Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"A Glimpse of God"

  It seems our day and time are filled with the love of God yet somehow many can't think of God's love being a judgment on people. I have heard so many times over the years how people say we don't need to spend time in the OT because we are not under that anymore. While it is true that God has changed the covenant, His word from the old shows us how He thinks and acts. To ignore this treasure we have to help us understand insight to God is to bring about a distorted view of God.
  Those prophets proclaimed over and over to the people that God was bringing difficulties on the nations because of their ungodly ways. Sometimes the OT prophets were just plain blunt. We read things like Haggai 1:11 where God proclaims through the prophet, "I called for the drought..." Too many do not allow these words to register with their hearts. Think about Ezekiel 14:21 where God speaks that He will bring four severe judgments against Jerusalem which were war (sword), famine, wild beasts and plagues. Why? Because the people had become so corrupted they no longer would heed the words of God! These teachers/preachers of the OT knew SOMEONE that the people did not know even though they worshiped Him.
  That is precisely what we have today. Too many fail to realize the God in His holiness and love must act in ways like this because man has a tendency to go after their own thinking and heart desires, making God into an idol created in their minds. What is it about the evil thoughts and actions of man that God is so opposed to? It takes us no further than to look at Jesus Christ and we see God's greatest act of love against man's sinful behavior. Punish the Son in the place of the sinners. That's love. But if that love is rejected by rejecting Jesus and His teachings, what position does that put God in? Go back and start reading those OT prophets. It will open your eyes to our holy and righteous Creator!! Sin is a big problem for God and stands opposed to His holiness. If only we would take His word seriously.

Monday, July 29, 2013

"A Lesson From Job"

  Take some time and read Job 38-42. After Job and his three friends go the distance in their analysis of God and why, The Almighty speaks. He begins out of a whirlwind. The Almighty increases to speak out of a storm. The Almighty was making a point to feeble man.
  In this book recorded for us, God shows man (through Job) his ignorance! A series of questions for man to answer. "Do you know...? I want you to instruct Me! Where were you when...?" God continues to expose man in his thought process by showing man's powerlessness by asking, "What can you really accomplish?" God then raises His inquiry to expose man's lack of wisdom by asking, "What do you understand about...?" And finally the Almighty from the storm confronting man and his lack of consistency by asking, "If this bothers you why don't these other things bother you?"
  Job is a powerful book, not about Job but God Himself! Here is a man that wishes to sit in judgment on God and it seems as though God says, "What makes you challenge the righteous governing of the Almighty when I am your Creator?" Job wanted a face to face with God and he got it but quickly found out that man is not capable of running his own life much less a universe! God is not under the control of man yet we find many times we want Him at our bidding to do this and that!
  In the end Job covers his mouth and repents for his arrogance. God didn't mean to harm Job but when God spoke out of the storm there was a reason for it. The Almighty didn't come quietly to man, sit by his side, put His arm around Job's shoulder, patting him on the back saying, "Now, now you should feel better that you got all that off you chest!" That is not saying God was railing at Job. God was pleased with him from the beginning and Job was called a righteous man. God loved this man and because of that love he had to be rebuked because of his insolence.
  In these few chapters God took Job on a brief tour of His creation and how things were run. What we learn is this is a world man did not create, a world man knows little about and a world over which man has NO control. From the heights to the depths, on the earth to the skies, from the foundations that were laid to the distant galaxies God showed man that man is powerless! It left Job speechless. It should leave us speechless. As sovereign Lord, as our Redeemer, as a Holy and Righteous God rules, He can govern the world any way He sees fit because He alone created it all because He simply loves. Praise be to God!  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Jesus and His Church"

  Today I want you to get your Bible and read a specific passage. It's found in Eph. 5:22-32.Your first response will probably be, "That's about marriage." Is it really? Yes, it refers to the husband/wife relationship but there is something much greater we seem to miss but the context points us to. There is great value in speaking about the husband/wife relationship found in these verses as it does address that but let's look deeper and see the relationship between Christ and His church. Here are some specific thoughts to provoke your thinking:
Christ is the head of the church! Not some man or central location that runs everything. Christ is the head.
The church is subject to Christ! We don't make our own direction by doing things our way.
Jesus gave Himself for the church! Christ put the best interest of the church at the front.
Jesus is the Savior of the church! We don't save ourselves through our works or merit. He is the only One that saves and keeps us saved.
Jesus loves the church as He does His own flesh! The quote is from Gen. 2:24 and is applied specifically to the relationship of Christ and the church.
Just in brevity from reading through the passages, look at what Jesus really thinks of His body, the church. Now having said that, what do you think of the church? What do you think of your mate? The relationship between you and the Lord is shown in the relationship in the church and your marriage!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


  Just a short remark about forgiveness and offering forgiveness. Peter asks Jesus how often forgiveness should be given when someone sins against you personally (Matt. 18). Up to seven times? Jesus speaks clearly seventy times seven. Forgiveness with Jesus is unlimited. Then here we come throwing in some added angle when we are offended by someone and say, "But what about..." as if to find some loop hole in the heart of Jesus' teachings so that we can stay in fellowship with Him and hold to some hard feeling. Jesus says that's NEVER proper in relationship to Him. "But they never asked me to forgive them!" we seem to chime in. Have you not heard from the cross to a multitude of hostile people? "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) Not one of those hostile people asked for forgiveness yet the heart of Jesus speaks and if we are in relationship to Him, what should our heart speak? Even Stephen when faced with a hostile and murder in the heart people, his heart beat with the heart of Jesus: "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" (Acts 7:60)
  What do we learn? To be unforgiving against anyone makes you the guilty one if you claim Jesus as your own. People who have been hurt seem to hold to their hurt and unwilling to yield to Jesus with His heart but claim their relationship to Him is intact. I heard from a man who left the assembly of the saints upset at individuals and said he would never return. He has attached himself to other saints at another assembly thinking his worship is acceptable and all the while taking the Supper of Jesus not realizing his soul is dark and his heart is cold and it is coming with a high price. We filter things through our eyes and personal feelings rather than through the eyes and heart of a forgiving God toward us.
  As Jesus finished explaining to Peter about the unforgiving being handed over to the torturers, He ended with this sobering statement: "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart." (Matt. 18:35) Where does that leave each of us? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Why Did You Have To Tell God?"

  I have never ceased to be amazed at children and their thought pattern. A friend of mine was telling me about his son when he was five. The little boy didn't have the best of attitudes on this particular day so the father did what a father should do...pray for his son with his son present. As the prayer continued the father says, "And help my son to have a better attitude." The prayer being finished and heads lifted up, tears were streaming down the cheeks of this little boy. Fighting through the tears, the little boy says to his father, "Why did you have to tell God?" Message was received and noted into the heart.
  Children are so moved and touched by the things of the Lord but something happens as they age. Parents seem to expect them to be rebellious when they hit their teens because that's what teens do! Where did we get that? Jesus was twelve and He wasn't rebellious. In fact Scripture teaches us that "He continued in subjection to them (mother/father!" (Luke 2:51) Could you ever imagine Jesus being rebellious?
  Not just parents but people start believing they can act the way they want or do the things they want as long as people don't find out. I have heard over the years from many a young person speaking of the actions of their parents behind the closed doors away from the presence of others. What does this do to their heart? It sure doesn't train them in righteousness and purity. There is nothing more destruction to the life of a child or the church than to have people "act" like they love the Lord when others things are being practiced in private. Jesus calls it hypocrisy. If parents aren't walking with a pure heart and attitude that is reflected in their actions, it will be real difficult for the children to have any instruction about the righteousness of God. Many times you see it when the child grows up and has little to do with the Lord and His body.
  Look at your children. Watch how they adore you and take in every move you make. They are constantly learning from you and we need to instruction them how to live and walk before the Lord. They need to be moved by "Why did you have to tell God?"

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"It Matters To God"

  God being eternal, powerful, holy simply IS! I heard a fellow tell me a while back that it really doesn't matter to God if we like Him or not because He will save those who love Him and destroy those who don't. I can understand how one comes to that conclusion but the astonishing truth about God is we do matter to God!!! From creating us from dust to the sending of Jesus His Son on a death mission for us, we matter to God. I don't understand that but I don't have to. It's an element of love that I have yet to understand. It is true that God punishes and chastises us but that is simple proof that it matters to God what we think about Him!
  Read Micah 7:18-19. Micah stands in awe of God. "Who is a God like you?" he speaks. And why does Micah see God as this? Because God delights in extending to us His unchanging love! To be able to remove our sins, to show mercy to the sincere and penitent believer is a complete delight to God. Can you imagine God looking at you with your heart broken because of your sin and failure and God standing there saying, "Come to Me! I cannot wait to forgive you!"?
  David speaks in Psa. 103 that God does not deal with us according to our sins to those who fear Him but removes sin as far as the east is from the west. God wants us to live with Him! The Eternal One wants our fellowship. That's hard to believe for the one who has walked into paths of sin and degradation but it's the truth about God.
  We live with sin around us. Some are so easily drawn into it while they don't want to be a part of it. Sin takes people by the throat sending them into pits of darkness and despair. That's when we can really see the love and how we matter to God through the cross. When you feel the pull of sin, when you close your mouth to vile speech, when you open you heart in forgiveness to one who has failed you, when you resolve that staying home is not an option but worship to God is a need, remember, it all matters to God! When we stand isolated from family or friends because of Jesus and you hurt in your heart because of it, it matters to God! It is what pleases Him. But deeper than all, it matters to God because you are fighting His battle against the evils of the devil and his advancing army. One day you will see the glory and splendor of God and the things you did for His name sake!!! Then you will see how much you really matter to God.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"The Divine Genie?"

  When looking carefully at prayer and the Scriptures that are revealed from God about prayer, one has to be careful of what is being discussed and to whom the Scripture is addressing. The reason I say this is because some have turned verses into saying things they don't say by concluding things the Lord doesn't conclude.
  Here is an illustration: "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." (John 14:14) That sounds powerful and it is when understood who and what Jesus is addressing with His disciples. If we aren't careful, one can conclude this is a blank check offered by Jesus and ask and you will receive. Wham! Done! Too many think they can turn God into some Divine Genie who speaks, "Your wish is My command!" God is still Sovereign. The Lord Jesus reigns. If we could ask of anything and it would be done according to our request, let's pray for those whom we love dearly that they come back from the dead when they died from a sickness. We could pray for the disease stricken ones that the disease would disappear and complete and perfect health is restored. Let's pray for the aged parents in their frailty that their vitality of youth would return. Wouldn't all these things be wonderful? What would we have? A world of perfection, eliminate heaven and why would Jesus need to die? Why we could pray that there would be no lost people and it would be. And let's not stop there, let's ask God to obliterate sin period and it would be done!!!
  Here's the point in the above verse and verses like it. Upon telling His disciples to ask anything in My name and He would do it comes off the statement in the preceding verse: "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be gloried in the Son." (John 14:13) The purpose is that the Father would be glorified through the Son! That's the will of God. Isn't not a blank check or making God this Divine Genie. The condition is the glorifying of Jesus with God's will at heart. That's prayer. That's how we pray. His will be done!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"The Book"

  What is this writing we call the Bible? What does the term Bible mean? Do you know? The word "Bible" in our English comes from a Latin word 'biblia' which means the books or scrolls. It is a collection of individual scrolls that make up the whole we call the Bible!
  What is so unique about this? These writings that were "inspired by God" or "God-breathed" writings are life changing. Within these scrolls we find a treasure so great  that most never realize what they have. I have personally wondered if those preaching/teaching realize what they hold and read. For thousands of reasons people ignore it or use it only as a reference and not the answer to our individual lives.
  Why do these "scrolls" matter so much? It has been the most influential book in the history of the world. Down through the ages people have enslaved those who read it and follow it. There have been times of mass burnings of the "scrolls" and in some instances it was outlawed to be read. Why? What is so unique about these "books"?  Why did governments use the "scrolls" to lay a foundation for the future of a nation? Why did governments go to the trouble to suppress it? Why do people react so violently when it is used on their behavior? Why do countless thousands upon thousands in every age ask that portions of these "scrolls" be read at their marriages and funerals?
  This heavenly treasure has been the center of man's world and battles. It gives direction and changes the very life of individuals. What kind of world would we have if everyone joyously accepted it as supreme in their lives? This book continues to have a profound effect upon all, even those who hate it and deny it. It has become a source of pain for many and a source of life for many.
  Within these "scrolls" we are confronted with our lives of sadness and narrowness only to reveal the possibility beyond what we ask or think. For our eternal benefit it exposes our awful sinfulness and profound need for God who wants so save us and bless us with life, His life! It tells of a treasure that is amazing of a God who bears His own judgment against sin that He might offer eternal friendship to the feeble human. It speaks of a God who shares our suffering until the day when suffering will end. It gives meaning to our lives and a hope within our lives. It calls us to join with Jesus Christ in the most fantastic of all adventures, the rescuing of the world. It speaks to us how to fail without despair and how to trust in spite of appearances. It brings us God's approval when we act nobly and God's forgiveness when we try and fail. It calls us to God, our eternal Creator, Sustainer and Power. Where does it really fit in your life? On the table? Or a part of your everyday sustenance? We look over at the table or shelf and "ouch" it sits there waiting for you. Why does that sting?

Monday, July 15, 2013


  Maybe we have things on backward. We spend way too much time proclaiming the church than the Christ of the church! When looking carefully at Ephesians, Paul points, blesses and proclaims Christ and the God who gave Him to us. After all, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3). That alone is enough for us to honor our God. But then it was God who worked out the whole plan, who lavished upon us His grace, His love, who adopted us and made us holy and blameless before Him. What was our doing in all this? How did we plan this?
  Paul prays that it the eyes of our heart that needs enlightened to know the hope of His calling and what is the surpassing greatness of His power to the true believer (Eph. 1:18-19). It was us, every single one of us that was dead in our sins. We were made alive together with Christ in the working of God (Eph. 2:1-8). We did nothing to give ourselves life. Life was from God through Jesus. It is God's gift to us. It's at this point we are reminded that as a Gentile, we were excluded from any help, hope and without God in this world (Eph. 2:12). Here is the eye opener that we might be missing: from this point it was Christ and His blood that brought us near to God, giving us access in one Spirit to the Father (Eph. 2:18-19). It is Christ Jesus that became our peace and reconciled both Jew and Gentile in one body to God. It is through Christ Jesus that we are of God's household, who God is fitting us together growing into the holy temple of the Lord and built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22). This is the body of Jesus, the church and if we would look carefully, we have nothing to do with it. All our part was trustingly committing our lives to Him! It's not about us but Him! Jesus does the filling not us. We have our place and stance before the Lord as His body simply because of the grace and mercy shown each of us.
  Maybe we have things on backward. Our proclamation is not us the church and what's right with us. The proclamation is Jesus and Him crucified as He alone is the only One who through His blood and sacrifice brings us together in one body called the church. The church is to glorify the Christ and God who planned it all, not ourselves!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"A Funeral"

  Today I must travel to Illinois where I will be doing a funeral of a young lady 31 years old. I have known her family for many years and they need strength and help at this time.
  I have never liked doing funerals over the years but as I have aged, my mind-set has changed in this some. I see the great value of a funeral to help point people to God in a time of hurt and disappointment. Funerals gives the families an opportunity to examine their own lives and focus on the reality of eternity. Death is the gateway to eternity and the Lord uses these times for that. I pray that I will be able to speak in a way that honors God and gets His message to this hurting family.
  What about you? Are you preparing for an eternal journey? Whether you are or not, it is coming. Everyone is headed to an eternal date with God and there will not be one person to miss it. That should grab our hearts to prepare while we can prepare. Once our feeble bodies of dust surrenders to death, the only thing that will matter will be this: how's your relationship with the Lord? That is a question we should all be concerned about. Jesus died to save us. God appointed Him as our sin-bearer. We will determine His value.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"Fools or Wise Men?"

  Our understanding of the gate of a city is not well known. Absalom, King David's son, would stand at the gate of the city and as people entered, he would inquire of their place of living and tell them he would make their claims good that the king would not listen to (II Sam. 15). Proverbs speaks that "wisdom is too high for a fool, he does not open his mouth in the gate." (Prov. 24:7)
  The gate was a central part of any city. It was where people entered and were addressed many times. It was at the gate of the city that leaders would meet to hear and decide legal cases and settle any disputes between individuals. It was known for the most part, that those who sat at the city gate were men of wisdom and insight.
  Today we do not have such at a gate entrance. We have God's household, His building not built with hands called the church. Within this spiritual house what does God expect from His men? We find in Titus 2 that the "older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance." In the church we have God's leaders called elders put in place. Titus 1 and I Timothy 3 calls for these men to be devout and sensible, respectable and all the while serious about God and His word (along with other qualities).
  It seems too many of our men and leaders are not captivated by God's standards. Look around and see what you find where you live. Do we  have "adult children" leading us, rallying around fun, entertainment and the like? With such men, how can the church have clear direction? What are we teaching our children? To be more childish? Shallow in their approach to God? Before long, the things we know as from God will be nothing but a theatre of entertainment and reference, not our lifestyle and guide for our feet! It makes us wonder where is the wise man?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Little One"

  Today is a little light hearted as I have been traveling about with my wife and grandchildren. It always amazes me how wonderful and pure children are in thought. They have no insight how to sin or think in sinful ways. Jesus spoke they were the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1-3). Often I have heard people speak that children inherit sin and we all have a sinful nature. That's why some in their religious beliefs think that babies need "baptizing" because of their inherited sin. That goes completely against Scripture. Others believe that all mankind has inherited a sinful nature which is a line of teaching that John Calvin brought into being and it too goes against the teaching of Scripture. (Just read carefully Ezekiel 18!) Jesus said simply they are the greatest! If people believe in these two things, what are you to do with Jesus the infant? He was made like us in all things (Heb. 2:17). He too would have a sinful nature.
Here is the conversation between mom and little Brynn (3 years old). She is a jewel!
Mom: "What's your first name?"
Brynn: "Um...Brynn!"
Mom: "Do you remember your second name?"
Brynn: "Madowynn!" (Madelyn)
Mom: "And what is your last name?"
Brynn: With some serious thought..."Come here!"
You just have to love the little ones. It sure makes me realize with their greatness here and their innocence in life, being changed to be like Jesus will be the most incredible thing beyond imagination (I John 3:2). Live for Jesus as He alone is your sin-bearer!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


  How much time would you say you spend in prayer? It seems that we speak about prayer, preach on prayer and have classes on prayer yet it still seems to be one of the most ignored part of our lives. People complain that the church isn't this or that. Complaints against the elders, preachers or just one another. Attitudes start to develop and if anyone will listen, we will complain about someone or something not being done!
  What about prayer instead of complaint? Do we really see that God is the real answer in all this? Has it ever occurred to you that what you complain about might be the will of God? Some would protest and say, "No way! God wants us to do this or that! He wouldn't allow or want..." and we go on. But how do you know? Many times in the OT the Lord God allowed people to follow a certain path or attitudes as part of His will to get things where they need to be.
  Paul instructed the church at Thessalonica to "pray without ceasing." Why? Because all answers and directions lay with the Lord! Prayer is faith! Prayer is trusting our lives to Him! Prayer is our attitude toward the Lord! Prayer is what keeps our attitudes pure and proper! Prayer is work that calls us from time to ourselves to time with our Savior and sustainer of our lives.
  Next time you find yourself upset at another or direction of the church as whole, tell God! Express your concerns to God but be willing to leave those concerns on Him to allow Him to do with it as He pleases. You will find your life settle and see things more clearly. If the elders or preachers aren't doing what you think they should, don't complain. PRAY! The prayers of the righteous can accomplish much. I remember one time asking a lady when she was complaining about a situation that had arisen if she believed the Lord is the head of the church? She replied yes. I asked if she prayed in faith about this. She never answered that question and today, she is bitter and resentful toward that situation. This seems to be the result of too many prayerless people!
  Pray! Those first century saints prayed fervently. If we want to see things change, pray depending on God for that change and it begins with me! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

"If We Would Only Believe"

  Why is it so difficult to be believe God cleanses us from all unrighteousness and wants to forgive us? I have been with many a brother or sister in Christ beating themselves up over sins of their past wondering if the Lord was punishing them for their confessed sins. They feel good for a while but something happens that brings up to their mind what they had done and wham...it sends them into a pit of despair and pain.
  If we would just look to Jesus and listen carefully to Him from Scripture we would see the love the Father has for us. Jesus explains God in terms of a Father, waiting for a son who had wandered off into the depths of sin and degradation, watching daily to see if this sinful son would return home and find the happiness he once had under the protection of the Father (Luke 15). And what do you learn when Jesus girds Himself about, getting down on His knees to wash feet, even the feet of the betrayer! Then comes the height of heights, Jesus giving Himself willingly to die FOR YOUR SINS! Not part of them but all of them. Every single sin you have ever committed has a breath of Jesus struggling on your behalf. Your sin is taken away and placed under the blood of Jesus for the humble and confessing! No sin is forgotten to be dealt with or there will not be that one sin that slipped through the cracks. The blood of Jesus speaks and God speaks and seeks us through His blood.
  With all this for us, why do so many live in doubts and guilt? Guilt has a strangle hold on so many and it is taking them into a world that God does not walk in. Your sins are gone in Christ Jesus! The blood of Jesus is to cleanse the conscience so you can serve the living God (Heb. 9:14).  That's not a preacher speaking, that's God speaking.  If we would only believe!