Thursday, October 28, 2010

God said Go Up and Jonah Went Down.

Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

You know the story don't you? A whale became a fisher of men, swallowed up all the prophet and proved, you just can't keep a good man down.

Long story short, don't run from God. He's got your number and knows how to get your attention. Like you tell your kids, do what you're told as soon as you are told to do it. This eliminates having to go the long way around.

Why shouldn't we listen to our own advice and just obey God right away? We tell our own kids, “obey, right away, it could save your life.” Do they listen? Often not! But the drawbacks to disobedience are always negative.

What is the Lord asking of you today? Do it right away and be blessed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Wonderful, Loving, Patient & Forgiving Heart of God!

Hos 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
Hos 11:2 As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.
Hos 11:3 I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.
Hos 11:4 I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
Hos 11:5 He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.
Hos 11:6 And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.
Hos 11:7 And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.
Hos 11:8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.
Hos 11:9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

Ah, only God, the holy One in the midst of thee could exhibit this kind
of unconditional love toward the undeserving. That's why they call it

A quick summary of the verses above...

1. We were loved by God before we were capable of even knowing what love is. vs 1
2. God has called each to a specific purpose He desires to see through to the end. vs 2
3. He watches over us, working miracles in us of which we are not even cognizant. vs 3
4. We are tied to Him in grace by bands of love which cannot be broken. vs 4
5. We cannot return to our former state of being lost. vs 5
6. Our sins do cause us grief. There are consequences. vs 6
7. Some of us are cursed with a bent toward backsliding. vs 7
8. But God is not about to give up on us. vs 8 (Phil 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ)
9. Only because He is God, the Holy One, will He not execute His fierce anger upon His own.

Hallelujah! God is truly good to His own, though undeserving they may be!

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Wife of Whoredoms

Hos 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. 3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.

Can you imagine! The preacher is told by the Lord to go out and find a wife. Not just any wife, you have to go to the red light district and pick out a streetwalker.

Oh boy, can you hear the whispers now amongst the "sistern"?

"Did you see the hemline on that woman today? And just a sittin' up there on the front row of that choir loft a flauntin herself like she was for sale!"

"Do tell! And to think that little preacher of ours could'a had any of the single girls in our church and he has the nerve to tell us that God told him to marry a harlot. Why, I never!"

Interesting enough, "Gomer" means completion. That gives a whole new meaning to the idea that the wife is the man's completer as per Genesis 2:18.

Of all the Old Testament strangeness that we don't have to concern ourselves with in this age of grace, such as stoning of rebellious children, here is one... preachers marrying harlots to make a point to a rebellious nation.

My heart goes out to this good man, Hosea. What heartbreak he suffered to get the Word of the Lord to a bunch of undeserving people. And yet, he stayed faithful to his calling.

Today, we really do have it made. All we have to do is witness and we are generally pretty well received in our message. How about telling someone today of God's love to them? It's a lot simpler than hooking up with a hooker. Oh, and the ladies of the church won't have a conniption!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hindered Prayer, Delayed Answers

Dan 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
Dan 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

God heard Daniel's prayers immediately. God dispatched an answer, in the form of a vision, by this bright and shining figure, some angelic being. However, the wicked one hindered his progress toward Daniel, thus he enlisted the help of heaven's warring archangel, Michael. A 21 day battle ensued until finally, the answer came through.

We are reminded that it is not only flesh and blood that we are doing battle with, but principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12)

So, keep on praying, the answer's on its way!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

They Wouldn't Bow

Dan 3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
Dan 3:2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

Because Neb's dream indicated that his kingdom was identified by the head of gold, he made a statement by building a 90 foot statue of gold, 9 feet wide. Talk about your basic ego problem! The Head of Gold Went to His Head.

I find it numerologically interesting that Goliath stood 9'9" tall. The number nine, in the Bible deals with judgment or the finality of things. Basically, it's used when judging man and all of his works. (The 'United States Supreme Court' comes to mind when I think about this number.)

Additionally, this number has also been used to describe the perfect movement of God.

I have to guess that the image must have been gold plated, rather than solid gold. Even at that, the gold needed for this project could finance a third-world nation! What an extravagance.

Monuments to men are many and varied, but God's people, just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego of old, are still obliged to worship only at the feet of Jesus.

One day soon another image will be erected in the likeness of the beast, fashioned by the false prophet. Once again, all will be forced to do obeisance. But believers will stand nonplussed in defiance to the idolatrous order. Instead of a fiery furnace, the guillotine will be in place for their punishment. So be it! You can't threaten God's people with heaven. May God give them grace to do what is right. AND, may God give us wisdom to identify idolatry today and the grace to not participate in it.

The 3 Hebrew children, in response to Neb's threat said without hesitation, "We don't even have to think about it, we will not participate!"

May God increase their tribe.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Have a Dream!

Dan 2:1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

In the dream of the king:
1. His spirit was troubled
2. He forgot what it was that he dreamed.
3. He was angered that the others could not tell him what the dream was.

Okay, this was not Martin Luther King, Jr dream in which blacks and whites come together to sing Kumbaya. This was a dream that would save the lives of the king's soothsayers and set in motion the promotion of Daniel the prophet to a trusted position in the king's cabinet. Even moreso, it revealed to the king that there is a God in heaven. And finally, this dream would open up to us the dynamics of the end times.

Read here the results of Daniel's God-given abiltiy to both tell the dream and give this interpretation:

Dan 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.
Dan 2:48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
Dan 2:49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

Oneirology, or the study of dreams is a fascinating field. I owe much of what I dream to what has been on my mind and what I ate the previous evening. However, I do not discount that there are times that the Lord intercedes in our dreams to communicate a message to us.

God's primary communications to us, in order, are:
The Word,
The Holy Spirit,
Godly people in our lives,

But that does not rule out the occasional dream.

One good question many have about dreams, "Do dreams have meaning?"

Although scientists continue to debate this issue, most people who work with their dreams, either by themselves or with others, find that their dreams are very meaningful for them. Dreams are useful in learning more about the dreamer's feelings, thoughts, behavior, motives, and values. Many find that dreams can help them solve problems. Further, artists, writers, and scientists often get creative ideas from dreams. (This comes from the International Association for the Study of Dreams.)

My wife claims that she finds solutions to many issues in her dreams. Therefore she is careful to record these ideas as soon as possible upon waking.

I wrote a song in my dream just yesterday. It stayed with me for a couple of hours after waking.

Well, old men dream dreams, the Bible says. So did Nebuchadnezzar and according to all the experts, everyone has dreams. Perhaps it would be a good idea to keep a pen and paper by the bedside or a recording device... just in case!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Veggie Tale

Dan 1:9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
Dan 1:10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
Dan 1:11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
Dan 1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
Dan 1:13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
Dan 1:14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
Dan 1:15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.

Well, we know one thing for certain, Daniel was neither Baptist nor Episcopalian! He chose vegetables and water over the king’s prime rib and wine. A Baptist would never have turned down the beef and the Episcopalian would not have rejected the alcohol. (Come on folks, let's learn to laugh at ourselves. If you need to, extract these denominations and insert another :<)

We do know this about Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, after ten days of abstinence from the king's meat, they fared far fairer and fatter than the others of their sort (vs 10). The veggies, or pulse, that they ate in deference to the Lord nourished them far more than an indulgent diet.

In the New Testament, we find Jesus sitting at Sycar's well, welcoming the disciples back from the local Safeway store. They urged Him to take a bite of food. Remember how He responded? "I have meat to eat that you don't know about." And that food was to do His Father's will, in this case, soul-winning.

We are bombarded on every side with diet suggestions. I suppose we should pay attention to eating properly, but the Lord can nourish us with beans and water if necessary, t-bones not withstanding.

And that is today's Veggie Tale.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Local Church

What a wonderful place the local church is, especially, one like ours. Though no one claims we are anywhere near perfect, there is a lot offered for which we can be thankful. Ours isn’t the only church, nor would we boast that ours is the best, but it is the bride of Christ, much cherished by the Savior.

I think of what the local church offers and I am blown away by God’s blessing to us because of the church.

Church is a social outlet where we can come, not only for friendship, but for fellowship. It is a place where love flows, where grace and forgiveness are plentiful and God is seen living and working in the lives of His followers.

And He does work in the church. He promised that when believers are gathered together in His name to worship Him and do His bidding, that is where He would present Himself. No other place on earth can offer this.

Add to that the support that one receives, the practical and inspirational teaching, preaching, prayer and music that is the norm, the counsel that is available and you have a winning combination.

Jesus loves the church, and so should we. He loved it so much, He died for it. Shouldn’t we love it enough to attend it, support it, pray for it and participate in it? I say, Amen and Amen!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What CAN Man do unto Me?

Psa 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

It took a great amount of faith backed by a good deal of experience for the writer to make this bold statement.

I tremble when I contemplate the fiery darts hurled at the saints by the enemies; the world, the flesh and the devil.

I begin to enumerate the strong ability of man to inflict physical, financial and emotional havoc upon others.

A short list: Man has the power to;
*remove the security of a home, a loved one, finances, etc.
*dissolve a marriage.
*inflict great bodily injury, torture and even death.
*harass a person to the point of emotional duress.
*lie, cheat and steal.
*lay stumbling blocks.

Do you begin to see the power of the unscrupulous individuals, groups, governments to harm others?

But God!

When we know that the Lord is on our side, we have nothing to fear. "My dad can beat up your dad!"

Verse 7 reminds us that God takes our part, sends reinforcements and will even allow us to witness the fall of our enemies.

We must put our confidence in the Saviour and not in man, not in a bank account, nor in physical prowess, not even (or especially) in government. Only God can deliver from impossible situations.

Here the Psalmist found himself hemmed in by all the surrounding nations, like an angry hive of bees pursuing an intruder. But the Lord helped him, became his strength, his song and his salvation. 10-14

God caused this oppressed individual to rejoice in the victory wrought by God. 15-16

This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 23

SO bless the name of the Lord from the house of the Lord. 26

He is showing you a light at the end of the tunnel. 27

What CAN man do to you? A bunch, even up to and including taking your life. But then, you just go to heaven and realize what a wonderful favor your enemy did for you!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

You Are Like Your God!

Psa 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. 5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: 6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: 7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. 8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. 9 O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.

The Psalmist here likens those that fashion deaf and dumb, blind statues to their own handmade gods. The inventors and artificers of these dead deities are just as inanimate and irrelevant as their objects of worship.

Conversely, those that worship the true God of heaven, not made with hands, but the Creator and Sustainer, find themselves quickened by this life-giving, prayer-answering Sovereign.

This is the difference between being made in the image of God, then born again to be made like the Saviour as opposed to making gods in your own image. You are like that which you worship. If money is your god, you will find yourself just as mercurial as the dollar. If pleasure is the object of your devotion, when the pleasure plays out, so does your thrill. If you have made some person your worshipful entity, when they fail you, your religion becomes vain.

There is no god that is the consistent help and shield that Jehovah God proves Himself to be.

Quit looking to gods made of gold, silver and imagination and trust only in the One Who will never fail you. Over time you will find yourself more like Him; loving, living, merciful, gracious, piteous and efficacious.

O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! Lord, I am coming
Now to receive anointing divine;
All that I am and have I am bringing,
Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Faith Plus

2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Yes, it is by grace, through faith, that we are saved. But faith without works is dead. So, to be the right kind of fruitful Christian, we need faith on steroids, faith plus. Here, Peter tells us what to add to our faith to increase our maturity in Christ.

Brotherly Kindness

Peter demands that we have a complete Christianity. To have these things in place in our life will make us fruitful in the faith. vs 8

If we lack any of these, we have work to do. Peter tells us that we are near-sighted and forgetful. vs 9

To do these things is to solidify our faith and insure that we will not fall. vs 10

Start adding to your faith today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Lively Hope

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Peter, along with his fellow disciples, had lost all hope as their Master gave up the ghost on the cross of Calvary. They had placed all their Messiah eggs into the Jesus basket. His death, though He had told them it was part of the plan, meant the death of their hope. The deal was sealed, life as they had known it was over.

Hurt, disillusioned, lonely, bewildered, they huddled together in the upper room. Scared for their lives, unsure of a future, they were defeated as their hope had died with Christ.

But then, He appeared. Gloom left the room. "Peace!" was the first word He spoke to them. And with His appearance in that room that first post-resurrection Sunday night came a fresh, lively hope. All is not lost! In fact, if Jesus is alive, the future is a blank check. Peter would become a converted man, ready to strengthen his brethren.

Neighbor, as long as Jesus is alive, hope is vibrant. He conquered death and now there is nothing that He cannot accomplish. With the Apostle Peter we can aver that we are born again to a lively hope. What seemed impossible is now no big deal. Let your hope live today.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Psa 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

"So!" That's what my smart-alack friends in youth group used to say when the youth director used this verse to chide us into giving a testimony. Ah, those were the days.

I believe the Psalmist meant that we ought to speak up for the Lord with a whole lot more verbiage than "So!"

Psalm, the 107th gives us ample reason for thanksgiving.

1. His mercy endures forever, 1
2. We are redeemed, 2
3. His leading in our lives, 3-7
4. His strange, but wonderful work in our lives. 8
5. Satisfaction for our longing souls, 9
6. Salvation from our distresses, 13
7. Freedom, liberty, 14
8. Healing and deliverance, 20
9. His wondrous works, 24
10. The fruitfulness of the land, 34-38
11. Wisdom and understanding, 43
12. God's lovingkindness, 43