Friday, May 29, 2020
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
“And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. Luke 15:13
The word prodigal comes up one time in one verse in the New King James version of the Bible, and yet the story Jesus told is known the world over. Other versions of the Bible do not use the word at all, and yet so many know the story and what the word means. One word! What an effective communication the words of Jesus are! How great is the Bible, the word of God, that it spreads so far and so well?
Of course, part of the knowledge of this word comes from how many of us have tried it. Both secular and religious persons have gone out from our parent's home and tried this method of living for a time. With only a minuscule number of exceptions, we have found that it quickly renders one destitute, broke, and without folding money. However, the point of the story is not the life lesson in stewardship so much, important though that is to each of us, as it is about the humble homecoming and the joy of the father. Why, the elder son wondered, should that layabout lout be welcomed into the home again?
One who sees no need in his life for a second chance cannot know the blessing the Father gives to those of us who come to know our need of His salvation and that second chance to be born into a new life.
Thank You, dear Lord Jesus, for the lovely lesson of the prodigal son,Bucky
Friday, May 22, 2020
To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7
There come those days when it seems that messages to you should begin in just this way. Our nation does bear some similarities to that nation of old. However, there are those times when it seems that this place must be that new Babylon spoken of in the scriptures too. An angel flying over us to call the Lord's people out of her would not surprise us so very much. We too though are a part of that far away people who have come to believe in the Lord Jesus in great numbers.
So, wherever you may be on this earth, grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to God that we are called together in Christ to be saints by His hand. We may be symbolically in the new Rome or the new Babylon or in that nation we now find ourselves, but we are also in the church our Lord is building. And, we are ready to come at His calling, ready to come home with Him.
Memorial Day weekend comes this evening, I pray that you are allowed to get out some as we celebrate those who have given their lives in service to this nation.Bucky
Thursday, May 21, 2020
A proud and haughty man— “Scoffer” is his name;
He acts with arrogant pride. Proverbs 21:24
There was an age about one hundred years ago when statements of arrogant pride abounded. You know of one involving a certain 'unsinkable' ship, but there were many like it in that age. So many awful disasters followed these arrogant statements that our nation learned a lot about pride going before the fall. In fact, I would say that our nation learned so well... If you are not ducking and covering now, you are praying that I do not complete that statement. It is so easy to get on a roll, so to speak, and blurt out the very type of statement that one is trying to avoid.
This past Sunday, the pastor of a certain local church here in our little town gave a sermon to us regarding this very sin of arrogance. As I read last night a book about the pride of a man who was both doctor and weatherman in Galveston, Texas in that same age of arrogant statements, enough foreshadowing was provided to know that this man was headed for an opportunity to repent. The message in both cases was of course for me as well. Sometimes we get it again from the Lord's dear Holy Spirit, and we must be listening with our ears to hear.
God's blessings to you as the great day of the Lord approaches,Bucky
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. Mark 12:2
The owner of the vineyard, who in the prior verse planted and outfitted the vineyard, had leased this vineyard to some people. And, when the time came to bottle the wine, this owner sent a servant to reap a share of the production. You may know the rest of the story, or parable in this case, but for the moment let us just look at the circumstance in the present moment of verse 2.
There was in this moment no difference between this contract and many others done in this time and in the years to our time. The owner assumed a certain risk by leasing the field to others and going away to a far country (v1). There are those who have more money and own more things in this world, and there are those who lease some of those things, and there are those who work for a living at wages. There was in this moment no reason for the owner not to send a servant to collect the proceeds of the contract at the proper time. The servant as he or she walked toward the vineyard need have no fear of brigands, as money will not change hands until later when the wine is sold. (I assume this because one servant could hardly carry the owner's share of the wine on his person, unless it was a really small vineyard.) But, we know what happens! Yes, when we have knowledge from the Lord, it is tough to stay in the moment.
Exactly what we face each day knowing that our Lord is coming again to take us home to be with Him. It is tough to work and live and play in this moment when we know such great things await us in Christ the Lord! Rejoice in that certain expectancy of His return.Bucky
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust." Matthew 12:20-21
So gentle is our Savior that the things which are about to break and the fires that are about to go out are not further broken by Him. But there is a word of change there too. A time is spoken of when justice shall be sent forth by our Lord to victory. A fulfillment of this prophecy comes in the Revelation when our Lord returns on the white horse and a sword comes from His mouth to defeat the enemies gathered at Armageddon. And then comes a word and His promise specifically for us:
"And in His name Gentiles will trust."
Indeed we are glad to be a part of that prophecy; a rejoicing fulfillment of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. In His Name, we trust and live, knowing well that only in Him are we saved from the judgment that is to come. In His name, we love one another and our Lord.In His great name! Bucky
Monday, May 18, 2020
Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:1-2
It does not take much time on the Internet this morning to endure some bad news. We need not engage in a lengthy search or climb some high mountain of links to see words such as, caught, inquiry, virus (of course), test, secretive, risk, crash, and several other ominous examples. Last night, after finishing a book about the haves vs. the have-nots, I felt the stirring of despair. What can a person such as you or me do in such a world as this? We can pray, and it was prayer that reminded me that God, our Lord and Savior, is still in control and in fact has never relinquished control to anyone, least of all the world's media. Whether it is a non-fiction book or a news web site, these are not the final words of authority on this world and all that is to come. My God is still in control!
This morning, as God's new mercies refresh us for the day, we are reminded by David to give unto the Lord. So bring every scrap of wealth and possessions you can find around the house immediately into... No, David did not mention those things in our verse for today. Glory and strength, the glory due His name, and worship, these are the things David commands us to give to the Lord.
And did the king call us 'mighty ones'? Mighty ones?! Did you wake up feeling the powerful strength of a mighty one? Perhaps not, I can assure you that I did not. Like most of us elder folks, I took stock of what hurt and what works, and then staggered into the bathroom to take care of an immediate demand from that same body I was just polling for responses. Some mighty one I turned out to be. We are of course mighty in the Lord; a permanent kind of might that does not vanish away like dew in the morning as our strength and might tend to do in this world. So, we once again turn our eyes to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Amen, and have a great day rejoicing in Christ the Lord!Bucky
Friday, May 15, 2020
The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, And seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.” Zechariah 8:21
So you got up today and the world still appears as a slow-moving train wreck in so many ways. It is difficult to tear the eyes away from the spectacle of the news, and yet you wonder what yourself or anyone else can do about it. Simply not looking does not to the Christian seem the way to go when so many are suffering in this time. And yet, it is that very world we want to help that has commanded all to stay away! Zechariah has an answer for us in prophecy.
Let us pray to the Lord! We can each of us be an inhabitant of one city praying for all before the Lord of hosts. We may not be able to go up to Jerusalem to pray before the Lord Himself just yet, but we can start the praying. (The next verse tells of that great day when many shall go up to Jerusalem and to the Lord.) A prayer to the Lord for the salvation of others is a great thing to do on a Friday in the middle of May!
Rejoice in the Lord this day!Bucky
Thursday, May 14, 2020
But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. John 12:10-11
There are several testimonies floating about of what we call near-death experiences, and we are fascinated to read them and gain some clues about Heaven. However, those stories are often 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or even 90 minutes in actual dead time as measured by the clocks we have in this world. Lazarus has a story that is something else entirely - four days! Jesus even waited some distance off so that no one would have reason to doubt that Lazarus was kaput; he was no more; stone dead. We're about to launch into a dead parrot sketch here. We get the point, Lazarus was dead. Lazarus did not have a near-death experience; he had a clearly dead experience. They even buried him in the usual way for the time.
You and I have often wondered why we do not have a testimony from Lazarus in the scriptures. Such a story would be fascinating indeed with four days in Heaven to tell. Perhaps though, the story became so convincing to the divinity of Jesus that it was suppressed and no copy survived. The chief priests wanted to give Lazarus a twice dead experience, as his testimony of Jesus had caused many to believe in the Lord and to go away from the Jewish religion. Their corrupt living was threatened by Jesus clearing the temple and by the testimonies of those who believed in Messiah. Of course, just getting rid of Lazarus in this way would not have stopped the motivator of their faith, Jesus. And that is why there is that little word 'also' in the verses for today. Jesus was on the hit list of the chief priests too.
The chief priests were successful in their plot, but on the third day He rose again!Bucky
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. Matthew 24:32
We drive by the wheat fields before Independence Day in these parts, see the golden brown stalks and we know that the harvest is near. We have many indicators that we have learned throughout our lifetime that teach us when something is near. Our Lord Jesus gave us signs to look for near the end that we may know that event is at the doorstep and about to come in. Matthew 24 is known as the Olivet Discourse from our Lord, and in this chapter we can learn what to watch out for; the signs to see when they occur.
In verse 12, we see that lawlessness will abound in the time when we are to become especially alert for the return of our Lord. Love grows cold through constant exposure to this lawlessness, and what may we see told repeatedly in our news each day? You have seen it! Lawlessness in our land and throughout the world is fed to us daily in our news. Therefore, look up, for our redemption draws near!In Christ the Lord, Bucky
Monday, May 11, 2020
Hear my prayer, O LORD, And let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily. Psalm 102: 1-2
The restrictions are easing, but it has been a long time since the lockdowns began way back in the day. Some may have a difficult time recalling those seemingly carefree times before the big bad corona virus sent everyone home for a timeout from life. One thing we may recall in later days is how quickly the threat loomed in the media and sent the world running for home. Quickly indeed!
While at home, many of us may have felt the creeping dread of disconnectedness. The bonds that connect us to other humans may have seemed, might still seem, to be thin and even broken during this time of stay at home orders from earthly authorities. However, what a great opportunity we enjoyed to get away from the noise of the world and connect with the Lord our God!
Good times were found connecting with God!Bucky
Friday, May 08, 2020
And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 1 Timothy 5:13
Yesterday's message was shortened because this subject can easily go on and on with an energy the idle person does not display. And thus we have part two on the subject of idleness.
In the passage of this letter from Paul to Timothy, young widows are the subject but they should not be the only group included in the warning. From my own experience, I can tell you that old men can be idle and gossipy too. One group that would have fallen under Paul's eye in that time were those men who showed up to a 1st century version of a labor market each day. Some days there likely was not enough labor need in the community and those men might sit around all day waiting, and doing all that waiting together in a group might bring such as gossip and that busybody thing. If this happened too many times, some of the men might find the desire toward idleness creeping up on them until one day a farmer comes and no one wants to work.
While I cannot speak for all men, work has proven better for me than idleness. The Bible agrees with me, and the Word of God certainly can speak for all men regarding what is better or worse for us. Idleness should be a skill we remain ignorant of, not to be confused with resting of course, which is a need.Rejoice in the Lord always, Bucky
Thursday, May 07, 2020
And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 1 Timothy 5:13
As Paul shows us in his letter to Timothy, idleness is a learned occupation. We do not come naturally to idleness, it seems. Certainly an idle child will attract some concerned attention from parents and elders as children often possess the energy us elders can only recall fondly. Even a child who stops to study something new will be encouraged to tear about like wild animals by the other children. Idleness takes practice; often it is begun in the teenage years when our childhood energy first wanes and rebellion against parental demands becomes our first opportunity in life to reject authority by becoming willfully immobile.
And the parental poet said, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." (Robert Herrick, 1591-1674) As the elder age comes upon us, the idleness we yearned for in youth may be granted to us by way of an armed regiment of injuries and illnesses, any of which may strike us down physically. Of course, it is in these years that we may learn the joy of deep study in God's word. There is no idleness in that study, but a mind and spirit activity that refreshes and renews while drawing us closer to the Lord our God. Though it may appear to some that we have fallen asleep while doing so.
Have a great day resting in the arms of the Lord!Bucky
Wednesday, May 06, 2020
When Ephraim spoke, trembling, He exalted himself in Israel; But when he offended through Baal worship, he died. Hosea 13:1
Humble speech and fear of the Lord, and a good result comes to Ephraim. Pride and idolatry brings a different result. It is funny, perhaps even ironic, that from Eve to Ephraim to those who follow the evil at the end, all those who choose to go their own way rather than God's way end up following another way entirely.
After that shovelful of confusion, let me explain. Eve made a choice, and she likely thought that she would go her own way but was really following the Serpent. Ephraim wanted to go his own may and make his own choices, and ended up following yet another idol named Baal. At the end, many will follow the great evil that comes in the Antichrist, but they will only be following that great red dragon, the Serpent of old. Whether it begins with pride or idolatry or rebelliousness, it all ends in the same following after the deceiver. Follow God's way, or offend God and die. It does not seem so difficult to discern the way to life and truth now.
A joyous day in our Lord Jesus is proclaimed!Bucky
Monday, May 04, 2020
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 1:4
As the congregations and meetings open up once more, we praise God for the many who are returning to the flock, finding their way there for the first time, or are simply seeking answers to what turned the world upside down at this time. Along with this rush of persons with good reasons to be in the church, we must watch for the creepers; those who come with nefarious intent. As Jude warns us, they seek to turn grace to lewdness and to deny the Lord our God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Can this be? Surely the Lord is on the lookout for such persons as this?
The Lord is always aware and in control, but we have this test, the same one Adam and Eve faced way back in the garden. The first thing used against Eve was a denial of what the Lord God had said to Adam about the forbidden fruit. In that moment, the Lord did not pop in and argue with the Serpent, nor did He reach out and stop Eve's hand from making that awful decision. We have always had this freedom to choose, and like Eve we have often used it to decide to sin. The creepers would like to help us sin, and this is a time when with many new or even much changed faces in the group or congregation, we might be vulnerable to an infiltrator.
Be aware and be awake, and pray constantly to the Lord our God,Bucky
Saturday, May 02, 2020
Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking. Ezekiel 1:28
Our trees are still goofing off for the winter for the most part, except for the one I had whacked that is. The sin of this particular tree that caused its execution? It leaned too far toward a street and playground. Something for us to remember when we want to lean over toward that sin, but maybe not actually touch the forbidden fruit. Yes, I cannot speak for you, but I have tried to lean and then plead a loophole in the law. Better to depend on Christ the Lord and grace than to make excuses toward a bunch of loopholes when the judgment comes, and of course, it is much better daily to lean toward Him!
And as Ezekiel noted in his testimony, the coming of the Lord was like a rainbow appearing in a cloud on a rainy day. We don't usually expect to see a rainbow IN a cloud, but when the Lord comes in His glory, He promises it will be unexpected...and glorious! Let us not be found leaning the wrong way when the time comes.
Now after two days of tough dry, windy, and hot days, wherein my sinus pain was, well, painful (brilliant comment there), we have a cool and rainy morning for my birthday. I might tell you how old I am after I take my morning nap-nap.
Praise and glory to God our Father on this lovely day,Bucky
Friday, May 01, 2020
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Hebrews 12:28
The kingdoms of this world have been shaken and we have yet to live through all of the consequences of that great shaking. As with the other crises in world history, not everyone suffers the same. In a rich Pharisee sort of reckoning, some will think that they have not suffered because they have been so good. Others, suffering much, will feel like Job, "What did I do wrong, that the Lord should afflict me?" In our verse for today, we are given a way to live by what we have not yet seen, the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By faith we live in the grace of our Lord, and as such, the writers of Hebrews tell us, we should serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. One humbling thing to note of our service to God is that He in no way needs the service of a bunch of fumbling, bumbling humans. Anything we might do for His kingdom, our Lord can perform so much better Himself. And yet, He gives each of a us a part of that construction in ways that we cannot always see. That certainly helps in our service, as we are not to perform it to be raised up in the sight of men!
Rejoice in His kingdom unshaken!Bucky