Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Ancient Case of Burnout

Rth 1:19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?
Rth 1:20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
Rth 1:21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Poor Naomi! Her and her guys, husband and sons, had moved many miles from Bethlehem to Moab, to lose all three of them to the grave. She now returns to Canaan with one daughter-in-law in tow, and scraping the bottom of the emotional barrel. She was thoroughly spent.

Her burnout:
1. She had lost so much, the three most important people in her life were dead. 2 of them, probably all three passed before their time.
2. She was now destitute. Social security failed to kick in and there was no safety net. "I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty." This is a statement indicating burnout more than any other.
3. Her health and countenance were broken. When she returned home, the homefolks didn't even recognize her. "Is this Naomi?" they asked in amazement. The city was "moved about them."
4. Her spirit was broken. "…call me no longer Naomi (pleasant) but call me Mara (bitter)."
5. She lost a great amount of respect for the ways of the Lord. "The Lord hath dealt very bitterly with me."
6. She felt a target of God's wrath rather than His love. "...the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?"

Little did poor Naomi know that this series of tragedies in her life were a wonderful new beginning, rather than a bitter ending. God was about to do marvelous things for her and Ruth, including the salvation of billions of souls.

It is true, servants of the Lord hit bottom often. We may see it as a bitter tragedy. However, God probably just has a greater thing going on than we could ever imagine.

If you feel totally spent, don't let bitterness grab you, God, Who has brought you home again empty, is able to refill you to greater levels than you could ever imagine.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Dangers of Freelance Religion

Jdg 17:1 And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.
Jdg 17:2 And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son.
Jdg 17:3 And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.
Jdg 17:4 Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah.
Jdg 17:5 And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.
Jdg 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

A job needs a boss, a family needs a head, a country needs a leader, a church needs a pastor and a Christian needs a LORD.

Without proper authority, people do things on their own terms and it becomes twisted.

What is it about 1100 pieces of silver? In the previous chapter, that was the price of Delilah's treachery. Now this same amount is used to make idols. Micah's mother had dedicated this money to the Lord, she said, for these idols to be forged. Some of it was used by Micah to pervert a priest. Everyone was doing their own thing rather than God's will.

I see too much of this in Christendom today. All manner of twisted junk goes on because people are serving God out of ignorance and egotism. Rather than submitting to God's principles, they seek a "Burger King" religion, "Have it your way!"

We need to bow to the will and Word of God, for God's work, done in God's way will be truly blessed.

Is this how you are attempting to do His work, or are you having it your way?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The lowdown on Jephthah

Judges 11:1-3 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.
Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.

1. What's in a name? His name means "he will open." His story opens our imaginations, as well as a real can of worms (his vow).
2. The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree. He was a Gileadite. His lineage was from Manasseh, 1/2 of which settled on the other side of Jordan.
3. A Man’s man. He was a mighty man of valor.
4. White trash. He was an illegitimate child, rather, his parents were illegitimate, his father a whore monger and his mother a harlot.
5. The black sheep of the family. He was run off from home to the land of Tob. Tob means "good." Hence, "Goodland."
6. Like begets like. He attracted other disaffected men and amassed a small army.

I think we can safely say that Jephthah was clearly a man with issues. Yet, God allowed him to rise above his raising and become a real hero for Israel.

Application: Everyone I know has "issues." Their background enslaves them in abject mediocrity. But, with God, there are no limits to what He can do for and through us. In fact, a cursory reading of the Bible (and history) seems to indicate He delights in using the unusable.

1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

22,000 Chickens

Jdg 7:2 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
Jdg 7:3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.

Judges is the book of failure. Israel had gone from slave mentality (Egypt and the wilderness) to warrior mentality (conquering the land). And now, during this time of the Judges, they have become something of a joke, a by-word, softies, chickens!!!

The Lord warned them what would happen if they took up with the earliest Palestinians. They would be cursed failures. And now, here they are being oppressed by 3rd rate potentates time and again.

Alas, they see the need of getting right with God...again, and God sends them Gideon as judge and deliverer.

He amasses an army 32,000 strong to rebel against the oppressors and the Lord declares that that is too many. If they win with an army of that size, they will take the credit and God will not receive the glory. So God commands Gideon to pare the troops down.

He gives the chicken hearts an out, "if you are scaredy-cats, go home." 22,000 high-tail it for the safety of mama's apron.

Israel had slipped a mighty long way from where it had been. I believe they lost confidence over the years because God obviously was no longer interested in being strong on their behalf, thanks to their sin.

Application: Remember the early days of your salvation when you could have charged hell with a squirt gun? But today, the very thought of sharing a word of testimony with a co-worker makes you cower in fear. What happened? Did you get wise? Are you now more tactful? Or is the truth really that you have lost power and confidence because your walk with God isn't what it used to be?

I think of our obese, lazy, apathetic, ignorant nation. We used to proud patriots that could, would and did face insurmountable odds against us to make our nation free and great. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. But sin is a reproach to any people.

Our chickens have come home to roost.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Circling the City

Jos 6:3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

40,000 armed men went about to circle the city of Jericho. A little math now...

If these men went 7 abreast with 3 foot intervals before and behind, allowing for a 3foot stride, this line would extend 34,250 feet. That's 6 and ½ miles in length! I have compassed the ancient city of Jericho and I doubt it was even 2 miles in circumference. That means that they could have went in ranks of 20 abreast and by the time the first rank made their circuit, the last rank would just be starting!

Is it any wonder why the hearts of the men of Jericho melted? Does this help us to understand how 7 circuits on the 7 day, accompanied by a shout, plus a little divine nudge, could cause the walls to fall down flat?

It makes me wonder what might happen if all of God's people were to get on the same page, head the same direction and have the same purpose.

There is something to be said for the power of unity.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Be Strong and Courageous

Jos 1:6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Jos 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
Jos 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Jos 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

If God says something, we need to hear, take notice and obey. If He says it again, we need to sit up, listen, take notes and obey. When He says it the third time, we need to stand up, act, give notice and obey.

We would do ourselves a great disservice to limit this wonderful command and promise to Joshua, or even to the Jews. If we could claim these verses today, we would prosper greatly.

Basically, be strong and have courage (very courageous and good courage), stay faithful to the Lord and stay in the Book and the results will be prosperity and good success.

This is a tremendous plan for every area of our lives.

God, as long as we have the confidence found in doing your will, and as long as we are meditating on your holy Word, we can claim your assurance of strength and courage. Amen!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mahalath Leannoth

Psa 88:1 A Song or Psalm for the sons of Korah, to the chief Musician upon Mahalath Leannoth, Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite. O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:
Psa 88:2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
Psa 88:3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave

The 88th Psalm is born out of sickness. Mahalath Leannoth means put down or depressed by sickness.

I am a real baby when it comes to suffering. My pain tolerance level is not very high. I suppose that is because I have been blessed with good health. I don't get sick very often, very few headaches, one or two colds a year, a sour stomach because of some bad food here and there, and that's about it.

But when the dreaded stomach flu comes along, the kind where you would have to get better to die, then this Psalm makes perfect sense.

It is said by some that Jesus may have sang this song while in holding in the dungeon under the house of Caiaphas on the night before His crucifixion. That would make sense if you take the Psalm as a whole, culminating with the words, "Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness."

By far, the vast majority of the Psalms end positively. Some start on a depressive, anxious or discouraged note and encouragement eventually comes by the end of the chapter. Not this one.

An individual is left with a sense of dread despair. Having contemplated the Mahalath Leannoth of Ps 88 for a bit, it is best to go on to the resounding positivity of 89:1 "I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good Stuff From The Lord

Psa 81:10 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
Psa 81:16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

God is good to His children, of this there is no doubt. We, like Israel, fail Him often, yet, He abides faithful.

In the time we do turn to Him and open our mouths wide towards heaven for sustenance, He fills them.

What does our Sustainer fill our mouths with? The finest of the wheat and honey out of the rock.

And the amount? Until we are satisfied.

Oh, God is so good to us!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Can God? Yes, He Can!!!

Psa 78:19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
Psa 78:20 Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?

Our nation is in as much of a wilderness as I have ever seen it. Our heritage is being steamrolled by socialism and racism. Socialism will be better than what we will have though, because in socialism, everyone works! Hard times are upon us unparalleled since the great depression.

I predict that it won't be long before huge lifestyle adjustments are going to have to be made. I see the day when families are going to have to combine households just to meet surviving mortgages. Joblessness is going to go through the roof. Those who have jobs, even bad ones are going to make unbelievable concessions, i.e. pay cuts, benefit reductions, etc, just to hang on to employment. I can see unemployment reaching unbelievable levels. Think about it, much industry produces items that are useless in bad times. Who is going to buy a jet-ski, fishing boat or 4-wheeler when they can't even make the house payment?

Churches are going to struggle tremendously. Raw numbers show that it will be impossible to operate at present levels. Staff positions will be cut, missions budgets will be pared, building projects will be tabled. It is a gloomy outlook.

But I do know this, God can furnish a table in the wilderness. His promises are still true, boom or bust. When we tithe, He will open the windows of heaven and pour out the blessings, while rebuking the devourer. When we give to missions, He will meet all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

On a brighter note, we know that the rapture and tribulation must be proceeded by perilous times in which men's hearts fail them in fear for the things which are coming.

Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Promotion Comes From God

(Note, this blog is a timely and worthwhile repost from a long time ago)

Ps 75:5-7 Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

It is refreshing to see a person with a little assertiveness, trying to better herself, learn better his trade, establishing and perfecting the gifts that God has endowed them with.

But it can be frustrating to get passed over when another, lesser qualified person gets that promotion. You know you have better people skills, you have honed your craft and have a better knowledge of the workings of your trade. You ask, "Why did they get the job? Why wasn't I even interviewed?"

These are fair questions to ask about seemingly unfair situations.

Though the higher-ups may seem a bit clueless at times, know that the Lord is taking notes. He knows when to make the sun shine on you and when to leave you in the shadows for your greater good.

One of the men in our church was dismissed from his job because of a simple misunderstanding. He had been a valued employee at that company for decades and, boom! he was gone.

The temptation for he and his wife was to worry, despair and cry "foul!"

However, time, testing and trials showed that God knew exactly what He was doing in this man's life.

Now he has a better job, in fact one of the most coveted jobs in town at a tremendously reputable and caring company, better benefits to boot! And the old job? All the employees are laid off. They were told to take their vacations months ago, which they did, and then they never even received their vacation pay.

Once again, God's timing was impeccable and His will was accomplished in the life of His kid.

So keep bettering yourself, continue to hone your skills, be the best whatever it is that you do, be invaluable at your place of work, and God will promote you in His time, and in His will.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Moses, the Great Servant of the Lord.

Deu 34:6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
Deu 34:7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
Deu 34:8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
Deu 34:9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.
Deu 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,
Deu 34:11 In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,
Deu 34:12 And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.

Jesus said of His cousin, John the Baptist, in Mt 11:11, "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:" So, here we have the greatest of the Old and the Greatest of the new.

In the last chapter of Deuteronomy, we have a summary of Heaven's estimation of Moses. Now, we can't imagine the Lord using flattery, for He is no respecter of persons. In a nutshell, here is what the Lord has to say of His servant Moses:

1. He died at 120 years of age with good eye sight and a strong body. This is a result of good living before the Lord.

2. The children of Israel, on the very brink of entering the Promised Land, pause to spend 30 days of down time in honor of their leader. I can't imagine anyone spending 30 seconds contemplating my passing.

3. No prophet, from this first one, Moses, all the way through the Old Testament up until John, matched Moses in his relationship with the Lord.

4. He was the only person who knew God face to face.

5. Moses was among the elite 4 miracle workers of the Bible, Jesus, Elijah, Elisha and Moses.

6. Moses received burial service from Eternal Rest Funeral Home. God Himself buried him in a sepulcher.

I would add that Moses was about the most humble man in the Bible, he had one of the most compelling stories and he saved Israel's bacon (an ironic analogy) on several occasions.

If anyone ever deserved accolades from heaven, it was this great man Moses.

Moses holds one more unusual distinction; he appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration and will probably make a future appearance in the Tribulation as one of the 2 prophets.

May we allow the Lord to do something mighty through us today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Where God Leads, He Feeds, Where He Guides, He Provides!

Deu 29:5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.

The farther I travel in this Christian journey, the more awestruck I am at the provision of the Lord.

Of course, He has promised that He would supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. The context deals with our seeing to the missionaries needs.

David said, I am young, now I am old. I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread.

God has been very good to me, my family and my church. He has always supplied, in time, on time, every time.

The Jews were miraculously blessed in the wilderness to have lived and travelled in harsh conditions for decades. Never once did they have to stop at Pay-Less Shoes or at the Dress Barn.

They even had the wherewithal to make new clothes and shoes had they needed them. But they didn't.

So, what need are you up against, wondering how it is going to be met?

If you are a child of God, If you are in a place of blessing, that is, you are faithful in tithing and giving to missions, then know that God has your best interests in hand. He will meet your need.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'll Pass on the Pig

Deu 14:3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing

4 years ago, my wife and I decided that from henceforth, we would abstain from pork and McDonalds. We did not make this decision to abstain for religious purposes, per se.

We had moral issues with McDonalds, who were passing out witches in their happy meals and funding anti-gun legislation, among other things political. Oh, I mustn't forget, we watched "Super-Size Me" and that's enough to get anyone to quit Micky-D's!

As to the pork issue, we had just finished a series of lectures by a good Christian chiropractor on healthy lifestyles. So, we just made the decision and have stuck with it.

Now, do we believe it is okay, in this age of grace, to partake of fried catfish, boiled crawdads, broiled lobster and breaded pork chops? Of course! The vision given to Peter on the housetop taught mainly that God accepts Gentiles into His family. But a secondary truth is that all foods, for which thanks are given, are edible.

But we do have to ask ourselves why the Jews were not allowed to partake of bottom feeders and cannibalistic animals. They are not as good for us and they tend to be more toxic. Hence, our vow not to partake.

We have received much criticism and some good natured ribbing about our decision not to pig out on pig. Now, know we have not gone overboard on this thing. Our children eat bacon at grandpa's house. We don't tell anyone else they shouldn't eat pork. We are with Paul on this, don't offend others by pushing your beliefs on them about diet.

My questions for our detractors; Why don't you eat bats? Do you partake of snake and worms? Have you eaten an owl or an eagle lately? Of course they haven't. Why? That's disgusting culturally. People wouldn't think of eating those animals unless they were starving. Well, put yourself in the Jew's shoes then and think of how disgusting shrimp is to them.

Eat what you want, as long as it is healthy, and give thanks for it. Meanwhile, I am passing on the pig.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Numbers Game

Deu 7:7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

We are unwise to compare ourselves with others. Paul said, "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." 2Co 10:12

Numbers can be fickle friends. Many of us have been so caught up in the numbers game that we fail to grasp the Lord's greatest blessings upon us.

Think, for a moment, of some of the greatest successes in the work of the Lord.

*Noah is lauded in the 11th chapter of Hebrews as a great man of faith. He preached for 120 years and had only his family to show for it.

*Adoniram Judson is seen as one of the greatest of all missionaries. He toiled for seven years before he led his first convert to the Lord.

*Jesus Himself tearfully watched hundreds of disciples turn away. (John 6:66). As He was a dying on the cross, only a small handful of women stood by in support of Him. Only John was there to represent the disciples. Yet, by the multiplied millions, we now intone "Oh, what a Savior!"

It seems that only the preachers who have the numbers, and their sycophants who greatly desire to have crowds, ever give credence to their meaning. "God is so interested in numbers" they say, "That He wrote an entire book about them." Their condescending attitude says, "The only ones who don't care about numbers are the ones who don't have them."

But how many disappointed servants of the Lord have been devastated because of playing, and losing, the numbers game?

Ministry is ebb and flow. We must accept that. A lack of numbers does not disclose the frown of God any more than the abundance of numbers indicates the smile of the Lord.

Numbers can represent greater ability to reach the lost, but they can also mean cribs filled with increase. Increased numbers can indicate increased benefits and/or increased heartache.

When we settle our minds on the fact that God loves us, chooses us, blesses us, not because of numbers, be they many or few, but simply because He desires a relationship with us, we can finally feel like we count without having to count.

Friday, March 5, 2010

You Have Been Here Long Enough

Deu 1:6 The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:
Deu 1:7 Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
Deu 1:8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.

Every person's life is a book, complete with chapters, story line, a climax and "the end."

Paul said to the Corinthians, "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:"

And so also are we "epistles," written by God and read by many.

Often, I wonder where I am in my own story. Am I in the middle of the book, toward the end, are there exciting chapters yet to be written?

I do know that some chapters tend to drag on and I get restless in the status quo, wishing to move on toward the Promised Land.

There are those chapters in which I get bogged down in debt, discouragement, doubt, danger, disease or despair. I long for my Author to declare, "Ye have dwelt long enough in this place, turn you and take your journey, go in and possess the land which I sware unto you."

No doubt, God has a purpose for us as we dwell long in chapters ranging from boredom to bedlam. In His good time, when His good purpose has been accomplished, He will move us on.

So, in the meantime, be an interesting read, prepare well for the close of your current chapter and the opening of the next.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

God's Providence

Act 23:13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
Act 23:14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.
Act 23:15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.
Act 23:16 And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.

I believe it was Ben Franklin who said, "The longer I live, the more convinced I am that God exists and that He rules in the affairs of men."

Amen, Ben!

What I find notable in today's reading is that it was Paul's sister's son who heard of the conspiracy to kill the Apostle. He was in just the right place at just the right time to hear and act upon this plot. He had access to Paul to warn him and was given an audience with the chief captain to report the plan.

Also, the fact that Paul had a sister struck me. What must it have been like to have a brother, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, who went from persecutor to believer, yea a leader of the Christians? Was she also a believer? Would she side with Paul as a brother in the flesh or a brother in the Lord? Or, would she be antagonistic toward his new found faith?

It appears that Paul's wife may have abandoned him because of his Christianity. It would not be a stretch to imagine other family members leaving his side.

Thank God that his nephew, believer or not, was instrumental in God's plan to see to it that Paul's ministry would not be cut short by an ambush.

Such is God's love and leadership in each of our lives. He has a plan for each of us and will move heaven and earth to see that plan through. You are integral to God's purpose for His kingdom, for your life and in the lives of others. It is best to cooperate with His plan and purpose by being in the right place at the right time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Better than Thou

15:1 Certain men "came down" from Judaea - direction is relative in the holy land. Jerusalem is the capitol of Judaea. It is the southern part of Israel. Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch, Syria, far north. Yet, wherever you are, you "go up" to Jerusalem. (vs 2).

1. There is a superior attitude there. Though it is the City of God, it is also the city of religious superiorty. Everyone there thinks they are right.

These "certain men" were probably believers, they were discussing salvation, however they were legalists.

They disputed hotly with Paul and Barnabas. They thought they should go back UP to Jerusalem for a council with the apostles and elders.

On the way there, they stopped in on the churches in Phenice and Samaria to report about the Gentiles being saved (these "certain men" were with them!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Rock that is Higher than I.

Psa 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psa 61:3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
Psa 61:4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

Rocks! When God finished creating the world, He took all of the leftover rocks and dumped them in the Holy Land!

David spent a lot of time in the wilderness. Earlier in life, he lived to tend sheep in pastures out among these rocks. As he fled from Saul, from Absolom, as he fought the everywhere. When wild animals threatened his sheep, he flung rocks at them. When he took down Goliath, he used a rocks. David knew rocks!!!
One Rock bade him draw near more than any other. The firm Rock in which he trusted. Everything else was unsure for David, he seldom knew a moment of peace. The king he served, the son he loved, the giant he slew, the wife he married... all turned on him.

David learned the lesson we all must learn sooner or later, God is the only constant in this tumultous life. He is the Rock of stability, the Anchor of the soul. Everything else will crumble, but He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The wise man, Jesus said, builds his life on that Rock so that, when the storms come, we shall not be moved.

Have you looked to that Rock that is higher than you? Do you trust solely in that Immutable Rock?