Friday, February 26, 2010

David's Blog

Psa 57:1 To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
Psa 57:2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.

The more I read the Psalms, the more I relate the ones David penned to blogging. It really sets my mind to imagination. I can picture him in this episode, narrowly escaping Saul, having spent the night curled up in the corner of the same cave, hiding from the one who wanted him dead.

I can picture him making this escape, tip-toeing past his pursuer, stopping to quietly cut off a bit of Saul's garment, proof of his near miss, thinking, "Boy, is this going to make a good Psalm, if I live through it!"

Later in the day, a safe distance away, he sits to pen these words: "Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast."

I think it is good to record our thoughts as God's will unfolds before us, as the events of our lives give way to praise for His providence.

For me, another work week has come to a close and I am in awe of the sovereignty of God in my life. I write this morning, refusing to be nonplussed by the plusses of the week or negated by the negatives.

I note, with David in verse 2, “God performeth all things for me.” As my preacher friend from Pittsburg says, "Only God can do these things."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

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 defined 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?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

E-Gads!!! (and E-Reubens!)

Num 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manassah approached Moses to petition that they be allowed to stay on the east side of the Jordan and have an inheritance there, rather than in the Promised Land. Their reasoning was that they had so many cattle and that land was good cattle land. Gad, by the way, means a troop or a crowd.

Moses was angered at the request by this crowd. It was definitely not part of his agenda, for which he had worked the past 40 years.

But these 2 and 1/2 tribes proffered a plan, the men would go into the land, conquer and divide it with the rest of Israel and then return to their people east of Jordan. Moses decided he could live with that, as long as they held up their end of the bargain.

We can well relate to this story. The Jews in the wilderness are a type of the church in this world. It is to be unified and strong. Splits and division are to be avoided whenever possible. Only in God's plan should division for greater good occur.

One example may be planting a partner church across town. A pastor, like Moses was to Israel, is rightfully agitated when a body is about to separate. But He is thrilled when it means that God's work is increased.

May our church (and yours) work together to become so successful that we are able to divide and conquer the land.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me!

Num 33:4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.

It is well known that each of the miraculous plagues sent upon the Egyptians were a direct attack against their gods.

That makes me think of the gods we "sophisticated" people tend to prostrate ourselves before; cash, cars, careers, etc.

I firmly believe that our great and jealous God will only put up with our idolatrous ways for so long before He begins to strike out against them.

Perhaps today, each of us could examine our lives to see if we are committing idolatry and get it out of the way of a wonderful relationship with Him.

Remember, the Devil only pays us in counterfeit bills.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Godly Jealousy

Num 31:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 31:2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.
Num 31:3 And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian.

The Israelites, by God's direction, launched an attack against Midian in revenge for Midian's degradation of Israel in chapter 25, culminating with the following verses;

Num 25:16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 25:17 Vex the Midianites, and smite them:
Num 25:18 For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake.

As a result, they took the spoils, or booty of them the following; 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys and 32,000 virgin girls.

This is so dramatic, so drastic. Yet, it shows the tremendous jealousy God has over His people. He wants NOTHING to come between Himself and His own. He wants NOTHING to usurp our allegiance to Him. If God went to these lengths to destroy the Midianites and to preserve His people, I can only imagine the battle that transpires between God and the enemy to preserve our fidelity to Him.

God, Who bought us with His dear Son's blood, is deserving of our loyalty and we should be sober and guarded of the relationship He desires to build with us.

God, let nothing come between me and you today. Allow me to be alert to the devil's devices. May our fellowship be strengthened today. Help me to be as jealous over your sheep as you are over me. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

There Was Not a Man Left of Them

Num 26:65 For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

Caleb and Joshua distinguished themselves from the rest of the Jews in the wilderness by believing in God and acting by faith on His Word.

Imagine, 2 out of 600,000 men in the wilderness who believed God, and thereby pleased Him. Hebrews tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Jesus asked the rhetorical question, when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?

It makes you wonder if there will be one man, woman, boy or girl left of us with true faith in God. Honestly, I don't see a whole lot of it among the people I know. Lip-service type faith, there is plenty of that. But the kind of faith that moves mountains in issues related to the salvation of souls, the spiritual prosperity of the church, health, relational and financial, etc., I don't see a whole lot of it.

God is looking for faith to be expressed among His children, will there be one left among us who will not die in the wilderness of unbelief?

Friday, February 19, 2010

What Hath God Wrought?

What hath God wrought! Numbers 23:23

A great nation out of an undeserving people led by an unlikely leader in an unusual manner. He fashioned warriors out of slaves, winners out of whiners, lions out of lambs (24).

As impotent as we are, God is always omnipotent. I take great solace in this.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Wrath of Man

Num 20:1 Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.
Num 20:2 And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.
Num 20:3 And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

Dumb, stupid, carnal, self-centered whiney babies. That's a fair description of the Jews in the wilderness.

Miriam, sister to Moses and Aaron. Sort of the queen of Israel, national women's choreographer, dies in Kadesh. Did the people mourn? Did their hearts go out to the surviving family? No! They belly-ached AGAIN! How inconsiderate they were. How short their memories, how dark their hearts?

Listen to their reasoning: "Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!" Did you see that? Rather than endure a little deprivation, they wished that they had been swallowed up by the earth with Korah or consumed by the fire of the Lord like the 250 rebellious Levites. Apparently, they had no idea of their eternal abode in the place where the boogie man lives!!!

So, they chide Moses and Aaron about a water shortage, not considering their grief. Did they not know that Moses had saved their miserable carcasses several times from God’s wrath. Moses and Aaron respond with a little anger concerning the water that gets them in hot H2O with the Lord.

They smote the rock of Meribah 2 times rather than speaking to it as the Lord commanded. The result, Aaron is divested of his priestly robes and taken on to glory and Moses had to put up with the gripers for another few decades and then is not allowed into the Promised Land.

Can you blame the brothers for their anger against the Jews? "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?"

Their anger with the people could have been excused, but it was the Lord they had
slighted by not honoring His word, not believing Him, not sanctifying Him in the
people's eyes.

Be angry and sin not,” we are warned. They were angry, but they sinned in their anger. Remember that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (James 1:20)

Don't let the sins of others mess with your relationship with God.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Such as I Have

Act 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
Act 3:2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
Act 3:3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
Act 3:4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
Act 3:5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Act
3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Act 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
Act 3:8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
Act 3:9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:

God doesn't want from us that which we don't have, He uses what we do have. Moses had a rod, Samson had a jawbone, a little boy had 5 loaves and 2 fish, a man on Olivet had a donkey, a friend had an upper room. Peter and John had no money, but they had a connection with the resurrected Jesus.

Because these servants were willing to offer what they had, 3 million Jews were freed from bondage, 1,000 of the enemy were slain, 5,000 were fed, the King rode into Jerusalem, Pentecost occurred, and a lame man walked.

You may not have much to offer today. Your strength may be small and your wallet very thin, but God doesn't need a whole lot to do drastic things. Little is much when God is in it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rapture Ready

Act 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Act 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The Disciples were no different than us when it comes to expectancy. Their trials were a bit more pronounced than ours, but for sure, they were looking for a better day.

But the Lord would have us more concerned with the coming of the Holy Spirit than the coming of the end.

The Holy Spirit's filling is for witnessing power. He deemphasized the compulsion to ascertain the time of His coming and encouraged them, and us, to be about the business of getting the gospel to others.

We look for our Lord's coming, but we must also be looking for the opportunity to witness before the end, for then it will be too late.

Lord, lead each of us to one soul today who needs to hear about your sacrifice for them. Amen!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Elihu, the 4th Friend, Vents

Job 32:19 Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.

So along comes the 4th “friend” to advise Job. He waits for days for his chance to talk. Out of respect for his elders, he holds his disrespect until they all fall silent for a pregnant period of time.

This is classic. "I can't hold it in anymore, I am going to explode if I don't say something!" I think they named Twitter after this twit.

Immediately, he begins his derogatory treatise against his elders. Against the first three friends because their arguments were weak, against Job because he thinks Job is old and senile in his reasoning.

There is a reason children should be seen and not heard, Elihu removes any doubt this adage is valid.

Once again, they ALL miss the mark by a mile. God is allowing Job to be tested, when that testing is through, he will come forth as purest gold. But these guys think God is punishing Job for some horrible sin. Elihu accuses Job of fighting against God (33:13) but in reality, Job consistently fights for God's honor.

Finally, in his introduction, he has the gall to say to Job, "hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom." (33:33)

Now, I am all for Paul's instruction to young Timothy, when he said, "Let no man despise thy youth." But to reprove a man whom God calls perfect and upright deserves better than this young punk's tirade.

Odd, how these guys were pretty good theologians before any other book of Scripture had ever been written, but they were great at misapplying their theology.

It would have been better if this theological gas bag would have exploded rather than venting on suffering, righteous Job.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rich in Wisdom

Job 29:1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,
Job 29:2 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;
Job 29:3 When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;
Job 29:4 As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;
Job 29:5 When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me;
Job 29:6 When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil;

Though Job's riches vanished by the evil devices of the devil, greater riches proceeded from his lips for all generations to follow.

Most who suffer greatly tend to talk out of their heads, resorting to foolish banter and ridiculous accusations against God.

Yet Job's trust in God and exaltation of His ways and wisdom only increase with his prolonged illness.

For some, suffering is a great distraction, maybe even a vacation from common sense. For others, it enables an intense focus on the Lord. Trouble brings clarity to them.

May we react as the latter, rather than the former.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Big Troubles, Soft Heart

Job 23:16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:

Job's sufferings are unequalled. How he could endure with patience the load that the Lord allowed in his life is beyond comprehension.

There are dozens of nuggets of wisdom that pour forth from this poor man's situation. Most were in answer to foolish barbs hurled his way by less than faithful friends and his foolish spouse.

One such nugget, rich with the gold of godly wisdom is this verse that gives us some insight as to why good people must suffer. We are sometimes troubled to soften our hearts.

The previous chapter has one of Job's "friends" accusing him of being less than kind and helpful to the poor, the widow, orphans and the needy. I am somewhat suspicious of this accusation, seeing as how God deemed Job as perfect and upright. Never the less, Job took it personally and softens his heart anyway.

We join in to that fellowship of suffering with Job, and with Jesus (Phil 3:10), for many reasons, known to God, if not to us.

But the softening of the heart is one great benefit of setbacks and heartbreaks. Are you in the midst of difficulties even now? Allow the Lord to soften your heart towards Him and others so that your pain will not be wasted.

Monday, February 8, 2010

With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies!

Job 15:1 Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
Job 15:2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
Job 15:3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?

Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz were quite the triumvirate of support for Job. Not! Initially, we can respect their respect for Job. He was in such a woeful state of loss and poor health that that sat with him for three days unable to utter even a word.

Silence can say a lot. They should have left it at that. Once they began their philosophical tirades against poor old Job, they unfairly piled on only to make a bad situation worse. Their accusations and answers to this godly man show us a number of things.

1. Never criticize a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins. They were adamant about how he should ride his horse when they weren't the ones in the saddle, they weren't even anywhere near the horse! It is easy to criticize and judge and “go off” with misinformation until you get an idea of what your friend is really going through.

2. They didn't listen well. They heard him, but they didn't really listen. It seemed as if their listening served only to catch him in his words. They would have done better to listen to his heart.

3. They didn't trust Job's judgment. Neither they, nor job could really grasp what was truly transpiring. It was all about a spiritual warfare that was going on over Job's loyalties. Satan and God were duking it out and these guys were majoring on minor issues. Job was trying to get to the bottom of the reasons for his suffering, these 3 were reacting according to their limited knowledge of the ways of God. Their limited knowledge kept them from understanding what Job was trying to say.

4. They couldn't buy his innocence. The 3 amigos didn't want to be confused with the facts. All they knew, or thought they knew, was that if you are suffering, you have sinned. It was all black and white. In fact, Job was innocent, the Lord even testified to his uprightness. But they couldn't grasp that possibility and refused to even consider it. I do feel that with true friends, they don't need an explanation. But with others, they will never buy your explanation.

5. They were unkind to one who needed and deserved the milk of human kindness and decency. Here was a man whose misery was without peer. He was in great need of consolation and help, yet he received speeches. Not helpful ones, at that.

Let's commit to the kind of friendship the sticks closer than that of a brother, that loves unconditionally, that supports and grows and sharpens. Friends like Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz are a dime a dozen, but a real friend is extremely rare and infinitely valuable.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Worth of a man.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Job 1:2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
Job 1:3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Job was a mighty man when it came to riches. In fact, he was unequaled in his part of the world.

Rich in livestock.
Job owned 7000 sheep. Sheep prices are at a several year low at the present, never-the-less, lambs and ewes are sold by weight, going for about $90 per pound. So, an 80 lb sheep would be worth just over $70. Job had 7000 of them on his Rancho de Uz, so the ovine value was about $490,000

He possessed 3000 camels. In our day, a sturdy male camel with a life expectancy of 60 years and upward, can fetch about $1000. Good racing camels can bring $2000. Camels are used as beasts of burden, for their meat, for their hair and for sport. Estimated value of Job's camels, $3 million.

Additionally, 500 yoke of oxen belonged to him. A yoke of oxen would mean a matched pair, bringing the individual number to 1000. Oxen are steers used for working the fields. We can safely assume then, that Job owned a good number of cows which produced these Oxen.

I would hate to offend the fairer sex by quoting the ancients, but it gives us the idea of the worth of oxen. "In pre-Hellenic Greece, the earliest unit of exchange that we find is the ox. According to Homer's Iliad, a 'woman good for a thousand tasks' was worth four oxen." Sorry, I couldn't pass that up! Well, surely we could nail down a price rather than a comparison to a good woman. One source I found estimated the worth of one oxen at $4000, bringing the herd’s value to $4 million.

Add to that his 500 jinnys. Bryant remarks that a great part of the wealth of the inhabitants of the East often consisted of she-asses, the males being few and not held in equal estimation. She-asses are early mentioned as having been in common use to ride on; Num_22:25; Jdg_5:10. 2Ki_4:24 (Hebrew). One reason why the ass was chosen in preference to the horse, was that it subsisted on so much less than that animal, there being no animal except the camel that could be so easily kept as the ass. $400 is the going price for a "jinny." That times 500 equals $200,000.

We can assume some other things about Job's wealth by reading the above. 1) He had a lot of farm land. 500 yoke of oxen implies that he had a much land to till. 2) All of those camels meant that he must have been in the caravan business, trading with business men of other areas. 3) He had a lot of grazing land to sustain the great numbers of sheep.

Total value of livestock mentioned: $7.7 million dollars.

Job also was considered rich in servants. The Book says that he had a very great household. This indicates that he had a great number of workers.

But Job had greater riches then just animals and a great household. He had Mrs. Job, 7 sons and 3 daughters. No monetary value can be placed on family. Were they perfect and upright like Job? Not by any means. When life took a southerly turn, she advised Job to curse God and die. His kids were obsessed with partying, gorging themselves and imbibing. But, hey, family is family.

Of greater wealth than all of the aforementioned was Job's faith and godliness. In the estimation of the Word of God, Job was perfect, upright, he feared God and hated evil. This package made Job the richest of the rich.

How rich are you? I don't suppose any servants are waiting on you hand and foot. I doubt you have many camels in your back yard. Your bank balance may be a bit embarrassing. But if you are saved, have a good family and a great faith in God, you are rich beyond imagination. Thank God for the riches with which He has blessed you.

Friday, February 5, 2010

There was a Man!

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Here we have a man, an honest, God-fearing, family man. He stands as a man's man. In our culture, real men are fewer and farther between. Either men have been emasculated by bossy wives and feminist culture or they try to hang on to vestiges of manliness with "machismo."

He was a man in the land of Uz. The land was named after a son of Aram and means "consultation." This man was one to whom many came for counsel. His wisdom came from experience in which God gave him great wisdom.

His name was Job, "hated, persecuted." The man we see here was a sufferer, hated and persecuted by the devil. He was one counted worthy to suffer for the Lord. His reaction to that persecution is a standard for men of all ages.

That man was perfect and upright. How many men do we know who can stand up to scrutiny, as Job did, and be honored with the description "perfect and upright?"

This man feared God. He knew the capabilities of the Almighty. There was no doubt in this man's heart about Who was large and in charge. His life was lived accordingly. God was his hope, help and salvation. He was a man of priorities and God was always first in his life.

This man eschewed evil. This means that he was turned off by it, he revolted against evil.

Oh, that God would give us more men like Job! Men who are men in every aspect. Men who are approachable, possess wisdom, have their heads screwed on straight, clean-living, God-fearing and right-living.

Will you be one of those men?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Luk 11:27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.
Luk 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

While not being disrespectful to His mother, Jesus ALWAYS (during His adult life) tended to diminish His mother's influence and put her honor into perspective.

At the wedding of Cana, where Jesus performed His first recorded miracle, Mary bade Jesus to provide wine to the guests. He did, but not because she requested it. His words to her were, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come."

This is a clear indication to future generations NOT to pray to Mary to bend Jesus' ear for favors. If you need a miracle, go to Him and Him alone, not a mediatrix.

As Jesus spoke in a large house to a packed crowd, Mary and His brothers came to see Him, but couldn't get in because of the people. When one let Him know that they were outside desiring to see Him, He answered, "Who is my mother, who are my brothers? Are not all these who do the will of God?"

Once again, Mary's desire was answered with Jesus' concern for needy souls present.

Our Catholic friends are greatly misled to believe that Mary is the "mother of God," and the "Queen of Heaven." She was a godly young lady, favored by God to be the human vessel which would bear the Savior. She married, had other children and had need of a Savior. She walks heaven's streets as any other saint in the family of God who has died, but does not hear or answer prayers. Her advice to us would be to worship Jesus only, for He alone is venerable.

Some pray to the "blessed" virgin (who had 6 children in the normal manner), but Jesus indicates that those who keep and hear the Word of God are as blessed as she!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Opportunity for Importunity

Impudence in Prayer

Luk 11:5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
Luk 11:6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
Luk 11:7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
Luk 11:8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
Luk 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Luk 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Having modeled a prayer for the disciples, and I dare say, us, Jesus then gives this tremendous parable. It is the story of the guy with the late night guest, who has the gall to go next door to ask for 3 loaves of bread at midnight. The neighbor is a bit put out by this request, but then capitulates because of the man's persistence.

Jesus uses the word "importunity" to describe the petitioner’s action. Now, that's not a word we use every day, but it is an action we ought to employ often.

It means impudence, more specifically, without bashfulness or modesty. In other words, God is inviting us to come boldly before His throne to make requests that might be embarrassing to witnesses.

When was the last time, as an undeserving sinner, you unashamedly petitioned Heaven for something so out of line that the people around you blushed at your brashness? That is what the Lord is giving you permission to do.

3 loaves of bread at midnight are no challenge for God. Healing a dread disease, providing a huge need, reviving a dead spirit, reuniting a severed relationship, these are the kinds of things the Lord joys in performing.

I challenge you to challenge God with your greatest needs. He would love to show Himself strong on your behalf if you will just live for Him, exercise some faith and give Him the glory.

This is your opportunity for importunity.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Why Preach?

Many view preaching as a foolish, fruitless enterprise. True, much of what passes for preaching isn't worth a whole lot, however, done right, preaching is life changing. Take the praching of Jesus for instance...

Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luk 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

The anointing of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary, this is not negotiable!
1. to preach the gospel to the poor
2. to heal the brokenhearted
3. to preach deliverence to the captives
4. the recovering of sight to the blind
5. to set at liberty them that are bruised
6. to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. an allusion to the jubilee year (Lev_25:10), a year of universal release for person and property.