Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Far Reaching Consequences

2Ch 10:13 And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,
2Ch 10:14 And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
2Ch 10:15 So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

The egotistical decision of Solomon's idiot son, Rehoboam, changed the course of history. It meant the end of the glory years of the united kingdom of Israel and set in motion the perpetual divided kingdom of Judah vs Israel, South vs North. Not one of the subsequent northern kings would serve God, only 8 of 20 Judean kings would do that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.

In the end, it would mean captivity for both factions and the eventual scattering of the 10 northern tribes to the 4 winds.

This is the boy for whom Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs. A lot of good it did him.

However, we read that the cause was of God, so that He might perform His Word. The shelving of Israel would open the door for gentile ministry 26 generations later, and God could do a new thing, the Church.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lessons Learned from the Chronicles:

1Ch 26:1 Concerning the divisions of the porters: Of the Korhites was Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph.
1Ch 26:2 And the sons of Meshelemiah were, Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth,
1Ch 26:3 Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Elioenai the seventh.

1. God is a God of order (thus the name, "Chronicles"). Everything and everyone in its place. Not only does He have the hairs of our head numbered, not only does He know when every sparrow falls, but He knows everyone by name, past, present and future.
2. Everyone matters, everyone has a job to do. Priests, porters, singers, praisers, etc.
3. There are two ways of doing things, the wrong way and God's way. God's way is always the best way.
4. Though the books can be tedious, they teach us pronunciation and enunciation.
5. The Chronicles are invaluable to the Jews for geneology.
6. They are just as inspired as the gospels, though not always as inspiring.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One Dissenting Vote

1Ch 16:43 And all the people departed every man to his house: and David returned to bless his house.
1Ch 15:29 And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.

As the ark is being returned home, the whole nation is rejoicing. The ark is being placed in the tabernacle, all the priests and porters are doing their thing. The people are having a fay-do-do, David is beside himself with Joy. He is composing psalms, leading the ark, leaping for joy, playing skillfully on his instrument. The nation is reeling with gladness. But…

One lone stick in the mud, David’s own wife, Michael, daughter of Saul is as mad as a hornet. She views the party from her window and is disgusted by this joy. She is put off by her husband’s victorious popularity, by his gleeful display of emotion.
I am struck that the whole nation is reveling in this man’s heroism but the lone dissenter was Miss Wetblanket herself, his wife.

I recall what happened with our Lord when we read, Mat 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

You just can’t please some people, no matter what. I imagine that if the Apostle Paul himself stepped into the pulpit, there would be those who would complain about the length of the sermon. If Jesus were to come down and heal their shingles, they would gripe about their gout!

So, we just have to do what it is that we do for the Lord and rejoice in His working in and through us and leave the naysayers to their negativity. A bulldog is unconcerned about the yapping of the Chihuahua. So should we ignore the wagging tongues of the Michaels in our lives.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Gospel Backslide

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

The Gospel Backslide by Little Evil.

Everybody's doing a brand new dance now
(Come on baby, do the Gospel backslide)
I know you'll go apostate if you give it a chance now
(Come on baby, do the Gospel backslide)

The little baby Christians can do it with me
It's easier than learning your A-B-C's

So come on, come on and do the Gospel Backslide with me.

You gotta miss some church now
Come on baby
Jump in, jump out
Well, now, I think you've got the knack

Now that you can do it, let's make a chain, now
(Come on baby, do the Gospel Backslide)
6 or 7 Sundays and no reading the Word
(Come on baby, do the Gospel Backslide)

It becomes so easy, now, you've lost control
A little bit of schism and you've lost your soul
So, come on, come on and do the Gospel Backslide with me.

Move around from church to church as you change emotion
(Come on baby, do the Gospel Backslide)
Meddle with the cultists if you get the notion
(Come on baby, do the Gospel Backslide)

There's never been apostasy so easy to do
It even makes you happy when others join you
So come on, come on and do the Gospel Backslide with me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Needs of Jesus in Mark 11 Turned into Object Lessons.

It was a busy week for the Lord as He made His way into Jerusalem for His passion. He did not miss one single opportunity to employ teachings that would change the world forever. Here, in one chapter, needs arose and Jesus used them as object lessons for the disciples, and for us.

The Need of a Donkey
3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. 4 And they went their way , and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.

The Need for Decency
15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. 17 And he taught , saying unto them, Is it not written , My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

The Need of a Fig
12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry : 13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came , if haply he might find any thing thereon : and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

The Need to put the Critics in Their Place
27 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, 28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? 29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. 31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying , If we shall say , From heaven; he will say , Why then did ye not believe him? 32 But if we shall say , Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. 33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell . And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

At least 4 occasions for needs of the Saviour arose in this couple of days. We could summarize these 4 needs as; Worship, Prayer, Faith, Authority. Jesus used these four occasions to model these all important aspects of our spiritual lives in the everyday occurrences that come our way.

I am sure, if we are paying attention, we will find this day wrought with opportunities to exercise our need to worship the Lord, bathe a matter in prayer, have a little faith and tap into the authority of God in our lives.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Don’t Take Your Faith to Town.

Mark 8:22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. 24 And he looked up, and said , I see men as trees, walking. 25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. 26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

Many are confused over Jesus’ command to this man and others to not tell anybody what He did for them. It seems to fly in the face of the whole testifying thing. But here is the reason. This is only Mark 8 and there are 16 chapters in Mark.

You have to understand the religious economy of the day. Rival factions dueled for allegiance of the people. Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, priests and Levites all wanted the lion’s share of the religious carrion.

Then came Jesus. By the admission of their own spies, He was unlike any of them. He spoke and acted with authority. When He did something, everyone noticed. His magnetism was a perilous threat to any whisp of sway they might be clinging to.

A blind man gifted with sight by Savior spit? This just would not do with the local clergy. Four Thousand fed with less than one grocery sack? The ministerial association would have an untoward ecumenical movement.

Jesus had much more ministry to accomplish. There needed to be more healings, much more instruction. The glorification of the Father by the Son on earth was not even half complete.

So Jesus had to squelch the enthusiasm of those He had blessed, lest the powers that be short-circuit the Father’s will.

Now, however, post crucifixion/resurrection, it is time for all those who have been beneficiaries of the greatest of all miracles, salvation to publish the glad tidings everywhere and to everyone.

Go take your love to town! For vs 38 concludes; “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Friday, June 11, 2010

They Found Fault

Mark7:2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say , with unwashen, hands, they found fault .

I like what one brother said to me many years ago when he had criticized me and then realized he had overstepped his bounds; “You are the one in the saddle and I am nowhere even near the horse.”

Well said! As the old Indian proverb states, “never criticize a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.” Of course the Word said it first, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” Jumping to conclusions is the most exercise some people ever get.

My sister and I have spent 3 days hammering out the details of my father’s funeral. Man, there must be at least 400 decisions which have demanded our answers thus far. Others have made critical judgments against us and even threatened our very beings for some of our decisions. They never anteed up to help pay for things, they are ignorant of his directives, they never even came to the table, yet they were kept in the loop. Apparently, they had to feel involved in some way, so they find fault.

How many times have the words of the Lord came to my heart, “Cast not thy pearl before the swine, lest they turn and rend you and trample you under their feet.”

I have learned some valuable lessons about my own Pharisaical attitudes from time to time. Give well-meaning people the benefit of the doubt.

If you must have your buttered corn on the cob at this evenings meal and were unable to scrub up first, go ahead, I’ll not find fault with you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Herod Did Many Things

Mark 6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

What could be some of the "many things" Herod did when he listened to John preach?
1. He was moved with conviction. It is not possible for God’s Word to be preached without a response from the hearers. That response may be anger or joy, movement or resistance, but there will always be a response. Herod was living in sin and John preached against it, so conviction moved him.
2. He told his bimbo to shut up. She hated John and sought to have him killed her self. There is no doubt that she accompanied Herod every Lord’s day out of the comforts and confines of Jerusalem, towards Herod’s resort of Masada, only to stop by Aeanon to hear this rabble-rouser preach. Herod hung on every word and she cursed him under her breath constantly. I have no doubt that he had to tell her to knock it off so he could hear the entire message.
3. He gladly heard what John had to say. The style, the bizarre appearance, the power of his sermonic delivery held Herod spellbound. He could not resist the draw of this man’s oratory. He liked a good show and John’s homilies stirred and thrilled him greatly.
4. He watched him. Like a hawk, Herod kept track of John’s movements. He wanted to stay abreast of the Baptist’s itinerary so he could make every service. He admired how this leather and camel hair clad prophet carried himself. He coveted the character he himself lacked.
5. He feared John. Deep down, Herod knew that character trumped regality. He intrinsically sensed that right was greater than might. Though Herod was a powerful figure, John was a powerful soul. He knew he was no match for John’s wisdom, his righteousness or his ability to garner favor with the masses.
6. He tried to put up for John. He wished nothing but good for the man, but alas, the wicked Herodias would settle for nothing less than the Baptist’s head on a charger. The old fox was outfoxed by his concubine and her lithe daughter. Never has the dance been as perilous as when she writhed and wriggled a ridiculous promise out of poor, stupid Herod. Anything she wanted, up to half his kingdom, he said she could have. And thus, the greatest man to ever wear shoe leather was treacherously fated to die thanks to the hellish plot of Herodias and Salome. But John lives again, no doubt with a special spot somewhere near the throne room of glory. Erstwhile, the godless girls of Herod’s harem are having a hot time in the old town tonight.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

His Disiples Follow Him

Mark 6:1 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.

It is interesting to note the wording and tense here. Mark does not say that His disciples followed Him, which they obviously did and what is certainly meant. However, it is present tense, which opens the door that we may freely interpret, "even today, His true disciples are meant to follow Him."

Do we? Having read the previous chapter where a demoniac was delivered, a dame was healed and a damsel was revived, no one is more worthy of our devoted discipleship and unwavering followship than this wonderful Saviour, Healer and Lord.

Let us embark on today's path to waver not to the left or the right, but always in the blessed Master's footsteps, whether they lead through dark valleys or sunshiny peaks. Allow every step to be a learning process in our discipleship.

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

* Refrain:
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.

And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In Hiding and Mourning

Pro 28:28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
Pro 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Get a hold of yourself!

Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down , and without walls.

Many are the people we know who are incontinent, that is, they have no self-control. I have watched, in amused befuddlement, as professed believers so easily allow escalations in events to render them out of control.

Whether riding as a passenger and witnessing my driver host lose it over being “cut off” in traffic, or seeing couples or families melt down in the counseling office, or just watching as a teen gradually slips away from all that is holy into the pit of perdition, it is evident that too few have too little control over their emotions.

Paul, the greatest Christian to ever lace up his sandals, had his own battles with emotions. We read of his angry bout with Peter, of his confessed battle with the flesh in Romans 7, and of his determination to keep his body under subjection to his spirit so that the ministry is not blamed in any thing.

In my imagination I can see the demons chuckling at us as they see us, time after time, giving in to those old carnal emotions. They throw out the same temptations and fan the flames until we lose it for the umpteenth time.

How silly it must look to the world to see our hypocrisy when our temper gets the best of us at work, school or in the back yard.

I am reminded of the preacher who was made aware that he had a deacon in his church who was from time to time known to cuss.

In his attempt to help the deacon overcome this terrible habit, the preacher decided he should spend some personal time with the deacon so they could have a long talk about the problem. The preacher decided to ask the deacon to go fishing, thinking that might provide an opportunity to talk.

They were out in a boat and had their lines in the water when the preacher hooked a big one. It put up a mighty fight, but finally he reeled the fish up to the edge of the boat. It was the biggest fish the preacher had ever caught. But, just as the minister started to pull his catch into the boat, the fish slipped off the hook and got away.

Thoroughly disgusted, the preacher looked over and said, "Deacon, somethin' needs to be said here!"

Something really does need to be said, and Solomon said it, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down , and without walls.“

Let’s get a hold of ourselves!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Working on a good name

Prov 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.

Art Linkletter or Adolph Hitler? Billy Graham or Pol Pot? There is much to say about having a good name and reputation.

How long does it take to build a good reputation? And how long to have that reputation sullied?

Sadly, a poll of a wide swath of people would reveal that, rather than choosing a good name, they would rather have the riches. This is too bad, because the true riches are found in good character and not in the bottom line.

Financial riches are somewhat unattainable to most people, but a good name is doable for the person who esteems character and reputation above all other traits. The path to acquiring a good name is strewn with righteous living, God honoring actions and doing right, no matter what.

Those who have the cash may or may not have the respect of others, but those with a good name have nothing but honor.

Choose the good name and everything else will find its rightful place.