Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Incensed



Incensed

Rev 8:3  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. 5  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Measly and pusillanimous, that is how I generally regard my prayer efforts. I don't pray enough, there is not enough passion in my prayers. Sometimes they don’t seem to resonate. They proceed more as cacophony than symphony. They are not thorough enough. So much to pray for, so few prayers offered up.

Encouraging though, what prayers I do pray, as a child of the Most High, are regarded by heaven as a sweet-smelling savor which engulf the throne.

With all that God has to do, the Almighty desires communication with me, one of His kids. Imagine that, I get to incense heaven with my petitions, praise and intercessions!

Thank you, dear Lord, for hearing and answering my prayers. Forgive my lack of communication with you. May the words of my lips and the meditations of my heart be acceptable unto you. All-knowing God, know that I love you supremely. I offer you my service today. Empower it with your Holy Spirit. Amen!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

What's in a name?

Psa 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

"...his name JAH"

"Name" here speaks of God's individuality, authority, character. His very name tells of His renown.

Then we come to this curious demarcation of the Lord. We are used to the familiar usage of Lord, God and sometimes, occasionally, Jehovah. but here is a once and only usage of "JAH" as it stands alone. It is actually a contraction of Jehovah, but is used commonly as a suffix in many of the Bible names with which we are familiar. For examples; Eli(jah), "God of Jehovah"; Isa(iah), "JAH has saved"; Jerem(iah), "JAH will rise", etc.

The common usage of this suffix to Hebrew names indicates the centrality of God (JAH) in the lives of His people. He is integral to anything and everything.

In our culture, it seems as if God is an add-on. The phrase "God willing" is sometimes an afterthought rather than an all-important thought.

Our society hears the name of God used in blasphemy more than in praise and reverence.

What a crying shame that God's holy name is so misunderstood and misused. Would to JAH that we would pause, as the ancient scribes did, at the majesty of His name as it is presented, and make spiritual preparation before even invoking His holy and majestic name.

Let us consider that glorious name in whatever form we hear, say, read or otherwise engage it today. Names convey meaning, but true meaning is found only by the power of His name, JAH.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Place in this World


Ps 105:16-21
He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant...

The ancient bard said that all the world is a stage, and we, merely actors.

I fully subscribe to this sentiment. There is a place for each one of us trying to navigate our way through life. The intricacies of the grand design of God demand that each of us play his/her part well.

Joseph was the man whom God had sent to Egypt to save the world. A strange way to do so, for sure, but there is no doubting his role. He went from being hated of his brethren to slavery in Egypt to imprisonment due to libel to interpreter of dreams to viceroy of Egypt to savior of the planet.

Had it not been for God's anointed man, in the right place, in the right time, in the right circumstances, who knows what would have become of mankind.

Friend, did you know that you are also God's anointed child brought to your present station as a set up? Perhaps not to save the world, but possibly to save one soul, which is more valuable than the entire planet. It could be your own children, your neighbor, a loved one. Possibly your part is to plant a very important seed in a very needy heart.

Whatever role God has planned for you in this great drama of life, play your part well. Obey the Director's cues. Eternity will reveal the final act.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

God's Peace in a Changing Season

As summer breathes its diminishing gasps, the first leaves of a not yet existent autumn have begun to drop. A mixture of summer's fading heat and fall's palette of glory meet to present the world with its most beautiful gift, autumnal equinox.

God evidences Himself in scenes like this to ease the furrowed brow worried by nagging and unknown cares. His pervading Spirit anoints His children with the power of His Word and the subtle changes of creation.

Coffee meets study meets nature resulting in a reminder that, in His presence is the fullness of joy and at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Surely, the cares of this day will rush in like a swarm, but this moment, this frame of time offers a peace that the world cannot give and a joy it can't take away.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Stupid things Atheists say:

1. "Your God is dead." Wait, I thought you didn't believe in God?
2. "You people worship the dead man on a stick."
And yet, He still loves you and one drop of the blood He shed while on that stick will cleanse you of a billion sins.
3. "My god is my intellect " poor unbeliever, you got cheated big time. 
4. "I don't believe in the sky fairy."
Yeah, well, God doesn't believe in atheists either.
5. "While you are praying and dreaming of heaven, I am busy making this world a better place." Yeah, I noticed that as I drove by St. Cynics Hospital, St. Reason Orphanage, St. Agnostic Thrift Shoppe. Thanks for your contributions.
6. "If there really is a Good, let Him prove Himself and strike me down where I stand right now."
And, if there really is a God, wouldn't He be kind and patient enough to give you time to rethink that challenge? It's called Mercy and grace. Take advantage of it while it's available.

Philippians 3:18-19
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Can’t Wall



Are you ever overcome by feelings of utter inadequacy? It is as if everything in life builds up against your schedule, abilities, emotions and your resources. It gets to the point where you want to crawl into a hole and hope some abuser of your existence will finally, mercifully plug the opening.  

I know, I’ve been there. I have stood at the foundation of the “Can’t Wall,” beholding its bulk and realizing the thorough frustration that there is no climbing over, tunneling under or hiking around this gargantuan obstacle.

Is one person supposed to have this many responsibilities heaped on their shoulders? Is a gal really expected to carry herself along with the weight of so many others from day to day? Is some dude really meant to be the “go to” guy day in, day out without reinforcements, without rest, without relief?

Are you that person who has gone the extra mile so many times that a marathon would feel like child’s play?

Have you hit the Can’t Wall? The Apostle Paul did when he enumerated his troubles and concluded, “And then, there is the daily care of the churches on my shoulders.”
Let’s reinforce that wall for a bit.

You have your job and all that it entails. Then there is the care of the family, the spouse, the children and the pets. Add to that the home, laundry, kitchen, bathrooms, yard and all you have to do to keep your place from looking like a meth house. Plus, you have your vehicles to keep serviced, running, cleaned, gassed, insured, licensed. Have we mentioned the bills? Oh, add to that the pressures of life while your health is breaking down, your bathroom scales are screaming for relief, your love life is tanked and people on social media have climbed your frame because of your politics and faith.
Consider also the unwritten letters, birthday cards, graduation announcements, wedding preparation and the funeral on Wednesday. Perhaps the government is on your back about taxes, registrations, fees, license, regulations, rules and a speeding ticket because you were in a rush to get all this done.

Cold and flu season is just around the corner because it’s back-to-school time. Yeah, there’s that! Kids need backpacks, books, clothes (with the proper holes and tears), computers repaired, cell phones upgraded, where are those immunization papers? Band, choir and sports equipment need to be bought, sheaves of permissions, registration and liability sign-offs need to be read and returned.

“We have got to go to the grocery store, the cupboards are bare!” “What are you going to buy them with, your good looks?”

The toilet isn’t working, neither is your son. Your daughter’s heart is broken, your curling iron is too.

I can’t, I just can’t! It’s all too much, the wall that I have hit has knocked me down for the count!!!

Now, imagine attempting all this without the One Who enables and empowers us to do the things we cannot do. That’s where your neighbor lives! But you have something, some One they don’t, You have the Lord.

Friend, I will admit to you right now, the Can’t Wall has me somewhat overwhelmed. I’ve hit it hard and it hasn’t budged.

Then I recall something that has the potential to blast that wall to smithereens. Here it is: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 

*I - Weak, unable, inefficient, insufficient, depleted, frustrated, anxious, fearful.
*Can do all things – The other side of the wall.
*Through Christ – The all sufficient Savior - all knowing, all powerful, all
everything, my all-in-all.
*Which strengthens me – I can tap into the infinite energy and resources of the God Who hung planets, flung stars, carved landscapes, grew trees, fashioned life, bought salvation and sustains it all.

The Can’t Wall looms ahead of me this day. There are agendas to meet, plans to make, appointments to keep, people to help, things to do, bills to pay, burdens to bear, pain to endure, souls to save, articles to read, messages to prepare, life to live…and the lawn needs mowed!

I can’t get over, under or around the Can’t Wall. So, I’ll depend on my Lord to change my direction, show me a door I hadn’t seen before, or let it crumble before my shouts of praise like Jericho’s wall. And while depending on Him, I need to take those first steps toward the wall. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Casting it all in

Luke 21:1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

The words used 4 times here are kind of interesting. The words "cast" and "casting" literally mean to throw, by more or less violent action. Nobody really can tell us what the set up for giving was. We are used to ushers passing offering baskets down the rows of parishioners at offering time. Others have the practice of having a locked box in which congregants pass by, dropping their money in the slot in top of the box. Still others place offering plates on the altar and the congregation files by placing their offerings in the plate in front of the pastor's gaze. That's an interesting practice which seems biblical.

But here we have these rich men and a poor woman throwing their money into the collection for the treasury, used to assist the poor. And it was no private affair. It was an opportunity for the rich men to show off their generosity. Note that Jesus looked up to see this giving. Now, we understand that He is looking down, still interested in how generous people are.

The mite was the very smallest coin in that currency. It meant little to the overall need, yet it meant much to the Savior. The rich of this occasion gave a relatively small percentage while the poor widow threw in 100%. When rewards are given at the judgment seat, as all believers will surely witness her return with interest, she will, no doubt, be greatly rewarded above all earthly wealth combined. Think of it, a couple of pennies invested into the work of God, collecting heavenly interest at, say 5% per anum, over a couple of thousand years. Well, let's just say, her days of penury will be long forgotten. Though she warranted the attention of only Jesus and the disciples that day, all of heaven will applaud her sacrifice at the Bema on that great occasion.

I can’t wait until next Sunday’s offering!

So don't be afraid to cast it all into God's work if you are so inclined, Jesus is still paying attention to what's going into the plate.