February 28, 2010

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 19, 20, 21; Psalm 28, 58, 88, 118, 148; Proverbs 28

Deuteronomy 20:8, “And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.”

Some years ago I worked with someone that I became close to. It was so funny when people would call and talk to us; because, they could not tell which one of us was which. According to others we sounded just like one another on the phone. We all had a good laugh about it. On guy decided that when one of us would answer the phone he would say both of our first names as one name. This way he had a 50% chance of getting it correct.

I noticed also during this time that some things I would say were exactly the way he would have said them. I also noticed that occasionally he would say things that I would say. We shared some of the same likes and dislikes; but, not all. We both enjoyed spicy, hot food and many other things.

My point? You never know how you might influence someone when you are around them. Especially, if you are around them a lot. I have heard it said that “nearness is likeness”. I believe that because I have seen it. I have seen it in my wife and I. The longer we are married the more she and I pick up on the other person’s saying and mannerisms also. It is kind of funny.

If you allow someone to have influence over you then you are allowing that person to lead you. Leadership is influence. If I will not allow you to influence me then you will not lead me no matter how hard you try. It would be like trying to take a horse to the watering tank and then pull his head into the water to drink. The theme song to “Mission Impossible” is playing now. Yes, it would be impossible. I know this because I have tried it. Don’t attempt it.

So, who is influencing you today? What leader are you following? Have you tried following Jesus? If not start now!

February 27, 2010

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 16, 17, 18; Psalm 27, 57, 87, 117, 147; Proverbs 27

Deuteronomy 17:18-19, “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:”

You all know from reading this blog that I believe that daily reading the Bible is vitally important. It was so important to the LORD that He assigned the kings of Israel the task of writing a copy of it and to keep is before the priests the Levites. Why is it so important?

I believe that it is important because what you put into you will come out. You are like a funnel. If you pour water into a funnel and expect grape juice to come out the other end you will be sadly mistaken. This is a principle called “Garbage In/Garbage Out” (GIGO). We need to fill our minds and hearts with the Word of God. If we do we will be equipped to live a life that pleases God also. The Bible is good for us.

The Bible is good for others too. Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” If I am going to encourage my fellow Christians then I will use the Bible to do that. When you sharpen an axe you use a file or grinder of some sort. This causes friction, heat and sparks. This happens because of the contact of the axe head to whatever you choose to sharpen it with. It is the same in our lives as Christians. We need to be close enough to one another to cause sparks, heat and friction from time to time. This is exhortation. If we see someone doing something contrary to the Bible we should pray for them and us. Then we need to go to them in Christian love and share the Bible with them and try to lead them in the way God would be pleased with.

So friend, how are you doing?

February 26, 2010

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 13, 14, 15; Psalm 26, 56, 86, 116, 146; Proverbs 16

Deuteronomy 15:17-18, “Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise. It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou sendest him away free from thee; for he hath been worth a double hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest.”

I remember growing up on the farm there were several men who came through as hired farm hands. One man in particular we will call Bob. He worked for my uncle several times and was as hard working a man that you could want. The problem was the Bob loved alcohol. When he would get in trouble he would end up at my Aunt and Uncle’s house to sober up and get back on the wagon so to speak. Bob was a great guy when he was sober. I only remember seeing him under the influence one time in my life when my Uncle and I went to get him and bring him to the house for a time of drying out.

Bob could work from sun up to sun down as hard as any man. I remember when there was a lull in the conversation Bob would say, “How ‘boot that William?” Tragically, Bob’s life ended in a benge for alcohol. He got so desperate that he drank rubbing alcohol. He laid on the floor and literally bled to death because of it. How sad.

My point today? In our text we are reminded of how to treat servants. This could be compared to our modern day employee/employer relationship. I often wonder as a servant of God, would He drive an awl through my ear at the end of six years. The answer to that brings doubt to my heart. I want to think that He would; but, I know me too well.

How about you friend? If you were God’s servant would He drive an awl through your ear at the end of six years?

February 25, 2010

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 10, 11, 12; Psalm 25, 55, 85, 115, 145; Proverbs 25

Deuteronomy 10:6, And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest’s office in his stead.”

I am caught by the second half of this verse today, “… there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest’s office in his stead.” What an honor to follow in your father’s footsteps; especially, in the LORD’s ministry. I know so many men who are Pastors and one of their greatest desires is for their sons to follow them into the ministry. I know that it is my desire for our son to do that very thing. However, God has a different plan for him and this is obvious.

Have you ever taken some time to think about what will become of your children when you step into eternity. I know some of you, my readers, have done that. This is something that I do not like to think about because of our “situation”. It concerns me greatly what will happen to our son when we step out into eternity. If we have fulfilled the mandates of Scripture in teaching our children and loving them and winning them to Christ then we should have no worries in this area.

The problem is that most of us don’t teach or train our children in the manner that God would have us to train them. This is where the rub comes in. Now, when we depart this earth there is not as sure of a foundation as what we would like there to be and this causes us grief on this side of eternity. There will be no grief on the other side of eternity for those who have been born-again. For those who never trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour there will be nothing but pain, agony, suffering and grief. Imagine living in a place that is described as a fire that burns and is not quenched. I don’t want my children, you or anyone else to spend eternity in such an awful place. Yet people step out into eternity every day unprepared for heaven which reserves them a place in hell. God forbid! It is true.

So what of our children today? Have we prepared them for life without us? Most importantly; have we prepared them for eternity? Are you prepared for eternity?

February 24, 2010

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 7, 8, 9; Psalm 24, 54, 84, 114, 144; Proverbs 24

Deuteronomy 7:9, “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;”

How well do you know the LORD?

First of all you must know Him in salvation. Look at Deuteronomy 7:23, “But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.” Salvation is deliverance. I know He is talking of delivering the enemy into the hand of the Israelites to be destroyed; but, my thoughts went to the deliverance we can have through Christ and His shed blood. Sin is our enemy and we can be bound by it. When we come to faith in Jesus Christ we get a freedom that we have never known.

Secondly you must know Him in supplications. Look at Deuteronomy 7:17, “If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?” One thing is for sure when the children of Israel got into a tight spot they would call upon the LORD. I was reminded of prayer when I read the first part of this verse, “If thou shalt say in thine heart,”. I know that some of the most sincere prayers of my life have been uttered under my breath or in my heart to God and the great thing is that He hears them if I am in a right relationship with Him. If not, I can rest assured that He did not hear my prayers.

Thirdly you must know Him in sanctification. Look at Deuteronomy 7:25, “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.” To be sanctified is to be set apart from sin to God. When you or I do something we should consider if God would be pleased with what we are going to do. I have some clothes that I only wear to Church. They are sanctified so to speak. They are set aside only to be worn to Church or a like function. I don’t want to get them dirty or torn by wearing them to mow the yard or work on a vehicle.

Fourthly you must know Him in separation. Look at Deuteronomy 7:26, “Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.” So many people do not like the word separation. Just like in our last point, if we do not separate from some things we can become effected by them. I don’t partake in alcohol or drugs because I do not want to ruin my Christian testimony. You cannot glorify God while living in sin! It is impossible. The only way you can glorify God is to repent (turn from) your sin and go the direction God directs you to go.

Lastly you must know Him in the Scriptures. Look at Deuteronomy 8:3, “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” Jesus Himself quoted this in Matthew 4:4, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” You see Jesus knew that the Scritpures (Bible) were vital to our Christian walk so He gave us His own example of correctly using them. The Bible is God’s love letter to you and I. I hope you spend a lot of time reading it. I know I need to spend more time reading it.

So friend, how well do you know the LORD?

February 23, 2010

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 4, 5, 6; Psalm 23, 53, 83, 113, 143; Proverbs 23

Psalm 83:18, “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”

We live in a society that no longer believes that there is only one way to heaven. This is so sad. In John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” That is pretty well to the point. It is sad that people no longer believe the truth. The Bible tells us this will happen in the last days before the return of Christ. People are getting cold and indifferent to the truth. They no longer want to hear truth. They just want to be made to feel good. Church services are becoming nothing more than a pep rally for those who attend. This is sad.

The mission of the Church is found in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” This passage is known as “The Great Commission”. In most Churches today it is “The Great Omission”. I am afraid that it is left out.

We need to teach people, “…that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” You see worship is ascribing or assigning worth to someone or something. You see, we need to teach and tell the world that God is worthy of worship because He is the King of all kings and LORD of all lords. He is the only one worthy of our worship.

So, what are you telling the world? Really?

February 22, 2010

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 1, 2, 3; Psalm 22, 52, 82, 112, 142; Proverbs 22

Deuteronomy 1:30, “The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;”

Deuteronomy 2:36, “From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is by the river, even unto Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the LORD our God delivered all unto us:”

Deuteronomy 3:22, “Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.”

As I was sitting at the computer today I received a video from a friend. It was of a retired military man that was saying that a recent terrorist attack on a military base in Texas was executed by a man that was in leadership over our troops and his way of life was ignored by the government. I am not here to get into politics and all that; but, it did catch my attention.

Here in America we are in a battle. The conservatives are fighting the liberals. The muslims are fighting to take over America and make it a muslim nation. We who are Christians should be fighting to make America a Christian nation once again by winning one soul at a time to Jesus Christ.

The Church today is failing miserably. We have taken over control and legislated God out of our nation and our Churches. Yes, we have. I dare say that if Jesus Christ returned today and took His children home to heaven that far too many Churches would just continue to meet like nothing ever happened. Oh, a couple people might not be there anymore; but, they would just keep on keeping on. How sad.

If we are going to engage in this battle we must be prepared. One way to prepare is to know Christ as your Saviour. This is first and foremost the most important thing. Then you must prepare for the battle. A good soldier must know his/her equipment. You need to know who your source of strength is. That is God. You must know what your weapons are. That is the Word of God. You also must know where the battle is and you have to engage that battle.

I hope that you are engaged in the Holy Battle on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ. If not then you need to enlist today. Will you?

February 21, 2010

Today’s reading: Numbers 34, 35, 36; Psalm 21, 51, 81, 111, 141; Proverbs 21

Psalm 51:18, “Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.”

This morning’s message was a great message. It might become a series of messages too. God powerfully used the Pastor. I agree with him that it is a sad day when 84 Churches every week close their doors and cease to exist. This is a tragedy! The Church we are attending right now is running about 180 for the Sunday morning service. This is a good number I think; but, it is not a number to be happy about. What I mean is that we need to keep trying to win people to Christ and help them get added to the Church. The writer of Hebrews said it best in Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” We need to be faithful to Church so that we can get our spiritual gas tanks filled up for the week to come. It is vital to attend a Church that teaches and preaches the Bible and not worldly philosophy.

We need to have a good testimony before others also. Psalm 141:3, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” I know that I struggle with this sometimes. If you are in a group of people that are not believers then you need to watch what you say. There might be someone that will never trust Jesus Christ just because I said something that was not Christlike. That would be tragic! We must rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit to guide us in what to say to others. I know someone who at this very moment is meeting with someone they care very deeply for in order to win them to Christ. God help them! Your walk talks and your talk talks; but, your walk talks louder than your talk talks. I don’t know who said that originally but it is very true.

Friends, you and I need to do some building. We need to be actively seeking to win lost souls to Christ everywhere we go. Think about this one for a minute. Have you sought to win the very people in your own home? Do your children know Christ as their Saviour? How about your spouse? I was married to a lost Church member for a number of years and one day she dragged me to the altar in a Church service and told me that she was lost.

How about you? If you died today and you stood before God and He said, “Why should I let you into My heaven?” how would you answer Him?

February 20, 2010

Today’s reading: Numbers 31, 32, 33; Psalm 20, 50, 80, 110, 140; Proverbs 20

Numbers 32:12, “Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.”

I love this verse. What an epitaph to go on your tombstone (I don’t mean pizza either). I could only wish that someone would say of me that I “wholly followed the LORD”. I try so hard but I seem to just spin my wheels. Maybe you know what I am talking about.

So how can we “wholly follow the LORD”? I think we can find a good starting place in Numbers 32:17-18, “But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.” I think first of all if we are going to “wholly follow the LORD” we need to make a committment to follow Him. If you do not committ to something then you will not see it as important. There is no higher committment daily than to follow the Lord with all of your heart, mind and soul.

Something else that we need to do if we are going to “wholly follow the LORD” is to confess all known sin in our lives. Look at Numbers 32:23, “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” You cannot run from the consequences of sin. It will find you no matter. The worst part about it is that it not only effects you and I; but, it also effects those around us and our family. Our Church family even suffers when we are living with unconfessed sin in our lives.

Another thing that will help us “wholly follow the LORD” is to consult the Scriptures and follow His course. Numbers 33:11, “And they removed from the Red sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin.” If you think you are going to “wholly follow the LORD” and you go about life and you never take another thought as to what the Lord wants you to do or where He wants you to go then you can bet your bottom dollar you are not following Him as He wants you to follow.

Lastly if we are going to “wholly follow the LORD” we need to conquer the barriers in the way. Look at Numbers 33:55, “But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.” I am not talking about the dog eat dog garbage that the usaved world does on a dailly basis to get ahead in life. We need to look out for obstacles and either avoid them or plow through them in the power of God. Notice I did not say our own power. We must conquer in the power of God. I like the words of the song “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”. It says, “I am weak; but, thou art strong. Jesus, keep me from all wrong.” In and of ourselves we are not able to overcome. We can do this by the power of the Holy Spirit living in and through us. If we are truly born again we have Him living and dwelling in us and He will help us.

Are you willing to “wholly follow the LORD”? If you are then let’s both Commit to follow, Confess besetting sin, Consult the Scriptures for guidance and Conqure in the power of God. See you at the finish line!

See You at the House

Psalm 49:8-9, “(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.”

Psalm 49:15, “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.”

Yesterday evening was a sad day for many of us in this part of the country. One of God’s choice servants was called home yesterday evening. I could list his name here; but, most would not know him. Here was a humble man who loved God with all of his heart.

He suffered with congestive heart failure and had the gastric bypass surgery for weight loss to help lessen the stress on his heart. God saw differently. Yesterday evening God called our friend home to heaven.

Everything he has longed for is now a reality. He has a new body that is not hindered by anything and he can worship at the feet of Jesus whom he loved and served with all of his heart. We who knew and loved him will miss him greatly.

I was reminded of a phrase that song writer Bob Benson used to say. When leaving he would say, “See you at the house.” He was referring to that reunion on the shores of heaven. Praise God!

See you at the house my Brother!