few tests with top marks! No, no, that is not the flesh weakness our Lord was warning us about here. The disciples were not worried over their advancing age at this time. The flesh of youth enters into temptation with an ease that us older folk know all too well, probably from all the practice we had as youths. However, our Lord begins here with the cure for this sad weakness of our flesh: watch and pray.

It is no easy task! The flesh whether young or old is constantly on the prowl, or on the gripe as we age, for something it wants. The things that it wants and the ways in which it imagines the getting of these things are where we may run into trouble. No doubt you can supply quite a few examples from your own experiences, so I will not give out any new ideas by way of example! Jesus indeed has the measure of us when He commands us to watch and pray. We need to look to the Lord in prayer while keeping an eye out for that clever and crafty flesh.

Rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ!


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Beauty of God's Snow

He gives snow like wool;
​​He scatters the frost like ashes; Psalm 147:16

Frosted tree limbs, white streets and yards, it looks like winter out there! The furnace is struggling to overcome the chill the outside has put on the inside too. However, dress up a little in some insulating garments and put on some warm boots, and one can go out to see the beauty of God's snow.

It is perhaps a sign of our fallen birth through Adam that something so beautiful is also so uncomfortable and potentially deadly for us. A little snow and wind on a naked body and how soon we shut down and die! We in our flesh are so at odds with the beauty of God's creation and yet also able to appreciate it and see His handiwork. The spirit rejoices in the beauty God provides in His Earth, while the flesh quakes in a vain effort to survive on its own without heavy garments and a quick return trip back into the house. The good news in Jesus our Lord is that we are reconciled already through Him to God our Creator, and one lovely day we will be able to see the new Earth and be at home in it too.

God's blessings to you on this frosty cold day!


Monday, February 18, 2019

A Well-earned Name

Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! 1 Samuel 25:25

Winter has come at last. We may not see much above freezing for this week. February is doing its best to make up for our warm January in these parts. There are those days when I think that my name might be Nabal (literally: fool) and that folly is with me. However, there seems to be another one with me always and His name is Jesus. In a great many things there is a difference of opinion between my folly and my friend.

My friend has the right answer for all things, while my folly is confused on what is right or wrong. It is quite clear that without my friend Jesus, I would truly show off my folly more often than I would care to. Indeed looking back on my life I can see that in those times where I wandered far from my friend, my folly became quite the showman and paraded me around as a great prize in far too many circumstances. So it would seem that I can either be Folly's showpiece or a friend of Jesus. In place of a well-earned name like Nabal, I might rather be known as one of my Lord's friends.

Be friendly with Jesus our Lord today,


Friday, February 15, 2019

Looking Around Today

And when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear; and they cried out to the LORD, and the priests sounded the trumpets. 2 Chronicles 13:14

The believer in Christ today looks around and to his or her surprise finds the situation much as Judah did back in the day. The line of battle is both over there where the persecution is hot and over here where it is more subtle. The temptations are outside where the movies and magazines are but also inside where the mind is trying to go off and do its own thing. We find ourselves under attack both before and behind just as the soldiers of Judah did on that day.

However, Judah won the battle that day even though they faced what was a good and well-executed plan of attack by their enemy. How did they do it? The scripture has but one reason, "because they relied on the LORD God of their fathers." (v18) We have the same reason today and the reassurance of our Lord Jesus, "...but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Yes, look around and know the situation we face, but look up and see that our Redeemer comes soon and He has already overcome what we face.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

If I Had Not Love

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2

Love notes of many sorts will be traded this day, I wonder if any of them will recall the words of Paul as he told of love in his letter to the First Corinthians? Wait, it was his first letter to the church at Corinth, not some group of folks who founded the city. Ha, I'll bet in all of that 13th chapter of Corinthians you will not find that love insists on perfect correctness or accuracy in all things. Instead you will find a love that suffers long and bears all things.

Of course we must strive to be understood by all. It would be a bit harder to spread the good news if we misspelled our Lord's name all the time. Referencing Bible verses that do not exist in the copies of the Bible people have at home, such as 2 Philippians 25:3 or 5 John 2:2, might put an obstacle in the way of the diligent scripture student. All of this is covered under loving one another. Love helps us to correct one another gently and with courtesy. That goes both ways too. If you must blurt out, "There ain't no fifth John, ya moron!" I'll understand and strive to bear all things in love. If I had not love, then them's fightin' words and we'd have to go watch a few episodes of Yosemite Sam. (Well it's better than whacking each other with sticks.)

God's love to you on this Valentine's Day 2019 (I know, sometimes there's an apostrophe and sometimes there ain't.)


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What Has Come

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Wow, did Paul get up on the proverbial wrong side of the ol' bed that morning or what? No, Paul saw through the Spirit of God our time. What was apparent in the Roman Empire of that time would come around again in our time. As the nations of Rome and Babylon would return in the time of the restoration of Israel, so would people turn to everything opposite of the fruits of God's own Holy Spirit. We have seen that evil spirit at work in the world in this time, and we have seen it celebrated by many. Imagine now the restraint of those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ being suddenly removed from the world.

Obviously the world cannot last with everyone doing and becoming those things in the list above. I'll go out on a limb here and predict about seven years. Does copycat prophet count as a job description? We know already the length of the final period of tribulation on this world as it is revealed in God's prophecy of weeks in Daniel. As our Lord Jesus said in His discourse on the end times, that time is shortened or no one would survive. Which, taking a quick glance down that dreadful list, one can easily see why none would be left after such a time when combined with the judgments of the Lord coming down upon them.

As we live daily in what has come, let us show all the more the gifts of the Spirit to the world. Those undecided have little time left.


Monday, February 11, 2019

A Note of Comfort

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thinking that I had found the key to eternal joy and happiness, I came to know that He had already found me and that I was due no credit for my salvation. However, though I may not take credit for that quote either, I do have a mission, comfort. The Lord through Paul did not leave me to just accept in a passive way but to go forth in word and deed to comfort us one another. I get to be a comfort ye, my people!

My Monday morning silliness notwithstanding, one of the ways we show our love one to another is in comforting each other with the knowledge of our Lord's return. And looking around at the signs in the world of today, this is not something that is way out there beyond our ability to comprehend. The signs say to me that the summer of the fig tree is upon us and our Lord cannot be far behind, at the very door it seems.

Though you may be in pain today, hopefully just the pain of going to work on a Monday, I comfort you with the knowledge that Jesus comes for us soon. So soon that the surprise will still be stuck to our faces when we see each other in the train of His glory!

Have a glorious new day in Christ Jesus!


Saturday, February 09, 2019

What's All This Jumping About?

But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land. Acts 27:43-44

Through some trial and error in this life, I have discovered that I am more of an analyzer, some would say hesitate-er, than an immediate action sort. There are certain environments, shall we say, where this sort of thing is discouraged. When the person in charge yells, "JUMP!" one is supposed to be striving for an orbital trajectory before asking such things as "How high, sir!" or "How far, ma'am!" or, heaven help us, that dreadful, "Why?" As one inclined to ask such questions as that latter one, I did find a bit of conflict on occasion in this sort of circumstance.

In Paul's story this morning, we see an allowance for analysis and reflection in the situation. The centurion needed to decide quickly but not immediately, and he wanted to spare one particular prisoner. Good show for the other prisoners, because reading earlier in the story we find the soldiers under his command ready to pass immediate death sentence on their prisoners to prevent an escape. If I had been one of those other prisoners, I should have liked to find out more about this Paul, as it is quite likely at this time that Paul did not appear particularly wealthy or impressive so as to merit the saving of one's life.

And yet, at this time these many years later, we might chuckle a bit in our knowing that Paul carried in him the very words of eternal life from the One who earned that life for us on the cross just outside of Jerusalem. The centurion's analysis saved Paul and the other prisoners from an earthly death, but Paul had much more than that in him!

Praise Jesus our Lord for eternal life!


Friday, February 08, 2019

The Final Movement

Pause and wonder!
Blind yourselves and be blind!
They are drunk, but not with wine;
They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink. Isaiah 29:9

Fortunately we live in a nation of sensible laws and well-reasoned rhetoric in our halls of political, financial, and governmental power. I'll pause here for a moment and let you wonder how I could even type out such a statement. Hmm, hmm, la, la, a little hold-music tune while you wonder. Okay, now that you have pondered on that for a bit. Does it seem to you that the news from the power centers in the coastlands could not get any more loony than it is now? Fear not, they will top themselves tomorrow.

The pause before the final movement of this great symphony the Lord is producing on the earth has just about run its course and the music of the end is about to begin. This music will be loud and it will have its violent cymbal crashes accompanied by some booming bass notes. People will die. So many will be gone from the earth in the judgments poured out in the Revelation that in seven years less than 1/4 of the world's population will be left at the end. Probably a lot less as the prophecy does not say how many might die from the usual stuff in between the judgments of God. And those in power around the world will not be ready for it They are busy staggering, but not with intoxicating drink.

Call on the name of Jesus, and make it soon!


Thursday, February 07, 2019

Woe, Incoming!

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
​​Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
​​Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Isaiah 5:20

There are three woes prophesied in the Revelation of our Lord, and Isaiah lets us know to whom those woes will be delivered. The world in our time is truly becoming this opposite sort of thing we see in the verse today. There are woes coming and the world like an unwise athlete appears to be running to get under that woe ball as quickly as it can. It boggles the mind.

Lawlessness grows with each passing day. Unbelief dismisses the promised woe as some sort of myth. Warnings fall on deliberately deaf ears. Love has grown cold and hardened hearts cannot see the life in an unborn child. In a world of insecurity, the only source of security is rejected as unreal, imaginary, a creation of man's fantasy.

My imagination is no prophet, and my God lives and He is not amused at where this world is going. The terrible judgments of the Revelation come swiftly and woe unto those who will not believe. Come to Jesus, dear people we love, before it is too late.


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

A Little Blame

LORD, you coerced me into being a prophet, and I allowed you to do it. You overcame my resistance and prevailed over me. Now I have become a constant laughingstock. Everyone ridicules me. Jeremiah 20:7 NET

We would never dare, we think, to fire off a little blame at the Lord. Yet, Jeremiah did, and so did David. Moses got angry and Elijah ran like a scared chicken. Reserving our emotions from the Lord has been a habit of late, but it was not always so.

King David in his many psalms was one of the best at bringing his emotions to the Lord. He did not hide them as we may try in this age, and through the outpouring of that emotion he received healing from the Lord. Jeremiah was quite despondent and angry with the Lord in our verse for today. Later the prophet states: O LORD who rules over all, you test and prove the righteous. (v12). Ah, there it is. There is always a purpose behind what we suffer.

When I am despondent in the test or angry with the Lord for what seems a lack of action on His part, it is then that I can almost hear, "Aha, it's working at last. Now My little one will bring his emotion to Me in prayer!"

Of course the emotion or feeling I should bring most often is the one we consider the least manly of them all, "I'm scared, Lord!"


Monday, February 04, 2019

A Vapor of Security

“And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD." Ezekiel 39:6

The larger part of the world's population lives on the coastlines to this day. By choice or by judgment, those folks will know who the Lord is on that great and terrible day of the Lord. Actually, it is by choice because the Word has gone forth and is preached in all the world. They dwell in a vapor of security, and whatever was their security is blown away as vapors will when the judgment of the Lord arrives.

Now, to the world our security is as a vapor. Faith is not quantifiable or measurable, and our Lord at this time cannot be touched or grasped. We appear to be the ones believing in that vapor of security. So, who is going to be the ones standing at the end?

This verse we read today is once again that choice all face in this age. Believe in the Lord Jesus and it is obvious that the world's security cannot stand when the Lord's judgment comes. Choose to not believe in the Lord Jesus, and it is we who seem the foolish ones. There may yet be some undecided ones in the world, but they will not remain so for long. The time of the end approaches swiftly, yea, even on the wings of the fiery storm.

Rejoice, believers in Christ, His time comes soon!

Friday, February 01, 2019

Not The Stall!

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. Malachi 4:2

Wait, what? Calves of the stall? Were not those the ones raised for the slaughter? It would be easy to read into this something other than what was intended. Calves in the stall were protected and fed. The weather was not a concern for them and neither was the wolf or lion. Yet, there was that ending...I have a doubt. Yes, there is that ending.

In our stall, that first stall into which all are born, we are trapped in the clutches of sin. That ending of death and eternal condemnation reaches out for us in our stalls and we tremble. In that stall we were fed seductive stuff that was bad for us, and there was only that one outcome awaiting. But, the Sun of righteousness arises and there is new hope. In Him we are healed and go forth! If you have ever seen calves let out into the pasture in the springtime you have some idea of that feeling the saved one has as he or she is let out of the stall of sin. Now, we are raised, loved, and protected as calves of the stall, but no longer are we trapped and awaiting the death sentence. We enjoy the green pastures of our Lord while being loved and raised as calves of the stall.

Praise the Lord for the old barnyard similes!