May 31, 2010

Today’s reading: Psalm 119; Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31:10, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

Today is Memorial Day 2010. I wanted to talk about the tremendous sacrifice of soldiers of all branches of service who have given their lives in service to our country. However; I have seemed to have a change of plans. As I was reading this passage I thought of the huge sacrifice that mothers and wives make and I thought I would memorialize them today.

I know that in my life my mother, grandmother and two (2) aunts have been a tremendous Christian influence not only to me; but, to many others also. Grandma Ruth is in heaven along with Grandpa and we miss them so much. We would not wish them back here to this vale of tears for nothing. My grandparents were some of the most godly people that you would ever meet. You just knew that by meeting them. They did not have to tell you like some people of our day would. They just were fantastic Christian people as are my mother and my aunts.

I thank God for such a godly heritage. I feel like Timothy as Paul recounts his godly heritage in II Timothy 1:5, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” People who do not grow up in such an atmosphere really don’t know what they have missed. It really is sad.

Today I will keep it very short; but, let me ask you something. If you died today what kind of legacy would you leave? What kind of memorial would you leave behind?

May 30, 2010

Today’s reading: Job 6, 7, 8; Psalm 30, 60, 90, 120, 150; Proverbs 30

Job 7:1, “Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?”

I was caught by the question, “Is there not an appointed time to man upon the earth?” The answer to that question is yes. We all have a certain amount of time in life and that is all we have.

The writer of Hebrews said it this way in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Now, I could hound certain religious systems about their beliefs in purgatory and all; but, I am not here to do that. I am here to make each one of us think about our own appointment with death. This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. This should make us all realize as we honor those who gave their lives for us that we too have an appointment. This is one appointment for which you and I will not be late. We will not be early either.

When we are young we think we are bulletproof. Wrong! Far too many young people step out into eternity unprepared for what is next. May God help us to get the message of salvation out to the world no matter if they want to hear it or not. It is our job to get the message out. The listening part is between them and God. We will give account for what we did and that alone. We will not give account for someone else.

So, when is your next appointment? Sure about that?

May 29, 2010

Today’s reading: Job 3, 4, 5; Psalm 29, 59, 89, 149; Proverbs 29

Job 3:11, “Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?”

I sometimes shy away from the book of Job. Some people see it as confusing and the critics will tell you that there is error recorded in it. The Bible accurately records what each person said. It cannot help (so to speak) the flawed counsel of the one speaking. It is accurately the Word of God.

The older I get the more I seem to associate with Job. Believe you me, I do not in any way believe that I am as strong a believer nor have the faith that Job demonstrates. I can only wish that I were so strong. My problem is that I do not want to walk where Job has walked to bring him to the place of monumental faith.

There have been many emotional times in my life where I have sit with face implanted in my hands weeping and asking God, “Why did I have to live?” Why couldn’t I have died?” He has not yet answered me and I believe that is the heart of a loving Heavenly Father. Look at Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” You see my friend, God has an awesome plan for your life and mine. We just need to yield ourselves to His will.

The sad part is that we are all born sinners and without Jesus Christ we have no hope of eternal life. Look at Job 5:7-9, “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:” We are born sinners and so we sin and this separates us from God. Thankfully we can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ if we will accept Him as our Lord and Saviour.

Because of this we can say as Job in Job 5:16, “So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.” We have hope of eternal life if we trust Christ. It is my desire for you to do exactly that.

Will you?

May 28, 2010

Today’s reading: Esther 10; Job 1, 2; Psalm 28, 58, 88, 118, 148; Proverbs 28

Job 1:8, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (escheweth – to turn off)

I have been thinking about Memorial Day this week as I prepare to teach the teen Sunday School class again this week. I am very excited. It is not often that teens care about some old guy coming to teach their class. Last time the lesson I prepared was a dead as a door knob. I don’t know what happened. I hope this week will be the direct opposite. I hope and pray that God will meet with us and everyone will be challenged through His Word.

In our Scripture for today I was reminded of how Job’s life was a memorial to God. Notice the ownership God shows. He said, “Hast thou considered my servant Job”. He goes on to say, “there is none like him in the earth…”. What a testimony! When people look at my life do they see a memorial to God? I hope so.

Notice Job’s reaction to having just lost everything including his children. Job 1:20-21, “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (worshipped – to prostrate)

What a testimony of Job to God. I don’t know if I could say that or not. I hope I never find out. However; I fear differently. You never know what has been brought into your life so that others will see Christ in you and give them hope or even lead them to desire a personal relationship with Him.

Too many of us want to follow the instructions of Job’s wife in Job 2:9, “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.”

What is your memorial to?

May 27, 2010

Today’s reading: Esther 7, 8, 9; Psalm 27, 57, 87, 117, 147; Proverbs 27

Esther 7:8-9, “Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.”

I remember as a teenager going hunting with a friend from school. We went to the farm where my aunt and uncle lived. There was a small patch of woods there and plenty of things to shoot at. If I remember correctly it was November and very cold. I do remember there was some snow on the ground and things were pretty well frozen over. For some stupid reason We decided to empty his semi-automatic shotgun into a large tree to see what it would do. Did I mention this was a stupid idea? The tree was quite frozen and all the buckshot from three shells came back and hit us both. I had small BB holes in my vest as I remember and I don’t remember if my friend sustained any damage. By the grace of God neither one of us were injured.

I really don’t know why we did that. One thing I do know is that we did not count the cost. We did not think about what might really happen. After it was all over we wished that we had not done such a stupid thing. “Kids!” you might say. We knew better; but, we did it anyway. Then came the repercussions. Nobody wants to deal with them.

It is the same in our spiritual life. If we as God’s children sin there will be repercussions. Sin always brings with it a penalty. If we are not God’s child the repercussions are even greater. If you step out into eternity, friend, without trusting Jesus Christ as your Saviour you will go straight to a real place called hell. It is a place of torment that was prepared for the devil and his angels. God never intended for us to go there. It is our sin that sentences us to hell if we do not trust Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Will you trust Him today? I hope so.

May 26, 2010

Today’s reading: Ezra 4, 5, 6; Psalm 26, 56, 86, 116, 146; Proverbs 26

Esther 4:1, “When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;”

I wish I understood why people react the way that they do to certain situations. Young children often laugh uncontrollably when they should cry. Some people have no reaction at all to pain. I am reminded of a story of a doctor who dealt with patients who had the dreaded disease of leprosy. The account I heard was of his patients who did not know they were burning themselves on the stove so there was no reaction to the pain because they felt no pain.

Some people run around life acting like they feel no pain. I do not believe this is totally true. I think they suppress their reactions. We could respond with the fight or flight reaction. If the pain is caused by someone else then we could flee or run from it. We could ignore it and let it fester and get worse and worse. This is not a good reaction.

On the other hand we could fight. In that fight we could enlist others to help us. The best place to start is to pray and seek God’s will in your response. Notice the reaction of those who ministered to Esther in Esther 4:4, “So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.” Esther was trying to minister to the need of Mordecai; but, he would not allow it. Sometimes accepting help is the most difficult step.

Look at Esther 4:16-17, “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.” Now everyone is on board together fasting and praying and look at the result. Esther is willing to do what she needs to do. This is a proper reaction.

So, how are you doing?

May 25, 2010

Today’s reading: Esther 1, 2, 3; Psalm 25, 55, 85, 115, 145; Proverbs 25

Esther 1:19-20, “If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.”

Today as I was reading our Scripture for today I was caught by the phrase, “That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus;”. This account of the king and queen is familiar to most. The king is having a big party and calls for the queen and she refuses. This was her first mistake. Or was it? I often wonder if she refused because it was a drunken party. This could be. However; if she had not done this then God would have had different plans for the Jews concerning Haman trying to destroy them.

Sin separates. Did you know that? When we sin we become separated from God. This has to do with fellowship and does not deal with salvation. There is nothing that we can do to be “unsaved” if you will. We are eternally saved. The Scripture is very clear on that point and we do not have enough room in this electronic space to cover it all. It is our sin that separates us from God.

This is the picture that I saw as I was reading our Scripture for today. The queen rebelled against the commandment of the king and she paid a huge price for it. You and I can rest assured that if we sin against God that there is a huge price to pay. The good news? Jesus Christ paid the price on the cross. All you and I have to do is ask for forgiveness. In the Scripture for today the king made the declaration according to the law of the medes and persians. This meant that it could not be altered. The great thing is that if you and I sin against God all we have to do is ask for forgiveness and we are forgiven. Praise the Lord!

Have you been forgiven? I hope so.

May 24, 2010

Today’s reading: Nehemiah 11, 12, 13; Psalm 24, 54, 84, 114, 144; Proverbs 24

Nehemiah 13:1-3, “On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing. Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.”

The other day I was sitting and thinking about how much better I felt when I was walking on the treadmill everyday. I thought i might go outside and walk around the neighborhood. I thought well I could walk to the door between the garage and the laundry room and begin to stretch before taking my walk. I soon decided against it with so many excuses. Sound familiar?

You see it was not taking a walk that I was against, really. I just did not want to do what I needed to prepare to go walk. Actually I just wanted to walk out into the garage and magically the exercise would be done for me. Lazy, I know.

I did not want to take the time to prepare for the task ahead of me. This brings about so many problems. Someone once said, “Prior planning prevents potentially poor performance.” Say that three (3) times fast.

In our Scripture for today the people were listening to the Word of God being read. They were making preparation. That is always a good place to start. By reading God’s word you get your marching orders for the day.

What if you found yourself in Nehemiah’s place in Nehemiah 13:11, “Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.” If you did not prepare you would struggle with the battle at hand. Preparation is vitally important. Now, on the other hand we have to rely upon God to work through us; but, He wants us to prepare. This way the Holy Spirit has something to work with. There is ammunition in the bunker that He can bring to your memory as needed.

The wisest man said in Proverbs 24:27, “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.” Again, preparation is vital.

If we do not make preparation then we will find ourselves in a sorry state of being. Look at Proverbs 24:31-32, “And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.” Learn from the mistakes of others. We have to prepare for what is ahead to the best of our ability and then let God work through us as He wills.

Are you prepared? Sure about that?

May 23, 2010

Today’s reading: Nehemiah 8, 9, 10; Psalm 23, 53, 83, 113, 143; Proverbs 23

Nehemiah 9:20, “Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.”

To this day I am reminded of one of my least shining moments in life. I remember well how I was preaching at the Church we were attending at the time. I wanted to relate to the people how God had spoken to me and given me that message that I had prepared for that evening. I said, “Picture this. I was standing in the shower with shampoo running out of my hair.” All of a sudden the entire Church erupted into laughter. I had no idea what I had just said. I had just told the entire Church to picture me naked, in the shower with shampoo running out of my hair. Oops! My wife asked me at dinner after the service if I realized what I said. I had no idea.

Now, I know that was not from the Holy Spirit. I am thankful for the times that I have stood to preach or teach God’s word and He was manifested through it. It is such an awesome experience to be used by God and to know that He is in control. It is times like this that you see things happen that please God.

I remember one time early on in my ministry when someone trusted Christ as an indirect result of the message that God had given me. One of the teens from the Church was under conviction and another teenager talked with him after the service and he trust Christ as his Saviour. Praise God!

The Scripture today reminded me how that I do not do things on my own. I need to do them in the power of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts we are told that we will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes on us (Acts 1:8). The word power in that verse is the Greek word from which we get our English word dynamite. We can be empowered by someone that is all powerful.

If we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit we can live a life that God will bless. Look at Nehemiah 10:28-29, “And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding; They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;” God will work through us if we will yield ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Who is leading you?

May 22, 2010

Today’s reading: Nehemiah 5, 6, 7; Psalm 22, 52, 82, 112, 132; Proverbs 22

Nehemiah 6:2-3, “That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?”

I was thinking about some of the men who I have called my Pastor over the years. I have had the privilege of having some of the greatest men in the Christian realm as my Pastor over the years. I still to this day have great respect for these men. There are some men that I don’t not have any respect for at all. God knows. One thing I know is that all of these men have done their best to give me what they believed to be godly counsel from God’s word. For this I am truly grateful.

There have been those in my life who have done their best to stop me or even slow me down. Sometimes it has worked and sometimes it has not. God forgive me for not being fervent in my service to You!

I remember hearing a sermon several years back titled something like, “What Will it Take to Stop You?” I don’t want to think on this line. However; I need to build a defense against those things that the enemy of our soul throws out there to stop me and you.

Look at Nehemiah 6:10-12, “Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee. And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.” This is the second time recorded in chapter six (6) alone that someone has tried to get Nehemiah off track or to stop the work.

So, friend, what will it take to stop you? Are you sure about that?