Thursday, December 30, 2010
Psa 100:1 A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Psa 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Psa 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psa 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Psa 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
When was the last time you heard a congregation lose all its inhibitions and just rare back and sing to the very best of its ability?
Do you remember the old time song leaders telling the crowd, "Let's raise the roof on this verse!"?
There hasn't been a lot of roof-raising in these last days. I am not sure if it is because of the advent of praise music and the demise of the classic hymns or just lethargy when it comes to music in the church.
I have observed that most people are pretty much disengaged during the song service, thinking about everything but what they ought to be concentrating on, the music.
Also, more people are getting away with not singing at all. Some men are too macho, they feel singing's not for them. It always puts me in mind of verse 2 of "We're Marching to Zion" which says, "Let those refuse to sing, who never knew our God, but children of the heavenly King, but children of the heavenly King, may speak their joys abroad, may speak their joys abroad."
A church that loses its ability and desire to worship whole-heartedly has lost one of its greatest treasures, for the Lord inhabits the praises of His children. Seldom do we sense the presence of the Lord as when the music is all-consuming in our worship.
Let's get back to coming before His presence with singing, making a joyful noise unto Him. Lift the rafters on that next verse!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Psa 92:13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.
Some ground is just better than other ground for growing things. Rich, black, moist soil laden with all the right nutrients is going to be more productive than clay.
For years, middle America was known as the great American desert. It wasn't until brave, tough pioneers were willing to plant themselves on that desert and their seed in that dubious ground that we learned it would be the most productive farmland in the world!
I know that planting oneself in front of the TV or on a barstool or in the gym during church time is unproductive for the soul. This verse tells us that those who are planted in God's house are the ones that shall flourish.
Conversely, planting yourself anywhere else will cause your soul to whither.
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Church, that is, a Spirit-filled, Bible-centered house of the Lord, is good ground for a flourishing life.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Psa 90:9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. 10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Have you ever had someone say to you, "Man, you should write a book!"?
Our years are like a story that is told. Paul said of his converts, "You are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men."
I think it is true that virtually every life is interesting enough to be a tremendous biographical novel if the author is just good enough!
But what if the Author was God? Hint, it is!
What would be a good title for your tale? Adventures in Faith? Up From Slavery? Rags-to-Riches? God's been faithful? Ah, so many possibilities.
Novels tend to have a plot, a story line, key players, unexpected twists and turns, a climax, an overall message.
Would your story be a page-turner, a can't-put-it-down, spell-binder that flies off the shelves?
And really, is your book mainly about you, or is it about God?
Know this friend, when you climbed out of bed today, a new chapter began to be written. Make it an exciting chapter where the gospel is shared, Joy is experienced, tragedies are avoided, victories are won and a wonderful resolution ensues.
I look forward to a good read from you!
Monday, December 27, 2010
Psa 90:1 A Prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
You gotta love Moses! He who dwelt in the palace the first trimester of his life, on the backside of the desert the 2nd, and in the Sinai wilderness the last, knew how to make God his dwelling place throughout. Good man, Moses!
We have here no permanent dwelling. Life on earth is transitional at best. We have no lease on life, no promise of tomorrow. We don't know about tomorrow, we just know WHO holds tomorrow!
To make God our dwelling place is the wisest of the wise decisions. It means contentment when all around us is uncertainty.
And so Christ, Who spoke so highly of Moses, adds to Moses' declaration by declaring no less than 9 times in John 15, "Abibe in me."
That is, Christ invites us to make our residence in Him, to dwell in Him, to continue with Him. By doing so, our prayers are answered, our joy is full and our fruit remains (see John 15:1-16).
A foot in the world and a foot in the Lord will never do, it needs to be full-throttle, head-first, all-in for Jesus and we will never be disappointed.
Are you making your dwelling place in the Lord or is your residence built on the slippery-slope of this world, awaiting the avalanche that will do you in? Abide in Christ, make Him your all in all, your life, your hope, your main-stay, your shield and defender. He will support you come what may.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the
government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The
Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
I suppose verse 6 has always been my favorite Christmas verse. It summarizes all that our gracious Saviour is to me and all His redeemed. He is the King to Whom we bow. A greater adjective could not be turned into a name for Jesus than “Wonderful.”
The hem of the garment is barely touched when we call Him Counsellor. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and that same wisdom is always liberally available to those who ask of this Wonderful Counsellor.
The Mighty God, Everlasting Father! Those religions which deny the deity of Christ wiggle and cringe at this emphatic declaration. That babe in the manger is almighty God, the Ancient of Days! Mark Lowry and Buddy Green’s song says it well…
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.
The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.
And finally, He is known as the Prince of Peace. Longfellow lamented,
And in despair, I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth, I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
The thing is, the Saviour did bring peace with God to all those whose sins would be forgiven and the peace of God for all who trust in Him.
Tis a merry Christmas for those who claim Jesus as Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Luk 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
I hate to upset anybody’s notions, but you need to know that the nativity of Christ is not about family, gifts or giving, a tree, decorations, Santa or even eggnog. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish the opportunity to spend time with family and I will take joy in seeing the munchkins rip and tear into their presents. I love the lights! I DON’T care for the shopping!!! Praise the Lord for Amazon.com!
But we cannot miss the point… Look, if I were to have a target to the south and let an arrow fly toward the north, I am going to miss the bulls eye by a good distance. There is no joy in missing the target.
If the birth of Christ is supposed to bring peace on earth and good will toward men, then why is there so much misery and friction during the holidays? Why are so many so sad at this time?
1) People don’t feel they can measure up to the country living Magazine Christmas cover.
2) People are feeling sorry for themselves because Bing Crosby’s songs are not a reality for them.
3) Many are broken hearted because home for the holidays is not happening for them.
4) Others will be disappointed. Because their life is not a Christmas card, not a Norman Rockwell painting. Their halls are not decked with boughs of holly. They experience little ho ho ho and a lot of bah humbug!
You see, life has happened to them ...divorce, death, financial setback, disease, tragedy.
If your goal is a classic Christmas, snow on the ground, a pile of presents under the tree, a sleigh parked outside pulled by Clydesdale horses, etc. You will more oft than not be disappointed.
That's not why God became a man, to bring you a merry Christmas and happy holidays and feliz navidad.
But if you are looking for peace of/with God, goodwill to men, if you are looking for light of the world and eternal life...then that's why he came and that's what he offers.
If the babe in the manger points you toward Santa riding a Norelco razor through the snow, then all your Christmases will not be merry and bright.
But if the star over the manger draws your attention to the cross of forgiveness and an empty tomb of victory, then unto you is born this day, in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Psa 84:5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
Psa 84:6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
Psa 84:7 They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. Paul's thorn in the flesh allowed him to discover that He giveth more grace. Joseph's prison experience was needful to bring him to power. Moses' 40 years on the back side of the desert prepped him for leadership of Israel.
The life stories of almost every major character in the Bible follow the same pattern, man's weakness proves God's strength. Valleys give way to mountain tops.
It is said that no great servant of the Lord has not, at some time, been through great trials of affliction, in order to temper him/her for service for Christ.
Perhaps you have personal knowledge of this process taking place in your own experience.
In the 84th Psalm, we are given this picture of a man going from one mountain top to another. However, in between he had to travel through the valley of weeping.
I have found that in between strengths, during those valley experiences, we learn to appreciate the good times. We find ourselves depending on the Lord, developing our prayer lives, learning valuable life lessons, relating more readily to the hurts of others and acquiring patience.
We loathe to experience the valley as we equally long for the mountaintop. But to get from one strength to the next, we generally have to travel through Baca.
Make the most out of your valleys on the way to your next strength.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Psa 77:1 I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
Psa 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
Psa 77:3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
Here, Asaph, one of the tabernacle ministers of music, is overwhelmed with health issues, among other things. He is in dire need of God's attention.
So he cries out, not only with his heart, but with his voice. He emphasizes twice that it was with his voice that he cried out.
I can relate, possibly you can also. Usually, my prayers proceed quietly from my spirit. But there are those times when the necessity of my need cannot be kept silent and I have to cry out loud to the Savior in the depth of my need.
In the 130th Psalm we find the writer exclaiming on his way to worship, "Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD."
God hears and answers silent, spoken or cried out prayers. But He doesn't answer unprayed prayers. So cry out to Him, He wants to hear from you, for crying out loud!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Dan 5:25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
Does America have the resiliency needed for the next sucker punch? (Scandal, terror attack, financial collapse, etc.)
America is a relatively young nation that has outlived its shelf life as a world power. 200 years is about the longest any leading nation has been able to survive atop the heap of world greatness.
We Yanks are so ameri-centric that we can’t see past the end of our Statue of Liberty’s own nose. We think our society is as near Utopian as any and therefore, indestructible.
I think of the writing on the king’s wall in Babylon by God’s own hand, “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting. This night, thy kingdom shall be taken from thee.”
Subsequently, there was the Persian Empire, then the Greeks.
I think of the Roman Empire crumbling from within, entertaining itself to death.
It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. Now, that setting sun casts long shadows on its former greatness.
Who are we to think we deserve better? Wickedness abounds in America. The things that once made us resilient have decayed into oblivion.
We used to be so resilient because of the core values of honor, decency, compassion, patriotism, mutual respect, grace, morality…shall we say, the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Our ship would stay afloat in war, depression, attack or come-what-may. But now, we have too much water in the boat.
Multiculturalism, that uninhibited tolerance and acceptance of any and every strange cultural more’, run-away spending, porous borders, godless policies, heavy taxation, legalized abortion, ridiculous entitlements, even for illegals, allowance of pornography, the drug culture, indecency at every turn… our society is ripe for a fall.
A short 9 years ago, America rallied following 9/11. Right or wrong, we came together to go after an enemy. Our president warned that it would take patience over the long haul. Alas, our nation really did not have the stomach, nor the resources for what needed to be done.
I am overly concerned that next financial debacle or attack or scandal will not be cause for rally among the people of the US, but rather division. And, as our Lord was quoted by President Lincoln in the face of civil war, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
We have become so polarized politically, so pitted against one another in class warfare, so divided among racial lines that we may never be able to come together against a common enemy.
I am afraid that the river has been diverted and the gates are about to be breached. I fear that we value our entertainment way too highly, even at the expense of our integrity. I hope and pray that the tides of our destruction may be stayed, but we must have a revival.
Christmastime is upon us and the Islamo-terrorists are scheming attacks during our times of celebration. According to two senior officials, Iraqi authorities have obtained confessions from captured insurgents who claim al Qaeda is planning suicide attacks in the United States and Europe during the Christmas season.
Would you, dear reader; European, Asian, Australian, South or North American or even African, would you petition Heaven that God would foil these devilish schemes and that revival would take place here in the States and around the globe? It is to all our mutual benefits that God would thwart Satan’s plans for death and destruction.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Psa 72:9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
When Julian the Apostate met his end, he gathered handfuls of dust, tossed them into the air proclaiming, "Thou hast conquered, thou Galilean!"
Celebrated atheist Voltaire exclaimed with his last words, "I am abandoned by God and man, I shall go to hell! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six month's life."
Mirabeau proclaimed, "My sufferings are intolerable: I have in me a hundred years of life, but not a moment’s courage. Give me more laudanum, that I may not think of eternity? Oh Christ, Oh Jesus Christ!"
As Severus passed, the emperor responsible for the deaths of thousands of believers, his words still echo, "I have been everything; and everything is nothing!"
Skeptic Thomas Hobbes, "If I had the whole world, I would give anything to live one day. I shall be glad to find a hole to creep out of the world at. I am about to take a fearful leap in the dark!"
Caesar Borgia, "I have provided, in the course of my life, for everything except death, and now, alas! I am to die, although entirely unprepared!"
Chancellor of England Sir Thomas Scott, "Until this moment, I thought there was neither God nor hell; now I know and feel that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty!"
Infidel club leader, Sir Francis Newport, "You need not tell me there is no God for I know there is one, and that I am in His presence! You need not tell me there is no hell. I feel myself already slipping. Wretches, cease your idle talk about there being hope for me! I know I am lost forever! Oh, that fire! Oh, the insufferable pangs of hell!"
M.F. Rich, "Terrible horrors hang over my soul! I have given my immortality for gold; and its weight sinks me into a hopeless, helpless hell!"
Atheist Thomas Paine, American colonialist writer, "I would give worlds if I had them, that 'the Age of Reason' had never been published. O Lord, help me! Christ, help me!... No, don't leave, stay with me! Send even a child to stay with me; for I am on the edge of Hell here alone. If ever the Devil had an agent, I have been that one."
Assassin John Wilkes Booth, "Useless! Useless! The terrors before me!"
Charles IX, murderous king responsible for the massacre of 15000 Huguenots said in his last hours, "Asleep or awake, I see the mangled forms of the Huguenots passing before me. They drop with blood. They point at their open wounds. Oh! That I had spared at least the little infants at the breast! What blood! I know not where I am. How will all this end? What shall I do? I am lost forever! I know it. Oh, I have done wrong. "
Though the God-haters shoot out the lip in mockery of our Lord, it is the Lord Who will have the last say.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Psa 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
Psa 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
Psa 68:6 God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
One slam against Christianity and our God by the atheists; "Why would a loving God allow so much suffering?"
I think it is a fair question considering the close-mindedness of those who claim to be so open-minded. I suppose you really don't have to be a skeptic to have had the same thought pass through your mind on occasion.
The easy answer is sin. God is not willing that hell be populated with people, that innocents suffer, that natural disasters ravage the landscapes. But these are all due to cause and effect. Creation groans because sin is rampant. Civilizations suffer because they have forgotten God. Innocents are in hardship because guilty people have behaved badly.
But God does not ignore the cries of the fatherless, the widows, the lonely and the incarcerated. He sits high on the throne, cognizant of the trouble occurring down here below.
He is sure to reward and recompense all the righteous of their sorrow. A special place exists in the heart of the Holy for the orphans, the abandoned, the left-behind, the captive and those left with nowhere to turn but Heaven.
You see, He knows all about it, He's been there. On a cold Bethlehem night, God was born into this world to a peasant couple, the comforts of a home exchanged for an animal stall. Agonizing In the garden, He prayed alone while his friends slept. When He was arrested, His disciples scattered, except for Peter, who denied Him. He spent the night in kangaroo court and in jail…alone. When He hung on the cross, His followers were nowhere to be found, save John and a few women. As He looked toward heaven and called upon His Father, He was forsaken, because God could not countenance our sin that He bore.
Therefore, because He knows the pain of rejection, because He was a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief, He sees to it that His children will never be forsaken and left all alone.
He is a God who sees and hears and knows and cares and acts on the behalf of all who call upon Him. In fact, that’s why He came to the manger. To be Immanuel, God with us. So that He would experience the human condition, to relate to your loneliness, your poverty, your sickness, your temptation, your emotions.
Are your hurting? His phone number begins... "Our Father which art in heaven" and ends... "In Jesus' name I pray, Amen!"
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
To regard iniquity in one's heart is to acknowledge its presence and to do nothing about it, rather, to encourage it. It means to have favorable thoughts about our sin.
It is akin to taking a bite of forbidden fruit and rolling it around in the mouth enjoying the texture and the flavor. If we have fond thoughts of our sin, if we wish to continue in it and are reluctant to part with it, then our prayers are hindered.
We cannot afford to have our prayers unanswered. Sin has its pleasures for a season, but in the end, it is rottenness to the gut. Favor with God, conversely, is the Christian's cherished treasure.
I often wonder how a person can "regard" the pleasure and consequences of sin verses the favor and fellowship of God and consistently choose the former over the latter. And yet, regarding sin in the heart is the natural course of the unregenerate, as well as the carnal individual.
I think of some that I know that I have counseled in the following way. I show them one hand that represents their family, church, job and a good life. My other hand represents their sin and its consequences (drugs, illicit sex, anger and wrath, laziness, etc.) I challenge them to choose one or the other. Often they waiver a while before making the no-brainer option. Then they go leave the office only to go back to the sin they have been regarding in their hearts.
So be it. That poor choice results in unanswered prayer.
The forbidden fruit that is dangled before you today is a prayer-killer, don't eat it!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Psa 59:1 To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him. Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.
Psa 59:2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.
Psa 59:3 For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD.
You know that the Psalms, the Tehellim, are the song book of the Old Testament. Written by David, Solomon, Moses, Heman, Asaph, Jeduthan and Chenneniah, and some unascribed authors, they are a collection of songs written primarily from real life situations.
We find David, for instance, penning his poems upon the occasions of his repentance, his exiles, his fleeing for his life, contemplating the grandeur of creation, etc.
Here, David is once again in danger of his life as Saul's men have him holed up in his house and ready to end his life. Instead of wishing for the destruction of his aggressors, he prays rather that they get confused and wander off, seeing that God is on the throne. Nice sentiment!
I am intrigued that David is in his house, not on the phone with the 911 operator, not preparing his weapons in case they break in, not observing them on his security cameras, but singing praises to God and writing music!
Now, I know that some of the songs being written these days are legitimate and blessed tunes born from real life situations. But let's face it, most songs are written to make someone some money. They are cheap, classless attempts combining empty words, tired out themes, monotonous chord progressions producing uninspired results. But hey, the songwriter's gotta make a buck, right?
Unfortunately, I am not just referring to rock, hip-hop and country. I am talking about some of the music that will be crooned on Christian radio, produced by praise teams and presented by soloists behind the pulpit.
How many songs does the church have? How many ways can you manipulate the 12 chromatic notes of the scale into a new song? There are only 26 letters of the alphabet, only so many time signatures, key signatures. Millions of songs have been produced. Thousands have become useful. Hundreds are blessings.
It all comes down to a few things for this music aficionado, does the song make sense? Is it a blessing? Is it real, born from truth or circumstance? And will it stand the test of time?
I guess David has to rank among the top singer/songwriters of all time. He is also known as the sweet singer of Israel. Old school!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Psa 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Though we may be called upon to take up our cross and follow Jesus, we are not designed to carry unnecessary burdens and cares.
Our Lord intends for us to rest in Him by allowing Him to shoulder our burdens side by side with us, Him carrying the lion's share of the Load.
He makes us this offer in Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The following illustrates the average mindset of the overburdened individual:
The "Coronary and Ulcer Club" lists the following rules for members...
(update note: substitute laptop for briefcase)
1. Your job comes first. Forget everything else.
2. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays are fine times to be working at the office. There will be nobody else there to bother you.
3. Always have your briefcase with you when not at your desk. This provides an opportunity to review completely all the troubles and worries of the day.
4. Never say "no" to a request. Always say "yes."
5. Accept all invitations to meetings, banquets, committees, etc.
6. All forms of recreation are a waste of time.
7. Never delegate responsibility to others; carry the entire load yourself.
8. If your work calls for traveling, work all day and travel at night to keep that appointment you made for eight the next morning.
9. No matter how many jobs you already are doing, remember you always can take on more.
10 minutes after posting this blog, my friend sent me the following, notice the verse...
*Psalm 55:22 --- you really need to read this 'Friends are Father's way of taking care of us.' *
*This was written by a Metro Denver Hospice Physician: *
I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die - I barely managed to coast into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn't even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the quickie mart building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay. When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.
At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.
I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying 'I don't want my kids to see me crying! So we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, 'And you were praying?' That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, 'He heard you, and He sent me.'
I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald's and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.
She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn't have money to pay rent Jan. 1, and finally, in desperation, had called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on
her feet there.
So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there. I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, 'So, are you like an angel or something?'
This definitely made me cry. I said, 'Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.'
It was so incredible to be a part of someone else's miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I'll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won't find anything wrong.
Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings...
Psalms 55:22 'Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.'
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Psa 45:1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Psa 45:2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
Very interesting! The word inditing here means to gush. In other words, the writers heart is gushing. He is overflowing with emotion concerning the majesty and glory of his king.
Can we relate? Does our heart gush with feeling concerning our meditations of our great God and King? How wonderful His works toward the undeserving! How marvelous His mercies! How glorious His goodness!
Indeed my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. I cannot but speak of the glories of my wonderful Lord and King.
Friday, December 10, 2010
I have always been a fan of the late British author and evangelist Leonard Ravenhill. His book, "Why Revival Tarries" is a poignant treatise of the poor quality of modern Christianity. His prophet-like delivery of God's truth is refreshing in a day where pussy-footing is standard fare. Following are some of his quotes which ought to be assimilated into the life of every disciple of Christ.
"Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility."
"If weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere."
"Men give advice; God gives guidance."
"Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?"
"A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning"
"The only reason we don't have revival is because we are willing to live without it!"
"God pity us that after years of writing, using mountains of paper and rivers of ink, exhausting flashy terminology about the biggest revival meetings in history, we are still faced with gross corruption in every nation, as well as with the most prayerless church age since Pentecost."
"The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising."
"The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity."
"My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
"If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified."
"Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy"
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Psa 42:11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Psa 43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
you can finish that old adage, can't you? If you have your health, you have everything. Well, it is a bit of an overstatement, I think. But it is a good point. When you are in poor health, nothing else seems in sync. Finances are out the window, relationships are strained, especially with those who cannot relate to your sufferings. Your job cannot have your full attention. So many things hit the back burner when your health is in poor shape.
A good relationship with the Lord generally produces a healthful glow in the believer. Good humor begets a good look. A confident soul, unified with the Spirit of God, begets a healthy demeanor.
We are put on notice by the Word that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Merry hearts are the result of a right relationship with the Lord.
If you are feeling a little puny today, spend some time in the presence of the Almighty and come away recharged, you will feel better.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Psa 40:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
Psa 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
Psa 40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Psa 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
We dare not confine our heartfelt gratefulness to the end of November. I hope we are continuing in our gratitude to the Lord for His wonderful works. Truly they are so many that we couldn't begin to reckon the whole of them.
In the previous verses, we see some wonderful blessings from God for which the Psalmist is grateful.
Having waited for the Lord to do His work, sure enough, the Lord bowed down His ear from heaven and heard him. Oh, friend, know this, we have a prayer hearing, prayer answering God Who delights in meeting the needs of His dear children. It is a shame we don't call on Him more often.
And then, the Lord delivers his servant from a distressing situation. He likened it to a horrible pit. How many of us could call the fix we are in a horrible pit, or a rut, or a hole? I am sure you can relate. But time and again, He snatches us out of the miry clay and sets us in a place of sure safety.
Finally, He fills the mouth with singing and praise. When others see where God has taken us from and where He has brought us to, they will take note and become believers also.
Now that, my friend, is a wonderful second helping of thanksgiving.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Much speculation is taking place among the Shias of Islam concerning the coming of the last Imam, their Muslim messiah, also called the Mahdi.
The president of Iran is a firm believer that he must prepare the way for this antichrist by destroying the great satan, America, and the little satan, Israel. And so he is working on his nuclear ability at breakneck speed.
Radical Islam is bent on the annihilation of Christianity and Judaism. For them, the sooner, the better. This Jihad against the west has changed the landscape of the world. (think 9/11, et al). There really is no hope for peace as long as their perverted mindset remains in place.
Daily we hear of successful bomb attacks, foiled terrorist attempts, threats to security, martyrdom of non-radicalized Muslims, beheading of those not loyal to the Regime, ad nausea.
Frankly, I fear for this world. I am saddened that our children will grow up in a world where peace and security can never be attained as long as these crazies in the army of Allah have sworn to kill "infidels" at every turn.
I have to wonder which cargo container in which port contains a nuke. I fear that every dirty bomb or suitcase bomb or car cannot possibly be foiled by Homeland Security, the NSA, FBI or CIA. Our intelligence community cannot possibly short circuit every Islamic attack on American or European (add African and Asian) soil.
But today, I read the 37th Psalm and have found great comfort. The following verses have ministered to me in allaying my discomfort:
Psa 37:1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
Psa 37:2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Psa 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
Psa 37:10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
Psa 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Psa 37:12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
Psa 37:13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
Psa 37:14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
Psa 37:15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
Psa 37:17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.
Psa 37:18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
Psa 37:19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
Psa 37:20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
Psa 37:28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psa 37:29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
Psa 37:32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
Psa 37:33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
Psa 37:34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
Psa 37:35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
Psa 37:36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
Psa 37:37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
Psa 37:38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psa 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
Psa 37:40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
I hope and pray that these inspired promises of Holy Writ will calm your fear and give you comfort for today and hope for tomorrow. Though the CIA cannot have sufficient intelligence on every sleeper cell, our omniscient Creator and Sustainer knows where the WMDs are hidden. And though the terrorists will one day anoint their messiah, The Lord will cut him off in his wickedness and preserve His saints.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Psa 33:1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
Psa 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
Psa 33:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
Psa 33:4 For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
Hey, we all want to look our best, right? I mean, who really doesn't care what they look like?
Come on, you looked in the mirror this morning, didn't you? What were your thoughts? "Not much hope for this kid today?" "Not bad, not bad at all?" etc.
Can I give you a little hint? No Christian is as beautiful or handsome, none as radiant as when they are praising the Lord!
The song writer said, "Give the world smile each day."
Indeed, learn to praise God, no matter the circumstances, and you will be looking pretty in praise.
Now, go comb your hair, cover the blemishes, brush your pearly whites (or yellows), anoint your self with a bit of smell good, but especially, don't forget to apply a liberal amount of praise!
Looking good, man!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Psa 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Psa 32:2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
The word blessed comes from the Hebrew word "esher" and it simply means happy.
Abe Lincoln declared that our forefathers brought forth a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Many go about that pursuit in varied ways. Their pursuit of happiness may be on the order of financial gain, health, entertainment, comfort, recreation or even sinful pleasures.
However, many rightly pursue God, knowing that He is the true fount of happiness.
In these verses we find that a person's happiness can be realized by having our having sins forgiven and living a clean life with a clear conscience.
Unfortunately, many are blessed by the fact of these events, but have not met up with the feeling of that fact. That is, their sins are washed away and they are living a godly life, but they still are overcome by the enemy's darts of doubt, distress and defeat. They have a hard time coming to grips with who they are in Christ, Whose they are, and what has happened to them.
I imagine that if the average believer were to get hold of the fact that they are completely forgiven, under absolutely no condemnation, that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence within them, never to leave again. If they were to know that every need will be met, that all things will work together for good, that they already are seated in the heavenlies with Jesus, that they have the power of God within them to overcome any and all circumstances, that the enemy is already condemned to defeat, then they would be able to live above the circumstances and find great joy and happiness in the fact of their forgiveness.
Oh, that our knowledge and our emotions would catch up to the facts of our faith. Then could we all be doubly blessed and made happy in our walk with the King.
Psa 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Psa 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Psa 30:11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
When we became children of the Most High God, we were never promised all sunshine and roses. The path that the Christian is called to tread is sometimes strewn with darkness and difficulty.
However, He is always with us along the way and being found in His favor is to experience life more abundantly. In His favor is life!
Yes, we mourn. Sure, we are found grieving from time to time. But it always gives way to joy and rejoicing.
Believing friend, you have been girded with gladness. Trust and hope in Him for the joy that is coming your way. The weeping may endure for a night, but joy is coming in the morning.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Psa 18:25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;
Psa 18:26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
We serve a righteous, holy God. Yet He is so very loving, merciful and forgiving.
A piece of sand paper is just a smooth piece of paper on one side, but the other side can really remove some hide, if you know what I mean. The Lord is kind of like that. If we are merciful, upright and pure, He will show Himself likewise to us. But if we become froward, that is, torturous, then the sandpaper is turned to the rough side and guess what? We will see the rough side of the Lord!
It is like what Jesus said of Himself in Luke 20:18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
Depending on how you respond to God and how you treat others is how you will be rewarded from heaven.
So, which side of the sandpaper will we choose today?