Where To Look

Ezekiel 2:6, “And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.”

When I was in high school speech was a required class.  I remember taking it and not liking it.  My teacher passed away a few years ago.  He tried to make the class as tolerable as possible for his students.   I remember standing before my peers and the looks on their faces.  I stand today in the pulpit different Churches around central Indiana and Illinois.  I understand somewhat this message to His man.

It can be very discouraging when you see people drawing, writing notes and even sleeping.  There have been times that I was so discouraged over this that I nearly just quit and joined them.  Yet, in God’s message to the prophet He tells him not to look at their faces.  Remember, people will smile at you and plunge the knife deeply into your back.  On the other hand, God will never do that to you.  He is our Faithful Friend.  I am thankful for that.

It is interesting to look at people’s faces and see from their expressions if they are lying or not and various other things.  Sometimes, like today, there is great pain in their eyes.  We need to focus on God and not the lying countenances of those around us.  Keep God as the center of your life.

So, how are you doing?

All Bound Up

Jeremiah 52:11, “Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.”

I remember one time my wife and I went to a couple’s retreat in Indianapolis.  We had breakfast together in the dining facilities of the hotel.  We filled our plates and sat down at our table.  Suddenly my wife bent down and said that a string had wrapped around her foot.  She freed her foot and began to pull on the string.  It was very long and she pulled and pulled.  Finally she was able to gather it all up.  Come to find out it was the hem of her skirt.  We had a deep, hardy laugh over it and still do to this day when we bring up the subject.

This story came to mind when I was reading this passage of Scripture.  I thought how that thread was wrapped around chairs in the dining room and other things.  You see, sin can be just like the tread from my wife’s skirt.  It can tie you up and keep you in bondage until you decide to deal with it.  When you deal with this sin it can only be done so in one way.  I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Confession is good for the soul.  So, get to it and get cleaned up.

So, how are you doing?

Prep Time

Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

Someone said, “God’s servants can do no more than pray; but, cannot do anything well without praying.”  I do not know who said this; but, I agree wholeheartedly.  Far too many of us will go to worship services today all over the world.  The sad reality is that far too few will actually take the time to prepare before they go.

If you were going to leave your home and go to Louisville, KY for vacation you would no doubt get maps and plot your course and stops along the way.  One of the most important things we will do apart from trusting Christ for salvation is to attend worship services at our local Church.  Unfortunately, we approach it like going to any other “event”.  We just jump in our vehicle and off we go with little to no thought about what we are about to engage in.

God deserves better than our flippant prayers, tipping in place of giving and donating of our time to grace Him with our presence at Church.  We need to change our attitude about Church.  It is not a social club for making contacts.  It is the place that God has chosen to meet with His people and we treat it like any other place.  God forgive us!  We need to spend time in earnest prayer begging for forgiveness for pathetic attitude.

So, how are you doing?

God Help!

Nehemiah 2:4, “Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.”

I remember going on family vacation on year to Wisconsin.  My mother, her husband and I were driving and we got separated from my grandparents in their car.  We got off the interstate for fuel I believe and as we were reentering the interstate our car lost traction and we began to slide sideways and then off the ramp and down into the grassy area in the middle.  My mother’s husband put the accelerator to the floor and straightened the car back up and out on to the interstate and down the road.  It was a ride of a lifetime I must say.  My grandparents never knew anything of our episode until we all stopped together again.

I remember my mother’s husband saying some things that cannot be repeated in this blog.  I have been in nearly the same situation myself and all I could say was, “God help!”  It was probably one of the most sincere prayers of my life, no doubt.

Here is a thought.  What if you get into one of these situations and you are not in fellowship with the Lord Jesus?  Now what?  You do not have time to confess and forsake all the known sin in our life.  If you are going to have your prayers answered, you better keep in close fellowship with Christ and keep all hindrances removed.  Remember, confession is good for the soul.

So, how are you doing?

The Rechabites

Jeremiah 35:5-6, “And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine.  But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever:”

It has been so hot here in Indiana lately.  I was trying to escape the heat by thinking about Christmas.  Why Christmas?  In our family and probably many others also there is a lot of traditions year after year.  I remember my Grandmother putting out special Christmas decorations that she had made over the years.  I always enjoyed the annual baking of Christmas cookies and candy (and it still shows all these years later).

I remember Grandpa sitting in his chair “whispering” to my mom or one of her sisters about what to get Grandma for Christmas.  She knew every year because he whispered so loud that people down the street possibly heard.  It was a real laugh around our family.  Oh how I miss those days!

As I thought about my family and how precious they to me.  My mind moved to the Rechabites.  They were told not to drink wine or strong drink and as far as I can find in God’s Word they did not let that commandment drop.  I wish I was so faithful.  I cannot say that I have been so faithful.  I am reminded of the words of James 4:17, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

So, how are you doing?

Speak The Truth

Jeremiah 43:1-2, “And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their God had sent him to them, even all these words, Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:”

In our passage of Scripture for today we find the prophet Jeremiah has just delivered God’s message to His people, Israel.  Their response is so sad.  It; unfortunately, seems to be much the same response of people in our world today.  Israel, like America have come face to face with the truth and rejected it.  This is heartbreaking to me and it should be to you.

If God does not miraculously intervene we are sunk.  The Bible tells us in II Timothy 3:1, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”  We should not be surprised by what is going happening.  The world now calls good evil and evil good.  We knew this was coming and we needed to prepare for it.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of us made no preparation at all.  Now we are going around trying to put out small fires all around us and they have become  large, roaring fires.

The Truth of God is no longer popular.  Christians are imprisoned for their faith and even killed on a daily basis.  The Church is loosing it’s power and Christians have become apathetic.  Wake up Christians!  It is so dark around us that even a nominal Christian’s light will shine like a lighthouse at midnight.  Get out there and take the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to the world.  They desperately need it!

So, how are you doing?

 

Small Strength

Proverbs 24:10, “f thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.”

The other day our hot water heater stopped working.  We found out the hard way and it was not pleasant for our son.  I still feel bad about it.  I called someone to come replace it or fix it.  When it was finished I was asked to pick up the wet/dry vac the plumber used.  When I picked it up I nearly hurt myself.  It had about twenty-five pounds of lime in it that used to be in the hot water heater.  There was so much lime that the plumber almost could not get the heating element out of the bottom.  I saw him pushing the wrench with a cheater bar on it until he was shaking as he pushed.  He is a big man too.

At one point he took a break to cool off and we discussed whether or not to go get a new hot water heater.  He said he would try one more time and then he would give up if there was no success.  This time there was victory.  I am thankful that he did not give up and quit.  It was much less expensive replacing the heating elements and not the whole hot water heater.

My point today is that you and I give up far too soon most times.  We try to do things in our own strength and not in the power of God.  When we do this we give up early or as the Word of God say, “faint”.  Jesus tells us in John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”  We need to do things in God’s power and not our own.

So, how are you doing?

Joy And Gladness

Psalm 51:8, “Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.”

In the day of the shepherd there were things that a shepherd would just do in order to protect the sheep.  If a sheep was prone to wander away whether by intent or unintentionally it would come to a point that the shepherd; out of love, would break the leg of the wandering sheep.  You say, “That is cruelty to animals!”  At first glance it appears this way.  However, it is a display of love.

The shepherd does this deed to prevent the sheep from wandering away.  While the sheep is recovering from his wound, he is carried on the shoulders of the shepherd and nursed back to health.  He will always have this reminder of the pain brought on by wandering; but, he will also have the reminder of the love and care of the shepherd.

It is much like Psalm 51:12, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”  When the healing comes and the realization of the love of the Shepherd for us our joy is restored.  Real joy and not just happiness.

So, how are you doing?

Pop The Top And Look In

I Corinthians 11:28, ‘But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

My dear friend Dr. Larry Lilly shared in his Larry Lilly Letter July 19, 2012 that he had gone to see a friend to help him evaluate where he is in life and where he needs to be going.  His friend shared (and he in his daily letter) some penetrating questions that I think we all need to consider.  Yes, I am fully aware that it is Monday.

Question #1 – “What is your intention?  To go?  To do?  To become?”

Question #2 – “Are you currently progressing in the direction of your intentions?”

Question #3 – “How much closer to your stated destination are you than you were at this time last year?”  “You do recall Twain’s statement on this, ‘You may be on the right track, but if you just sit there, you’ll get run over by a train.'”

Question #4 – “Do you fully understand that your destination is determined more by your direction than by your intention?”

Now the sites of truth have you in their cross-hairs.  You and I need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and see if we are on track or on the tracks waiting to be run over by a train.  Sadly, far too many of us are sitting there on the tracks lazily awaiting the next train to come along and splatter us to end our obligation.

If this is your attitude then I suggest you spend some serious time in God’s Word coupled with prayer and fasting.  The kind found in the Word of God.  This will clear you up to think clearly upon where you stand with God.  You are standing with God, right?

So, how are you doing?

II Corinthians 13:5, ‘Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Let Us Go

Jeremiah 31:6, “For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God.”

Today is Sunday.  To we who name the name of Christ, it is the first day of the week.  Today we should find ourselves assembling in our local Church.  Sadly, in our nation, we don’t put the important emphasis on Church.

I was reading an article the other day about churches that are moving to a Wednesday evening worship format.  This is wonderful in conjunction with the Sunday services.  The problem is that it is in lieu of Sunday worship.  Hello, have we not been reading the Word?  Where do you find the first day of the week on Wednesday?  You don’t.  That is my point.  I am grateful they are meeting again on Wednesday evening; but, they need to be meeting on Sunday too.  That is God’s format, the first day of the week.

The “watchmen” are crying to go to “Zion”.  Let’s go to where God is meeting with His people and spend some quality and quantity time with Him today and every day in private and personal devotions.  Don’t forsake the services of the God Church.

So, how are you doing?