Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Joshua

For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan. Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.     Joshua 2:10

What happens in the lives of believers goes ‘round the world, and when people hear and believe in the God who does great things lives, and, often, circumstances change.

We have heard what your God has done for you was what Rahab was saying, and she details the amazing dividing of the Red sea so Israel could escape Egypt, and the two victories on the way to the Promised Land over kings and countries who at that time were considered the big dogs on the block. Hearing of a God with power like that, Rahab concluded, not only that He was real, but that she should believe in Him although it would mean changing from the paganism she had been raised it. That change of faith saved her soul, her life, her family, her place in history, her eternal destination.

That shows us who have found God in Jesus how important it is that others hear about what He is doing in our lives. We hope they will say, I wish I could have what that believer in Jesus has. Then we can say, you can.

Let him that hath ears hear!

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Joshua

Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister…     Joshua 1:1

Throughout the Old Testament it is noted that God spoke to individuals. We don’t know exactly how that happened. Did Joshua hear an audible voice? Did the Holy Spirit speak by impressing words, thoughts, or concepts on Joshua’s heart in such a way that he could not miss the point? Was there some other way? I like to think, as many others might also, that at least on some occasions God used a literal voice to instruct people about His will.

We long to know the will of God, and wouldn’t it make life so much easier if we could hear and recognize His voice? Though He has spoken like that, those times were few in relation to the history of the world. He does however continue to speak.

God has given us His inspired word in written form. When an individual believes that the Bible (the written form) is given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he/she has in his hands the truth for faith in life that God is speaking to all of us.

In the New Testament God says that if we want to have a personal relationship with Him there is a pathway of belief that brings us into His Presence. It’s receiving Jesus, God’s son, in our hearts. Jesus tells us specifically I am the way (John 14:6). So that’s what God says to you in His plan of salvation.

Then in passages like Colossians 3, God tells us how to have the best of what human life is about. He says get rid of things like lying, anger, blasphemy, and sexual sin, among others. By eliminating that which is bad, our lives get good. Then through the writer of this passage, Paul, God says add to your life kindness, forgiveness, and love, among other good things, and when you do this your life improves overall.

There are numerous passages in Scripture that talk plainly about living the good life, and in them He is speaking to you (to us) if we will accept the fact that He has inspired the Bible for that very purpose

If you want God to speak to you get familiar with what He has said in the Bible.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Deuteronomy

O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! Deuteronomy 32:29

In Moses’s last days God gave him a song to teach the people of Israel. It was a song to warn about their future if they were an unfaithful people to God. In the song God details the awful tragedies and punishments that will befall them unless they keep to the straight and narrow and get out of the way of sin. The disasters would hit them hard.

In the midst of the song God says, O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! God wants His people to think and evaluate their lives and behavior. He wants them to look where they’re going. He wants them to ask where is our way of life taking us? He wants them to realize that they are headed to a precipice, and must change direction if they want to avoid disaster.

O that the nations of the modern world would consider where they are going.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Some Hold These Truths To Be Self-evident

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.     Psalm 33:12

America is not a theocracy. It is a nation whose founders, not all but many, knew that a nation that willingly and overtly embraced the Judeo-Christian values of the Bible would be a nation that embraced freedom, prosperity for all, and be a shining city upon a hill.

They also knew the contrary side of that equation, that a country which shuns the principles God has brought them through His revelation will be a nation that embraces sin, whether it is sexual immorality, improper behavior in all relationships, tearing down traditions of truth, and law breaking of all sorts.

The first of these two scenarios is better for any country. And, the percentage of the population who embrace God’s truth determines how good the life of that nation will be. For example: if 100% of the citizens follow the teaching of God’s word then the only dangers to the good life in that country will be those caused by nature: storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and drought, pestilence, etc. The fewer the percentage who follow God’s word the more man-made dangers infect that nation: theft, adultery, murder, maliciousness, drunk driving, drug addictions, muggings, terrorism, and on and on through the entire catalog of sins that so easily, and terribly beset human kind.

Nations like the USA, the United Kingdom, and other democracies once founded upon Christian values are seeing the break down and devolution of what were once great societies. Those societies once gave opportunity for all individuals, of all sorts and conditions, to have the freedom to make the best of their lives (This despite the fact that 100% of the population never embraced the truth totally at any one time, so that some people still suffered because of other’s sins.). The pursuit of happiness as set forth in the Declaration of Independence becomes available to all only as a nation genuinely takes the responsibilities put forward by the word of God seriously, and establishes them as foundational for national, unified, communal life.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Numbers

And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness  the LORD shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.     Numbers 10:32

Hobab, identified as the son of Raguel one of the names by which Moses’father-in-law Jethro was known, was at the time Israel was preparing to journey with God following the guidance of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, visiting among the Israelites. His family home was in Midian and he was planning to return there. Moses gives him an invitation to remain with the chosen people; We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD had spoken good concerning Israel (Numbers 10:29). There are good things ahead for God’s people, Moses was saying. “The future is as bright as the promises of God” (Wm. Carey). Come and participate in all good things with us.

Hobab hesitates stating his plan is to return to his ancestral land, but Moses continues to persuade: you can be a blessing to us, And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness the LORD shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee. Think about it. We are offering to share what God does for us with you. He has promised a land of milk and honey, indicating how fruitful it will be, and we will share it with you. He has promised to guide us. We will let you go with God along with us. Whatever other blessings fall our way you will get your share. And based on Scriptures later in the Old Testament writings, it appears Hobab accepted the offer and the blessings, and threw in his lot with Israel.

Moses’ invitation to Hobab and his posterity is a picture of the invitation the people of God’s church today offers the world. Come with us. What we have is good: a savior who forgives sins and makes our hearts new; a God who lives in us by the Holy Spirit; a God who is our loving Father in heaven; He blesses us with a life of deep faith and good conduct if we follow the teaching of His word. He cares for us and showed that care by sending His own Son, Jesus, our Savior from sin; He has given us the promise that even death cannot defeat us; that one day Jesus will call all believers, living and dead, up to heaven, and the dead shall rise from the grave just like Jesus did on Easter morning; and we will live with Him eternally.

What’s not to like? So I express that invitation to the world, come with us by faith. Believe in Jesus as your Savior. Join our people in God’s church, and we will do you good. Here is how you join up: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…(Acts 16:31).

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Leviticus

And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people.     Leviticus 26:12

          In the midst of detailed, specific, ancient Old Testament laws, we find this verse expressing the reward of obedience to God. Near the beginning of Leviticus 26 we see this statement, “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then will I give you…” (Lev. 26:3,4). God goes on to express a host of blessings that will come to his people when they obey, culminating in this promise that He would be among them and that they would be His people. Obedience to God’s law brings a close relationship with Him that blesses you as an individual and the nation as a people.

          Following this promise God indicates that if the people do not obey Him that bad things, judgments, will come in response to disobedience to His law, though He will never completely forsake His people. Even with our finite minds we can see the logic: obedience to God’s way brings good things, disobedience brings bad things. 

          That principle is always working in the world. Take one modern example: if a nation turns from God’s ideal of faithfulness and purity in marriage and family, they reap broken hearts, broken children, broken society. There is no dispute, the evidence is overwhelming. That one issue has had a major destructive effect on modern Western societies. America and the Western democracies who have, despite their sins and abuses over the centuries, a godly Christian heritage, should be searching the pages of the New Testament for God’s picture of moral living, and having found it, the American people and all the nations of the world with Christian history, should repent of their disobedience and live that picture out in their individual and community lives. It just might save their countries.

Friday, January 1, 2016

My Year Verse For 2016

          Every year since I was 17 I’ve been selecting an annual Year Verse, a verse to guide my heart and my thinking, and my actions throughout the coming year; a kind of spiritual New Year’s resolution.  I picked up this habit from the New Year’s celebration in my home church, Arlington Presbyterian in Baltimore, Maryland. Let me share this year’s with you:

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.    Psalm 68:19

          Throughout the year ahead I want to be able to remember and focus on the scriptural truth that every day God is filling my life with benefits; blessings, good things, pleasant substance and experiences. Like writing this simple blogpost, or a warm cup of apple cider in the morning on those days when I skip an early coffee, or a good sermon by the preacher in the church I attend, or a note from one of my children (texted or handwritten), or a bright winter‘s day sitting in my car by Great Bay, or watching a good football game or movie on t.v., or greeting my wonderful wife in the morning, or…, or…, or…, etc. Make your own list of benefits.

          I want to be alert to the fact that the God of my salvation has saved me from sin and made all of my life new and fresh and blessed if I have eyes to see, and ears to hear. And I want to think about all of that often throughout the year. The musical note Selah that ends the verse has been defined by some modern interpreters as performing the function of saying to the reader or singer of the psalms, “Stop here a bit and think about what you just read.” Stop and think about your daily load of blessings. Or “count your blessings name them one by one.” Doing that will certainly make my 2016 a good year, and yours too.

          Happy, Healthy, Holy, Hilarious, New Year, to you all.