Saturday, July 31, 2010

God's Math

Mat 14:19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
Mat 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
Mat 14:21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

I don't know how many times I have said, "God's math and my math are not the same." He does so much more with the 90% tithers have left over than they could have done with 100% if they would have disobeyed Him.

When I would try to pull the wool over my dad's eyes as a kid, he would say, "It just doesn't add up." Though the Lord isn't bound to the rules of classroom math, the sum is always correct. Additionally, there is usually a remainder.

We have tried to make a budget, but we always end up tossing it out because of the amazing ways He blesses beyond our means. He is so good at taking our few loaves and fishes and multiplying them beyond the need. We end up having several baskets full of leftovers.

I love His amazing math. Now, if I never had to help my kids work an algebra problem again, I would be thrilled!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Where He Leads, He Feeds and Where He Guides, He Provides.

Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

The above "platitudes" are much more than that. They are a reality for the Christian. You can always trust the Lord to bring you through what He brings you to.

It was the Spirit of the Lord that led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

We pray, rightfully so, to be led not into temptation, but to be delivered from evil. But there are times when we have to face adversity so that we can learn complete dependence on the Lord.

The leading of Jesus into the wilderness included much discomfort and deprivation. It was a desolate place. He had no food, no fellowship and much evil.

But God had reasons for Jesus' discomfort. His victorious stand against temptation and evil is an example and encouragement to us today. We know we have a high priest who was tempted in every area, like we are, yet He did not sin. Therefore He is able to help us as we face such temptation.

Look to the Savior for example and for the power to resist evil. If He brings you to it, He can bring you through it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

John, a Great Preacher

Mat 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, etc.

Jesus, in Matt 11:11 says that John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born. What made him so great?

1. He was willing to preach where conditions were difficult. He preached in the wilderness. He didn't have the advantage of a prestigious pulpit. He didn't even have a name of import. When he was born, his dad wrote, "his name is John," and everybody argued. Yet, that is what God chose.

2. His message was straightforward, "Repent!" There was no pussyfooting with this preacher. He laid the axe to the root of the trees and let the chips fall where they may. He was more than just a preacher, he was a prophet.

3. He preached Jesus, not himself. He demanded that he must decrease and that Christ must increase. He was not the hero of his own stories, but Jesus was lifted up.

4. He was humble. He told all of his admirers that he wasn't even worthy to untie Jesus' sandals. He felt unworthy to baptize the Lord.

5. He was simple. This evangelist had no Lear jets, no grand mansions, and no flashy clothes. He subsisted on locusts and honey and dressed in a scant camel hair girdle.

6. He wasn't afraid to call sin what it was. He gave it to the religious crowd and to Herod. He didn't go easy on the soldiers either. In the end, he lost his head for his straightforwardness.

7. He had a voice that carried enough for hundreds, even thousands to hear. Now that's lifting up the voice like a trumpet.

8. He was obedient to the Lord. Vs 15 says "he suffered him," meaning, he did what Jesus told him, even though everything in him went against it.

9. He had a key part in pleasing the Lord. 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

I can think of a few more reasons John was a great preacher: He was a Baptist preacher. He was an honest country boy. He had a relationship with Jesus. (They were cousins).

If Jesus were to sum up our lives and ministries, would He also find such kind words for us as He did for John?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Isa 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

What are you thirsty for?

Appetites are cultivated. We are told to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. That verse teaches us to develop their appetites for the right things. If a baby's palette is trained to appreciate veggies, guess what? They will enjoy them later in life.

I drink diet colas. Some people just can't stand the aftertaste, but I am used to it. My thirst for sodas used to mean about 400-500 calories per day. Since I have begun my new habit of diet sodas 17 years ago, I have avoided over 3 million calories that I would have consumed by drinking sugared pop.

I know, I know, no pop is good for you. Just please allow me to revel a bit in my avoidance of sugar in liquid form!

It is summertime now. The heat is oppressive and the thirst is excessive. A guy/gal has to stay hydrated while working outside or he's/she's in for a world of hurt.

So, what do you grab when you are thirsty? Good old fashioned water? Pop? Tea? Gatorade?

How about your thirsts in life? What do you grab when you need some soulful satisfaction? Is it truly satisfying or are you left with an even greater thirst?

Jesus said “blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Perhaps your palette hasn't been accustomed to desire righteousness. TV, entertainment, pleasure and the like are such a part of life in our culture that we long for them to quench our thirst, but alas, they leave us high and dry, longing for something more satisfying.
Jesus is offering you an invitation to come and freely drink of satisfying
soul water. There is no cost. He asks us why we would spend our resources
for that which can never satisfy.

Thirsty? Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Not Forgotten

Isa 49:14 But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
Isa 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Isa 49:16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands

The older we get, the more forgetful we tend to become. We need reminders. The calendar application in my Droid keeps me abreast of important appointments. I also have a voice recorder application and a post it note application, both of which are invaluable in keeping me appraised.

Notes pinned to the refrigerator by magnets keep us aware also.

You remember having notes pinned to your shirt by the teacher so your parents could be made aware of important notice?

And then, there was the ribbon or the rubber band applied to your finger so you wouldn't forget something.

God never forgets, yet, just to assure us of His enduring attention, He tells us that He has engraved our names on the palms of His hands. I guess we could say that He keeps our names "handy."

What, were you thinking God has forgotten you as you face your present trials? Not hardly! Feeling forsaken in your struggle for worth and recognition? Bah! As one writer said, if God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. Oh, how mindful He is of His kids!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nothing to Fear

Isa 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Isa 41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

By reading the book of Isaiah, we find there is much to fear for the unbeliever. Chaos and destruction are sure to come, and shortly so.

But for servant of the Lord, called to be His own, we are comforted by these words, "Fear thou not!"

As an umbrella shields from the elements, as a shade tree protects from the harshness of the sun’s rays, so the presence of the Almighty defends His chosen from the calamity to come.

He bids us "be not dismayed." That is, don't become bewildered at what is and is to take place.

He is our God, our Provider of strength and help. He is able to keep us secure in the time of trouble.

The Lord backs up this promise by assuring us that it is no less than His right hand of righteousness granting us needed security.

Did you need a verse of promise to help you though today's difficulties? Hold to God's unchanging hand.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sovereign Friendship

Isa 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
Joh 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

I pray that I am not guilty of much presumption as I pen this thought.

We worship Almighty God, Who stands alone above the universe, yet is transcendent to our mortal existence. He, Who needs none other has called us into a blessed and personal relationship with Him, allowing our pusillanimous souls to become one with His omnipotent Being.

He has sent His Spirit into our loathsome hearts that we may relish the privilege of crying out to Him, "Abba, Father!"

He has adopted our wretched souls into His glorious family, calling us sons, and has made us heirs of His majesty.

But then, strictly by His sovereign will, He has chosen to call us friends.

Oh my! What a miserable friend I am! I am as dispassionate, uncaring, neglectful and disloyal a friend as any could ever have. Yet He claims me, a lowly worm as His compatriot. This, on the sole merit of faith, not even my own, but the faith given to me from above, the same faith which called Abraham, high father of all the faithful, into this unbalanced yoke of friendship with the Divine.

How undeservedly blessed I am to be called the friend of God, to be counted along with David and Abraham as one of God's consorts.

May I never take for granted my disposition as an unlikely friend to the best Friend with Whom anyone could ever hope to keep company.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Set Thine House In Order

Isa 38:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.

I wonder, am I ready to go? I mean, ready in every way?

As a police and fire chaplain, I attend many families who have lost a loved one. I sit, pray and counsel with them as they begin to deal with the enormous task of picking up the pieces and tying up the loose ends left by their dearly departed. Nothing is as overwhelming as that first week or two after one has passed.

Thankfully, a good funeral home is priceless when it comes to guiding them through a concise "to do" list. A well prepared pastor is also invaluable.

It has been our experience that those who have "set their house in order" make things a lot easier on the ones they leave behind.

Following is a list, but not exhaustive, of things to consider:

Note: Extend your life! Live a life pleasing to the Lord and worthy of extension, as did Hezekiah (see vss 2-5). Also, start eating better and taking care of yourself. Have decent medical care available. I know we all want to get to heaven, but hey, heaven can wait a few more years, you are going to be there forever. Perhaps a soul is still needing the Lord that only you can win. Your family would probably appreciate a little more time with you. Live right and serve the Lord, it will add quality time to your life.

1. Set your financial house in order. Make sure that you have enough life insurance to cover the cost of the funeral ($12,000), incidentals and some left over to help your loved ones fill in the gap left by your passing. Life insurance is relatively inexpensive and is available through many outlets. For instance, some mortgages, car loans, credit cards, etc. offer death benefits to survivors. Some of these can pay off the house, car or credit cards.

2. Have a legal, concise will drawn up and updated. Include a living will in case you are totally incapacitated. This is important for the disposition of your estate, but especially critical if your children are not yet adults. Their education and spiritual life must be considered. You should decide, not the state, what will be the fate of your children and goods. Name an executor (of whom you have received permission) and a backup to see to the disposition of your estate. Make sure your named beneficiaries are updated and notified.
Get your outstanding bills paid. Don’t saddle your loved ones with this burden.

3. Keep all information, insurances, savings, wills, military and other relevant records, etc. in a concise, safe, easy to locate place where 2 or 3 close relatives, pastor or friends are aware.

4. Write down clear instructions as to your wishes. People's memories can play tricks on them, especially while grieving. This includes your funeral arrangements. Predetermine which funeral home, mode of burial, preacher, music, singer, cemetery, plot, Scriptures, etc.

5. Leave a legacy. When your name falls from the lips of those who remain, make sure your memory is an honorable one. Hezekiah is a great example. These thousands of years later, he is known for godliness and sparking a national revival. When you get your house in order, your spiritual house is of utmost importance. Consider leaving something to God’s work.

We have merely touched the hem of the garment, leaving you to fill in many blanks. You get the idea and hopefully, we haven't stepped on your grave.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Great Restraint

Isa 36:21 But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not. (Also, see 37:15, etc. 37:36-38.)

The restraint of the people here is fantastic. Rabshakeh gave a very convincing speech to the people of Jerusalem, yet they were disciplined enough to refrain from responding in any fashion, by order of their king.

I just try to imagine any scenario in our society where 100% of the people are 100% obedient. Family, church, locale or nation, I just don't see it happening in 2010.

We tell our kids, "Obey right away, obeying could save your life!" And yet they still have their moments. We warn the church with tears to restrain themselves from carnal pleasures, yet some still foray into the ravages of sin. Our nation is so divided that the vast majority could never again see eye to eye on any issue.

Kudos to the people of Jerusalem for trusting their God-given leadership, even in the face of a cruel death at the hands of one of the most vicious despots of history.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Time to Grow Up.

Isa 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

I am not sure how it is in your zip code, but many of the Christians I know are pretty biblically inept.

When you consider a person that has been faithful in church, for example, 20 years has heard 4000 sermons and lessons. You would think they could hold their own in any theological discussion, however, many defer to their pastor when it comes to soul winning, religious debate or counseling.

The Bible is our daily bread, our meat for battle strength. Milk is for Bible babes, yet many are content with the spoon feeding of Scriptural pabulum.

If you are reading this and have any spiritual age, yet are incompetent in the use of the Word, turn the TV off and get some biblical education, for goodness sake.

Verse 10 gives you the formula for ingesting the Word.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

Noses in the Book, friends!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Favorite and a Standby

Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

You have a favorite team? Color? Flavor? Song?

I suppose we all have our favorites. I have an aunt and a mother-in-law who go crazy when they see yellow. Something actually happens to them at the sight of anything of that color.

For me, it's the Nebraska Huskers. Just let me hear "There is no place like Nebraska" and I feel tingles!

Here is one of those verses for me... "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

It is a topsy-turvy world in which we live. Think too much on the junk going on and the looney bin could be your next stop. We need some peace in the midst of the storms of this present world and here is the well spring of that peace, a mind fixed on God, trusting in Him without reservation.

Ah yes, a good choice for a favorite verse, Isaiah 26:4. Memorize it, believe it, live it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Reason America Still Stands

Isa 1:9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

Thank God for those believers who continue to stand for the Lord and His Word and for the many missionaries sent into the regions beyond. If not for these, we would be goners!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Providence of God in The Book of Esther.

Did you know that God is not referred to even one time in the entire 10 chapters of Esther?

Can you even imagine such a thing? Would God allow a book in His Word? However, in no book of the Bible is the hand of God as evident as in this one.

Let's look for the obvious hand of God, acts of Providence in this book.

Chapter One: The removal of Queen Vashti
for rebellion against the king, making way for a new queen.

Chapter Two: The search for a new queen. He just happens to chose Esther, a Jew, whose cousin just happens to be Mordecai, who just happens to overhear the seditious plans of two of the king's chamberlains and reports them to the powers that be.

Chapter Three: Haman is promoted to the number two man over 60 countries, 127 provinces. He happens to be an arch enemy of Mordecai who refuses to do obeisance to him. Haman deceives the king, husband to a Jewess, to decree a day of slaughter of the Jews.

Chapter Five: Esther appeals to the king for an audience. He just happens to extend the royal scepter to her to grant her this privilege.
She invites the king and Haman to two banquets. Haman is lifted up with pride at the queen's invitation.

Chapter Six: The King just happens to have insomnia one night and asks for someone to read him the royal records to put him to sleep. It just happens that the matter of the coup is read and the king just happens to decide that the loyal informer be honored and dignified. At that very moment, it just happens that Haman is about to ask the king to let Mordecai be hanged. The king preempts his request. It just happens that Haman suggests that a proper honoring of one whom the king wishes to dignify would be a big parade for him. Ha! Haman thought he was the man! Instead, it just so happened that he had to be the guy to lead the horse that bore the king's honoree, MORDECAI!

Chapter Seven: The queen tells hubby about the wicked plan to have her and her people killed. When the king demands the name of the instigator, it just happens to be the one in the room with them, Haman. The jerk decides to fall on the bed whereupon she sat so he could beg for his life. Just then, it just happens that the king, who had gone to the garden to think, comes back in to see Haman on the bed with his wife.
There just happens to be a 75 foot gallows handy, which just happened to be erected by Haman for the hanging of Mordecai.

Chapter Eight:
Mordecai just happens to be immediately promoted to Haman's position. It just so happened that his first official deed was to send a letter throughout the kingdom that the Jews had the right to defend and avenge themselves on d-day. They gained so much favor that many of the people were converted to Judaism. This stacked the numbers on their side.

Chapter Nine: When holocaust day came, the Jews were ready and all the police happened to decide to side with the Jews. There was a great slaughter of their enemies, over 75,000. This great number happened to include the 10 sons of Haman.

By the way, even considering Joseph, there may have never been a more powerful Jew in the history of the world than Mordecai, seeing as how he was the Prime Minister over 60 countries and 127 provinces. But there is One to come who is known as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Sons of Samuel - I Sa 8:1-3

“when Samuel was old” — He was now about fifty-four years of age, having discharged the office of sole judge for twelve years. Unable, from growing infirmities, to prosecute his circuit journeys through the country, he at length confined his magisterial duties to Ramah and its neighborhood (1Sa_7:15), delegating to his sons as his deputies the administration of justice in the southern districts of Palestine, their provincial court being held at Beer-sheba. (JFB)

I Sa 8:1-3 How sad that Samuel's sons were so rotten. He was such a good man.

As judges, they took bribes which perverted their judgment. As judges, the people would come to them to settle disputes and make judgments. i.e. land and property disputes, inheritance issues, money matters, etc.

Remember when Jesus told the story of the unjust judge and the lady that was having problems with her enemy? Lk 18:1-6,
We must always deal fairly and squarely with people.

The sons of Samuel had every advantage:
1. He gave them a good name.
a. Ben Samuel (sons of Samuel)
b. Joel - Jehovah is his God
c. Abiah - Worshiper of Jah

2. He gave them a good example
(Samuel was a judge of Israel, a prophet, a priest. He had anointed Saul, anointed David, the first two kings of Israel)

3. He gave them a good job, judges in Beersheba

But, what are the problems that accompany being PK's? (priests and prophets kids)
1. Dad ministering to everyone else at the expense of his own family.
2. He may have taken out his frustrations concerning flawed people on his own family.
3. He was away from home a lot.
4. Expectations of PKs are high. They tend to live in glass houses, under a microscope. They feel a real pressure to Measure up to the expectations of others, of parents, of their own imaginations.
5. They may have felt entitled, even to wrong things. (Rank Has Privilege)
6. They lived on 2nd hand faith. They probably felt that dad's faith was enough to get them by.

So, we see:
Eli's kids (the priest) -bad
Samuel's kids (the prophet) -bad
God's kids (the King) -???

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grandma got run over at the horse gate!

2Ch 23:15 So they laid hands on her; and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king's house, they slew her there.

Jehoram was a devil,
He and his son both were evil,

Ahaziah fared no better.
Two rotten throne stetters.

But upon their deaths, behold, a usurper by coup,
Athaliah, wife and mother of these two,

Stole the throne, to God unloyal,
But not until she slew the seed royal.

But one boy was saved,
Azariah behaved.

The priest made him king,
All the subjects did sing.

As the cheers and joy rang out,
Athaliah did shout,

Treason, treason,
What is the reason?

Then, in the midst of her gloom,
she discovered her doom.

With Jehu leading curiously,
(the one who drove well nigh furiously)

The great avenger, the zealot of God...
Ask Ahab and Jezebel 'bout when he gave them the nod

He made things right in the land,
By slaying the wicked with his hand.

Oh that many cared as he...
...did here in chapter 23

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Good Dad, Son Bad, So Sad

2Ch 21:1 Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
2Ch 21:2 And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.
2Ch 21:3 And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn.
2Ch 21:4 Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel.
2Ch 21:5 Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
2Ch 21:6 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD.

Jehoshaphat was a very good king of Judah. The only knocks against him were the two times he made leagues with the ungodly kings of Israel. Other than that, He was sure to eliminate the places of idol worship, he published the Word of God throughout the land, worshiped the Lord, re-established the order of the priesthood and wrought great victories by the hand of God.


But his eldest boy, Jehoram, was a devil. Even though he reigned by right of the eldest, he slew his 6 brothers along with many of the princes of Israel. Ungodly and despicable acts!

What happens for kids to turn out like this?

1. Dad is so busy with ruling the kingdom that he sometimes fails in the leadership of the home.

2. He, Jehoshaphat, may have been a disciplinarian of the rankest order, causing his boy to rebel, but more than likely, he was too lax with his boys. We note that he loaded them up with gold, silver, expensive toys and property.

We must remember that that which is easily acquired is not readily appreciated. Spoiled children cannot be expected to do what is right in life. They come to expect everything to be handed to them without working for it. They begin to feel a great sense of entitlement and when they don't get their way, watch out for the tantrum.

3. As it has been with kings for many millennia, the kid with the crown gets paranoid and begins to do away with any possible obstruction or opposition, blood relations not withsttanding. No doubt Jehoram figured that his ungodly rule would be challenged by some of these quality princes and he would be deposed in favor of one of his siblings, so he killed them all.

4. Sometimes, nothing at all happens. The parents do all they can to raise well-rounded, good-grounded kids and the whelps just never "get it."

At any rate, Jehoram goes down as one of the lousiest excuses for a king in Judah and thus will ever be his legacy. He should have been more like his dad.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Prepare Your Heart to Seek the Lord

2Ch 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.

Nobody had the tools to seek the Lord like King Rehoboam. The book of Proverbs was written for his benefit, yet he forsook everything that was good, wise and holy.

The result was that he did evil and plunged the nation of Israel into wickedness and opened her up to foreign oppression.

We need to be sure to prepare our hearts to seek the Lord. We can do this by having daily devotions, being faithful in the Lord's house, praying incessantly, avoiding temptation, being filled with the Holy Spirit and having a teachable heart.

Coach John Wooden taught that it is what we learn after we know it all that counts the most.

We, as Christians, can never say we have arrived, we have no more preparation to make, no more learning to acquire. Every day it starts all over again.

So, make today a new day of preparing your heart to seek the Lord.