Friday, November 30, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
A river watered the garden and then flowed out of Eden and divided into four branches. The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. ~ Genesis 2:10-12
The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But God warned him, "You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden – except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die." ~ Genesis 2:15-17
Eden was glorious. Rivers, vegetation that flourished, fruit that exploded with taste and beauty. Gems, fragrance, companionship and interpersonal dialog with the Almighty. Yet, in the midst of the perfection and beauty… boundaries.
God placed a perimeter around a tree in the center. It would have been much easier if this tree had been despicable. But I sense that this was a fabulous tree, with radiant and attractive fruit. Even the name of the tree was powerful and magnetic: “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” It might have been better if God had named it something like: “the death-delivering, life- sucking, relationship-destroying, God-separating weed.” But no, this was not His plan.
Everything about this tree was attractive, and to make matters worse, it was unavoidable… the middle.
I would guess that even the fruit tasted good. There was no allergic reaction, no instant vomiting, no repulsive sensation... just the poison of the soul, sin. This is exactly why sin is sin. It's often not hideous, in fact, it may be downright beautiful and accessible, but it’s also wrong. It's on the other side of the boundary.
The garden has so much that's right, so much that's glorious and life giving... but there is still the tree. The one beautiful tree in the middle. And with the tree, a whisper, the tantalizing promise, the lie… “You will not really die.”
The fruit on the tree in the middle of the garden is beautiful. It even tastes good. But it will lead to separation, and pain, and disappointment, and stupid little fig-leaf excuses for an existence… and to death. “Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.” ~ Genesis 5:5
The garden or the tree? Inside the boundaries or out? God's masterpiece turned loose to reject Him, or, to bring Him glory and to enjoy Him forever. When we start defending the tree instead of enjoying the garden then we'll know that we're really naked.
Reject the whisper... enjoy the garden.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Luke #45 – Twisted
“And he brought Him to Jerusalem, and set Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee: And in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’ And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God’” (Luke 4:9-12 – King James Version).
When my wife an I were baby Christians we were having a conversation on how much we were to put into serving God. Somewhere along my wife’s childhood someone taught her about serving and giving in a goofed up way. Some preacher or teacher told her that giving to God meant giving a tenth of all she had; a tenth of her talents, a tenth of her material resources and a tenth of her time. PHOOEY! She said that they even used Scripture to support that whacked out thinking. The only Scripture I could find that would lead someone to think that would be Genesis 28:22 which states, “And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee” (KJV). Now be sure of this my friends, that verse was not talking about a tenth of each part of our lives, but was talking about a tenth of Jacob’s material resources. To think we could only give God a tenth of our time would be crazy! For the record, my wife got straightened out on that whole mess.
Friend, let me tell you something, and hear me clearly, we cannot afford to twist Scripture. The temptation is to look at God’s Word and make it say what we already believe or what we want to hear. When we approach Scripture we cannot change it, we must let it show us how we are to change. In doing that we will encounter Scripture that we don’t like; it will fly in the face of things we enjoy doing or in attitudes or character traits that we have had for years.
Even Satan used Scripture in trying to tempt Jesus. In the above passage Satan MISQUOTES Psalm 91:11-12 in this way: “He shall give his angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee: And in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.” It’s original, and right, rendering reads thusly: “For He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (KJV). The difference is that Satan left off “to keep thee in all thy ways”. That’s the difference in words, but the big difference is in intent. The original is an assurance of God’s protection for those who trust. Satan uses the Scripture to tempt Jesus to dare God, which is the opposite of trusting.
That’s the same kind of mess that Satan did in the garden when he tempted Adam and Eve. It’s deceptive and tricky and just the kind of thing that Satan does to throw God’s people off of track. Of course, Jesus did not fall for it; He knew Scripture and how to apply it properly.
The only way we will be able to mimic Christ on this account is if we know Scripture too. We must be in the Word constantly; searching it out and finding what it really means. I always read and study the Scripture my pastor preaches on each Sunday. Sure, I trust my pastor and I trust what he says, but I want to check it out for myself. I would imagine that rather than being agitated that I check behind him, my pastor would commend me.
We cannot afford to be fooled when it comes to God’s word, nor can we afford to fool ourselves. We cannot twist God’s word to suit what we want or how we already feel. We must have our minds renewed and be transformed daily by being challenged by truths from God’s word. Satan wants us to get off track and one of his most subtle tools is deception through the Word of God. Be careful, be watchful and be studious.
"Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 31:37).
The people of Israel, in spite of all God had done for them, continually rebelled against Him, even turning to other gods. One might think God would have destroyed them and started again, but He had made a promise first to Abraham, then to Isaac, and then to Jacob, that this nation would be His special people, and He would not break that promise.
In our text God reveals the "conditions" under which He would cast off Israel, but they are such that there is no possibility of their being met.
"If heaven above can be measured. . . ." Neither Abraham nor Jeremiah could have had any concept of the number of stars or the depth of space. Now, with modern telescopes, we see unthinkable distances, and even farther and farther as our technology increases. Estimates of the radius of the universe now stand at around 15-20 billion light years, and no end is in sight.
"If the foundations of the earth |can be| searched out beneath. . . ." Sometimes scientists claim they know more about the sun than they do the earth. But in reality, only one percent of the earth's radius has been explored. The pressures and temperatures which exist deep inside the earth are unthinkably great, and we don't even know how matter acts under those conditions. The promise to Israel is secure.
Scripture is likewise full of "exceeding great and precious promises" (II Peter 1:4) made to the believer. Our text indicates God's attitudes toward His promises. We need not worry that He will keep His Word. JDM
Friday, November 09, 2007
Luke #44 – Fighting Temptation
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from
Back to my roadside breakdown...as I stood on the side of the road, I begin to think about my recent car history. The previous summer my Nissan just up and quit on me. When it was towed to the mechanic, he had no idea what went wrong with the car, but it was obvious that it would not run any more. Before and after my Nissan broke down I had trouble with my truck. On the first occasion a tie rod broke and left me and Katie stranded on the roadside. On the second occasion the right wheel bearing had a melt down. As I said before, when all the distractions were removed, Satan showed up and made it personal. He was tempting my mind by saying, “Here you are, serving God, and all you have for that is trouble. And you thought God would take care of you?” The Holy Spirit recalled Romans 8:28.
Every time I read this account of Jesus temptation in the wilderness I carefully take note of how Jesus battled those temptations; He did it with Scripture. Satan used Scripture too, but He twisted it (more on that tomorrow!). Whatever the devil said to Jesus, Jesus countered it with God's word. We should note that Jesus was filled with the Spirit. The Spirit was there, giving recall of Scripture and leading Jesus in recognizing the temptations and properly applying the Word.
Those are the same two ingredients we need in fighting temptation. We need to be filled with the Spirit and we need to apply God's word. To further illustrate this, let's go back to the roadside. As I said, the devil showed up and tried to get me to look at my circumstances; he wanted me to question God's provision and love for me. Romans 8:28 says that God work even bad situations out for good for those who love Him and have been called for His purposes. Right behind that, the Spirit recalled Matthew 28:20, where Jesus promised to always be with us. No part of that promise says that we will not experience difficult times, but it does promise that Christ will be with us. I also remembered the words of the apostle Paul who said nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35). I begin to pray to God and to resist Satan by reminding that scoundrel of God's promises. Pretty soon, Satan left me alone on that temptation.
I could go on and on, but the point is that the way to deal with temptation is by confronting Satan with God’s truths. He can’t handle it and he can’t defeat it! That and the power of the Holy Spirit at work both in and through believers stymie Satan’s attempts to cause us to sin. Now…we need to walk in the Spirit and we also need to study God’s word. King David said “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” because he understood that was the way to stick to holiness and to avoid sin (Psalm 119:11 – NKJV).How do you battle temptation? Do you simply try to grit your teeth and say “I think I can. I think I can.”? If we try to fight temptation in our own power, we will succeed only sporadically at best. Fighting temptation can be done! Will you accept God’s promises, apply His truths, and walk in the Spirit? There lies the keys to victory!
“For the time is come that judgment begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (I Peter 4:17).
There is a terrible day of judgment coming for those who reject Christ, but for those who do believe the gospel and trust the Lord Jesus for salvation, “there is therefore now no condemnation [i.e., judgment]” (Romans 8:1). Yet our text tells us that judgment actually begins with those who obey the gospel! This apparent contradiction vanishes when one realizes that it is merely for the purpose of preparing those who are already saved to serve Him in eternity.
When a believer sins, he should judge and confess that sin. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (I Corinthians 11:31), and God will forgive (I John 1:9). If he does not, however, the next phase of judgment is the chastening of God. “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (I Corinthians 11:32). The classic passage on the believers chastening (Hebrews 12:5–11) concludes with the assurance that its purpose is to yield “the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).
But when such chastening fails to work, the next judgment may even be physical death. “There is a sin unto death” (I John 5:16). “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (I Corinthians 5:5).
Finally, all Christians must “appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (II Corinthians 5:10), where “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). There, some “shall suffer loss.” Nevertheless, each person at this judgment “shall be saved” (I Corinthians 3:14,15). But, as our text continues, “if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Peter 4:18). HMM
Taken in its entirety from Institution for Creation Research webpage:
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Luke #43 – Three Keys to Being Wholly Well
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from
Johnny Smith used to explain the whole wellness of a person using an upside down triangle; he said he learned the concept from the School for Pastoral Care. On the bottom point of the triangle Mr. Smith would write “spiritual”. On the top left point he would write “physical”. On the top right he would write “mental / emotional”. He would tell us that a sick body will affect the mind and the spirit. He would say that an emotional sickness or being mentally unwell will affect both the spirit and the body. Of course we all know that if a person is spiritually sick both the body and the mind will be affected. Johnny would say that being spiritually well is the foundation for whole wellness, but he would also say that we often overlook the other two areas.
If we realize this delicate balance in the area of wellness, then it would be logical to look at each area in the light of what makes them most sick; and that is sin. Our Lord Jesus was thoroughly tempted in the wilderness and we can see how He was tempted physically, psychologically, and spiritually.
Verse 3 says that Satan tempted Jesus by asking Him to turn the stones in bread. The temptation was to satisfy Himself with a need rather than trusting God for provision. Often our physical temptations are different. Sure, we are tempted to concentrate on our needs rather than concentrate on God, but we do something else physically that is sinful. We overemphasize pleasure. Pleasure is when the body is getting what it wants. SOMETIMES what we want and need are the same thing. I am sure Jesus was hungry and WANTED bread and if He’d not eaten in forty days I am sure He NEEDED bread. But our body often craves things that we don’t need such as alcohol, sex, drugs, etc. Our body may also be sinfully lazy and we may fall to the temptation to do nothing but lie around and sleep. The point here is this; we are often physically tempted to concentrate on pleasing our bodies. We need to be aware that Satan is a tempter in this area and to constantly analyze ourselves. Do we concentrate on pleasure too much? Are we susceptible to physical temptation?
Our minds are often tempted. In verses 6 and 7 Satan offered Jesus a short cut; instead of winning the world with the cross Satan offered his earthly kingdom if Jesus would bow to him. That was a mental temptation. It was a choice between the right way and the easy way. We too have many mental temptations. We have choices every day; several involve taking the easy way or taking the right way. Think about tax season; if we render unto Caesar that which is his we will have to do what is right, not what is easy. We have thousands of mental decisions every day; we must decide to do what is right, not what is easy many times a day. Happiness can be defined as the mind getting what it wants. Human beings will often compromise morality and holiness to find happiness. We cannot afford to do that. When we compromise what is right for the sake of happiness, we succumb to temptation. When we succumb to temptation, we sin. When we sin, we become unwell. Do we fall often to mental temptations? Do we sacrifice holiness for happiness?
Finally, Jesus was tempted spiritually. In verses 9-11 Satan tempted Jesus to tempt God. Satan wanted Jesus to prove Himself; he wanted Christ to dare God. Faith is not daring God; it is waiting patiently, doing His will, and cooperating with God’s plan (OVER our agenda). GOOD GRIEF! How many times a day do we struggle with that? People, by our very nature, are impatient plan makers. By that I mean we don’t want to wait and we don’t want to follow anyone’s plans but our own. We are rebellious too. We don’t want to obey anyone, unless what they are telling us to do is already what we want to do. Do we wait patiently on God? Do we dare God to prove Himself? Do we obey Him and follow His plan?If we are to be wholly well and fully balanced we need to realize that temptation comes physically, mentally, and spiritually. We need to be ready. We need to be aware. We need to NOT ignore any area and be ready to fight the good fight against temptation. Temptation is opportunity; sin occurs when those opportunities are fulfilled. Let’s be well…wholly well. Realize and resist temptation; your health depends on it!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Luke #42 – Deceiving Temptations
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from
Let’s look at that in light of Jesus wilderness temptation. There are recorded three temptations Jesus experienced after the period of forty days fasting that illustrate that. Of course, Jesus was tempted the entire forty days, but we only have these three temptations to look at specifically.
The first way that Satan will use subtlety is that he will tempt us with what we need. In verse three, knowing Jesus was hungry, Satan tells Jesus to turn rocks into bread. Of course, Jesus indicates that bread is not our greatest need with the statement “Man shall not live by bread alone.” Food is a need; one of the basic necessities of life. I think a lot of folks get bent out of shape at on Sundays when the preacher is still preaching and they are hungry. Is that a temptation? Does taking focus off of God because the belly is rumbling constitute sin? I think Jesus’ answer is clear, even the most important bodily needs should not take precedent over God. Matthew tells us that if we keep our focus on God, He’ll take care of our needs. How about this…are we ever tempted with other needs? Sure, I think so; we need shelter, but how many times do we buy houses that are too big for us and struggle under the weight of the payments? That’s bad stewardship! Clothing is a need, but we exercise bad stewardship and vanity in that many times. We often buy clothes that are far too expensive so we can “look good” or “fit in” with the crowd. The object is to be clothed, not exalt our status. I could go on and on, but the point is clear; Satan WILL tempt us with things we need. Be watchful!
The next thing we find is that Satan will tempt us with what we will get. In verse five Satan tempts Jesus by offering Him the world as a kingdom. Lest we forget, Jesus is God! He made the world! It’s already His and on the cross He bought it back again; He redeemed it. Satan tempted Jesus to shortcut that process; avoid the cross. The devil tempts us with the same kind of things. Most notable in my mind is the temptation to have sex outside of marital bonds. Sex is a beautiful gift from God and if we wait until we are married, it is even more beautiful AND it honors God AND it keeps us from disobeying Him. I also think of gambling; we’d get money if we’d only work, but the devil tempts us with shortcuts; the easy way out. There are no easy ways out when it comes to honoring God. Even in the
Lastly, Satan will tempt us with what is already ours. In verses 10-11 Satan tells Jesus to jump from the top of the temple to prove that God would care for Him. Jesus response was to tell the devil that we are not to tempt God; we are not to try to make God prove Himself. For us, He’s already done that by giving Christ on the cross. Too many times we come to God with “if you…” prayers. What I mean is that we pray saying “If you…” do such and such then I will do such and such. God’s love was extended to us while we were still in our sins. His love and provision are ours already; we do not need to try to get Him to prove it over and over by demanding that things from Him. Be watchful!
Watch out for Satan. His temptations are often very deceiving. We need to be very alert. We need to constantly analyze what is going on by the Word and in prayer; falling before God begging for His guidance. Also, we need to be honest with ourselves and not try to justify even our most subtle of sins. Remember, God hates ALL sin; it is an affront to Him. Whether subtle or obvious, be on guard for temptation. Be watchful!
Monday, November 05, 2007
The picture you see also has a video with it; simply click on the tab about the picture that says "Video" and you will be able to see and hear Mrs. Baker's report.
Luke #41 – DISTRACTION: Under New Management
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from
So, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story. As I sat on the roadside with my very broken down car I was having the grandest time worshipping and having fellowship with God. No phone! No car! Not a single luxury! Like Jesus Christ my Savior, as undistracted as can be! (You can sing those last few lines to the Gilligan’s
Scripture says that Satan is beautiful (2 Corinthians ). Scripture also says that Satan is tricky (Ephesians ). That means he will try to slip in on us. We’ve got some nutty picture in our heads that Satan is ugly; a red devil so to speak. We never see the rascal coming because he is so beautiful and wily. But, we’d better be watching because he is looking to eat somebody up (1 Peter 5:8)!
Though Jesus had escaped the crowds, his family, and the carpenter business to get alone with His Father, Satan was there the entire time. Today’s verses tell us that Jesus experienced “being forty days tempted of the devil”. THEN He was tempted some more! My point here is simple; once all the distractions were removed, Satan moved in for a personal campaign.
Listen to me closely here…the average person has far too many distractions. We need to remove most of them. I am always amazed at how close people get to the Lord on retreats, mission trips, and camps. During those times we are insulated from our normal routines and free to meet with God. As soon as that period of time is over, we go right back to the things that were distracting us in the first place. I always remind my youth at church that camp is like a butcher; it teaches them how to trim the fat from their lives. They must then go home and do it themselves.
Know this though, when we do remove the distractions or when God removes them we need to be aware that Satan will move in and be the distraction himself. That’s why we need to wear the whole armor of God so that we can stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6).
Again, pay close attention…the devil loves for us to have distractions. One of his favorites is worry; worry about money, work, our children, and a host of other things. Another is busyness; sometimes all Satan wants to do is fill our lives with so many activities that we are drowned by busyness. Another is people; we often become so consumed by the search for love or consumed with a love interest that our vision is skewed. Another distraction is material things; we become caught up in the pursuit of things—money being chief. Often we are distracted by hobbies; golf, softball, fishing, watching TV…you name it. Now we need to trim the fat! After doing that the business of distraction will still be Satan’s chief aim. Once a Christian matures enough to removeJesus experienced that in the Wilderness. If you will remove the distractions in your life or let the Spirit lead you away from them you will experience it too. Get ready! It will require serious sacrifice to concentrate on God with a direct assault from Satan. Jesus ate nothing, not wanting even food to get in His way. Are you prepared for distractions to move in under new management?
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Luke #40 – Wilderness Blessings
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from
I was traveling from my church in
The night before my car broke down I read and reread Luke 4. I begged the Lord for a word to share in a devotion. The more I read the more the Scripture the more I understood it, but I could not find a devotional thought for the day. I read that chapter until and decided it was time to go to bed. I was worried about myself; as I lay awake I prayed Lord, show me why I cannot hear from you! Is there some sin? Is there some hidden pride? Help me! I awakened the next morning and the whole business was weighing heavy on my mind. I was worried about not sending a devotion out to those expecting to receive one. I was worried; What will they think? I carried the kids to the sitter’s house, went to a chiropractic appointment, drove back to the office, made some phone calls, read a chapter in a book, and headed off to the meeting.
As I waited there on the roadside God broke through to me. As I leaned on the hood of my car trying to get a signal on my cell phone, I realized what a beautiful day it was. I was not at the church office or my home office. There was no computer. There were no people. There were no telephones. Whatever schedule I had was shot; I couldn’t go anywhere. There were no children to feed, no grass to mow, no bills to pay, and no household chores to do. There was no television to watch, no books to read, and no errands to run. Everything that I HAD to do could not be done. I had not ONE red cent in my pocket; no water and no food. I stood out there looking at the clouds and I finally heard from God! The Holy Spirit had led me to the wilderness! Every distraction had been removed and I was truly free. That freedom came with a choice though; I could wallow in self pity or I could take advantage of a moment fully free from distraction and fellowship with God.
Our Lord was led into the Wilderness in His lifetime on earth. Of course we know that it was there that Satan tempted Him, but it was there also that Jesus did not succumb to temptation. Jesus escaped the throng at the Jordan and He was alone and free from distraction.
How many times does this happen in our life and we mistake it for a bad break? How many times do we think Why is this happening to me? when all God is trying to do is get alone with us? Often we seem to count these times as the devil being after us or we think that it is bad luck. I believe with all that is in me that the Holy Spirit led me out to that lake, on the side of that road that I may be alone with my Lord.
God often has what we might think to be strange methods. Where we might see “bad things” happening to us, it very well may be that God is stripping the distractions away. Where we might only see that our schedule is ruined it may be God resetting our schedule to get alone with us. Where we may only see difficulty, God sees, and leads us to, a time and place where we may be free to fully worship Him.
The spot where the car malfunctioned was about three miles from the school where my wife teaches. When I did get my phone to work, I called her. She came down to encourage me and all she got for her trouble was a roadside sermon (or two!). I was so happy in Christ Jesus that all I had was praise. The wilderness was good to me and I was overjoyed that He had led me there!
The next time you think that everything is going against you stop and pray; it may simply be God trying to break through and get some undivided attention from you. I found out something on that roadside…all my busyness was interfering with my hearing from God. We got alone in the wilderness and He blessed me sure enough. Luke 4:1 came rushing to my mind on that roadside and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Spirit had led me to that place for that time; thank you Lord!
“God Hates You.” A photograph in the USA Today showed a placard with these words. It was being carried by the picketing members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas.
The story was birthed when the church was sued by the father of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who lost his life in the war in Iraq. Church members had waved posters with messages of judgment and hate at the funeral of this fallen Marine. Ironically, the messages of retribution have been protected by the very soldiers that this church despises. The blood that purchased freedom of expression is the ink that is used to scrawl messages of hatred.
But in the middle of the hate, the legal wrangling, and confused positions… God’s name is invoked. For the record, God does not, and did not hate Matthew Snyder. He’s not looking for reasons to destroy mankind… He’s had plenty. In fact, and most profoundly, God doesn’t even hate Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, even though the man profanes and misrepresents the definition of who God is.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. ~ 1 John 4:7, 8
Although the court defended the family of Matthew Snyder, the misrepresentation of God will remain “unjudged” for the time being. But rest assured those that blaspheme the name of God will answer for the claims… my challenge is not to be invited into their fray by committing the same sin against them.
Jesus, our master teacher, echoed the words that answered the assault of hatred. During His own execution He pleaded for those that misunderstood Him the most by saying: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
I pray that The Church will show genuine love and compassion for the family of Matthew Snyder. I pray that their love will be compelling and comforting. I pray that out of the contrast will come hope and clarity… but I pray as well, that I will not let the putrid smell of hatred suck me into the same cesspool of judgment.Fred Phelps will answer for the words he’s written… and he’ll have company, I just don’t want to be anywhere close.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Another bad habit I've developed is the bad habit of replacing "doing" with "being." I'm working on being.
Another: I DO NOT KNOW WHEN THIS STARTED, but I was never known as a cat who wasted time talking about junk. I usually meet new people, or see well known friends, and get right to the main stuff of life. Somewhere along the line I've become a champion of idle chatter and mindless banter. No more. I'm getting to the point. I want to return to these conversations:
"Do you know Jesus?"
"Are you walking with Him? Do you obey Him? Are you serving Him?"
"Do you know Jesus?"
"Can I tell you about Him?"
Another thing... I've been trying to seek personal revival. I need one. Actually, I am pretty frustrated with a lot of things...the chief thing is me. In the process of seeking revival I have made a really strong effort in prayer to ask God to help me examine my heart, to test myself ( ), to judge myself "lest [I] be judged" and the entire host of things that I need to do to check myself before I wreck myself.
The funny thing about asking God these things is that He grants them.
I find myself vacillating between loathing myself and loving God. Honestly, I think I spend more time loathing myself. Some of that is healthy. I need an honest view of my sin. I need to not skirt the edge of puerile behavior and foolishly dismiss my often less-than-a-grown-man-who-ought-to-be-more-than-he-is-right-now way of kicking and screaming because I WANT MY WAY! I need to face me and grow up; particularly, to put away childish ways and walk worthy of the high calling I have received.
But, I just don't feel like it right now...
That's nothing anyone wants to hear, and, dang it, it's nothing I want to tell...
Still, if I don't confess my sins -- and, yes, read into that struggles and fears -- to my brethren, then I won't find a single soul to keep me accountable. One of my biggest problems is that I can get so much done on sheer will that I often would not take help if it was offered and surely would not go in search of it. THAT is my pride exalting itself against God. THAT is not taking Him at His word obediently. THAT is trusting myself over HIM. THAT may be my biggest problem. I sometimes feel like the ugly step-child of Adam and Eve who stood in the Garden with them shouting, "I CAN SKIN MY OWN CRITTER!!!"
Luke #39 – He Wasn’t Lying!
“Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David” (Luke 3:31 – King James Version).
“And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias…And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to
My daddy likes to play music. When I was growing up he and his friends would play at dances, fish fries, stews, family reunions and functions of that like; most of the time I went along with them. Most of the time I managed to stay out of trouble…or maybe the most accurate terminology would be that half of the time I managed to stay out of trouble. One particular night a boy and I got into a fight early in the evening; my dad hadn’t begun to play yet…that’s how early it was. My daddy caught me by the arm and said “I am going to whip your behind when we get home.” I was worried for a while, but by the time I got home it was late. We had been at that stew for nearly eight hours! I was sure daddy had forgotten about that whipping or would have forgiven me and decided not to whip me. Guess what…he wasn’t lying! My daddy did not forget how ugly I had acted and he did not forget to give me that whipping!
Yesterday I said that it was a big thing for Mary’s genealogy to be presented in Luke. Today I want to tell you why that is. Mary was descended from David’s son Nathan. Joseph was descended from David’s son Solomon. What’s the big deal with that? Of Solomon’s line there was a descendent named Jeconiah (Jechonias in KJV – same fellow, different spelling). Jeconiah was also known as Jehoiachin and in at least one instance was called Coniah (Jeremiah 22:24). Jeconiah was a bad king. God gives authority to any who have it and God will always deal with those who misuse His gifts. In Jeremiah 22:30 we find a curse pronounced on Jeconiah: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless, for none of his children will ever sit on the throne of David to rule in Judah. His life will amount to nothing’” (NLT). UUNNH! That’s hard! Read all of Jeremiah 22 and you will find that Jeconiah had fair warning from God but would not do as God said. As a result, God removed that line’s privilege to be king over
In 1 Samuel 22:9 God had promised to establish Solomon’s line as the kingly line, but in Jeremiah 22:30 God removes Jeconiah as king. Jeconiah’s sin did not disestablish God’s promise; there still was legal right from Solomon’s line, but sin had ruined the validity and holiness of the legal line. Still…legal is legal, so we get Joseph as Jesus legal father passing on the legal line to Jesus. AND we get Mary as Jesus physical mother passing on the uncursed line, still descendants of David, in truth to God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 (born of a woman’s seed), and in truth to Himself God would not allow Jeconiah’s descendent to rule as king. So, Jesus is legal before men, legal before God and righteous before both.
Some say the Bible is confusing, but the more I study that wonderful record of God’s dealings with man the more straightened out I get! When God disavowed Jeconiah, He wasn’t lying! God is always true to Himself and He never lies to us. He remembers His promises and by His very nature cannot forget them!
This little testimony of Jesus’ family tree serves as further truth that Jesus is the only One that could have fulfilled every prophecy and requirement of law involved in identifying the one true Messiah; King of Kings; Son of the Living God. God wasn’t lying when He said He would send a redeemer and no matter how much mankind sinned and goofed up in between God saying it and doing it God remained true to Himself and kept His promises.
What does this mean to us today? Well…we can be more confident in the holiness of God, more sure of His promises, and more confident that Jesus is exactly who He said He was and is. That confidence should breed in us more holy boldness than we have ever had before. We can share boldly about Jesus affirmed in the truth that He really is the way, the truth and the life. HE WASN’T LYING! God never forgot a single promise! He never forgot a single punishment either. That’s another thing we can be sure of although we’d probably like to forget.
Grab hold of the promises of God today…when He made them, HE WASN’T LYING!