March 31, 2010

Today’s reading: Psalm 119; Proverbs 31

Psalm 119:42, “So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.”

I will be teaching the teen Sunday School class in a week and a half. In order to better prepare for this I asked a teenager that is very close to us what would be some topics that I should address to help them in their walk with Christ. The answer came back as follows:
1.) Teenagers need to understand their need for God (they cannot do it on their own).
2.) Teenagers need to be reminded of the goodness of God (He does not always judge).

I was very grateful for these answers. I know that the teenager that I asked about this really thought about it and has given me a great answer. I was thrilled to receive it. Now comes that part that gets a little more difficult. Putting it all together could make or break our time together and my influence upon them. God knows.

Let’s take a look at these two things. First, teenagers need to understand their need for God (they cannot do it on their own). I know many times in my life I have found myself in this very place. I feel self sufficient and able to conquer whatever life throws at me. Yeah, right. Then I have found myself in a position where I could not do whatever it was on my own and then I learn that I cannot do it alone. Look at Psalm 119:71-72, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” These afflictions are to show us that we are not capable of dealing with it all on our own. In other words, we need God! See the words of 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.” That is pretty straight forward.

Secondly, teenagers need to know the goodness of God (He does not always judge us). The truth is that God is the Supreme Judge and you cannot avoid that. He knows our ins and outs. He knows when we sin and when we do right. He is not some super supreme ogre sitting in heaven waiting for us to sin so He can pound us into the ground with His fist. This is a grossly wrong view of God. He is love. We all know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” You cannot better prove God’s love and goodness than right here in this verse. He loved and He gave His life for us that we might live. Thank you Jesus!

If we know Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour then we too can say as the writer says in Psalm 119:98-100, “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.” God and His word will become very precious to us. Look at Psalm 119:114, “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” We also will have a deeper desire for God. Look at Psalm 119:131, “I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.”

What is your view of God? Are you seeking Him with your whole heart? Sure about that?

March 30, 2010

Today’s reading: I Samuel 26, 27, 28; Psalm 30, 60, 90, 120, 150; Proverbs 30

I Samuel 26:10, “David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.”

You have to admire David. He was given two different opportunities to kill king Saul and he did not. They were enemies; but, David refused to kill him. Saul was still the king and he would not dishonor the Lord by killing the king himself. He even rehearses that it will be the Lord that will take Saul out and not David. Notice David says, “…his day shall come to die…”.

We all have a date with death not matter what we want to think. We will either die here on earth or we will be taken in the rapture if we know Christ as our Saviour. The Bible reminds us that, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews 9:27. It is not like we have an expiration date stamped on us somewhere; but, we do have a date with eternity. We need to make preparation for that date also. If you have never placed your faith and trust in Christ you need to do that soon. Don’t put it off because your date could come up and you do not want to step out into eternity unprepared for it.

We all know too many people that it would seem to us that their lives were cut short and then they were gone. Just recently eleven (11) members of one family were tragically killed in a motor vehicle crash. Thankfully there were two young children that survived. What a tragedy! The worst part is that their system of beliefs dictates that they work their way to heaven. It is a sad reality that they might not be in heaven. God forbid! We have to do things God’s way or no way at all. He is not an ogre; but, His way is the best way.

I hope you are ready for eternity. Expiration date? Yes, we all have one.

March 29, 2010

Today’s reading: I Samuel 23, 24, 25; Psalm 29, 59, 89, 149; Proverbs 29

I Samuel 23:7, “And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.”

There are so many people today that are suffering. People suffer from all kinds of different ailments. Some of these are physical, some are mental and some are spiritual. So many suffer at their own hand because of bad decision making abilities or a total lack there of.

Being someone that likes to eat and enjoys food I somewhat understand. We are to eat to live and not live to eat. Sometimes the conversations in my life make me wonder which philosophy I hold. Many times I believe that I live to eat. I am guilty of driving several hours one way to go to a specific dining establishment. I admit it.

I was caught by the last phrase of our Scripture verse today, “for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.” We do not intend to be enslaved to whatever it is that we are enslaved to. I know many who smoke or have smoked and their original intent was never, “I am going to smoke these cigarettes and get hooked on them so I can die of cancer later in life.” This is not how it works.

We must be very careful the path we walk that we do not find ourselves caught in a snare of the devil. We could easily find ourselves “…shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.” I hope this does not describe your life.

I hope that you find yourself the bond slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. If not you need to run to Jesus because He can set you free from all bondage and then you can be His for all eternity.

So, what has you in bondage today?

March 28, 2010

Today’s reading: I Samuel 20, 21, 22; Psalm 28, 58, 88, 118, 148; Proverbs 28

I Samuel 20:11, “And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.”

As I sit and write today’s entry I am in a borrowed apartment. The Church we are attending is quite a distance from our home. The Pastor would like my wife to play the piano for the Sunday services. In order to enable us to be at Church on Sunday morning and evening someone provides a vacant apartment for us to spend Sunday afternoon in. This is such an amazing blessing. It is nice not to have to make the long trip home each week. Today as we ate lunch my wife commented that we would just about that time be getting home if we went all the way back home.

These people know that together we make a team and they are trying their best to help every member of the team. Sometimes I don’t know how to receive such unconditional love. We were willing to drive over each Sunday and out of love for us they have provided us a very nice place to stay. They understand that we need to work together and it makes it easier for us to be a part of the team if we do not have so far to drive. I feel bad for the one who owns the apartments that this unit is not rented. On the other hand if it were rented we would not have such a nice place to stay.

I like the idea about David and Jonathan both going out into the field. I know this is stretching the context a little bit; but, I thought of team work when I read this passage. We must work together to get things accomplished. Remember there is no “I” in teamwork. We have to work as a team if we are going to accomplish anything. We cannot do things on our own. We need to be teamed up with God and allow Him to work through us.

Hudson Taylor said, “Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.” We need to go, grow and glow for the glory of God.”

Who are you teamed up with or are you going it alone?

March 27, 2010

Today’s reading: I Samuel 17, 18, 19; Psalm 27, 57, 87, 117, 147; Proverbs 27

I Samuel 17:29, “And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?”

We all know the story of David and Goliath. You and I face situations everyday that seem “giant” to us. I know in our lives that we have faced many times that seemed that there was no way out. Even now we face such situations. The problem is that we focus on the “giant” if you will. I think this was the problem of the children of Israel. All they were looking at was this huge man that came out twice a day to taunt them and defy the Living God. We need to be careful that we do not fall into the same trap. If we focus on the “giant” we will loose focus on the one who can defeat the “giant”.

We must be careful how we approach these “giants” in our lives. If we are not careful we will try to go about defeating them by man’s ways. This will not work. Look at I Samuel 17:39, “And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.” In this verse Saul had given David his own armor. I think he did this for two reasons. One David did not have armor of his own so I think Saul was helping him out. Two I think Saul was trying to make David look like himself so that the people would think it was Saul who was fighting the “giant”. I could be wrong; but, I don’t think I am on this one. David would not use the king’s armor because he had not proved it. He had not used it before and he did not know what it was capable of protecting him from. This was smart on David’s part. If he had done this it would be like you and I using worldly means to solve spiritual problems and that will not work.

We should have one goal in slaying “giants”. Look at I Samuel 17:47, “And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.” Our goal should be that people know that God is our deliverer. People should be drawn to Him because of our lives. We need to face “giants” with faith in God and His delivering power.

How are you doing against the “giants”?

March 26, 2010

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

I Samuel 15:11, “It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.”

Over the past several months I have been taking some training classes each week. There is a young man that has been riding with me as he is also in the class. In talking with him I believe that he has never put his faith and trust in Christ for salvation. At night when I cannot sleep I often pray for people. This does two things. First it helps me to concentrate on something that is good and godly. Secondly I usually fall asleep. I can remember several times over the years not being able to sleep and as I lay there I pray for those I know and love. I know how Samuel felt as he prayed for Saul. I have been a part of some of this kind of all night prayer meeting if you will.

Saul had sinned against the Lord. God had given specific instructions about what to do in the battle; but, Saul did as he pleased and then even tried to blame shift and say that the people did some of it. This might be the truth; but, as their king and leader he was ultimately responsible. Look at I Samuel 15:22-23, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” All Saul had to do is repent and do as the Lord had commanded him and he could have had restoration. Sadly, he did not and God judged him and took the kingdom from him.

Obedience is a matter of the heart. If you know what you are supposed to do and you deliberately ignore that and do as you want to do it is sin. King Saul had a sin problem just like you and I. I like what God told Samuel when he was looking to anoint the next king. Look at I Samuel 16:7, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

So friend, how is your heart today?

March 25, 2010

Today’s reading: I Samuel 11, 12, 13; Psalm 25, 55, 85, 115, 145; Proverbs 25

I Samuel 13:8-9, “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.”

I cannot help but think that Saul has gone from hiding among the stuff to thinking he is the stuff. I think I might have said this the other day. I guess I repeat myself so that I might learn from the mistake of Saul. We need to remember that apart from God we are nothing. We are nothing but dust. It was God who breathed the breath of life into a bunch of dirt and a living soul came about. That is pretty humbling to think of yourself as dirt.

Pride is a terrible thing. It is like the young Preacher who preached his first sermon. As he ascended the platform and took his place behind the pulpit he began to speak as eloquently as he could. After the service he knew that his message had been horrible and that the people had given him little to no attention during it. He walked down from the pulpit with his head hung low. The older Pastor of the Church took him by the arm and led him to his office and began to help him. The older Pastor said, “Son, if you had gone up as you came down, you could have came down as you went up.”

I know in my own life when I thought that something could not happen to me it would soon happen to me. Pride is a horrible thing. If we spend time in prayer and study of the Scriptures, I think we will be less likely to have problem with pride. We need to pray for ourselves and others. Look at I Samuel 12:23, “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:”. Prayer is important and it is very important in battling with pride.

How is your pride? Sure about that?

March 24, 2010

Today’s reading: I Samuel 8, 9, 10; Psalm 24, 54, 84, 114, 144; Proverbs 24

I Samuel 8:5-7, “And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”

As I was reading today’s Scripture passage I was wondering what the children of Israel were thinking. They up to this point have been ruled by God Himself. You could not ask for a better ruler. I think they had been bitten by the same bug that we give in to in our day. We want to be like everyone else and so did they. Notice they said, “… like all the nations.” They wanted to be like all the other nations around them. This was a huge mistake. It was a far bigger mistake than they ever imagined.

People in our day will go so far as to have plastic surgery to look like someone else. That is sad. Why can we not be content with what we have or where we are, etc… The Apostle Paul tells us that he learned to be content no matter where he was or what state he was in (Philippians 4:11). We need to find ourselves in this same state.

No matter what Samuel told the people they would not listen to him. Notice I Samuel 8:19-20, “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” This is so sad that God’s own people had forsaken Him like this. But wait a minute. You and I are guilty of the very same thing too. Yes, we are. We make certain purchases because so and so has one just like it. This list of things could go on and on.

We should have the desire to be like Jesus and not so and so. If we are not careful we will find ourselves thinking that we deserve whatever it is that we want. This is not true. God provides all that we need. Look at I Samuel 10:22, “Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.” We need to be careful not to be come like Saul. Oh, he started out humble and hiding among the stuff. He ended just the opposite. He ended thinking he was “the stuff” if you will.

We need to learn to be content with God as our Father and Provider. That way we can say as the psalmist said in Psalm 144:15, “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.”

Are you happy and joyful?

March 23, 2010

Today’s reading: I Samuel 5, 6, 7; Psalm 23, 53, 83, 113, 143; Proverbs 23

I Samuel 5:3-4, “And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.” Jesus said in Luke 19:40, “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” One day we will all bow down and confess Christ is the LORD. It does not matter if we are born again or not. We will all acknowledge who He is.

So many people today have idols in their lives and they are not willing to give them up and trust Christ. In a day of such economic turmoil I would think that people would run to Jesus; but, just the opposite seems to have happened. Why put trust in something that is failing? I think we have been blinded by sin and Satan so badly that people just cannot see the truth. Nobody seems to know what truth is in our day and time. The truth is relative. This should not be. God help us!

People need to realize that God is trying to draw them unto Himself. He allows things into our lives to cause us to look to Him. Look at I Samuel 5:7, “And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.” Even though they acknowledged in this verse that God was more powerful than Dagon they continued to serve him. It is much the same way for you and I as we live in our sin and will not forsake it. God is not sitting in heaven waiting for us to make mistakes and then pound us for it. He is allowing things in our lives to cause us to look to Him. The problem is that we look anywhere else except Him.

We have gone so far in America to try to legislate God out of everything. One day we will regret that. We have done much like the men in I Samuel 5:11, “So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.” This sounds like the cry of people today. They want every bit of God out of their lives and their society. If God is God then they have a sin problem that they refuse to acknowledge and deal with. The Word of God is like a mirror which reveals every little or big flaw in our lives so people do not want to hear it. Christians who live their lives in line with the Scriptures are convicting also and people do not want that either. We are pushing God right out of our lives and this ought not to be!

One day we will look back and regret the fast track that we are on. It might not be until we end up like these men of Bethshemesh and we are judged for our sin. Look at I Samuel 6:19, “And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.” These men knew better than to touch the ark of the Lord and look inside. They paid severe consequences for their sin. Payday someday. It is coming. If you know Christ as your Saviour then you are paid up and do not have to worry about payday. If you have never put your trust in Christ then I would strongly suggest that you do that immediately.

Will you trust Him today?

March 22, 2010

Today’s reading: I Samuel 2, 3, 4; Psalm 22, 52, 82, 112, 142; Proverbs 22

I Samuel 4:3, “And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.” The ark of the covenant represents the presence of the Lord. You cannot just up and take the presence of the Lord with you wherever you go in the Old Testament economy. God would give the order to break camp and move and He had done no such thing. I Samuel 4:7, “And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.” Even the pagan people knew that this was not the “normal” practice of the Israelites.

It is my fear that today this is happening all the time. I think the reason we see the Church loosing influence and power is that Christians are doing things in the power of the flesh and not the power of the Spirit of God. In me is nothing worthy of being used of God. When I am filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit I can be mightily used. The children of Israel were doing things their own way by taking the ark without the leading of God to do so. They were doing what is called in the fire service as “freelancing”. This is a deadly practice. You cannot do things your own way and expect to get the results that God has intended. It will not work that way. We must do things God’s way, in God’s time, in God’s power with God’s presence. Otherwise, it will not work. Ask the Israelites. They got spanked to say the least in the battle and it will be the same for you and I. If we are God’s child and we disobey we can rest assured that we will be chastened.

Are you going with the presence of God?