Thursday, April 29, 2010

What more could a man want, or need?

2Sa 12:7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
2Sa 12:8 And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
2Sa 12:9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

I am not sure whether we should say David was blessed or cursed with all God gave him. He was made king, delivered from manifold battles, given Saul's house and even multiple wives (now you know why I wonder if this was a blessing or a curse). God indicated that He would have given him whatever else he might have wanted. God uses the catch all phrase, “such and such.”

But that wasn't enough. He also wanted the forbidden fruit. He had to touch the park bench just to see if the "wet paint" sign was true. He ventured too close to the edge of the cliff. Alas, the fruit was poison. The paint was wet. He lost his footing and tumbled into sin.

Oh, how foolish we are to ignore the multitudinous blessings of our beneficent Lord for the pleasures of sin for a season.

Mark my word though. Our trek into the forbidden zone does not come without great cost. The price David paid for his sin is immeasurable. The grief and heartache touched off by his moment of passion dropped as a stone into a placid lake, causing concentric waves to multiply many fold.

We remember the old adage, sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay and sin will cost you more than you wanted to pay.

Enjoy the blessings of God today and ignore the serpent's apple.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What if?

2Sa 3:2 And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;
2Sa 3:3 And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
2Sa 3:4 And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
2Sa 3:5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

I don't personally believe God is in control of all things on earth. Man has his free will and the devil and his imps have their evil intentions. We are to pray that God's will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. I do believe God is ultimately in control of consequences though.

David, the man after God's own heart had multiple wives, had committed adultery, conspiracy, murder, deceit and disobedience in numbering the people.

I have wondered about King David and "what if?" he had never done some of the things he had done. I know we are dealing in a hypothetical here, but haven't you wondered where and what you might be today had you not pulled a few of your worst bone-headed mistakes? I mean, Hebrews talks about besetting sins. Obviously, had we not had to go back to square one so many times, we could have been so much further down the road.

I know most of us are hamstrung today because of terrible lapses in judgment, stupid mistakes, and eruptions of anger and grievous sins which have broken the heart of God.

And yet, we see in David's life the hand of God, piling on copious amounts of grace when judgment was due. I suppose the most glaring evidence of God's ability to provide a silver lining in the storm clouds of our iniquity is that our Savior was the prodigy of David and Bathing Sheba. (I am scratching my head even now).

And so, we may never know all of the “what ifs,” but we do know that our God is the God of the second chance, and third and fourth and fifth...........

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beautiful Spring

I am taking a time out from my usual burdened and cynical attitude to stop and smell the roses… and the lilacs and the apple blossoms, and admire the red buds, etc.
This is the most beautiful Spring I have ever seen. The blossoms on the trees and flowers are more sensory and alive than ever. Trees and bushes of varying hues of Red, pink, purple, burgundy and white are concurrently in full blossom all over town. Everything; temperature, moisture, etc., has come together to bring us the perfect spectrum of awesome color and scent. It is so therapeutic to see brown usurped by verdant luxury.

Add to that the tremendous blessing of our Wednesday night pray meeting, heavily laden with mission’s emphasis and I am one very happy camper! Our little group of just a score of adults was touched by the imminent need of our Mexican missionary for a down payment on a lot to build new building for a vibrant, fledgling mission. I thought our love offering to him might be the seed for the need. However, our folks responded by sacrificially giving the entire $500! Come to think of it, I haven’t cried for a while, I needed that!

Spring has sprung and God is good!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

They that Live by the Javelin Shall Die by the Javelin.

1Sa 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand.
1Sa 18:11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.1Sa 20:33 And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David.

1Sa 19:9 And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.
1Sa 19:10 And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night.

2Sa 1:5 And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?
2Sa 1:6 And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him.

Saul had a huge problem with anger and jealously. It was no comfort to anybody when he had a javelin handy.

Three times he tried to kill David with his javelin, once his own son, Jonathan, and in the end, he took his own life with it.

What instrument is dangerous for us to have around? Car, gun, sharp tongue, pen, etc?

Live after the Spirit and the fruit thereof will be love, joy, peace, et al. But when an evil spirit comes upon one like Saul, TAKE COVER!!! The works of the flesh are manifest…hatred, strife, murders.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

9 Foot 9 Inches of Stupid!

1Sa 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
1Sa 17:46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
1Sa 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.

Goliath may have been a physical giant, but he was a mental and spiritual midget. He figured, as so many do, that the power of the flesh is all that is required. The bigger the better, the stronger the most qualified, the mouthiest the most.

The real giant in this story is the teenager, the singing shepherd boy. What he didn't have in size, he had in courage, what he lacked in armaments, he made up for in trust in God.

We need to know that God always trumps Goliath. The name Goliath means exile. Any trust we put in the giants of this world will result in an exile.

Goliath can take on a number of incarnations; one may trust in a goliath paycheck, a goliath physique, a goliath intellect, a goliath set of accomplishments. All these things, in and of themselves, just fine. But our trust must be in the God of David Who still directs small, smooth stones right between the eyes of evil.

The great saying of old is eminently true; right is greater than might, good is greater than evil, Eternity is greater than time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

God Sighs, Samuel Cries, Saul Lies or I've Got a Sheep Herd, Just Over the Hilltop.

1Sa 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
1Sa 15:10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,
1Sa 15:11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.
1Sa 15:12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
1Sa 15:13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
1Sa 15:14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?

When the Lord says in vs 11 that "it repenteth me," we find that literally means that God breathed deeply, or sighed over His allowing the rebellious Saul to be king.

Samuel reacts to Saul's disobedience by crying all night to the Lord. His life’s work as Israel’s shepherd is trashed by this stumbling, bumbling, good-for-nothing-potentate. I can so relate to the hurt he feels.

Saul, on the other hand, kills and tosses out everything vile and refuse, but keeps all the goodies for himself, in direct disobedience of the Lord's command through His prophet.

How flippant of his responsibility! How blatantly unaccountable this "too big for his britches" monarch who formerly hid himself like a little coward when God fingered him for kingship, but presently hides the sheep in stubborn rebellion when the preacher comes to his place on visitation.

What strikes me in this account is that God and the prophet sorrow greatly due to Saul's sin, but Saul is so flippant and casual as if he had done nothing wrong.

I think of people who claim Christ, but live like the devil. They break the heart of heaven and their pastor, but merrily proceed on their selfish, sinful path without a modicum of remorse. I recall the night I called on a church member who answered the door, surprised to see the parson on the front porch, held a cigarette behind her back for the duration of the visit with smoke curling above the back of her head. Baah! I was tempted to say, “What meaneth the bleating of the sheep in mine ears?”

But the happy tune Saul has been singing is about to hit a minor key, just as it will for all rebels...eventually.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Prophet and the Future King

I Sam 9:19 And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart.

The details of this whole episode of the interaction between Saul and Samuel are fascinating! Saul and his companion are prepared to offer the seer/prophet/preacher a gift for his "services." But that exchange never takes place, even though it was customary. (7-10)

Samuel was prepared to tell Saul all that was in Saul's heart.
This is a ministry of the preacher and the Holy Spirit. God begins to speak to a heart, but he that receives it often doesn't know how to make sense out of it. It is the preacher's job to show the pathway.

If you are a preacher, be sensitive to the Lord's leadership, not only in your life, but in the lives of those God has given you to be a minister. If you are a layman/woman, lean on the Lord's man for clarification of God's will and workings in your life.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Suffering the Fools

2Co 11:19 For ye suffer fools gladly

Paul, in chapters 10 and 11 of II Corinthians, is having to defend his person, his message and his credentials because slick snake-oil salesmen tended to come in with false messages, drawing the sheep away from the truth.

It has always amazed me how it works. A soul winner brings a lost sinner to the saving knowledge of Christ. That individual follows the Lord in baptism, gets involved in the church and then he or she suffers some fool to bend his/her ear with their lies. The hucksters rarely win their own, they prey on the sheep. Soon, that soul is drawn away into error. Charismatics and cultists make their living off of those who suffered the fools to spew their poison.

But Paul states that it is not slickness, eloquence and bling, but solid teaching taught by flawed, yet solid teachers such as himself.

May God guard and guide His little lambs, that they may see through the sales pitches and not suffer fools to lead them astray.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Matter of Bounty

2Co 9:5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
2Co 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

God's Word is a Book of promises. Literally hundreds of guarantees can be claimed by the contemporary believer, but the one we read about today is a matter of bounty, that is, large, liberal giving and receiving.

Obviously, our wonderful God is a bountiful Lord, lavishing glory and beauty upon His creation, grace and provision upon His re-creation.

According to the promise, we are recipients of largess when we disperse largess, but when we are cheap, we are rewarded in like manner. It is the cyclical law of God that we call the sowing and reaping. It is our option whether the scale is miniscule or massive.

Do we wish to go through life open-handed or tight-fisted? Do we want to be a conduit or funnel? There are Galilee Christians and then there are Dead Sea Christians.

The Sea of Galilee teams with life, abundance and activity as it takes in from above and generously releases on its southern end. The Dead Sea, however, takes in and takes in, but never gives out. Therefore it is, well, dead! It is the lowest spot on earth, there is no life in, on or above its stagnant waters.

I opt to be a blessing to God's word, to missionaries, to the needy and claim God's promise of blessings back on me so I can bless again. What would the world be like if everyone made this choice?

Freely ye have received, freely give.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Affliction and Comfort

2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2Co 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
2Co 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

Clearly, the Lord allows suffering in our lives for the main purpose of drawing nearer to Him, finding comfort and consolation in Him, so that we, in turn, may comfort and console others.

Neil T. Anderson said it well, "God never wastes pain." How wonderfully true this statement is. God fully intends our suffering and sorrows to turn to blessings for us and others. Last time I checked, Romans 8:28 is still in the Book, "And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love the Lord, to them who are the called according to His purpose."

Friend, are you going through some "stuff" right now? I know, we never bargain for pain, but pain usually turns out to be a real bargain, after God has allowed His plan to be unfolded to us.

So live and learn, be afflicted to be blessed and be a blessing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unto Caesar

1Co 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

April 15th is upon us and most have rendered unto Caesar their taxes. Nobody I know pays their share with joy, but with resentment. Never-the-less, it beats sitting in prison.

If you look at the coins and bills you get to keep, you see pictures of presidents passed on to the next life. It is their image, just like the one Jesus held and questioned, "Whose image and superscription is this?" They replied, "Caesar's." "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's" He directed.

So, Whose image is stamped on you? If it is God's, then render unto God that which is His. We owe Him our lives, our service, our all.

We work for the government all the way up to April, then we get to keep a few shekels for our own needs. Christians ought to work for the Lord January through December and let Him supply all our needs!

Friday, April 9, 2010

To Have and to Hold!

1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
1Co 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
1Co 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
1Co 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Our culture is as up-side-down as possible when it comes to matters of sexual fidelity. Many spouses are extremely uncharitable with their mate due to "issues" they have about what God has intended for their pleasure and emotional proximity to one another. Withholding the wonderful gift which God has given to married couples is hazardous to the relationship.

Many fatal perversions will naturally result from a spouse defrauding his or her mate from marital pleasure.

Here Paul addresses this very issue. Men who are deprived will be tempted to seek satisfaction elsewhere. So Paul instructs the man not to touch a woman who is not his wife. The word "touch" here means to attach oneself to. I think that rendering of the word makes it pretty clear. The Apostle's answer to this temptation is marital fidelity and pleasure. The word “have” in verse 2 means to hold, as in caress.

We must then ask ourselves, "Am I defrauding my spouse in any manner?" If the answer is yes, we must repent of that wickedness which is rending the relationship and allowing temptations to arise which will destroy the marriage. We must then give to our spouse what they signed up for in the beginning, to have and to hold til death do us part.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What a Day that will be!

Rom 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Since the first temptation in the Garden, the enemy of our souls, the accuser of the brethren, hater of God, lion, dragon, serpent, has been toiling under the impression that he will triumph. WRONG!

Shortly he will be bruised under our feet. Gen 3:15 promises that the Seed of the woman, Jesus, would bruise slew-foot's head. And He did, at Calvary. But another bruising is imminent.

We know that sin is intrinsic to mankind. The wicked one isn't necessary when it comes to evil and temptation. But oh, how much damage he has done and will continue to inflict until the day he is banished to the pit.

What a day that will be!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Professional Student

Rom 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet

Have you ever known the type, professional students? They will never be able to get out of the classroom and into the real work-a-day world because school is what they are comfortable with.

Now, quite the opposite is true with most of us. I couldn't wait to hear the 3:15 bell every day. I despised homework. I went to college because it was a necessary evil (too strong of a word, but you understand).

I have played with the idea of furthering my education, but when faced once again with the lingo of academia, tuition costs, etc. I cringe and faint away from such ridiculous notions. Further formal education is not in my foreseeable future. I am enjoying my work-a-day existence, thank you very much.

But is education evil? Not in and of itself. We call it compulsory education, and for good reason. Everybody needs the basics that elementary, secondary and possibly higher education afford. Education should instill study habits, basic knowledge, logic and the discipline needed for life and work. But once the sheep skin has been awarded and the tassel has been moved to the other side of the mortar board, then formal education gives way to real life. GET A JOB!!!

Now, let us relate that to today's passage. The Law of God is not what takes us through life. It is merely the schoolmaster which brings us to Christ.

The fundamentals of Law-learning give way Grace living once salvation has been accomplished by the forgiveness offered by the cross.

I see too many folks who are professional law-livers. They can't get past seeing themselves as justified before God by their own morality and good works. Foolishly they see themselves pleasing God in such a fashion rather than just being a pleasure to Him because they have graduated from "law school" to Grace Academy.

Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.