Sunday, October 31, 2010
Psalms 29 KJV
(1) Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
(2) Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
(3) The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
(4) The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
(5) The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
(6) He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
(7) The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
(8) The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
(9) The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.
(10) The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.
(11) The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
Consider for a moment what we must give to the Lord when we understand what is due His name. What can we offer to He who spoke the universe into existence. Spoke!! No waving of wands, clapping of hands, simply, “And God said …”
What have you done with your voice recently? Have you spoke His name in prayer? Have you spoken His name in thanksgiving? Has His name even passed through your lips? Or, as so often, has His name been spoken in vain?
Oh, yes, The voice of the LORD is powerful. So, what do we give in return? Another Psalms tells gives a clue:
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4 KJV)
Wow – he promises to give us the desires of our hearts! Wait one moment. Go back to the verse just before that:
Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. (Psalms 37:3 KJV)
Now we have more of the puzzle – Trust in the Lord, do good (that’s all tied in with those Ten Commandments, remember?) and delight in Him. Is that so much to ask for the Lord who sitteth King for ever?
I think not. His word also provides the conclusion regarding the duty of His creation.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 KJV)
I am prepared to stand before in for judgment, knowing my shortcomings (to my shame) and His mercy (to His power and glory.)
Saturday, October 30, 2010
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:25-27 KJV)
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 KJV)
How can we feel this peace when we feel so guilty? We know our own wrongdoing, whether it’s breaking man’s societal laws or God’s holy commandments. We need to feel guilt for those until we’ve cleared them.
Stop breaking man’s laws, which were set to keep society safe and secure. That’s fairly simple – but we continue thinking of them as major and minor, continually breaking the minor ones. I heard someone describe a speeding ticket as the tax for driving fast instead of looking at it as a safety feature to protect drivers and those around them. We become hardened, inured, and we ignore those laws that tend to impact our daily lives.
We break God’s commandments just as easily. We ask His forgiveness and believe the Bible when we’re told that our transgressions are gone.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalms 103:12 KJV)
We may, however, think of some as minor and neglect to confess them. Guilt then is appropriate, and we may be disciplined. We also know that God’s discipline is applied in love and with mercy.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:9-11 KJV)
Though our goal is to emulate Christ’s perfection, we depend on Him for support in doing so. With His support, we can believe His promise:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 KJV)
When we have obeyed man’s laws, have confessed our sins against God’s law and repented, there is no more need for guilt. No need to feel as if we did something wrong. We are the children of God, accepting His discipline when required and His forgiveness as promised. False guilt can quench the Holy Spirit just as quickly as disobedience to God does. And, it can create a pattern if not cleared.
Should guilt remain though we have been obedient and/or confessed our failures, it most likely is false guilt. False guilt can erode our faith, removing that support available to us and removing our sense of peace. Give those feelings of guilt to God in prayer, too. Ask Him to cleanse, then accept the peace He has promised. It is freely available, and just as freely given.
Friday, October 29, 2010
The incident reminded me of Paul’s response to some questioning his own relationship to Christ, perhaps boasting that theirs was more correctly in line with His teachings.
Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's. (2 Corinthians 10:7 KJV)
Should we think it impossible that those who call upon Christ as their Lord and savior, though there be differences between us, are His?
Are there not differences within our own denomination? Within our own church?
Are there not instructions within His word as to how to handle differences between brothers in Christ? Might these be used on a larger scale?
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (Matthew 18:15 KJV)
If that doesn’t resolve differences, there is another step Christ gave us.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Matthew 18:16 KJV)
Still another step is available.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Matthew 18:17 KJV)
Then we can step back and see what Jesus did with heathen and publicans. How about the publican Matthew? Take a few moments to look up how Jesus spoke to him – and what he wrote about Christ afterward. Another example is found in Luke 18:9-14. Who went home justified? Do a Bible search on “publican” and “publicans.” Following one such verse is this:
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. (Luke 15:2 KJV)
Yes, I’ve presented more questions today than I have scriptures. I’ve had to answer these questions in my own mind, for I consider myself of Christ and I need exhortation, too.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (Hebrews 3:13-15 KJV)
As Matthew Henry wrote in his “Commentary on the Whole Bible” regarding 2 Corinthians 10:7-11: “This we may plead for ourselves, against those who judge us and despise us that, how weak soever we are, yet, as they are Christ's, so are we: we profess the same faith, we walk by the same rule, we build upon the same foundation, and hope for the same inheritance.”
Thursday, October 28, 2010
For many, the hardest part is walking down the aisle of that church to make that public profession of faith. For others there are repercussions throughout their families, adjustments that must be made. There are a lot of lessons to learn after following Christ. Some of them today aren’t really easy. That hasn’t changed.
Peter comes to mind first. Enthusiastic, over the top Peter. He is such an example of the highs and lows, yet the consistency of love that goes with being a Christian. He just couldn’t accept the idea that Christ must die. Then, as now, Jews were looking for an earthly Messiah, one who would come to free them from tyranny and set up a kingdom here on earth. Instead, Christ spoke of the heavenly Father, a kingdom in heaven and a sacrificial death ahead of him. Peter protested. His protests drew a response from Jesus.
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:23 KJV)
That had to hurt. Not as bad as the look he received just before the crucifixion, though.
Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:74-75 KJV)
He had not held to the faith that God was in control, that what happens is within His will. Even the tragic, unexplainable, life-costing events in life – even the works of the fallen who would have taken His place – our all-knowing, all-caring God is aware of what is coming. Even when it hurts, as Peter hurt, and wept bitterly.
Another example is Paul. Opposed to the doctrinal challenges Jesus posed, Paul sought with great fervor to eradicate the followers who claimed to have seen the risen Christ. To believe their stories would not change so much how he perceived God, but how he perceived those who taught of him. With the authority to destroy, he changed on the road to Damascus.
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (Acts 9:4-5 KJV)
It must have hurt when he stood up, sightless.
And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. (Acts 9:8 KJV)
Yet, neither man left Christ, instead they followed His commands and spread the word to the point their names are held in high esteem today as examples of men who served others all their lives, in the name of their Lord.
Paul beseeched others to do the same, seeing it as reasonable service.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1 KJV)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Strange to me that non-believers look upon Christians as being exclusive, keeping people out. Yet Christ holds open invitations to all, to whosoever will come to Him.
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32 KJV)
For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. (Mark 3:35 KJV)
Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: (Luke 12:8 KJV)
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. (John 3:16 KJV)
Heaven is the promise to those following God’s Messiah. We look forward to it and there is quite a bit of information regarding heaven in the Bible. Too much to look into within the limits of this short blog. Besides, why should I be concerned about heaven? I know I’m going to be there because Jesus, God’s Messiah, His son, is my savior who prepared a place for me. God knows how to give good gifts.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 KJV)
I firmly believe there are many things yet to be revealed. We know that both Daniel and John were requested to seal up and not reveal things they witnessed. We know that God’s thoughts are so far different from ours that we have yet to understand. We also have the faith that there is much more yet to come.
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11 KJV)
Still, Matthew’s words ring so very true today, as they did then.
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: (Matthew 7:28 KJV)
Why the others are not understanding is explained a few verses later.
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Matthew 13:13-15 KJV)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The Bible provides many instances of God displaying His will. For just a moment, think of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17.) Got ‘em? The first four deal with our relationship with God, the next six with our relationship with our fellow man. Are you sure you thought of them all?
Frankly, when I depend on my memory, I don’t get them in order and I do a lot better when I’m with another person remembering that list. These are simple rules, no reason to wonder what they mean. We know what they tell us to do to remain in His will.
We will have no other gods before the Lord our God.
We will not bow down to any graven images in place of Him.
We will not take His name in vain.
We will keep the Sabbath holy in remembrance of Him.
We will honor our parents.
We will not take the life of another.
We will not commit adultery.
We will not steal.
We will not lie.
We will not want what is not ours.
When questioned as to the order of their importance, Jesus boiled these down to two.
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)
Why is it important for us to live by these?
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:2-3 KJV)
Christ, in His example given for our lives, lived for His Father’s will. It is part of the example prayer.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 KJV)
Even if we don’t understand. Even when it hurts. Even when we think something better could be done, we are to follow His will.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. (Matthew 26:42 KJV)
Again, this is but a small portion of Mrs. Tina’s lesson. There are many more notes, many additional verses she gave as we searched through the Bible for what God told us about His will. We are to pray, we are to share, we are to teach, we are to exhort. We are to love one another, and here’s why:
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35 KJV)
Monday, October 25, 2010
Oh, would that the first three words held true today as they did when Paul was among the men who witnessed God manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit.
Today, there is controversy. Not among the believers – and there are billions of those – though they have not seen. Christ knew of them.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20:29 KJV)
Among those believers, some appear not to be working to attain godliness, though that was set out for us to do. And, we were to pray to achieve it with peace.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV)
We women can actually show the godliness we profess.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. (1 Timothy 2:9-10 KJV)
Our work in God’s service is better than eye catching apparel or the costliest jewelry. When we have those good works to be seen.
But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. (1 Timothy 4:7-9 KJV)
This is not to discount taking care of our bodies, for they are God’s temple.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV)
Of course, this isn’t Mrs. Tina’s lesson on the Mystery of Godliness – hers was much more in depth and had so very many applicable verses. It never was my intention to attempt to match hers, but to interest my readers – as she did her audience – to seek what God has given us about godliness in His word. Not only godliness, there are many other good things to seek!
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8 KJV)
Sunday, October 24, 2010
We went to The Heart of Texas campground ready to spend time with God’s word. Just as we believe He is interested in and directs our lives, we believe He provided this opportunity to learn more of Him through each other as well as His word.
This takes planning!! Our pastor’s wife does the greater portion of the retreat, the majority of the lessons. She has volunteers – were it not for privacy requests, I would be lifting their names in gratitude – ones who decorate, carry, write skits, act in them, plan games, direct those games. Every moment at the camp had someone caring about meeting the attendees’ needs, physical and spiritual.
And, we heard of mysteries. The Bible has many. Both Daniel and John were told to keep secrets.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Daniel 12:4 KJV)
And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. (Revelation 10:4 KJV)
Jesus spoke of mysteries.
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (Matthew 13:11 KJV)
He told the disciples why, too.
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 13:35 KJV)
I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. (Psalms 78:2-3 KJV)
We, too, have heard sayings of old. Most of us have known them from childhood, told by our parents. I like the way Luke put it as he wrote what was believed.
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, (Luke 1:1 KJV)
Yes, I took notes – lots of them. Yes, there were scriptures – I will be using them throughout the coming days. I pray they will bring you some of the joy the past few days provided. I just wish you could have lifted your voices in song the way we did Friday night. This year we had a keyboard and musician!! We took advantage and sang our favorites.
For our church members – mark your calendars for next October. For my other readers – make plans for your own spiritual growth. It is worth every moment spent.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
People who don't attend surely don't understand how much fun can be shared - for most of the night!
I have so many scriptures to tetras, so many notes - on lessons and on surrounding verses. I promise, when we come together in prayer and Bible reading, mysteries are revealed.
That was our theme this year - Mystery. Including the death of Mr. Bones. We did have clues, so that mystery was solved.
This coming week I'll share some of these verses and notes. May you be blessed by them as I have!
Sent from my iPhone
Friday, October 22, 2010
No e-Sword to copy/paste! I don't like to type in scriptures - too many chances for error on my part. So pick up a Bible and enjoy a time with our Lord's word.
While you do so, I'll continue fellowshipping with Christian ladies out here in the Heart of Texas campground on Brownwood Lake. Mrs. Tina received her special gift - we do love her!!
We know she loves us too, from the lessons she'd prepared for us. The programs are filled with God's love, too.
May you be filled with it, too.
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (Hebrews 10:22-23 KJV)
That “he” in the parenthetical is God, our Father. And, He truly is faithful. The book of Hebrews was written to a people who for generations proved that faithfulness. They had been given promises that had been fulfilled.
Yet we all know of people who have made petitions to God that have not – or at least not yet – been fulfilled. How does that fit into His faithfulness? The devotional provided three questions that may be useful in understanding. In each instance, context is very important.
First question: Is God’s promise limited to specific individuals or a specific set of circumstance, or does it apply to all believers? And “believers” is a key word. Most of God’s promises are for those who make that commitment. Non-believers have made a different choice. What He has promised for them is that when we are lost, He can be found.
But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29 KJV)
Here God is speaking to the Children of Israel. Christ spoke to all mankind, the same message.
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Luke 11:9 KJV)
The second question is: Are we asking to meet our needs or our desires. The needs should fit into a portion of the Lord’s example prayer:
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 KJV)
Wait!! Doesn’t the Bible say He will give us the desires of our hearts? Yes.
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4 KJV)
Then, we can have anything we want? We get our desires, things we don’t need but just want? Yes. When we have delighted ourselves in the Lord. Context must be considered, for there are verses before and after that one. Go ahead, take a moment and look them up. There are conditions.
Which brings us to the third question: Is something required of us? Does the Bible tell us something is required to receive His promise? Salvation is the biggest example I can think of.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9 KJV)
There is one great condition that must be fulfilled regarding prayer to God. The newly sighted blind man speaking to the Pharisees said it well:
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. (John 9:31 KJV)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
There were awards for safety performance. Which led to a very serious subject, the death of an employee the previous year in an accident. The administrative assistant – also the company owner’s wife -- made a comment during the presentation that it would be appreciated if in the future the men “would be married to the woman they were living with.”
In this particular instance, the employee’s death benefits were being processed for the woman the company had come to know as his wife. She used his name, lived in his house, attended company functions – in all, she was known as his wife. Except on a marriage certificate. That became evident when the un-divorced wife showed up to file for her husband’s death benefits. The result was not a comfortable situation in any courtroom.
Why is it we take commitments so lightly? That man stood before a legal authority and committed to remain a husband to his wife until death would part them. A good-sized percentage of such marriages fail.
Those decisions – to marry and to separate – have lasting consequences. Handled without legal considerations (much less emotional ties), the consequences can be costly and painful.
Even greater consideration should be given when professing a religious belief, making a lifetime commitment, later simply walking away. Specifically, on my mind are some who have walked away from their public commitment to follow a couple of commandments.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment (Mark 12:30 KJV)
Just using examples from my own experiences, one may leave for another church, but not to follow commandments. There are fewer rules. It’s more fun. More of the popular kids go there. There isn’t as much Bible reading. They talk more about every day things instead of long ago things and there are lots of games. Another is caught between two worlds. The family is fractured. Income is limited. Finances must stretch beyond belief. Clothing is hand-me-down. Getting to church is difficult, often asking for rides. Feeling bad about being so dependent on others. Besides, there’s this new, exciting person in mind. Still another dropped out of any church, ceased Bible reading. Going from a regular participate eager for answers to someone who says, “I don’t need that any more.”
Don’t jump to conclusions that a church has failed them. Staff, teachers, members, friends and extended family all encourage, exhort, pray and offer support, to no avail.
Give up? Not on your life. Actually, not on their life. They are important! They are special to God. We all pray for those who are walking away from God’s promises. Turning their back on His word and His work.
Should they return, they will be welcomed on earth with the same joy happening in heaven.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:7 KJV)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Daniel has complete faith when praying to his God. He makes his confession before praising God, acknowledging God’s power, promises and mercy. To those that love Him. Please, keep that in mind.
Following Daniel’s personal confession, he mentions the sins of his people. He doesn’t list them by name, date or by severity. He lists them by type – iniquity, wickedly, rebelled, departing from God’s precepts and His judgments.
Find yourself in there somewhere? I certainly found myself. Thanks be to God, not in all of them! Greater thanks to Him for His forgiveness. That’s the mercy that is available to those that love Him, and I do.
Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. (Daniel 9:6 KJV)
There are people sent by God to tell us about His precepts from His word. These preachers who are sent (Romans 10:15) speak to the country’s leaders, national and local. They speak to the heads of households, and to all the people of the land.
At this point in our history, there is no Christian preacher reaching across our land. In my lifetime I have heard such men. They have counseled presidents, they have opened sessions of congress. Those days are gone. Today, using the name of Jesus Christ in public prayer engenders in the least public dismay and at the most lawsuits.
Forget for a moment that the majority of the population of this nation still overwhelmingly label themselves Christian. Look instead at how they display that in worship. Where do these same citizens spend the Lord’s Day?
Some will look upon this as being judgmental. Take another look at the end of verse 5: thy judgments. Yep. There’s that word. Think about it for a moment – would you rather be reminded by me (and many others) that God has defined requirements, or stand before Him unprepared?
Thanks, but I do appreciate my Pastor’s exhortations and admonitions. They are very similar to the ones I give to the students in my Sunday School class. Quite similar to what I write here.
Some may, as Daniel did, have their prayers answered by God’s messenger. He had much to tell generations that followed him. We have those same words, those same admonitions, those same instructions to follow. They are very clear and everything else hinges on them:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)
Monday, October 18, 2010
I have a piece of cardboard cut to cover my desktop. It’s been here for several years, according to the notes on it. I’ve forgotten exactly when it went down, but there are notes written all over it.
“Kayla was here 1/21/06” and she’s in her third year away at college.
“Sam was here!” doesn’t have a date on it. She’s away, too. I don’t hear from her as often, but from Facebook I know that her young man has entered the service and she misses him.
“Stephenie wuz here!!” has an even stronger exclamation point and I must admit she’s had a great impact on my life.
There’s an unnamed “I wuz here 11/18/99” which could have been – it is possible this desk has been here since that date. And, that is a rather telling date – Second Daughter’s birthday is 11/18.
“Britney 6/23/99” attests to an even earlier date, and she left a drawing of a flower. I’m missing her. She has been in and out of our lives for a while.
Another left no name, just wrote “Rabbit Tracks” in an unmistakable handwriting. That would be Rae. She hasn’t been in my home often, but she has a full room set up in my heart.
The most prolific is “Amanda ….”, beginning with the times she wrote her name, no dates, through the time she wrote her married name. She’s the beautiful child that grew up and presented us our precious great-granddaughter.
The latest appears to be “Janice was here 4-3-10.” Not a young person this time, but my beloved sister-in-law, who sat here this last spring. While on their way to a new home in Ohio, her laptop died and she used this desktop.
There are some without names. “I love my Mommy (heart)” could have come from my First Daughter, or have been written by any of the above.
I am struck by the fact, too, that every one of the above have been in pews in our church. This is the extended family we’ve joined when we speak of the body of Christ.
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. [Romans 12:5 KJV]
There are so many more who have not made it up my stairs into the loft corner to sit at this PC. Some of them I read on this machine. There’s Lisa, for whom we pray daily; Tina, who has led us in prayer in Sunday School, Ladies Meetings, Vacation Bible School, AWANAs; Nancy, who has opened her heart and her home to the widowed – and to every lady at our Christmas parties. That list stretches from here to heaven, where Miss Patty stands to meet us when we arrive.
I don’t know what message our Lord has in store for you from this time of remembrance from me, but it is what it on my heart first thing this morning, and that’s the way this blog has always been written. The only other Bible verse that continues to roll through my mind really is appropriate:
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. [1 John 4:16 KJV]
Sunday, October 17, 2010
One of the best quotes of this year comes from the President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, regarding the rescue of those thirty-three trapped miners:
"When we Chileans set aside our legitimate differences and unify in a grand and noble cause, we are capable of great things."
It has a wider application. “When mankind sets aside our legitimate differences and unifies in a grand and noble cause, we are capable of great things.”
One of the first things we must realize is that among our friends, among our enemies, among even our family, there are legitimate differences. Some are simply differences of perspective. Others are centuries-old hurts inflicted by others – and they cannot be changed by anything we do now.
Too often we judge people today by events that took place not only a generation ago, but centuries ago by tribes or nations that no longer exist, nor do their ideals. Looking beyond them requires unification to a common purpose.
At present, there is no common purpose and unification for any reason is achieved only in a microcosm here or there.
Our church is within a forty-day period of fasting and prayer. Each one added to a list of specific prayers for participants and others to use, should they so desire. I have two items on the list for two ladies I hold very dear. I am very appreciative of those who are joining in this period of prayer, and I will hold their requests in my prayers, too.
Why? My usual answer – the Bible tells me to. Jesus’ disciples asked Him why they could not accomplish one healing that He was able to achieve.
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:20-21 KJV)
Thus, we unite in both prayer and fasting. Not nearly as many as those around the world who united in prayer for the miners.
Be aware of legitimate differences, but do not allow those differences (nor the people who cling to them) to separate mankind from achieving grand and noble achievements. Look, instead, for reasons to unite.
This, too, my Bible tells me to do.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11 KJV)
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Did you notice, though, that they did not require a promise of deliverance? They thought He might.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. [Daniel 3:17 KJV]
This is what we look for when we’re praying to be delivered. Our God is able to deliver us, whether it be the fiery furnace, a physical need, an emotional need or a spiritual need. We know that He is able. We also know we don’t think as God does. He told us so.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. [Isaiah 55:8 KJV]
Those three faithful men knew this, so they added some information for the king’s education.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. [Daniel 3:18 KJV]
If, for some reason known only to Him, God’s will did not include their deliverance from the king’s punishment, they would not worship any other. Is our faith in God strong enough to accept “No” for an answer? Or do we begin seeking a way around His will. For that matter, how do we know what God does have in mind? Do we speak with Him daily, as David did?
I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. [Psalms 57:2 KJV]
That’s the second verse, where David is giving God credit for all things. He acknowledges God’s hand in everything. Of course, that follows the first verse, crying out for help.
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. [Psalms 57:1 KJV]
David certainly had calamities in his life, didn’t he? Some were of his own making, others beset him through friends and family. None cost him his belief in a God capable of mercy. God who performed all things.
David acknowledged his needs.
Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. [Psalms 86:1 KJV]
In this same prayer, he acknowledged God’s abilities.
For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. [Psalms 86:10 KJV]
When we know this, when we believe this truly, we can also pray:
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. [Psalms 86:12 KJV]
Franz Joseph Hermann (1739-1806): "The Fiery Furnace; from the Book of Daniel, 3" (Wiki Commons)
Friday, October 15, 2010
This combination of fasting and prayer is seen throughout the Bible. Today I was reminded of Jehoshapat’s story in 2 Chronicles’ twentieth chapter. Jehoshaphat had multiple armies coming to battle. He was reminded of what could happen by others around him.
And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. (2 Chronicles 20:3 KJV)
This is much as we are – we seek the Lord when we are afraid. At that point we are most aware of His power and His abilities. Jehoshaphat’s people responded. His people knew they would bear the brunt of the war and needed the Lord’s help.
And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. (2 Chronicles 20:4 KJV)
Jehoshaphat’s prayer doesn’t sound fearful. Instead, he questions God – not God’s power, not ability, but as a list of what God has done and can do.
And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? (2 Chronicles 20:6-7 KJV)
He lists God’s promise to Israel and tells of the mighty armies arrayed against Israel. Then, he enters His plea.
O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. (2 Chronicles 20:12 KJV)
Our eyes are upon thee. That’s the focus of prayer and fasting, turning our eyes upon the Lord. We know what Jehoshaphat knew. God rules. We trust his judgment is true, fair and will be applied according to His will. Not everything we request will come to pass within our timeframe. We do believe our answer will be the same as God’s to Jehoshaphat – do not be afraid, the battle is God’s.
And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's. (2 Chronicles 20:15 KJV)
Once we turn our requests over to Him, they are no longer ours. Do not take them back. We may not find our answers in the wilderness of Jeruel, but God’s answer stands.
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. (2 Chronicles 20:17 KJV)
Bottom line? The LORD will be with you.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
There comes a time when our own bodies work against us. Beloved Husband has reached that point. His body is working so against him that it is cutting into a tendon, making a hole that must be surgically repaired.
His left shoulder bone (please, I don’t know the correct bone names – we’re not on speaking terms) has served him well for nigh on to seventy years. We don’t know how long ago it began to develop an arthritic bone spur, don’t know how long it took to reach the point where it reached down from the acromion and touched the tendon covering his shoulder joint. We do know from some very clear MRI graphics that it has been there long enough to actually create a hole by poking and rubbing. I wish I could show that graphic instead of the generic above.
The surgeon referred to it as a “talon” and it does appear to have a curved shape. Although not as sharp as a predator’s talon, it is sharp enough that movement causes it to press deeper and be more and more painful.
Thanks to the doctors who can, and will in a few short weeks, remove this pain. It does bring to my mind why Paul wrote of flesh and sin.
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (Romans 7:5 KJV)
Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. (Galatians 4:13 KJV)
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17 KJV)
Our spirit and our flesh truly are contrary one to another. To continue to sin after knowing God’s plan for our lives is similar to building a talon that tears at us spiritually. It causes pain. Actually, sin itself causes pain – often to our flesh, certainly to our hearts (and the hearts of those who love us), just as much as to our spirit.
Galatians 5:19-21 has a rather lengthy list of the works of the flesh. Each of them brings pain. The next two verses list the fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God that dwells with us as the Comforter promised by Christ:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26 KJV)
Check it out with scriptures and prayer to God to provide His truth. Is this of God, or not? He has promised to all men that those who seek Him will find Him.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)
Why? For me, it is to be able to say with King David:
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake. (Psalms 115:1 KJV)
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I have another question, though. What did Jesus do? Check out what God told the Israelites to look for in a prophet. How does Jesus stack up against God’s criteria?
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)
Did Jesus give signs, do wonders? Did His prophecies come to pass? Most certainly, yes.
Did Jesus tell us to go after other gods? Just as most certainly, no.
Jesus spoke before all men the first, and greatest, commandment, confirmed by He who said I am the LORD thy God (Exodus 20:2a):
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:36-38)
To accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, our Lord and Savior, we must accept the God of Abraham, father of all mankind, creator of all. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
God, who speaks things into existence. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
The same God who was well pleased. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (Matthew 17:5)
Jesus consistently gave God the glory for His actions and His words. His model prayer closes with a request for our lives and the source of the answer: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13)
Only after checking out what Jesus did do can we ask ourselves the question, “What would Jesus do?” and come close to the answer for our own actions.
By the way, following in His steps as our example is scripturally correct.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (1 Peter 2:21)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
My usual seat is on the south side, end of the third row. We didn’t start there, but we’ve been there for several years now. We’re seated at the beginning of the service, usually stand for the first hymn, seated for the choir’s singing, then standing again for later hymns. At times, we stand for the reading of God’s word. Not for every verse in Pastor’s sermon, but for the reading of full passages at the start of a sermon.
I do hope that you have been in a church where you’ve been asked to stand upon the reading of God’s word. There is a Biblical precedent.
And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: (Nehemiah 8:4-5 KJV)
Doesn’t that sound much as our services? Can you visualize your preacher, standing behind a wooden pulpit, opening the word of God? The congregation standing at attention in respect? Not as long as these people stood, though. Think of a service with multiple speakers and see if you can come up with as many names as spoke during this one:
Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. (Nehemiah 8:7 KJV)
They did what we need to hear today.
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. (Nehemiah 8:8 KJV)
I feel blessed to attend a church whose pastor does speak distinctly from the pulpit, gives the message sensibly and opens our understanding to the reading of God’s word. That’s the purpose of a preacher. Praise for those who do so, for their people shall rejoice, then return to their homes for what could be describing today’s Sunday dinner.
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10 KJV)
Take time to plan for the next Lord’s day. Look forward to singing songs of praise, hearing the reading of His word, listening for the understanding and standing in respect, praise and awe of the One who created us all. It would be a good habit to make, since we’ll all be doing it one day.
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Revelation 14:7 KJV)
Monday, October 11, 2010
A question arose as to the source of verses I post. Not that they don’t come from the Bible, that’s obvious. I give chapter, verse and version of the Bible I read. The best answer is that they come from experiences.
I do not have a daily devotional reading plan, there’s not a book or pamphlet I’m reading through. There aren’t specific books or chapters I follow. Often I look for a Biblical application to a personal situation, or one that applies for a good friend of mine. Reading the Bible and prayer with our Lord is the best source of answers to life’s problems, whether they are mine or someone I love. In those instances, a good concordance – or e-Sword with its marvelous search options – will take me to verse with words that tie into the train of thought.
Another excellent source are verses given during services. Sometimes they are the verses the preacher uses in his sermon. Such are verses I’m re-reading this morning.
They were used by a missionary couple leaving this weekend for England. Missionaries to England. That thought seems strange to me. During the 19th century there were so many strong preachers in England – Charles Haddon Spurgeon comes to mind first. The preceding century brought John Wesley. Before that, the drive for religious freedoms sent ships to establish colonies in the Americas. It appears that drive to worship has been lost.
These missionaries are going not to build new churches in a country that does not have them, but have been called to assist churches that are dying. From a 2007 Sunday Times article about English churches: "Thousands of churches face closure, demolition or conversion in the next decade, leading to the demise of some branches of Christianity in Europe, according to experts. In some parts of the country, former churches are being turned into centres of worship for other faiths. A disused Methodist chapel in Clitheroe on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales is the latest, destined to become a mosque for the town’s 300 Muslims."
The article continues, stating that more than 70 per cent of the population consider themselves to be Christian, many holding membership in the Church of England. However, one tenth of them attend church.
The text the missionary used was from Deuteronomy’s sixth chapter, verses 1 through 25. What caught my eye most is:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. [Deuteronomy 6:4-7 KJV]
What failures we parents are when they do not teach this diligently to our children in our own homes. We should be doing so when we sit with them, when we walk with them, when we talk with them. We should be praying when we close the day and when we open it, and share that with our children.
Mine are gone from home. That does not mean I cannot teach them, though. I am so blessed to be with two of my children in church services where the word of God is taught. God forbid that I should ever forget to teach of Him.
Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, [Deuteronomy 6:12a KJV]
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. (Proverbs 14:1 KJV)
We need to understand what constitutes wisdom. Solomon knew it would provide much for him and his people, so he sought it, asked for it.
Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like. (2 Chronicles 1:10-12 KJV)
Perhaps he learned from his father, who wrote:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Psalms 111:10 KJV)
He described it often in Proverbs, even repeating part of his father’s words:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 KJV)
Women begin work on their houses when they are too young to consider what it takes. That’s when they need the aged women – and men. They should be learning from their parents and their teachers the qualities they want ten years later in their lives. Do they want their husband to have a college degree? They need to consider he might want the same in his wife. Do they want to live in a home they own? The need to learn how to be frugal and manage their own finances – then look for that quality in the men they meet.
I had a cousin who said he wanted to marry a woman just like his mother, one who cooked, cleaned, sewed and saw to it her children went to church every Sunday. Unfortunately, he met his future wife in a bar – a place his mother would never go.
When I watch our Junior and High School girls spend thoughts, time and energy on boys their own age I am struck by the waste. A few understand that life is much more than focusing on one at this age. Those girls – and boys – are quite content to enjoy activities in groups. Sure, there may be one that stands out as special for them, but it’s not time yet to be selecting one for a lifetime.
To do that selecting too young and outside God’s will, the plucking at the house begins and that can bring it down. Instant gratification does bring lifetime consequences. There are some things that should be done first.
… for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:3b2-33 KJV)
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Since I am now grayheaded, this prayer is ever so appropriate! I’ve grown old and gray, grown past:
Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children's children will I plead. [Jeremiah 2:9 KJV]
I am now in the stage of pleading with the Lord for my children’s children’s children. The older ones are reaching the age where they understand that they must be accountable for their actions and that they are responsible for the consequences. That brings them to a non-Bible term, the age of accountability.
One of David’s children died before that age.
Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. [2 Samuel 12:21-23 KJV]
And a grown child, quite accountable for his actions, who died in rebellion with his father.
And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the LORD hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee. And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is. And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! [2 Samuel 18:31-33 KJV]
This was not a short mourning, either.
And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom. And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son. And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son! [2 Samuel 19:1-4 KJV]
My son did not come to know the Messiah as his savior until twenty years after he was baptized. His going forward then was a desire to do as others rather than the conviction of his need and the understanding of his actions. His adulthood remained troubled and unstable. After twenty-some years of praying specifically for his salvation, he told me that he knew how important religion was to me, it just wasn’t to him.
Religion? That’s not important at all. Why do people think it’s “religion”? Because they haven’t come to the convicting realization that it is a personal relationship with the God who created and loves us.
When my son did, he called and said, “I understand.”
So, “this generation” now pleads with the Lord for “every one that is to come”, knowing that their decisions will be just as personal.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. (Psalms 86:1-2 KJV)
Still the prayer of so many of us today who realize how greatly God has affected our lives.
Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. (Psalms 86:3 KJV)
Do we cry for His mercy, or do we present a list of demands to meet our own goals and desires?
The center of this Psalm rings with beauty for all.
All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. (Psalms 86:9-13 KJV)
Several times David asks to God to teach him, these and more:
Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. (Psalms 25:4 KJV)
Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. (Psalms 119:12 KJV)
The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes. (Psalms 119:64 KJV)
David, as we do now, was aware he had much to learn. Beset by enemies, he turned to God for help. Aware of his shortcomings, he turned to God for mercy.
O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid (Psalms 86:14-16 KJV)
David closes with a request I do appreciate. One I would pray for.
Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me. (Psalms 86:17 KJV)
Not that I think there are those who hate me, but there are so many who despise Him and heed not His word. Yet, I understand that there are those, as Christ’s disciples, who do not understand.
Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? (Mark 8:18 KJV)
Remember – He promised those who seek Him will find Him.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
|From advertisement of Tosca Lee's book on LifeWayStores.com, a retail outlet|
I’ve completed reading Tosca Lee’s “Demon: A Memoir.” I wrote of it in an earlier blog. I do recommend it. Once again I found it offered free for the downloading. There’s a link on her website, under the “Acquire” tab.
Lee’s presentation of creation, disobedience and subsequent activities of a fallen angel compels us to read. Fortunately, that compulsion is broken into digestible portions by a current story line that also retains our interest. Otherwise, I would have been overwhelmed by the lack of hope the demon exhibits.
In all honesty, it would be a better read by those who do believe what the Bible tells us about God, creation and mankind. It helps to have some background, though this story does stand on its own. Tosca wrote:
"I have based Lucian's account of pre-fall bliss on a widely but by no means universally held understanding of Ezekiel 28:11-19. Some commentators view this passage as a literal lament or prophecy against the ruler of Tyre, a wealthy Phoenician city in what is now Lebanon. Others believe the prophet addresses the power energizing the throne of Tyre--Lucifer himself. Advocates of this second interpretation cite the fact that the king is referred to as having dwelt in Eden, been an anointed Cherub, been created (rather than propagated) and as having been blameless since his creation. This is the interpretation I chose to underpin my fictional imagining of Lucifer's pre-fall existence.
"I have supplemented my imagining of Lucifer's fall with a similar interpretation of Isaiah 14:12-14, wherein the 'son of the morning' states his intention to ascend to heaven with five famous 'I wills.' Again, this is a widely but not universally-held understanding of this passage, which on the surface laments the prophetic fall of the pagan king of Babylon, a contemporary of the prophet."
Here Lee touches on something non-Christians point to and say that we must be wrong. There are many instances in the Bible where there are not “universally held understandings.”
There are some universally held understandings within believers. First and foremost is that God created the heavens and the earth. The creation of mankind, his fall and provision of a savior are true. These are described in the book. And the demon really doesn’t like the idea of these lesser beings holding God’s attention.
The demon’s story is well told. I must admit some pity, for a time, for this creature that had so much and now was confined to remembering its past, sharing that remembrance with a being made from dirt. The demon views these creatures with great disdain, which makes us wonder why it is so intent on having its story told. What purpose can be achieved?
The answer should raise questions for each reader.
For those who do not believe in angels, heavenly or fallen, or for those who believe neither in heaven nor hell, perhaps the questions are easily ignored.
Yet, in this demon’s tale is seen the beauty of creation, the hope of eternity and the emptiness of its loss.
A thought-provoking book. Are you ready to think?
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
On the surface, this reads as though Balaam followed God’s directions. However, Peter didn’t think much of Balaam.
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; (2 Peter 2:15 KJV)
Neither did Jude.
Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. (Jude 1:11 KJV)
John didn’t hold back, either.
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (Revelation 2:14 KJV)
So what was so bad about this man that from Moses to Jesus, Jews remembered and wrote about him? He was a prophet – but most likely not an Israeli prophet, from Numbers 22:5, since Balak called upon him to curse the Israelites. In verse 6, Balak explained that the blessings or curses of Balaam had proven true in the past. Balak wanted the best. In verses 9-13 we read of God’s discussion with Balaam and His direction to him.
And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed. (Numbers 22:12 KJV)
An example of God speaking with and dealing with others than the Children of Israel. That’s good for us! However, we need to play close attention to what happens when we do not follow His directions. It appears Balaam was seeking a way to achieve the value of verse 18. He put a price on his words.
Through chapters 23 and 24, Balak seeks a curse and Balaam provides God’s truth. So, why then does his name not appear among heroes?
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: (Genesis 12:3a KJV)
Balaam’s blessings were also a warning to Balak to thwart God’s plan. Numbers 25 tells of Israelites becoming unequally yoked in marriage, turning away from God, joining with the Moabite god, Baalpeor. Thus Balaam is mentioned in disrespect in Deuteronomy 23:4-5, Joshua 13:22, 24:9, Nehemiah 13:2, and Micah 6:5, where more of his story is told. None of it good.
Balaam appeared to follow God, but worked against His will. Others have done so, too.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I remember an instance with a new sportswriter on a local newspaper. He interviewed a coach and quoted him as saying, “That’s all cheroot.” Nothing in the article referred to cigars. The photo of the coach did not show him smoking a cigar. I believe the coach used a phrase unfamiliar to the young man, “That’s all she wrote.” It means that is the entire story – everything has been said, there’s nothing more.
It’s a good reminder to check quotes. If this is a news article, be certain the quote is accurately written and attributed. There’s an entire Wikipedia page listing common misquotes.
The Bible is often misquoted. How many people look upon money as being the root of all evil? We need to look closely to find that’s not true:
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 KJV)
I do not know of a person who has memorized the entire Bible. I do know a number of preachers who prepare their sermons and can quote quite well the verses they reference. I prefer the way our preacher does it, having us turn with him to the scriptures and read them ourselves.
When I post scriptures here, they are copied in their entirety from e-Sword, along with the version citation. I don’t want to make a typo bringing them into a document. Not adding to nor taking away. That’s important to me.
I also look up the scriptures I point to. My memory isn’t too good. Just recently I answered a quiz and made an error on a relationship. The word I remembered was in the scripture reference, but it was only a part of the relationship. To be certain, I should have looked up the scripture regarding Mordecai’s relationship to Esther. Instead, a remembered word flashed along synapse in my brain and an incorrect answer was given.
As well as we know the Roman Road verses, it is much better to read them from the Bible as we witness. That teaches that we depend on His word, that we use His word and that His word is important enough to pass along to others.
When the words are contested, do as the Bereans were described in Acts 17:11 – check to see whether these things are so. For example, some versions use the word “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14, others use "maiden" or "young woman." Thus some look upon this as confusing, conflicting or a reason for disbelief as a prophecy of Jesus’ birth. A serious look at the culture of the time tells of deadly consequences for extra-marital sex. Proof of virginity was sought and displayed in tribal cultures, thus a young unmarried woman would synonymous with virginity, unless proven otherwise.
Never accept what I write without looking it up yourself. I could be wrong. It is my firm belief that God’s word is not.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)