Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Re-Birthday!

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

In the gospel of John (chapter 3), Jesus said these words to Nicodemus, a man of the Pharisees, a ruler of the Jews. Perhaps afraid, perhaps ashamed, Nicodemus came to Jesus at night when no one else would see him. The Lord didn't turn him away. Jesus told him he must be born again.

Birth is the beginning of life. Birth is the beginning of parenthood. Birth is the beginning of a family. Birth is even the beginning of death. Birth is the beginning of the life cycle. Birth is the beginning.

Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again. This puzzled the pharisee. He asked, "How can a man be born when he is old?" Jesus answered, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

We are born once, born into flesh, into corruption, into sin, from the bloodline of fallen man. Not by choice, but by nature. However, Jesus said to enter the kingdom of God, we must be born again of the Spirit. This rebirth is divine. It is a great change made in the heart of a sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit. A new birth! Taking on a new nature, new principles, new goals, a new life, we undergo this dramatic change of state and character. It means He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves! What was wrong in us, God can make right.

Nicodemus asked, "How can these things be?"

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. -John 3:16

Believe in Him. Accept Him. Trust Him.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20

I was born again in August of 1983. I was 11 years old, but I remember the night. It was on a Friday at the end of Vacation Bible School. The preacher preached creation from Genesis, but ended with hope nailed to a cross. I remember a change even then. And although, I haven't always been with Him, He's always been with me. 26 years under the guidance and protection of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I love Him because He first loved me. I love Him for doing what I cannot do for myself. I love Him for His promises. I love Him for being my God, my Lord, my all in all. As I celebrate my birthday today, I really celebrating my rebirthday.

Monday, June 29, 2009

How Big is God?

Just how big is God?

Have you ever really considered the vastness of this world? Have you ever really considered lengths? Depths? Heights? Widths? Ponder these measurements:

The deep. The deepest part of the ocean is the Mariana Trench. It is very cold and very much under a lot of pressure. It is so deep the sunlight cannot penetrate the depth of its water and therefore extremely cold. There is unimaginable pressure in the deep. It is 8 tons per square inch or 16,000 pounds on every square inch. Now here's the image, the Empire State building in New York, USA is 1,472 ft. Tall, right? It could take 5.4 Empire State buildings in order to reach the bottom of the bottom. Better still, the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest, at 29,141 ft, began at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean, it would still be covered by over 1.25 miles of water. Now, that's deep!

Far. If we launched a manned flight to the planet Pluto, at the same speed of the Apollo astronauts, it would take 17 years before we touched down at our destination. Wow! 17 years! That's far! Now, let a 12 inch ruler represent the distance between the sun and Pluto, the nearest star would be over a mile away. Now, that's really far!

There's a story of a couple of fishermen out in the middle of the ocean not a glimmer of land in sight. One turns to the other and states, "Boy, that's a lot of water!" The other fisherman says, "Yes, and that's only the top of it."

Maybe that's how we view God at times. When we think of God and God's ways, we really haven't even scratched the surface. God is big, bigger than we think, bigger than we can imagine. Just when we think we may have the handle on Him, He does the impossible, He does the unheard of, He does the unthought of. Don't limit God. This is where faith and trust come into play. Have faith. Trust in the Lord. For we know that He is in control. He is sovereign. After all, He is God. He is the Almighty. He is Lord.

For this cause I bow my knees unt0 the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth,and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us - Ephesians

Thinking about all the different worlds worlds our Lord has created is staggering. From the depths of the seas to the outer-lying reaches of the universe. From the inner expansions of the spiritual to the delicate biophysical framework of life. It's staggering. Contemplating such vast worlds and systems is...well, quite honestly humbling. Can the God of creation, possessor of heaven and earth, really care about little ol' us?

There is a word, omnipresent, that is derived from two words: omni- meaning all and praesent-meaning to be, existing, or occurring at this time. God is everywhere. Meditate on God being everywhere always. Seeing that God is everywhere does not mean that part of Him is here, part of Him is there, part of Him is around Pluto, as if His love were spread thinly around sporadically. No. Omnipresence means all of God is present at every place, at the same time. No matter how large the universe is, no matter how deep the ocean is, we still have His full and undivided attention.

The apostle Paul says that he wants to comprehend the breadth, length, depth, and width of God's love. Wow. He wants us to know the breadth of His love, the length of His love, the depth of His love, and the width of His love. He wants us to know every dimension of His love. And He's big.

There was a little girl in Sunday school that raised her hand up one Sunday to ask the teacher a question. "I've got a question about God," the little girl proposed. "OK, I'll try to answer your question," the teacher replied. "If God is so big and huge, how can He live in our hearts without showing on the outside?"

What a question. God is so big, God is so huge, if He's living on the inside, He's bound to show up on the outside!

Friday, June 26, 2009

There Is Hope


...committed, then death entered the world.

...born into the world through the first man's, Adam, disobedience to

...here before we arrived; however, we have the same blood, the same

...overcome at Calvary.

...popular to preach against.

...a serious subject.


...the cause of death, both spiritual and physical. But the gift of God is
eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

...like a leaky roof. It gets in anywhere it can and drips, trickles, and
puddles somewhere in your life and eventually the whole house is rotten and
about to cave in.

...like the way Eskimos kill wolf. They bury a razor sharp knife, blade up,
in the snow. Coat it with blood. Let it freeze. Coat it in some more
blood. Let it freeze. The wolf will start licking the frozen
blood-on-a-blade and get so involved in the taste and smell of it, he won't
realize he has sliced himself up. His mouth will be numb from the cold,
so he will just keep on licking and cutting and finally die from
blood loss never knowing what actually happened.

...is experienced by all, and we all have come short of the glory of God.
(Romans 3:23)

...is separating you from God, right now.

...not so popular to preach against anymore.

...not eradicated.


...cause you death, both spiritual and physical. But the gift of God is
eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

...take you farther than you want to go.

...continue to separate you from God.

...continue to be preached against by few. But everyone will not want to
hear about it.

...be eradicated.


If we die in our sins, we are eternally lost and forever separated from God. But God offers another way. If we are willing to turn from our sins, we can have eternal life free as a gift. This means we can't earn it by being good, or by going to church, or by baptism, or by money, or by anything else. We simply receive it as a free gift through Jesus Christ, God's only begotten.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name - John 1:12

Suppose you had an incurable disease, and one day read that doctors and scientists have discovered a cure for that particular disease. Let's say they offered you the cure, free of charge. What would your answer be? Receive it and be cured? or reject it and be lost forever? You can have faith that the discovery will cure you, but if you never receive it personally, you are still lost forever.

Jesus is knocking at your heart's door, right now. Will you receive Him? Will you invite Him into your heart and life?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning...
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. - John 1:14

Before there was anything, there was God. In the beginning, there was nothing but God. And then, He spoke. He spoke things into existence. He spoke heaven into existence. He spoke the earth into existence. He spoke light into existence. He spoke the water into existence. He spoke grass, seed, and fruit into existence. He spoke animals into existence. He spoke man into existence. He spoke. Then He said, "It is good." Awhile after that, He told Moses, "I AM THAT I AM," that means He's God all by Himself. He's wasn't looking for anybody to make Him God. He's not looking for you to make Him God and He's not looking to me to make Him God. He's God all by Himself. I'm glad He's my God, but He was God a way before me and He'll still be God after me. He's God everlasting.

Then, some years later, between Malachi and Matthew, the Word was made flesh. And He dwelt among us. And His name was Jesus. We saw His glory. And saw that He was full of grace and truth.

There came an unique individual named John the Baptist, that was preaching REPENT and baptizing the people in the river Jordan. One day, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him and he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world!" John said, "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" But Jesus replied, "Suffer it to be so now." And John baptized Jesus in the river. But when Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens opened, the Spirit of God descended like a dove upon Him. And they heard a voice from heaven, the voice of the Father, say "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

He came to us. Jesus came to us. He came to the world, which was made by Him, and the world rejected Him. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." (John 1:11) Man rejected Him. Man rejected Jesus. Man rejected God. Man still rejects Him.

Jesus came to this world with one purpose: To seek and save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10). Born to die. For rapists and murderers. For thieves and robbers. For men and women. For democrats and republicans. For you and me. For us all.

Jesus loves you. He loved you enough to become sin...for you. He who knew no sin, became sin, so that you and me may have everlasting life. He came to us. We couldn't go to Him. He does for us what we can't do for ourselves.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the through him might be saved. - John 3:16-17.

Have you rejected Him? Are you rejecting Him?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Man O' War

The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. - Exodus 15:3

God is love.
God is patient.
His mercy will endure forever. Amen. His grace, love, and mercy are available to all. Talking about benefits! It is beneficial to us all to serve the Lord. All we have to do is confess that we are sinners and He is Lord.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. - Romans 10:13

After Jesus was crucified on Mount Calvary, we entered in to the dispensation of grace. One day, this age will be over in a flash with the second advent of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Sinner, there is still time for redemption! When? Now is the accepted time for salvation. This age of grace will eventually end. We don't know when. We are not granted tomorrow. Now is your time. He's coming back just like He said.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9

Now is the time. Now is your time. Now.

Nevertheless, God is a man of war. He is ready to do battle. He is God. He is mighty. He is a righteous and just warrior. The proud, the kings and armies of this world, the wannabes, the ungodly, they will fight for unjust reasons, for vanity, for self ambition, for lust. The Lord God will never war or spiritually slaughter any soul, people, race, or nation, but where there is a just cause, and no other means will do: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" - Genesis 18:25. The Lord is engaged in a spiritual war against the ungodly. Wickedness and sin do not please God. As you enter into the perfect will of God, you will notice Satan will attempt every thing he can to discourage you, to deter you, to intimidate you. The devil will use people, situations, anything he can to accomplish his will. Don't be surprised. Hey, he's the devil. If you toy with Satan, if you toy with sin it's like the story about the man who picked up an injured snake. He took it home, fed it, and nursed it back to health. When the snake had healed, the man took it out and set it down on the grass. The snake immediately turned its head back and bit the man on the leg. "Hey, I saved you, took you in, nursed you back to health and this is how you repay me?!" the man exclaimed. The snake replied, "What did you expect? I'm a snake." When you monkey around with sin and Satan, don't be surprised to get bit. What do you expect? He's the devil.

But, if the Lord be for you, who can be against you? We like to say that, but if you're one of the wicked, turn it around - if the Lord be against you, who can be for you? That's not a good thought.

God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors. - Psalm 7:11-13

He is a horse pawing in a valley. I like this image. Imagine two warriors, clad in armor and weapons glistening in the pale morning light. Horses decked out in armor, prancing around. On each side of the plain, the two warriors turn to face each other. The moment of truth is about to erupt in a fury of colliding metal and flesh. The fighters are rock solid, but the warhorses twitch and jerk with anticipation. Every movement seems to be in slow motion. One horse shakes his head and neighs in defiance. A vapor is seen in the cold air as the other horse snorts and raises a hoof. He deliberately starts pawing the dirt to signal that the battle is about to get on.

The Lord is our horse pawing in our valley. He is ready. He is willing. The battle is the Lord's. He is a man of war.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Clouds In the Sky

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. - Psalm 19:1

Did you ever look up at the clouds? They come in all shapes and sizes. Soft, white, and fluffy. Some remind you of famous people, some resemble funny animals. Some are mystical, some are magical. The imagination runs rampant.

When we think of clouds, we may think of rain and storms which lead us to sorrows and suffering in our own lives. In scripture, clouds are associated with God almighty. But, put the two together. It's good to know that God is present during our storms, during our sorrows, during our suffering. The Lord is with you. Clouds block the burning UV rays from the scorching sun. You can feel the break in the heat when a cloud passes between you and the sun on a hot day. Clouds represent God's protection over His people.

We can learn a lot from clouds in the sky. When you see a cloud, remember the Lord thy God. Remember He is with you. Remember His providence. Remember His promises. Remember His protection.

Consider some clouds in the bible:
  1. Genesis 9:13, I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. After the global flood, God put a rainbow in the cloud. Don't you know that every time Noah saw a cloud, he shook in fear, remembering God's decisive judgement on mankind. But then, Noah would be comforted by the sight of the rainbow and God's promise to never destroy the earth again in a flood. The rainbow in this cloud reminds us that God keeps his promises.
  2. Exodus 13:21, And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. With this cloud, God led His people out of the land of Egypt, out of bondage. He led them through the wilderness into Canaan, the land of promise. A cloud by day and fire by night. When the cloud moved, the people moved. When the cloud stopped, the people stopped. The people knew that this was God and this cloud shows that God was with His people. This cloud reminds us that God is with us. He said, "I'll never leave you nor forsake you." The next time you see a cloud, remember that God is with you.
  3. Isaiah 44:22, I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. I remember driving up a mountain and at one point, we drove through a layer of cloud. Thick, I mean, visibility zero. As we pulled out of the cover of cloud, we look down the mountain and could not see through the smoky cover. Thick. Are you saved? Are you redeemed? Psalm 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Far. Thick. Clean. Christ died for our sins. The one who knew no sin became sin for all. The Just One died for the unjust. The Holy One died for the unholy. This cloud reminds us that our sins are forgiven.

Remember the Lord thy God.

Seek His face.

Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Steeple People

Here's the church; here's the steeple
Open the doors and here's all the people.

O, the aging memory of staring at my own young hands while reciting this limerick. You know, there were only ever four members in that congregation, but you have to admit that the church house was always full.

Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the

Are you excited to go to church? Are you happy to go to church? Do you wake up Sunday morning with a smile on your heart? Can you not wait to get off work Wednesday to head to the house of the LORD? David said, "I was glad..." That means whatever David was doing in his everyday life, when someone said, "It's time to go to church!", it was better than whatever was going on. He said, "I was glad."

Are you like David? Did you answer these questions with a 'yes'? Then you are one of the steeple people. We are steeple people. One of God's own. We should be glad to go to God's house, ecstatic even! When you realize what all He's done for you. The blood He shed at Calvary, the spirit of adoption...

Romans 8:14-15 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of
God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have
received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

We are born into the family of God. We cry Abba. We cry Daddy. We cry Poppa. We have an intimate relationship with God Almighty made possible through the precious blood of the Lamb where we can call to Him. Daddy. Hey, I'm glad when they say it's time to go to my Father's house. Not some strangers house, but my Father's house.

Steeples are pretty. However, steeples serve practical purposes as well as aesthetic ones. In times past, the church house was the main building of the town. The town people would not only worship there, but hold meetings, socials, and schools. The steeple, reaching high into the sky, could be seen from afar off. Each citizen or traveller could locate the church by viewing the steeple. Maybe they couldn't see the actual building, but they could see the steeple.
Along with the ability to be seen from afar, they could also be heard from afar. Large bells were installed in the steeples. The bells would alert everyone within hearing distance that church was about to begin. Long ago, before automobiles, airplanes, stereos, or heavy machinery, the loudest noise that would be heard in town were the ringing of the church bells. Imagine that. There were people who actually lived that the loudest thing they ever heard was the sounding of church bells. The loudest thing they ever heard came from church.

Have you ever looked at the steeple? Stand near your steeple and study. The pointed architecture stretching upward. Skyward. Heavenward. God-ward. It brings your attention toward God. It lifts your eyes to the LORD.

And with these three points, we a steeple people could learn a lesson from this piece of architectural design. We could direct people to the LORD. We could let people hear about the LORD. We could direct people's eye to the LORD. Whenever they looked out across the wilderness, they could see us, like the steeple, and they would know that is where they could get help to get in touch with the LORD. O LORD, I pray, that we might be used by you to direct people's eyes upward, skyward, heavenward, God-ward.

These are practical purpose, but steeples are also beautiful. Some are plain, just pointing towards God. Some have a cross on the top. Some have bells. Some are stone. Some are wood. Some are brass. Some are short and wide. Some are tall and narrow. Take a look at the churches in your neighborhood. They are all very beautiful. I tell you this, there's nothing more beautiful than an old sinner saved by grace. There's nothing more precious than a born again believer.

The next time you enter into the LORD's house, remember that you are in your Father's house. And start realizing you are one of the steeple people.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Your Heavenly Father

Matthew 10:30

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Your heavenly Father cares for you. The God of creation, the God of the universe, the God of heaven, King of kings, Master, Creator, Lord, the Most High, the Almighty, the Holy One, the possessor of heaven and earth actually cares for you. He even knows you. Whatever is going on in the world, whatever is going on in the universe, in every place, at any given time, everywhere, your Father knows all about it and He still has the very hairs on your head numbered. Even the ones that fell out this morning in your shower. Even the ones you pulled out in stress at work today.

But let's back up:

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the
ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. -Matthew

God knows what happens to every sparrow, to every bird, to every animal, to every plant. He knows every hair that lays upon your head. Your Father knows. Your Father cares. And your Father is in control. Why should we worry? Why should we stress? Why should we fear?

I like this song:

I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day.
And I don't borrow from its sunshine for its skies may turn to gray. And I don't worry about
my future, for I know what Jesus said. And today He walks beside me for He knows
what lies ahead. Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand. But I
know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.

We may be sick and in pain, diseased and spent. We may be drowning in debt and feeling hopeless. We may be feeling tension at home. We may be feeling insecure in our jobs. We may be worried. We may be anxious. We may be helpless, hopeless, and heartbroken. We may be in despair, desperate, and dejected. We may be in valleys of decision, valleys of discouragement, and/or valleys of death. Things may look bleak and black. Things may look bad. But why should we worry? God is there. God knows. God cares.

Your heavenly Father is there. Your heavenly Father knows. Your heavenly Father cares.

Casting all your care upon him: for he careth for you. -1 Peter 5:7

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Give God the Glory

Psalm 68:4-5

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

Sing! unto God. Praise His holy name! Extol His name! Lift up His name! Glorify His name! Give God the glory for He alone is worthy.

Your sole purpose on earth is to give God glory. He created you so that you may be able to glorify Him. He breathed life into you so that you may be able to give Him praise. When you get saved, then you have the ability to glorify God. If you are not saved, you are not living up to your divine purpose. Give God the glory!

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Are you saved? Give Him the glory! He made a way when there was no way. He gives hope when there is no hope. He loved you when you were unloveable. He extends mercy to the undeserving. He divided the seas of despair, so that you may have an everlasting life in the kingdom of God. Give God the glory!

Lift up His holy name! His name is the Lord. His name is above all. His name alone is excellent. His name is Wonderful! Counsellor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)! Praise His holy name! Praise His sacred name! Praise His precious name! Praise His everlasting name!

He is a father to the fatherless. He is a defender to the widow. He is a light in a dark world. He is Saviour to man. He is our all in all.

Sing unto the Lord. Sing and rejoice before the Lord. Give God the glory and praise for He alone is worthy!

Monday, June 15, 2009

In the Midst of a Storm

Mark 6:45-51

And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and
they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

In the midst of their struggle, I can imagine that the disciples felt a bit discourage that Jesus was not there. I imagine that they looked left and right, but did not see the Lord anywhere. I imagine they wondered where He was. But high upon a mountain, there Jesus was. He saw them in the storm. He saw them toil and struggle. He saw them from a high position. He saw their white-knuckles and concerned wrinkled brows.

The disciples were in distress at sea. The wind was against them. Tossed by waves, propelled by a contrary current, with the wind in their face, they labored to cross to the otherside as Jesus had commanded them. As they struggled in the sea, Jesus prayed on the mountain. He saw them, He prayed, He prayed for them.

Life is a sea. We are often like a ship at sea, tossed with tempests, unsteady from storms, weary from the winds that blow us to and fro, uneasy and unstable from the force around us. We may be saved, we may tithe, we may have the best prayer-life that we know how to, but the storms will come, the wind and tide will come against us. Aren't you glad we have a Master seated in His heavenly throne, interceding for us.

Jesus came to them. Now, this is God, He could have calmed the winds from His location on the mountain or He could have sent angels to rescue the disciples, but Jesus came to them in a personable way by walking to them on top of the water. He's a personal Saviour that saves in a personal way.

He came, walking on the waters. No doubt, waves were white-capping, winds were howling, but here comes Jesus! Here He comes, walking through it, walking on it. Any obstacles throughout this life that may be thrown in our way - the Lord is mightier.

Let me put it like the apostle Paul,

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in
despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;" (1 Cor.

Jesus knew that the disciples, He was sending out into the world, would face difficulties, storms, and struggles. Perhaps they remembered this miraculous night when they ran into troubles out on the missionary trail. Perhaps they remembered seeing Jesus come through the tempest walking on the water. Perhaps they remembered how they had gotten scared and thought He was a demon or a ghost. Perhaps they remembered the reassuring voice of the Master when He said, "Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid." Perhaps they remembered how the wind ceased after He boarded their boat. Perhaps this night was to strengthen their faith once they were commissioned to go out into the world.

Jesus knows that you are going to face difficulties, storms, and struggles, too. Perhaps, you too, will remember this point in time when the Lord Himself showed divine power and protection to His disciples. Perhaps, you too, will remember this story when your little ship is tossed to and fro by the stormy seas of this life. Perhaps, you too, will remember this chapter when it looks like there is no way to make it through. Perhaps, you too, will remember this bit of history when your back is against the wall. Perhaps, you too, will remember these words when things look bad. Perhaps, you too, will remember that when it looks like God is nowhere around to just keep on looking and somewhere in the shadows is Jesus.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

God's Promises

As we sat in the hospital room where they had put my wife, I looked out a western window and notice a multi-colored bow stretched across the cloudy sky. "God's promises," I tried to reassure her in the midst of trials and medical contraptions.

And it was beautiful. There it climbed up and over and beyond. There it streaked colors through the gray-washed sky. There it exposed vibrant red, orange, yellow, green, and purple. There it paraded hope through a storm drenched world. There in a hospital. There in a cloud of concern . There it was.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.(Genesis 6:8)

The bible states that Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and scripture also says that Noah walked with God. God saw the wickedness of man and the corruption that flesh had brought upon the earth and God prepared to destroy it. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. So God asked him to build a large boat, called an ark, gave him exact details of how to construct it. And God instructed Noah to load it with pairs of every kind of bird and animal on earth, as well as his family. Noah did as God commanded him.

Then God sent rain. For forty days and forty nights, it poured down until the earth was covered with water in a great flood, and all the people and animals outside of the ark drowned. And God created a wind to pass over the earth so that it dried up the great flood. Noah opened the window of the ark and sent out a raven and a dove to see if they he dove returned with an olive branch in her mouth. After the water dried up, Noah build an altar and worshiped God, and God spoke to Noah and his sons. God promised that the earth and everything living on it would never again be destroyed by a flood. God said, "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." (Genesis 9:13) So, the rainbow is the sign of that solemn promise.

Someone said that there are over 30,000 promises in the word of God. 30,000 promises in the bible. What's your favorite? Here are a few:
  • I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself. (John 14:2-3)
  • Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
  • Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)
  • Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

And God's best promise of all is that he offers us all salvation and eternal life through the blood of Jesus Christ (see sidebar). What greater promise is there than to be saved? To go from worst to first? To step from bottom to top?

Remember this, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) Thank you, Lord.

But as I sat there with my wife in the hospital room, waiting for doctors and test results, watching a rainbow glisten, the Holy Ghost brought this promise to my mind: As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You're In the Army Now

Ephesians 6:10-18 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"

You're in the army now!

I'm not sure where I first heard that slogan or even when, but a quick Google of it produces an old song, an old movie, and old memories of the shock of being drafted. I know that each and every day I'll face the wiles of the devil. Once I see a young convert rise to his feet after accepting Jesus Christ as Lord, I feel like saying "you're in the army now", because I know the reality is that we engage in spiritual warfare all day, every day. Some battles are lost, some are won, but all battles are designed to bring you closer to the Lord. Take note that when you were out of the will of God, Satan did not bother you too much. He didn't have to. He had you right where he wanted you. But now, that you're in the perfect will of God, it seems like battles are around ever corner, around ever bend. Now, the fight is on. But don't let this discourage you, beloved, you are on the winning side! I've read the last book, I've read the last chapter...if you are saved, you are on the winning side.

Take heart, children, Paul encourages us to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. And He is mighty! Like the apostle Paul said in Romans 8:31, "if God be for us, who can be against us?" The same God who divided the Red Sea, the same God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone, the same God who delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace, that same God who defeated death and the devil at Calvary said He'd never leave you nor forsake you! He's God of the mountains and He's still God in the valleys. In the heat of battle, remember Exodus 15:3, "The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name." And also sketch this on your heart, "greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4).

When David prepared to war with Goliath, Saul tried to fortify David with his own armor, helmet, coat of mail, and sword. But David said, "I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them." The armor, helmet, coat of mail, and sword weren't proven to David, but what was proven to him was the power of the Lord.

Verse 11 says put on the whole armour of God. Put it on, because it has been proven. Put it all on, because it will help you stand against the enemy. It will help you against the wiles of the devil. Who? The enemy - the devil. We don't fight each other, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness. Remember who the enemy is. He is slick and cunning and he's like a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). And it's you he wants to devour, to lead astray, to blind. It's you he's after. But God wants you to stand. He doesn't want you to lie down. He doesn't want you to run. He wants you to stand. He wants you to be strong. He wants you to put on the whole armor. He wants you to, so that you may stand. He wants you. Enlist now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

God's Gift

God's Gift
A rose - what a regal fragrant flower-
Unfolding silently its loveliness!
I look into its depth of beauty
And know it is God's gift, to cheer and bless.
No human hand could ever fashion
One velvet petal or leaf of green.
With reverence I behold this wonder
And feel the nearness of a Love unseen!
-Tabitha Ritzmann

I AM the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. (Song of Solomon 2:1)

What precious words from the voice of a poet. She mentions the rose's regalness, its loveliness, its purpose, its matchlessness, its sanctity. What a wonderful image of one of God's creations. Just by looking into the depth of a rose, she knows it's God's gift. Man could never create something so awesome, sensational, and amazing. Only God.

What a wonderful verse in the Song of Songs! It starts with I AM. Those two words tell me that's Him. God told Moses, "I AM THAT I AM." (Exodus 3:14) That means He's God all by himself. He's not looking for me to make him God and He's not looking for you to make him God. He's God all by Himself! He said, "I AM the water, I AM the bread, I AM the door, I AM shepherd, I AM the way, I AM the truth, I AM the life, and I AM the rose of Sharon." He was born of a virgin, spotless and faultless without sin. He left His throne in glory and condescended to this sin-filled world with one purpose, to seek and save that which is lost. He was born to die for your sins, for my sins. O what a Savior!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Holy Parachute

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. -2Tim 3:16-17

America is a blessed country. The Word of God is abundantly available in print, audio, and even video. This is not readily so in all countries. Most American households have bibles on their bookshelves, on their phones, and on their computers. We have Matthew Henry's, John Darby's, and John Gill's commentaries. We have Scofield Reference Notes, The Treasury of David, and Wesley's Explanatory Notes. But, we too, like the old song says, are guilty of 'dust on the Bible, dust on the holy Word.'

The Bible is like a parachute; it doesn't work unless it's opened.

A skydiver nervously gears up for his next jump. He checks all of his equipment making sure all is operating correctly and packed neatly and tight. He checks the weather report to make sure that all is clear. He boards the plane and as they take off, he double checks his equipment. Why? Because his life is on the line. At 14,000 feet, the skydiver prepares to jump. He launches his body out the door of the plane. All he hears is the rush of wind. He takes note of the beautiful scenery below. He falls to earth. He keeps falling and falling and falling. He mindfully reviews the training he received on basic skydiving. He falls seemingly quicker. The once small objects below are now looming larger. He keeps falling and falling and finally, poof! (or maybe POW!) he smashes into the ground with great velocity. What happened? What did he forget? After all of the tedious preparations, after all of the pre-checks, checks, double checks, and triple checks, it boils down to this for our skydiver: if the parachute is not opened, it won't work.

The Bible: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. We can prepare and prepare for parting this world. We can check, double check, and triple check our 'must-do' lists. But, if we don't pull the cord, it won't work. If we don't open our Bibles and follow God's instruction, all of our lists will be in vain.

"Study to show thyself approved unto God , a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.(2Tim3:15)" Why stress this? Like the skydiver, your life is on the line.

So when you are reviewing your lists and making preparations, don't forget to pull the cord.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Signs and Wonders

Imagine this. You are riding with a friend. He is driving way too fast down an unfamiliar road. You hold onto the dash, the door, or anything to help you feel just a little more stable. He speeds past a bright yellow sign that only you notice. It reads "Caution." It seems like he speeds up instead of slowing down. You see another bright yellow sign coming up. It reads "Road Closed." This time, your friend reads the sign, but dismisses it as superstition. He never slows down. He never looks back. He just pushes ahead. Staying the course. He blows through a barrier of orange and white wood with a big sign that emphatically reads "BRIDGE OUT." He shouts, "And just how would they know?!" And ultimately, you both careen over the edge.

Slow down. High voltage. Deer Xing. Low shoulder. Yield. One Way. Do Not Enter. Stay off the grass.

Signs are there for a reason. Signs have been strategically placed by a group of people who have been at the point of no return. They know the danger ahead and they want to warn you of the oncoming hazard that you have not yet seen. They know what's ahead and they care enough to warn you of the trouble you are headed towards so that you may not be taken by surprise. They know. Signs are not there to give headaches, irritate, or annoy. And signs are not meant to be ignored. They have very specific purposes.

Someone loves you enough to warn you of the hazard ahead.

God has placed road signs on our path throughout this world. They are called preachers. They are not meant to give headaches, irritate, or annoy. And they are not meant to be ignored. God has given them insight and purpose. God loves you so much that He has placed signs along the path to alert, to caution, to exhort, to guide, to instruct, to admonish, to urge, to signal.

In the story above, you may think of the driver as foolish to ignore the road signs. But what about the everyday non-Christian, who ignores the preacher? Who ignores the witness? Who shrugs off the Bible as superstitious? Who discounts testimonies as pretentious? Like the driver who disregarded the road signs, the unsaved choose to pay no mind to God's signs.

Why won't they listen?

Read Romans 10:13-15