Here is a verse that goes against contemporary thinking: "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" Job 2:10b As I read that this morning, I think often of how many times I rejoice in the blessings that God gives me yet wonder where He is when things go wrong. The biggest misconception we have in the church is that if you are a Christian everything will always go "your way" and you will not have trouble. The fact is, nothing could be farther from the truth. We have an enemy who wants to destroy us and times of testing our faith will come. Jesus said while He still walked the earth, "In this world, you will have trouble...but be of good cheer I have overcome the world." John 16:33 Today, believer, perhaps it seems like your world is falling apart and that God has deserted you...He has not. He will never leave you or forsake you. Our good blessings are not an indication of God's presence...His peace in the middle of trouble is. In all things give thanks and you will be surprised at the calm that will come over you.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Yesterday I redeemed a gift certificate for a deep tissue massage. Do not imagine the relaxing wonderful massage that you see on commercials. This was brutal. I had not had one in a couple of years and my muscles were like concrete. I am not a violent person, but if my face had not been secured in a tiny round hole on the massage table, I think I would have slapped the sweet girl doing what I asked her to do! At one point she asked me if it hurt too much and I said yes but keep it going because I know I will feel better later...so she did! You know it is the same way with God's Word...we tell Him we want to get better and that He can break us but then the pain comes and we want to slap somebody! We want to justify why we don't need that and often we just want the pain to stop. The result is: We don't get better! Our hearts are still like concrete! Today, I am deep in writing for a series I will be doing in October on "How to Prepare Ourselves for Prayer." These lessons are wrecking me in every conceivable place! When that happens, I know it is from God. I know when this is finished, I will be stronger, more passionate, more in tune with His will but boy it is painful right now. After my massage (first of two because I was so bad off!) the therapist told me to drink lots of water, which will help my muscles to relax. Jesus is our living water and drinking deeply from His well will help the lessons God is teaching, to sink in deeply so we can relax in His truth. Today consider when was the last time you were wrecked by God's Word? Don't wait too long.
Friday, September 9, 2016
In Nehemiah 8, the wall was built and all the people in Jerusalem came together to worship the Lord. The priest Ezra read from the Book of the Law of Moses. (The Torah) They stood from daybreak until noon as Ezra read and listened attentively. That in itself is amazing but what happens next is what is missing today. As the people heard the Word of God they began weeping over their sin... In our country there has been a controversy the past two weeks about using the Bible with unbelievers...some pastors are saying that it might turn the lost away from God and might not be understandable to them. I cannot say how very wrong this kind of thinking is. If we don't have the Word of God to guide us, then what we have is merely man's opinion of what is right. These people in Jerusalem merely heard God's word read and repented...then Nehemiah said, "Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 8:10 A verse later says, "Then all the people went to eat and drink...because they now understood the words that had been made known to them." 12 When we try to find a "better way" to reach the lost rather than what God has said, we are making disciples of ourselves not disciples of Jesus. Are there parts of the Bible that at first are hard to understand...yes! But when the Holy Spirit comes, He gives us understanding. Today, believer, don't fall for the pop culture that says the Bible is not necessary...the words within it have the only defensive weapon against the enemy we have. Jesus Himself used scripture to fight with satan in the desert. If we listen long enough, we will understand and have joy!
Monday, September 5, 2016
I find it cool that on Labor Day I would start the book of Nehemiah in my reading. There was a job that needed to be done and Nehemiah's heart was set on doing it but he couldn't do it alone. He asked God for direction and for God's favor first and foremost! After receiving God's wisdom, there were 8 questions in chapter 2 that Nehemiah needed to answer to get the task done. I believe these questions can help us accomplish our tasks, as well.
1. What is it that you want?
2. Why do you want it?
3. When? Set a time to get it done.
4. What will you need?
5. What needs to be done...survey the situation.
6. Who will help you?
7. Do you believe it can be done?
8. Will you give the glory to God?
Of course there are elaborations on these but if we apply these principles in whatever God has called us to do, we will find that the work will progress and be successful. Happy Labor Day, friends.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
There is one scripture that breaks my heart each time I read it. It is found in Ezra 3:11-13. The people of God were being released from Babylon to return to Jerusalem. There had been 70+/- years since there had been worship there so one of the first things they tried to do was rebuild the temple which had been destroyed. They started with the foundation. The younger ones shouted for joy as they looked upon the new foundation then we read, "But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid." (12) Solomon's great temple would never again be the same and it was sad to those who remembered. The rebellion that eventually caused the captivity had left it in shambles. This tenders my heart because those of us who have allowed the enemy to "destroy" our temple by sin can still remember what it was like "before." Yes, and hallelujah Christ comes and rebuilds us and makes us whole, but sometimes in our minds, we wonder what it would have been like had I just listened and obeyed. Our lives will never be the same either but God will take our shambles and our destruction to remind others that God does indeed have a plan for us...and if that plan gets side-tracked He is ready and willing to start again. Some of you need to build the foundation again but this time upon solid obedience and dependence upon Him.It is not too late...do it. Today, don't get bogged down by what might have been but trust God to use what you offer Him as a sweet fragrance of repentance and commitment.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
My reading today reminded me that God is loving and patient but there comes a time when He will no longer be patient and will bring judgement. He doesn't do this without first providing a way out and through young King Josiah there was an opportunity to return to God, find the Book of the Law and restore the Passover in Judah. However, in the middle of the good stuff going on we read from a prophetess that God was going to bring judgement upon this people who consistently rejected Him. Josiah died very young but had finished what God desired and that was establishing a remnant of believers. There were only three kings after Josiah's death and then Babylon took the people captive and burned the city including the Temple. Believer, God is patient but He is just. He will not always allow people to mock and reject Him. He again provided a way out of this judgement through Jesus and He gives every one time to follow but one day there will be no more time. Personally, I believe we are coming to a time of God's judgement on our country and like Judah God is establishing a remnant who will continue to follow. No "king" will be able to save us except the King of Kings! This is a heavy post today but necessary because it is time we as Believers need to become strong in our faith. He is giving us more time...will you take advantage of it?
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Each one of us has a very powerful tool at our disposal...a tool that can change a situation on a dime...words! Hezekiah knew how to use this weapon in the best way. We read in II Chron. 32:7-8 "He...encouraged them with these words: 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.' And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah, the king of Judah, said." There is no doubt that we live in uncertain times. Fear is running rampant. This was the situation in Judah for a strong enemy was bearing down upon them. What they didn't know was that their fear was the greatest enemy they had! However, their king, in just a couple of sentences, encouraged them to believe God. God was faithful. The enemy was defeated and left in shame! Today, what are your words? Are they gasoline being thrown upon the fire of fear, discontent, hatred, or anger? How does that encourage others? How does that encourage you? Change your words to water words...waters puts out the fires of fear and discontent and gives relief and refreshment to you and those around you. There is power in our words...let yours be encouraging!