Saturday, January 31, 2009

Make his praise glorious, make my ear do that thing.

Ps 66:1-2
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.

These verses not only show that we ought to sing to the Lord and praise Him, but that we need to do it whole-heartedly.

This is a far cry from the worship I have witnessed in our churches lately. It has been a long time since I have heard a congregation collectively worship the Lord like the Scripture says we ought.

Many years ago, while duck hunting, a friend of mine accidently discharged his 12 gage shotgun just a few inches from my ear. To compound that violent noise, we were inside a panel van that had been stripped of all interior upholstery. There was nothing but metal. You can imagine the reverberation of that gunshot. Some damage was done to my left ear. As time went by, the only difficulty I had was when I was a song leader at a large church in Illinois. I had a 70 voice choir behind me who had no problem "giving it all they had."

There were times when the congregation, filled with the spirit of worship, "raised the roof" with their singing. In those all out moments, my left ear began shutting down. It was as if a switch were being turned off and on in my ear. Whenever that happened, I knew we were making His praise glorious with a joyful noise.

As I think about it, there was another time not too long ago when I joined in the worship at the Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC. If I hadn't been in the last row of the main floor, I wonder if that ear thing might have happened again. (I was in the back row because that was the only seat I could find!)

Perhaps my ear is healed now, I don't know for sure, I just know it has been years since that happened. How I wish, just once more, God's people would give it everything they had in singing forth the honor of His name, enough for that ear thing to happen again.

If you are reading this, next time you get together with your spiritual family for corporate worship, put absolutely everything you have into it and lift up your voice to the Lord, for He is worthy!

Stimulus Package

so·cial·ism - according to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
When George Bush was the 43rd president of the United States, his antagonists decried him for having too much power. Now that the Messiah has ascended his throne in Washington, he has put our country on the fast track to socialism and those same people who criticized Bush are giving BHO free reign to do so.
In fact, if we grouped BHO’s groupies together and asked them what they think of socialism, they would cheer. “Yeah man! Yes we can! Change dude, that’s what we need!” The Anointed One told us exactly what he was going to do when he told Joe the Plumber that we’ve got to “spread the wealth around.”
Well, congress has backed the Prez on his pork-laden $888,000,000,000 stimulus plan and, if the senate follows suit, each American will be $3,333 further in debt. And for what? Mr. Bush persuaded America to TARP entities like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and others so they could give hefty bonuses to their execs for the end of the year. Any one of these bonuses would put any one of us normal folk on easy street for the rest of our lives. That little brain-storm cost us $700B. By the way, that’s $2800 per American. Okay, we normal Joe’s are now expected to offer up $30,000 average per family for economic stimulation. I ask again, for what? Or better yet, for whom?
*$20,000,000 for the removal of small to medium sized fish passage barriers. Clue: Leave the stinking barriers in place!!!
*$400 million for STD prevention. Okay, I see where “stimulation” enters the picture.
*$25,000,000 is for recreation maintenance, especially for rehabilitation of off-road vehicle routes, and $20,000,000 is for trail maintenance and restoration. Now, I’m a guy who likes his trails maintained, but my goodness, I’ll use them as they are, thank you.
*$34,000,000 for the Department of Commerce renovation and modernization. Oh wow! Commerce gives itself a new look for only $34 mill. I wonder if that will pass the smell test?
*$70,000,000 is directed to specifically support supercomputing activities, especially as they relate to climate research. Double whammy! Obama supporter and world’s richest man Bill Gates needs our $$$ to help him save the planet. And is it now a foregone conclusion that Al Gore was right, Mother Earth is on life support and running a high fever? Turn the supercomputers off and cool the planet down a few clicks.
*The Secretary shall use up to $ 50,000,000 per year, and $150,000,000 in the case of 2009, from the Trust Fund to provide emergency relief to eligible producers of livestock, honey bees, and farm-raised fish to aid in the reduction of losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary. That’s it friend, save the honey bees and the farm raised catfish, but drain my savings. Hey Mr. Obama, I have a Senate seat I’d like to sell you!
So fellow Americans, how do you like socialism? You wanted to crown him king even though he warned you what he was going to do. We hope you enjoyed America as the founders envisioned it, it’s gone now!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Sword that Cuts Both Ways.

Psa 64:3 Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:
Psa 64:8 So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves:

Talk about biting your tongue! What about when your tongue bites you?

Sharp tongues tend to hurt a lot of people. But in the end, they cut the one who has sharpened his tongue to use it as a weapon.

Let's use our words to help rather than hurt, to heal rather than harm. The power of the tongue is underestimated. I have seen it ruin lives, split churches and sepatate best friends.

Have you heard about the lady who responded to the altar call? She said to the pastor, "I've come to lay my tongue on the altar." He replied, "Ma'am, we'd have to add a few feet to the altar to accommodate that feat!"

Ask God for the power to use your words wisely and helpfully.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Desert of My Job.

When you take a gander at the Judean wilderness, you get an idea of David's thoughts in the 63rd Psalm.

It has been said that when God had finished creating the world, He dumped the left-over rocks in Israel. Having been there and seen it, I could believe that legend.

Here, David is exiled from Jerusalem, that lofty, beautiful, gleaming city on a hill, home to the house of God and His Shekinah glory. He is languishing in the desert, on the run and longing for and recollecting home and for worship in the tabernacle.

In a sense, this reminds me of all my brothers and sisters out there in the work-a-day world, away from the house of God, far from the weekend worship where God came down with His glory.

The work week can sometimes feel like the desert where there is a dearth of the Living Water, where the glory and power of God seem distant and unattainable.

I thank God for His omnipresence. The reality is that God wishes to enter the fray of the nitty-gritty with you. He wants to work the line with you, travel the open road right by your side, and never leave you nor forsake you.

Church is great! The fellowship of the brethren (and sistern :<) is precious. Worshiping together can lift our spirits to great heights. Hearing God's Word preached in the power of the Spirit is unparalleled. But God with us in the factory, the school, the hospital, sustaining us in the mundane, that's the glory of being a believer. Additionally, longing for the house of the Lord while working in the world is a good thing. It gives us an appreciation for our church.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ps 62:5 For my expectation is from Him.

Picture, if you will, little eaglets in their downy nest awaiting mom's return with a bit of carrion to fill their empty bellies. Now imagine a brisk wind coming up the canyon, filling their beaks with a sensation, but with no substance. And then, a light rain falls, small droplets enter agape mouths, but again, no satisfaction. What those little beggars need is a substantial meal. That is what they await. They long to hear mom's screech far overhead, the swoosh of her wings and the transfer of meat from her beak to their gullet.

As I look around, I am seeing multitudes of souls who await...something. They know not what it is they long for, so they are accepting of whatever comes along that offers the possibility of fulfillment. They have not learned that the Savior truly satisfies, and nothing else. So they accept "change that we can believe in", empty promises, tired rhetoric, idle idealism, fleshly temptation, alcoholic numbness, and drugged-induced stupors. They go from the gym to the bar to the theater to the club to the track to the casino to the buffet, and in the end, they are still hungry for something real and substantive. And these foolish little fledglings are not just the non-Christians, I see believers who cannot settle on Christ as their sufficiency. Shame!

The Bread of life offers sustenance. The Water of life offers satisfaction. In Him, we shall not want. He makes us to lie down in green pastures, He leads us beside the still waters, He restores our souls.

Look no further than your ever present Savior for that which you are missing.

When you expect from Him, you will never be disappointed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Looking Forward to Tougher Times.

Psa 60:3 Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
Psa 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

I believe the Lord is going to show His people some hard things in the coming months and years.

Not a day passes without me hearing of our own folks who are being hit by the struggling economy. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacles were the tip of the iceberg which is sinking our Titanic economy. The thing is, if you will, that this has all been manufactured. We are hurtling toward the end times at exponential speeds and things have to go south so the world's system will accept the rule of a global leader we know as antichrist.

Herein lies the blessing to believers. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for those whose citizenship is in heaven. The more chaos on earth means our mansions are almost ready.

I am amazed and amused at the popularity of our new president and the speed with which he is bulldozing the eroding foundations of our nation, all on the vague platform of "Change" and "Yes, We Can!"

This gives me pause to realize just how quickly a global leader will be able to come on the scene, pull the proverbial wool and push through a godless agenda to bring about the tribulation period.

Imagine, people are already so tired of the global war on terror that they are thirsting for peace, even if it is a false one. Middle-east skirmishes, like the recent one in Gaza, the Iraqi and Afghani wars and even the culture wars leave people clamoring for peace, even if means giving up freedom, liberty and the American way of life.

Our founders would not recognize our nation if they could see it today. Our grandparents would not be able to recognize it in a few months considering the slippery slope we are now on.

However, the greater the darkness, the brighter the light. We have an unequalled opportunity to share Christ, the real answer to the world's problems. The sham of what is being shoved down the world's throats at this time is going to leave people empty and disappointed, but Jesus never fails.

Keep on witnessing, brothers and sisters. God is showing us some hard things but we must hoist the banner, displayed because of truth!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seeking God

Ps 53:2,3 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

These are indeed sad verses, yet they are a challenge, a goal for those who love God.

We are all sinners, some saved, some yet unforgiven. That doesn't mean we can't strive to understand the mind of the Lord. That's why He gave us His Word, that we might know what are His thoughts. Yes, the riches of His grace are unsearchable, that doesn't keep us from trying to scratch the mine's surface. Even the helpless lady with the issue of blood was able touch the hem of His garment.

DL Moody was told, "it is yet to be seen what God can do for and through a man that is totally committed to Him." DL accepted that challenge by saying, "By god's grace, I will be that man." And what a wonderful ministry he had as he shook two continents for God." Yet at the end of his blessed life, Moody said, "It is yet to be seen what God can do for and through a man that is totally committed to Him."

Friend, why don't you and I seek God with our whole hearts this day. When this day is over, let's rise to that challenge again tomorrow.

God is looking from heaven for some who understand and seek God. By His grace, may you and I be those people.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

He who laughs last, laughs best.

Ps 59:8 But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.

Those wicked people who are our greatest cause of concern and consternation are God's greatest cause of amusement. Spurgeon put it this way; "The greatest, cleverest, and most malicious of the enemies of the church are only objects of ridicule to the Lord; their attempts are utterly futile."

The picture in my mind of God on His throne chuckling at the feeble efforts of the Chihuahuas nibbling at the heels of God's bulldogs is amusing. As they ramp up their attempts of persecution, His laughter becomes a heavenly roar as He sends them into derision. They are like the Keystone Cops on a case or like dogs chasing their own tails.

The thing is, God knows the end from the beginning. He will accomplish that which He wills and see to it that His own are vindicated and rewarded no matter the futile efforts of the wicked.

So don't throw in the towel when the flood of fools rush in to your world seeking to undo your life. If you could only see the scene from God's vantage point, you'd be ROTFLOL (rolling on the floor, laughing out loud.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Word of God - Trust it, Love it, Learn it, Live it and Praise it.

Ps 56:4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Ps 56:10, 11 In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

Sometimes, we Bible believers are accused of being bibliolaters, that is, we idolize and worship the Bible. I plead guilty to an extent. God's Word is His bond and His promise. God has magnified His Word above all His name. Ps 138:2

I love the Word of God, for it is truth. It has all the answers of Life. Its depths can never be fathomed. Its riches can never be depleted. It is life to me. It is my anchor. It is my sword. It is a hammer. It is the water of life, and daily bread for the soul. It is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. It is alive! Though the ink has long since dried on its pages, it is fluid. It meets my needs on a daily basis. The Holy Spirit speaks to my daily need through its God-breathed pages. Through the Bible, I know God, I experience His character, standard, love, mercy and grace.

The Word of God remains the world's best-selling book, but to me it is the world's best reading love story. I also see it as life's owner's manual. To me it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness.

So like David, I choose to praise the Word of God.

Oh Lord, how I love, praise and honor your reliable, unfailing Word!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh that I had wings like a dove!

Ps 55:4-6 My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

Because we find troubles all around us, because our hearts are hurting and we have fear of what could be lurking around the next corner, we are often tempted to run away.

The Psalmist was a flight risk also. He had fierce enemies, they were doing him wrong, he was horrified at the wickedness around him, he was heart-broken and fearful. He fantasized that he were like a bird so he could just fly away and find more comfortable surroundings where he could finally rest from his problems.

There is not a one of us who doesn't relate to this desire.

But there are problems with flight.

1. Our problems, not dealt with, always catch up to us. They seem to get forwarded to our retreat location.

2. A brand new set of problems will await us at our new address.

3. Our retreat location is never "all that." What we had hoped for and the reality are often very different things.

4. When we flee our situations, we also forsake those who love us and have invested their lives into us.

5. We cheat ourselves of God’s purpose for our trials.

The truth of the matter is, God would have us to remain in the battle and allow Him to do the fighting for us. This way, we can experience the exuberance of victory. Tough situations are part of the human pathos, winning (and even losing) are part of our growth and learning experience.

Remember that God makes all things beautiful in His time. Sometimes he calms the storm in our lives, sometimes He rides out the storm with us. There are mountains He removes from our path, but more often, He gives us the strength to climb them.

So stay in the battle, my friend. I know you want to run, to hide, to rest, but God has victory and growth planned for you. The answer to what you are going through is already on its way. God will see you through. Stay put, stay strong, stay faithful.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stop and think about that for a while!

Ps 54:3 "...oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah."

Wouldn't it be nice if everybody just did the right thing? If everyone paid what they owed, if each treated his neighbor as he would be treated, if people were just civil, it would be like, like, well, it would be like heaven. But we aren't there yet and we do have to put up with some pretty foul characters who care only about themselves, no matter the injury to others. Their theme is; "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine!"

The Bible calls these people "oppressors", meaning that they are napoleanic tyrants. Like spoiled rotten little children, only powerful enough to do harm to others.

Their biggest problem is that they don't even consider that there is a God in heaven and He's taking notes! Verse 7 says that our eyes will see all God's desire upon our enemies. Won't it be a surprise to the spoiled rotten, tyrannical oppressors who operated with seeming impunity when they stand before Almighty God, knees a knocking and then an angel says to them, "Bow!" I am sure some will refuse and they will be forced prostrate by the power of His word. then the tables will be turned. Then all wrongs shall be righted. Then our cream will rise to the top!

Today's verse ends with the musical instruction "Selah" which means, stop and think about that for a while.

Well, Mr. Tyrant, Ms. get-your-way-at-any cost, just keep on oppressing God's kids and you are going to get yours, Zam! Pow! to the moon Alice!

Stop and think about that for a while!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Behind Enemy Lines

Ps 54

The background of this chapter finds David writing from exile. He had hid himself among the inhabitants of Ziph while Saul sought his life. Meanwhile, some of the Ziphites ratted on him to Saul.

In a sense, we find ourselves in a similar place; living in a world that is not our home. The system of this world is no friend of ours or of our God. What can we do while we are in this exile? Follow David's example.

1. He prayed! He asked for salvation and God's righteous judgment. vss 1&2.

2. He pled his cause to the Lord. He stated in specifically the status quo (the fix he was in!)
vs 3

3. He recognized that his only hope was the Lord. vs 4 "Behold, God is mine helper:"

4. He coveted his prayer support. vs 4
"the Lord is with them that uphold my soul."

5. He realized the ultimate end of his enemies. He teaches that right is greater than might, good is greater than evil, truth is greater than error and eternity is greater than the immediate. vs 5

6. He gives God glory in advance of What He is going to do for His servant. 6-7.

So there you go God in today’s trials and setbacks. In the end, you win!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Does anybody seek God?

Ps 53:2,3 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

These are indeed sad verses, yet they are a challenge, a goal for those who love God.

We are all sinners, some saved, some yet unforgiven. That doesn't mean we can't strive to understand the mind of the Lord. That's why He gave us His Word, that we might know what are His thoughts. Yes, the riches of His grace are unsearchable, that doesn't keep us from trying to scratch the mine's surface. Even the helpless lady with the issue of blood was able touch the hem of His garment.

DL Moody was told, "it is yet to be seen what God can do for and through a man that is totally committed to Him." DL accepted that challenge by saying, "By god's grace, I will be that man." And what a wonderful ministry he had as he shook two continents for God." Yet at the end of his blessed life, Moody said, "It is yet to be seen what God can do for and through a man that is totally committed to Him."

Friend, why don't you and I seek God with our whole hearts this day. When this day is over, let's rise to that challenge again tomorrow.

God is looking from heaven for one who understand and seek God. By His grace, may you and I be those people.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Prerequisites for a soul winner

Ps 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Wasted years, wasted years, oh how foolish…

For a whole year King David has been consumed with cover-up, burial of his illegitimate son, taking in a new bride who was widowed, thanks to his manipulation, and trying to run his kingdom. Least on his list of things to do was bringing people to God. Now that he has turned his life back over to God, he loves what God loves...souls. What preparatory steps does David take to reestablish his soul-winning power?

1. A Clean Heart, vs 10. David knows that God will not use a dirty vessel, so he begs God's cleansing and forgiveness.

2. A Right Spirit, vs 10.
Turmoil within and a sinful wall of separation from God's fellowship are detrimental to being used of Him in eternal matters. If we wish to be teachable and useable in His service, our spirit must be right.

3. God's Powerful Presence, vs 11.
"Apart from me ye can do nothing." This is the promise of Jesus. We are clearly taught that "no man cometh to the Father lest my Spirit draw him." Any soul-winner will tell you tell you that only when we are imbued with Spirit of God, and not until, can we be effective witnesses for the Lord.

4. The Joy of the Lord, vs 12. The old adage fits... "You can draw more flies with honey than with vinegar." Frankly, not many people would want the religion many 'Christians' portray. It seems that those miserable folks have more indigestion than they have faith. Our belief should make us joyful, not painful. It is said that some are a blessing where ever they go, others are a blessing where ever they go! Which are you? We ought to draw others to Christ with the joy of our salvation rather than repel them with the bitterness of our situation.

When we have been cleansed, given a right spirit, filled with His Spirit and joy, Then are we ready to teach transgressors the way of the Lord and see them converted to Christ.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I Can't Get It Out Of My Mind!

Ps 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

It is a sobering fact that the child of God cannot live apart from God's commands and enjoy himself beyond the immediate gratification. Sin bites ferociously long after the act and until the matter has been resolved between the soul and its Maker. It is a blessing that this is the case. It proves that we belong to Him for, as I John 3:9 teaches, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." A little explanation is needed here. "commit sin" means to abide in missing the mark. In other words, a born again person cannot continue in the same sin without conviction, misery and a desire to right his wrongs.

Hebrew tells us that if we are without chastisement, or correction from God, whereof all children of God are partakers, then we are illegitimate and not true sons of God.

Therefore, when a Christian sins, he can expect that sin to never fully leave his conscience until he has done business with God as David did.

Are there any sins that you have not confessed before your Lord? Right now is the best time to admit to God your trespass and let Him wash you thoroughly from your sin. I Jn 1:9 instructs, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Complete Work of the Cross!

Ps 51:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity.

Often we have a warped view of sin and forgiveness. In our imagination of God, we see Him in human terms, unable to totally forgive and forget. That is how we approach people who have wronged us. "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." "I'll forgive you, but I won't forget!" "I'll love that person, but I sure don't have to like them."

But the blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin. When we have been granted His pardon, He takes our sins away as far as the east is from the west, He casts them in to the depths of the sea and will never remember them against us again. That, my friend is complete and total forgiveness.

David, as bad as he felt about his iniquities, knew that God was able to wash him throughly and make him every whit whole.

Praise God for the work on Calvary that washes white as snow!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's it going to take?

Ps 51 - David's Repentance.

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions."

Let's not be too smug in our self righteousness. We are all sinners, some are as lost as can be, others are forgiven, but we are all still sinners. It is the nature of the bodies which house our souls.

King David, the man after God's own heart, has committed some of the most egregious sins imaginable - sloth, lust, adultery, deceit and murder. For a year, his soul has been rotting under the guilt of hypocrisy. I wonder if he had been in regular attendance at the services at the tabernacle. I imagine he had been singing the songs of Zion from a half heart as his wickedness had separated him from intimate fellowship with his God.

And then, one fateful day as timing, his misery, God's sovereignty and providence and the Prophet's chutzpah would have it, reckoning came to pass. The prophet Nathan stuck his nose in where David may have thought it didn't belong. He also stuck his long bony finger into the king's chest and said, "Thou art the man!"

Why, the holy audacity! Heads have rolled for much less. But God's man has to do God's bidding. And, thank God he was faithful. This is what it took to restore the sweet Psalmist of Israel to a right relationship with God.

I remind you, none of us are immune to our common enemy. We sin, most of us daily and possibly even more often that that. When we realize that sin is define as the things we think, say and do that break God's law, we know that we are all miserable sinners.

My question today is, what's it going to take for us to get right with God? The burden of having broken the Savior's heart? The reality of our guilt for breaking His commands? The sorrow of having our own lives broken by the consequences of our sin? Perhaps the man of God breaking through our privacy barrier to confront us with our offense?

God may use any of these methods, or a combination thereof. But in any case, it is the goodness of God that leadeth us to repentance.

Thank God that He never gives up on His own. He won't put up with us willfully staying out of fellowship with Him. He will do what it takes to bring the Prodigal back home.

If you are away from the Lord right now, what's it going to take to get you right with God?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lord, have mercy!

Psa 50:20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.

Hypocrisy is rampant among people who claim the name of Christ. Kenny Bishop sings a thought provoking song, "Lord Have mercy." From that song and today's Scripture, I gather the following thoughts.

Lord have mercy.
Everybody needs mercy.
We all have sinned and all have fallen short of your glory.
I will show mercy, so I can have mercy.
As I judge others, so will I be judged.
Help me do unto others as you have done unto me.
Lord, pull the beam from my eyes and let me not behold the mote in my brother's eye.
May I sow seeds that will end up helping my needs.
Forgive my trespasses as I forgive others their trespasses.
I will cast my bread upon the waters, so that, after many days, it will come back to me.
Help me not to judge, for I am guilty of the very same things!

Friend, may each of us be slow to judge, quick to forgive and ready to show mercy and forgiveness. If God can do so, shouldn't we?

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Mistaken Notions of the Rich

Ps 49:6-17 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches...

1. Riches separate some people from their humility. vs 6. Money has a way of insulating people from common sense. People have to have something to trust in, unfortunately, some of the rich put their faith in fleeting finances.
2. Their are those wealthy people who think they can buy salvation, as if silver and gold trump the blood of Christ. 7-9. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. All the money in the world could not buy one sliver of salvation. What a foolish notion!
3. Those of high society die just as a lowlife would. vs 10 When the blood stops circulating, the air stops flowing and the brain ceases activity, it's over, whether rich or poor. Life eventually gives way to death. Money can only put off the inevitable for so long.
4. Some of the rich secretly think that if they can leave enough to their posterity, establish charitable foundations in their name, have their name enshrined on a hospital wing or a street named after them, somehow they can live on in that manner. vs 11
5. Perhaps if their kids and grandkids quote their worldly wisdom enough, that can buy them immortality. 13

But in the end, as the childhood poem says, they all fall down.

Verses 12 and 14 show that, when it comes to physical death, man and beast are no different, money and power not withstanding.

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem provides an interesting illustration. Divided into two chapels and the Nativity Grotto, the church is possessed by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and the Armenian Churches. But there is still only one entrance. That door is called the Door of Humility. It stands only about 4 feet high. It was built so that invading horsemen could not enter. But more importantly, anyone who enters must bow. Whether pope or potentate, rich or poor, all must lowly bow in the same fashion to see the place where it is said Jesus was born.

Never think that money or position or good deeds could ever bring a person to righteousness. It is only by grace through faith in Jesus that we can stand before a holy God.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Twilight Zone

Ps 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

To Whom do we run when there's nowhere else to run to?

One of the classic Twilight Zones of all time tells the story of ultimate disappointment. The episode features a young Burgess Meredith as an ultra meek, henpecked bookworm, bank-teller Henry Bemis, who survives a nuclear blast while reading in the bank vault while on lunch break. He emerges to find himself all alone in the world, which seems to be not such a bad fate for a willing loner like Henry. He has, at his disposal, an abundance of all the food and creature comforts. Finally, he stumbles onto the steps of the municipal library where he gleefully piles up hundreds of volumes of the classics for future reading. He has them laid out for week by week, month by month and year by year reading. He has finally found his refuge, with nothing but time for his favorite and only passion, reading. Above all, there is no one to hinder him, no boss to forbid his passion, no wife to nag him about his habit, just Henry and his books. Then, the unthinkable occurs. His thick glasses fall from his face and break on the pavement. Mr. Bemis had all the time in the world to read, but no glasses to see. This ultimate disappoint lands him in…the Twilight Zone.

God is our unfailing refuge. His well is never empty for the thirsty soul. His door is always unlocked for the one needing admission. When we have found Him as our refuge and strength, there is no disappointment.

Because God is a very present help in time of trouble, the believer will never find himself adrift in... the Twilight Zone.