Tuesday, December 30, 2014
"O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people." Psalms 105:1. We have in this simple passage three grand admonitions. Give thanks. Call upon God. Make known His deeds. In a lot of instances, we desire to call upon Him without the giving of thanks and making known His deeds. We often make requests of God and forget gratitude for blessings and deeds already bestowed. Thanksgiving is a grace never to be forgotten. Always should we be thankful to God and share with others what He has done for us. We must not be ashamed of God, but rather be willing and anxious to tell of what He has given and performed for us as a result of our calling upon Him. Calling upon God requires our trust in Him. We believe that He is willing and able. We believe that He is listening and that He hears. Giving thanks is a sign of gratitude and humility that we have received from Him what we could not give nor do for ourselves. Making known His deeds speaks to our commitment unto Him and our desire for others to know God as we know Him. God's demands of us are indeed simple.
Friday, December 26, 2014
The birth of Jesus Christ was certainly an important event. We, as a society, take notice of births. But, an event that was far greater than the birth of Jesus was the death of Jesus. This is the event that we are to honor. Jesus took bread and the cup and blessed them. Of the bread, He said, "This is my body." Of the cup, He said, "This is my blood." Matthew 26:26-29. This observance would begin when Jesus would "drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." Matthew 26:29. Following His resurrection from the grave, Jesus sat on the throne in His kingdom. Acts 2:30-31. The bread and cup, which we know as the Lord's Supper, calls us to a remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus for our salvation. I Corinthians 11:17-29. Each Sunday as the church comes together, we recall that sacrifice that required God's mercy and justice. As we eat the bread and drink the cup, we are assured that our sins have been forgiven and we are in fellowship with God. We look back to Calvary where He died and we look forward to His coming again. We look within ourselves and examine our hearts to know that we are in harmony with Him. As we partake of the Lord's Supper, we give thanks unto God that He loved us to the extent that He "gave his only begotten Son." John 3:16.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The very first beatitude which is written in the final book of inspiration states, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Revelation 1:3. In order to keep those things, we must know those things. To know means that we must read and hear. The will of God has been written in words so that we may read. "Whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ." Ephesians 3:4. The mystery of Christ can be understood when we read. "Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read..." Isaiah 34:16. God wants us to be readers of His word. As we read, we come to understanding. Understanding brings us to obedience. We are to keep, store within our minds, what God has revealed for us to know. Keeping His word in our mind will help us in times of temptation and trial. The words give us light in the darkness and comfort in the storm. This brings us to a state of blessedness. We are blessed because of our knowledge and understanding of God and His direction for our lives. The worldly conditions of life cannot remove this blessedness. Happy is the one who reads the eternal words of life.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Jesus echoed the sentiment of God, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Luke 13:3-5. Repentance is heaven's message to us. Each one is guilty, and so, each one must repent. In repentance, one acknowledges sin, forsakes sin, and turns to God. One cannot come to God and bring his sins. The ministry of John the Baptist was a voice that called sinners to repentance. "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 3:2. Jesus preached the same theme in Matthew 4:17. And in delivering His commission of preaching to all the world, Jesus instructed that "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24:47. The multitude that crucified Jesus was commanded, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." Acts 2:38. There is no remission of sins without repentance. God wants man to see himself in the mire of sin. God allows man to leave his sin and come to salvation through repentance. Repentance is possible because of God's goodness and God's longsuffering. Romans 2:4 and II Peter 3:9. From heaven's merciful God through Christ, let us heed the call to repent.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Jesus brings Peter, James, and John up on the mountain. Jesus is transfigured or changed. His face shines and His garment becomes white as light. After Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus, Peter wants to build three tabernacles. It is at this moment that God speaks, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him." Matthew 17:1-5. In these last days, God has spoken through His Son. Hebrews 1:1-2. The voice of the prophets is now silent. Jesus, through His death, has ratified a new covenant. Hebrews 9:15-17. After the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all truth. John 16:13. The words of Christ have become the law by which we live. Jesus taught, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He declared, "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and in earth." Matthew 28:18. Our spiritual lives and our relationship with Christ depends upon our willingness to hear Him in all things.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
The New Testament book of Acts is a book of conversions. Conversion is what takes place when one makes a decision to leave the walks of sin and follow in the steps of Jesus Christ. Conversion means that all sin of the past is purged by the blood of Jesus Christ and new life in Jesus Christ begins. The book of Acts begins and ends with the preaching of the gospel. Acts 2:14-40 and Acts 28:17-28. The first sermon consists of three necessary points that are indeed the very heart of the gospel. These points are the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The audience was convicted of their sin of having crucified Jesus. Acts 2:37. Having been pricked in their heart, they asked for direction. Acts 2:37. The question was answered by Peter, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38. About 3,000 souls "gladly received his word and were baptized." Acts 2:41. Baptism washed away their sin and saved them. Acts 22:16 and I Peter 3:21. As the saved, they became known as the church. Acts 2:47.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
"Abstain from all appearance of evil." I Thessalonians 5:22. Evil wears a disguise. It raised its ugly head in the garden in the form of wisdom. Yet, it ruined humanity. Evil ensnares and destroys. Life will come to know regret. The burden of guilt will wear away the soul. So, we must abstain. Only the wise stay clear of evil. But, we are admonished not only to abstain from evil, but avoid the very appearance. Some roads do not appear to be the best in order to reach our destination. And, thus, some activities in which we might engage ourselves appear to be better left untouched. Sin is not a culprit with which we should play. Stains are always left. David, the king, cast his eye across the way and saw the beautiful, Bathsheba. Behold, the harm which was done. Solomon married many strange women, and the kingdom was torn asunder. Evil always has an appearance. There is a face that can be detected even in the smallest form. Some have walked just to the edge of the cliff to see what lay beyond, and suddenly slipped into oblivion. Stay clear if there is even a hint of darkness. Pass on by if you detect the slightest imperfection. Do so, not just sometimes, but every time.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." I Thessalonians 5:21. As we listen to preaching, we are to test that which is preached. We are to prove the prophet. The reason for testing is "many false prophets are gone out into the world." I John 4:1. Jesus, the teacher who was sent from God, warned that "many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." Matthew 24:5. The words which are heard must be tested according to the divine standard, which is the word of God. "To the law and to the testimony: for if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20. False teaching is presented for the purpose of deception. The Devil will use this means to ensnare us and remove us from God. All hearers have the responsibility of proving the doctrine which is taught. The hearers at Thessalonica "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11. We must secure what is true, lest it slip from our mind.
Monday, December 15, 2014
"Despise not prophesyings." I Thessalonians 5:20. To despise is to regard as nothing or to treat with contempt. The word of God which has been revealed and is taught unto wayward humanity should be honored and revered. The teaching of God is valuable to the spiritual well being of all. The church must give heed to the will of God so that we remain in fellowship with Him. God through teaching has imparted unto us knowledge that is needed for our salvation and our walk with Him. God by preaching has provided guidance for our spiritual life. When preaching is heard and obeyed, we receive pardon for our iniquity. Prophesying gives a light amidst the darkness of evil to prevent our stumbling. Prophesying is the manner that God has chosen to reveal Himself unto us. Prophesying offers unto the hearers hope, peace, and comfort. We are to give the "more earnest heed unto the things which we have heard". Hebrews 2:1. Instruction is not to be refused, nor should preaching be neglected. God's teaching keeps us from danger and guards us against the pitfalls that would destroy us. Our eternal future is dependent upon how we hear God's prophesying.
Paul continues his admonitions, "Quench not the Spirit." I Thessalonians 5:19. The saved of Jesus Christ having been united with Him in baptism are given "the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38. But, the saved if they so choose can drown the Spirit. The Spirit of God is as a sacred fire within. As one would drown a fire by throwing water upon it, so one can drown the influence of the Spirit within the soul of the saved. We can refuse the Spirit's urgings. We can refuse to follow the Spirit's call. Through the allure of the world, we can quench the Spirit. Living by our passions, we can quench the Spirit. The Spirit abides within and provides spiritual strength to defeat lust and the invitation of worldliness. Allowing passion to rule us causes us to quench the Spirit. God's Holy Spirit has been given as a gift to lead the saved in the way of salvation and to empower us to overcome every device of evil. If we surrender to Satan's devices, we have quenched the Spirit. The Spirit enables us to destroy the carnal and walk the holy path of righteousness. Allow that power to work within us to bring us into the purity of God's presence.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Somewhere in the world today a mother and father weep for the loss of a child. Somewhere in the world today a parent dies because of a terminal illness. Somewhere in the world today a senseless murder takes place. This physical world is sometimes seen as simply a land of sorrow. Loss touches all of us. Jesus reminded His disciples, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27. Jesus was going to die upon the cross so that redemption could be possible. He was going to arise from the dead so that victory over death would be possible. In the midst of sorrow, Jesus was giving hope. He wanted His followers to look not just to the present, but rather He wanted them to see the future. Amidst loss and death, there is a hope for a better life. There is a land where children will not die and parents will not suffer. There is a land where disease will not invade and tears will not be shed. There is a land where sin and evil will not be found. There is a land where hearts will not be troubled. Jesus has guaranteed that future.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
The last part of the passage in I Thessalonians 5:18 states, "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." God has a will for us. In Christ Jesus, this will is revealed. The Bible is the book that is God's will for man. Paul has made that will personal. Oftentimes, we choose to think that the will of God is for others. But, God's will concerns me. The passage tells me of God's concern for me. I am made aware of the personal relationship that God wants with me. God wants me to pray unto Him. God wants my heart to be filled with joy. God wants me to give thanks unto Him. God has chosen to make my life better and more fulfilled through His will for me. His will helps me to know direction and purpose. His will enables me to avoid the pitfalls and obstacles that lead me away from Him. His will for my life is not a burden, but a blessing. Regardless of what others might choose, I need to know that God has a will that concerns me.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
"In everything give thanks." I Thessalonians 5:18. Gratitude is a virtue that all should possess. We are to be grateful because of who we are. We are to give thanks because we are blessed. Some things we do not believe are worthy of thanksgiving. We have trials and difficulties. We experience sorrow and loss. But, adversity is essential for character. God provides for us in all ways. Blessings are poured out for us due to the benevolence of God. The Father gives strength in times of weakness and joy in times of discomfort. God gives help to the helpless and wisdom to the seeker. He offers redemption to the slave and hope to the wayward. From His bountiful goodness, we are ever blessed. Thanksgiving is the "sacrifice of our praise and the fruit of our lips." Hebrews 13:15. God is worthy of our gratitude because of the blessings given and the grace bestowed.
"Pray without ceasing." I Thessalonians 5:17. Prayer is a part of the Christian armour that enables us to overcome the wiles of Satan. Prayer is our access unto God through Jesus Christ. Prayer allows us the privilege of speaking to God. In prayer, we can ask and give thanks for what has already been received. In prayer, we should find strength and joy. The verse exhorts us to be a person of prayer. We are not simply to pray when we have need. We are to be always in prayer. When we find ourselves in turmoil, prayer should be a resource where we seek help. When we find ourselves in joy, prayer should be filled with thanksgiving. We should not abandon prayer when life is troublesome. Neither should we fail to pray when life is going well. Daniel, in captivity, prayed three times daily. The situation of his life did not make him lose sight of his opportunity to pray. The psalmist prayed at morning, noon, and at evening. Prayer is to be constant. Prayer are moments when we speak to the strongest of the Strong, the wisest of the Wise, the greatest of the Great. Prayer brings us into the presence of the Creator. Prayer brings us before the throne of the Almighty. Do not cease to pray.
Monday, December 1, 2014
"Rejoice evermore." I Thessalonians 5:16. This is a simple, and yet, profound admonition. The Christian is to be in a state of constant rejoicing. We have much for which to rejoice. God is our Father and Jesus is our Savior. Heaven is our hope. God is always available and Jesus is our constant companion. We have fellowship with those of "like precious faith." We can draw strength from the Word of God. Our faith can grow and be our guide. We have light for our path so that we do not stumble. Answers can be found to the perplexing questions of life. Solutions are given for the disturbances of life. Our journey has meaning and focus. Blessings abound and grace flows from the throne of heaven. Satan cannot defeat us and the grave has been robbed of its victory. Glory is our future. Indeed, rejoice always.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
"The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks." Proverbs 30:26. Are we not feeble? The issues of life cast us down. We become disquieted. Our strength fails. The Apostle Paul found himself to be "pressed out of measure, above strength." II Corinthians 1:8. The difficulties come that test our strength. Those who are feeble need a shelter. Our hearts long for comfort and quietness. The conies make their house where there is protection. Our rock is solid and firm. We, by building our house, upon the rock are secure. The rains, storms, and winds of life cannot move us. Feebleness is overcome when the house is on the rock.
"O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul: thou hast redeemed my life." Lamentations 3:58. Jeremiah weeps because of Jerusalem's sin. Her captivity has come. The prophet is in despair. Are we in tears because of society's waywardness? Has the sin of humanity become our grief? Jeremiah calls out to His redeemer. With confidence and assurance he pleads. There is no blame toward God for the present calamity. In God, there is hope in the face of despair. There is a refuge in the midst of loss. God's anger is about him. The emptiness of the city surrounds him. Where does the prophet cast his eye? Upon whom does he call? Jeremiah seeks the Lord. His cause is heard and his need answered. May we ever know that the Lord has pleaded our cause and redeemed our life.
Monday, November 17, 2014
"O Praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise him all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord." Psalm 117:1-2. Is it not right that the Lord would want all nations and all people to praise Him? All nations of men have been made of one blood and all people dwell on the face of the earth. Acts 17:26. God is worthy of our adoration because of His creation of all and His mercy that guards that creation. We could not endure without God's mercy. Sin is too widespread. Iniquity abounds. Life continues because of God's mercy. And His truth forever endures. His truth cannot be overthrown nor diminished. Truth has come from His righteous character. Truth and mercy flow from God. We could not know mercy and truth without God's imprint. His mercy stands upon His truth. Because God is truthful, He is merciful. How wonderful this world would be if all nations would abound in mercy and truth. May our hearts know His truth and our lives be tempered by His mercy. Praise Him.
Friday, November 14, 2014
"I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me." Job 10:2. Job was in "bitterness of soul." Why was God contending with him? Why does God contend with us? Patience and joy must be learned. These two vital ingredients of life are gained under fire. God teaches us those lessons that give us character. God contends with us so that we know that He is God. He deals with us so that we might grow into His image. We are being shaped for that which is better and more glorious. Passing through the fire purifies. The contentions of life are stepping stones to a transformation into godliness. Tests help us to stand. God wants us to endure. His perfection is to be our perfection. God places us in the midst of the battle. We face the enemy, and God contends with us so that we might know victory rather than defeat. God contends with us so that we might know that the end justifies the means. God contends with us so that we might move from the valley to the mountain top. God contends with us so that we might continue to be strong and fearless. God contends with us because we are being molded into heavenly dwellers.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
"I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12. The light given by Christ provides clarity. We walk with purpose and meaning. The light given by Christ provides surety. We walk knowing that our path is marked. It is a way that is certain, free of doubt. The light given by Christ provides purity. We walk free of stain and blot. The light of Christ gives knowledge. We walk in the understanding of God's holiness. The light of Christ provides responsibility. We walk knowing our duty. The light of Christ fills us with fear. We walk in the reverence of God ever mindful of His majesty. The light of Christ surrounds us with hope. We walk knowing that God sustains. To walk in the light of Christ is to live--truly live.
"There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches." Proverbs 13:7. Are we truly aware of the wealth that we have in Christ Jesus? We, through Christ, are the heirs of promise. We have God's amazing grace and abundant love bestowed upon us. We are known as the sons of God. And, yet, we who are truly blessed may not understand the wealth which we possess. We sometimes grumble. Remember the Israelites. We sometimes doubt. We sometimes fear. We who are to be separated from the world still cling to the world. We, who have died to the world, still hope to find happiness and satisfaction in the world. And, when we find ourselves lacking the earthly wealth, we mourn our poverty. We, the rich, may see ourselves as poor. Our wealth is in the unseen. "The riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18) is indeed the wealth of poverty.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Psalms 51:10. David is pleading for forgiveness. His heart had been corrupted. His spirit had been defiled. Sin does that. Only God can create a clean heart and renew a right spitit. We are to have hearts that are free from anger, malice, revenge, and hate. Our spirit is to be free from wrath, filth, falsehood, and covetousness. We are to have a heart that is pure, clean, and holy. We are to have a spirit that loves, forgives, and bestows mercy. From the fountain of our heart and spirit flow our deeds. A heart that is tainted will ere soon corrupt the soul. A spotted spirit will drive one into remorse and guilt. Hope and joy will be lost. Purpose will be gone. An unclean heart is an empty heart. A wrong spirit wanders aimlessly. God creates and renews all hearts that are open to Him. Let us seek His cleanliness and renewal. Indeed, it makes for a better life.
Monday, November 10, 2014
"Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?" Job 1:9. The devil questioned Job's sincerity in serving the Lord. Job had truly been blessed because of his faithfulness unto God. "Godliness with contentment is great gain." I Timothy 6:6. Godliness brings what evil cannot give. Through godliness, character remains intact. Why would God not bless faithfulness unto Him? God promised Israel that they would be blessed if they served Him and followed His commandments. Deuteronomy 6:18. So it was with Job. Job prospered because he served God, but material prosperity was not his reason for service. God knew why Job served Him. The God of the universe knows the hearts of men. God knows our motives. The rebellious often cite hypocrisy in the lives of God's servants. This was the reaction of Satan. But, Satan learned that the integrity of Job could not be shaken, even though the prosperity of Job was removed. Do we serve God for nought?
Saturday, November 8, 2014
"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." Psalms 66:16. Those who have no fear of God will not come and will not hear. The fearful have a desire to hear of God and be edified by all those of their company. God does for those who fear him. God blesses the soul of all who come unto Him in awe. What has God done for our soul? God has purged our soul from the horror of sin. Cleanliness floods our soul. God has delivered our soul from the valley of despair. Trust flows through our being. God has emancipated our soul from the hopelessness of death. Life captures the soul. God has made our soul clean. God has made our soul content. God has made our soul secure. This is the declaration of those who fear the God of their soul.
Friday, November 7, 2014
"Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved." Luke 8:12. Between my house and storage building, there is a well worn path. The falling leaves cover the path each season, but footsteps reaffirm the path. As I look upon that path, I am reminded of they who hear the word and never obey. The devil is able to remove the word from their heart. A multitude of hearts give heed to Satan. God can find no place in their heart. His word cannot find lodging. I have never seeded this path, but even if I did, grass would not grow. The continual walking on the path would beat down any sprouts of grass. The word of God will never find lodging in the heart that gives heed to Satan. Hence, that heart remains in unbelief and salvation remains unfound.
"Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6. God has declared Himself to man. We respond in faith. We accept His existence by faith. Each individual is to have a personal relationship with God. God speaks to me through His word. I speak to God through prayer. God is my constant companion. I walk with Him and He walks with me. My life is enriched because of my faith in Him. My destiny is secure because of my faith in Him. He rewards my life with peace and comfort. From His hand, I receive the bounty that He willingly bestows. His promises bless me and offer unto me the security that provides a harbor and a refuge. God lifts me up when I am weak. God calms my soul when the storm is raging. God is precious to my life because of faith. Help me, Lord, to always diligently seek thee.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Some days just do not go well. We have a problem that interferes with our schedule. We experience some difficulty in completing an assignment. We do not feel well. Perhaps, we have a problem at home, at work, or at school. Perhaps, we experience a spiritual problem. We know from our experience that life does not always go well. James told his readers, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." James 1:4. The word, "temptations", is a trial or a difficulty. James had in mind a spiritual difficulty. But, even we Christians, have physical difficulties. Even in those times, the wisdom of inspiration says that we are to be joyous. Joy will overcome whining; joy will conquer complaining; joy will defeat skepticism. Joy, even in trial, will turn a bad day into a good day.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
God asked, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" I Kings 19:9. Elijah was hidden in a cave because of fear. God did not need Elijah in a cave hidden away from the fight. The enemies of God must be met. What are we doing here? So many live all of their days and never understand what they are to be doing while they are here. Some desire only to have wealth. Some travel the road of pleasure. Still, others seek prominence. We, the church, are here to serve and do battle with the forces of evil. The scripture states, "Ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." I Corinthians 6:20. We are here to be enlisted in the Lord's army and with our words and deeds glorify Him. Our purpose is special. Our calling is grand. While we are here, let us with unfailing zeal and courage glorify Him knowing all the while that our place is so very important.
Friday, October 24, 2014
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." Psalm 103:2. There is benefit in blessing the Lord. We must remember what God does and has done for us. To remember is to praise. We understand the fountain from whom all blessings flow. God redeems, forgives, and satisfies. We are crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercies. The Lord executes righteousness and makes His ways known unto men. God pities and forgives. He knows the shortness of our life, and that we are but dust. In every place, God is be blessed because He is from everlasting unto everlasting and keeps His covenant with those who fear and trust Him. He is to be praised because His throne has been set and His dominion reaches into every place. God's pleasure is served as we remember His benefits and bless His name.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
"But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, took great indignation, and mocked the Jews." Nehemiah 4:1. Sanballat was grieved that one would seek the welfare of the children of Israel. Nehemiah 2:10. Some will not do good themselves, and yet, are disturbed that someone else will. Sanballat was furious over the work of Nehemiah. Anger that breeds indignation is harmful. The heart will be robbed of peace. Hate and malice will enter the void. Anger corrupts and destroys. It breeds contempt. Anger removes the alliance of help and unity. Character is tainted and reputation destroyed. Sanballat's anger led him not only to oppose Nehemiah and the good work of rebuilding the wall, but also, he opposed God. Anger leads one away from God. Anger will finally bring ruin.
Monday, October 20, 2014
"A time to be born, and a time to die..." Ecclesiastes 3:2. Life begins with birth and ends with death. All come forth from the womb and begin their journey toward death. The journey is brief. We behold the aging process each day. Time flees before we even realize that it is gone. We look back on all of our yesterdays and wonder where they went. They become memories in our mind. The inevitable is before us. The appointment has been made. We cannot change it or cancel it. We need to "put our house in order." Death will come many times without any warning. We need to be prepared to meet God in the judgment. If "all is well with our souls," indeed the "day of death will be better than the day of one's birth." Ecclesiastes 7:1.
Friday, October 17, 2014
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3. There is an emotional darkness that covers the landscape of human behavior. Many are disturbed and overcome. Unhappiness and insecurity are all about us. Wars and rumors of wars trouble the mind. We find anything and everything to disrupt us. God speaks of peace. God promises a calmness of soul and a tranquility of mind to those who will trust Him. Our mind must be set upon Him and His divine goodwill. Trouble comes when we place ourselves in the world. We omit God from the plan. The world only promises war and ruin while God promises to the trusting soul peace and hope. Trust Him and know peace, perfect peace.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
"In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears." Psalms 18:6. The sorrows of hell and death compassed the one in distress. The floods of ungodly men made him afraid. But, the Lord is a rock, a fortress, and a deliverer. Our trust in Him causes us to cry unto Him when we are threatened. We, because of our mortality, have no answer for our fears and our discomforts. We are unable to steady ourselves. We cannot see beyond the present moment. God, in His temple, hears the cries of those who trust and love Him. He leans His ear toward earth and listens for our cry. He provides help to the distressed and comfort to the weary. He is a stay in the darkness, and an anchor in the storm. In our moments of weakness and weariness, let us call upon the Lord and cry unto our God.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
"For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." Romans 8:24-25. Hope is the rose that grows in the garden of thorns. Hope is a light that shines in the darkness. Hope is the strength of the day and the endurance of the night. Hope lifts the burdens and carries the load. Hope is life in the midst of death. Hope lays the foundation that will not crumble. Hope looks forward, not backward. Hope does not ask, "What might have been?", but rather, "What is going to be?" Hope is a trust in a better tomorrow, a commitment to a brighter day. Hope delivers us to the promise of betterment. Hope takes us on a voyage of newness. Patience brings us to hope. The trials will pass; the pain will cease; the tears will be dry. If not here, then in the better land. Let hope be the transport which takes us there.
Monday, October 13, 2014
I believe in the one that they called Jesus. Jesus was the name chosen by God. Matthew 1:21. I believe that He was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus, as did Nathanael, to be the Son of God. John 1:49. I believe that Jesus left His heavenly Father and came to earth and that He willingly died on Calvary's cross. Philippians 2:5-8. I believe that He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, and forgave our sins. I believe that Jesus is the source of all life. I believe that through Him we come to the Father. I believe Him to be the mediator of a new covenant and that He is our High Priest. I believe that He established the church, which is the community of the saved. I believe that Jesus returned to the heavenly Father so that He might prepare for us an eternal mansion. I believe that He is coming again to receive the saved unto Himself. Yea, without hesitation, I confess that I believe in the one that they called Jesus.
Friday, October 10, 2014
The last five psalms begin with the admonition "Praise ye the Lord." We are to praise God while we have life. Psalms 145:2. God has created and He executes judgment. God provides for His people and is a constant source of blessing. God loves and restores. He raises the fallen and gives strength to the weak. The outcast are known of Him and strangers are blessed by Him. His word sounds forth through the whole of creation. Glorious and mighty is He. God is seen in the snow, wind, rain, sun, and moon. His glorious handiwork is revealed in the mountains and the sea. The heavens and the earth declare Him. Everywhere and in all things is God. His name is to be honored and glory given unto Him. Righteous, holy, and everlasting is His character. His pleasure is found in them that love Him and fear Him. "Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord." Psalms 150:6
Thursday, October 9, 2014
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2. Christ has a law by which we are to live. It is a law that considers others and serves others. In serving others, we serve Christ. Matthew 25:40. Christ was one who bore the burdens of others. He healed, delivered, and forgave. People around us have burdens. We help, strengthen, and encourage. We pray for and with the burdened. We give support. "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself." Romans 14:7. We must make ourselves a part of the community. Burdens carried by many are easier to carry. The road is easier to walk. The shoes are more comfortable to wear. When we bear the burdens of others, we help the burdened and we glorify the Christ.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
"Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:24. Jesus is Lord and Christ by means of His resurrection from the dead. Acts 2:36. Jesus reigns at the right hand of God. I Peter 3:22. What a privilege to serve Him. Jesus has called us to service. We serve by example and command. "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye ought also to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." John 13:13-15. Because Jesus served His Father, He was received up into glory. Through our service to Jesus as our Lord, we will receive the inheritance. As servants, we are heirs.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
"We love him, because he first loved us." I John 4:19. Love is the greatest of all virtues. The character of God is love. He reached down to man and expressed His love for us. We were enemies and alienated from Him, but still, He loved. We love Him because of His expression of love for us. The greatest of commandments is that we are to love God. Matthew 22:37. Love is the foundation upon which the relationship is built. Our love for Him is to be a sincere love. Ephesians 6:24. Thus, He will bestow His grace upon us. Even though our eyes have not looked upon Him, still we love Him. I Peter 1:8. His love is an overpowering love. The love we have for God causes us to love one another, and even, to love our enemies. God loved the unlovely, and thus, must we for without His love for us, we are unlovely. Our love for God removes the malice and envy from our hearts. His love for us purifies us. We can overcome the vices that can cast us down because we love Him. Because heaven reached down to us and touched our hearts, we can reach up to heaven. That love overpowers our hearts and brings us to love and appreciate the God who "first loved us."
Friday, September 26, 2014
"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." Isaiah 55:6. The heart of man must seek the Lord. The Lord has made Himself available unto all. We seek the Lord through His word. God has revealed Himself both through His word and His creation. These avenues are the proof of God and His desire to relate to His creation. The existence of the universe creates faith in Him and through His word we learn of Him and His will for our lives. We must call upon Him through faith and obedience to His will. As we seek Him, we draw near unto Him as He draws near unto us. Our seeking of the Lord makes us aware of the need that we have of Him in our life. We seek Him realizing that life has brevity and weakness. We seek the Lord with the assurance that He will keep us and guard us. Our daily search maintains our unity with Him. While we seek Him, we are free from the cares that will distract us. While we seek Him, we are endowed with the power to overcome the forces that will destroy us. God is the only sure search for a meaningful and rewarding life.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." Proverbs 1:10. Sin has always used enticement. Sin makes that which is bad appear good and that which is wrong appear to be right. Sin uses deceit. Sin will never improve our lives nor will sin be a benefit to our character. Sin causes harm. It brings regret and guilt. Sin has destroyed so many lives. It is that act which destroys homes. Sin leaves tragedy in its path. The wisdom of the proverb is that we are to leave sin alone and not listen to its word of enticement. A wonderful example of not being enticed by sinners is Joseph. The wife of Potiphar tried to lure him into sin, but Joseph fled the enticement. His character remained pure and his honor remained intact. Let us, like Joseph, refuse to be enticed by sinners.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Noah "walked with God." Genesis 6:9. Noah lived during a wicked time upon the earth. The evil was so great that God decided that He would destroy man from off the face of the earth. Genesis 6:6-7. And so He did. Noah and his family were saved by following God's instructions to build the ark. Eight souls were spared this world wide destruction. Noah "found grace in the eyes of the Lord" because Noah chose to walk with God. When everyone around Noah were traveling deeper into sin, Noah chose to stand upright and perfect in the sight of God. Society did not dictate how Noah would live, but rather, God dictated how Noah would live. The Christians at Philippi were instructed "that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." Philippians 2:15. Without the light of the righteous, the world is totally darkness. The majority chose not to walk with God, but rather, they chose to walk with the devil. Regardless of how dark the world becomes and how many souls travel the path of evil, we, like Noah of old, must walk with God. Those who walk with God will be saved while the unrighteous will be destroyed.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalms 27:13. This land of the living is a land of sadness and darkness. When we set our focus upon the physical about us, we can become overwhelmed and faint. Our hearts can fail when the storms of life come upon us. The knowledge of God's goodness will keep us from drowning in a sea of despair. God's goodness gives strength to the fainting heart. His goodness provides power and hope to deal and overcome. The goodness of God can make us "more than conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:37. Those living in this present land need to fix our hearts upon God and wait for His goodness to come to us. Let us not faint, but believe.
Monday, September 22, 2014
One of my favorite hymns is "Amazing Grace." The hymn speaks of once lost and now found; once blind and now seeing. Grace has delivered me and grace will see me home. Indeed, the grace of God is amazing. Grace was given and not deserved. Grace was bestowed and not earned. The Ephesian letter in chapter two speaks of "Amazing Grace." God's verdict of sin was that we were dead, but now we are quickened. Twas by grace that the transformation came. Verses five and eight declare, "by grace ye are saved." We were not saved by accident, but by grace. We were not saved by merit, but by grace. God is "the God of all grace." I Peter 5:10. Lives devastated by sin can be renewed by grace. Hearts blackened by sin can be restored by grace. Grace can take the broken life so marred by sin and return that life to a revived state. God through His grace removes the flaws and scars that come by the avenue of sin, and comes to dwell within that renewed heart. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound."
Sunday, September 21, 2014
"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18. God desires that we be thankful. Gratitude is to forever flow from our hearts due to the vastness of God's blessings. Even in trouble, we should feel God's benevolence. God has permitted us to be His child and, therefore, we should praise Him. Our requests of God should always be footnoted with thanksgiving. God has given and continues to give. We enjoy His grace through Jesus His Son. Our hope transcends all hopes. Our redemption has provided fellowship. We have been cleansed and restored. From heaven's throne, gifts continually flow. Our lips are to give thanks unto Him. Without Him, we are nothing. Without Him, we cannot stand. Physically and spiritually, God blesses. The "Father of mercies" pours out upon us all the fruits that we enjoy. In return, we are to have a heart of thankfulness. We, through our thanksgiving, understand the source of all blessings. That source is God. Give thanks.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
One of the most beloved psalms begins, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Psalms 23:1. What confidence has David in the Lord. Should not all of us have the same trust in the Shepherd? He had provided for David deliverance and protection. In the threat of death, the Shepherd had provided for David. In fleeing from enemies, the Shepherd had provided for David. The path in which the Shepherd leads is full and still. A calmness of soul is offered by the Shepherd. We are lead in the way of holiness and goodness. We are removed from the vileness and defilement if we follow the steps of the Shepherd. Even in the valley where death lurks, we know no fear. Our Shepherd has conquered the grave and withdrawn the dread of death. In the presence of our enemies, He anoints us with His oil of comfort and stability. All of our days of wandering in this strange land, our Shepherd bestows His goodness and mercy. Our Shepherd, the Lord, is with us and, yea, we shall be with Him forevermore.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Abraham is known by God as His friend. Three times in scripture this man of great faith is called "the friend of God." II Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23. Abraham was recognized as God's friend because in the words of God: "For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon him that which he hath spoken of him." Genesis 18:19. Abraham "went out and journeyed in a strange country" and "offered up Isaac." Hebrews 11:9,17. What God asked Abraham to perform, Abraham always complied. His faith in God was an obedient faith that prompted him to do as God asked. Jesus promised His followers, "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you." John 15:14. The commandments of God are not grievous commandments. I John 5:3. The burden which Jesus lays upon us is not a heavy burden. Matthew 11:30. The service to which we are called is reasonable service. Romans 12:1. Friendship with God is a friendship that remains throughout life if we so choose. God does not leave nor does He forget His friends. We, like Abraham, can be "thy friend forever."
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." The Bible, as God's revelation to man, indeed tells us that God loves us. The boldest demonstration of that love was the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8. Long before Christ came, God had told man of the coming Savior. God raised up the prophets to announce the arrival of Jesus. And those prophets told of His death upon the cross thus displaying God's love for us. Jesus left the glory of that eternal land and came to earth. He, the Son of God, told upon Himself human form. Jesus knew rejection, humiliation, and finally, death. Written upon the cross were the words of God, "I love you." That declaration of love was scrolled in the blood of God's only begotten Son. "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." I John 4:9.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
"Continue in prayer and watch in the same with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2. Prayer is our privilege of conversation with God. We call upon Him as Father. Matthew 6:9. God is a heavenly Father who seeks to "give good things to them that ask him." Matthew 7:11. He has the power to bestow upon His children the blessings which we seek. We must not cease to pray. The affairs of life can often get in the way of prayer. In prayer, we find strength and comfort. Because God cares for us, He allows us to call upon Him. Prayer is the means of overcoming weakness, fear, instability, and discouragement. Our prayers of request should also be filled with our thanksgiving. God is a giving God, but He desires our thankfulness. In all things, we should be thankful. "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18. "Pray without ceasing", but also, give thanks without ceasing. Prayer takes us into the very presence of the Holy God who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Ask, but be thankful.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Moses had led God's people from Egypt through the wilderness to the entrance into the promised land. His mission was at an end. The man whose "eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated" (Deuteronomy 34:7) was ready to be received into that eternal abode with God. The man who had constantly charged God's people now gave them a parting charge. "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee, and shall say, Destroy them." Deuteronomy 33:27. After crossing over the Jordan River into the land of promise, these people would continue to face adversity. God would provide for them a refuge. We live in difficult and trying times; we face adversity and confusion; we must battle against evil and temptation; we need a refuge. We need a place where the storm cannot harm us. We need a companion who will not leave us. We need a hope that will continue to burn brightly. God provides a refuge. The "everlasting arms" will not fail nor falter. The "everlasting arms" will not weaken. Throughout all of time, the refuge remains. Rejoice, ye people of God.
Monday, September 1, 2014
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1. Before the beginning was the eternal. God is everlasting. Isaiah 40:28. The heaven and the earth and all that is therein is the true testimony of God. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork." Psalm 19:1. The creation displays handiwork. Just as a house displays the handiwork of a carpenter; just as a watch displays the handiwork of a watchmaker; so the universe displays the handiwork of the eternal Maker. The majestic beauty of a blue sky or a starry night; the marvelous view of a mountain range; the flashing of lighting and the roll of thunder; sand and sea; hill and valley is the very marking of God. His footprint is seen everywhere and in all of creation. His existence is denied by the unbeliever. His universe is seen as a work of chance. But, in the heart of the believer is the reality of God. "For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen in the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..." Romans 1:20.