Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Devotional Though From The Psalms

What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.     Psalm 89:48

The poet of this song touches here on something none of us like to really think about - our own death. Who is the person who can stop this tragedy? Who can say “Not me! I will not die,” and then keep his word. After putting this question, the psalmist adds the word Selah, probably a musical chord or interlude which is intended to tell the reader, or singer, or pray-er of this Psalm to stop and think about what was just said.

Who can stop his own death? You? Are you exercising to get your BMI down? Are you changing your diet and eating only dark green veggies? Are you sleeping eight hours every night? Are you thinking beautiful thoughts 24 hours a day? Are you resolving in your mind not to die? Will any of these things keep you from dying? That’s a rhetorical question.

It is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment. Death can be defeated in you, but only by Jesus who met death and walked out of the grave alive. Do you want to beat death? Be in Christ by faith, and because he lives you too shall live.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Psalms

These things hast thou done and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.     Psalm 50:21

In the verses (16-19) immediately before this text God is speaking to the wicked (people who claim to be religious, or righteous, or good, but do bad) and He lists some of their sins. They hate instruction, and show it plainly by casting the word of God behind their backs, out of their lives. They have OK’ed thieving in some ways, and ihave made their society a safe harbor for adultery and sexual sin. You can’t trust what they say because they have yielded their speech to saying evil, and deceitful things. They do not even have brotherly love for their own brothers.

Modern Western societies seem to have fallen into just such a pattern of life. Morality is a no-no. Sins from the minor to the major are tolerated and indulged because the wicked in our society want to be able to do them without any kind of spiritual restraint on their behavior, although the large majority of these wicked folk would say they are “spiritual” in one way or another. How could they think their so-called “spirituality” justifies their sinful lifestyle? Verse 21 answers that question.

You did this wickedness, and because I did not speak out against you and take action, says God, you thought that I was like you are. You thought the holy God was okay with sin. What a foolish idea! I will reprove thee. I will set things right. And, if you continue to forget me I will punish you. If that judgment was declared for God’s own chosen people in the Old Testament shouldn’t people today take it into consideration for their own lives? And their own lands?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Psalms

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.     Psalm 34:3

Many years ago before we were married this verse became important to my wife and myself. It was sort of an unofficial statement of what we wanted our married lives to be. Both of us were, and are, committed to sincere and honest faith and trust in Jesus, and we wanted to do the two things mentioned here by David. We wanted to magnify the LORD and exalt His name.
We wanted to expand His role in our lives and make what others see of Him in us bigger and bigger, and we wanted to exalt, raise high His glory. We wanted our marriage to be an example of two people who love one another living together to God’s glory.
Let me tell you, that is the way to be married! Loving God first, and loving your spouse and family as God wants you to is the best way to live. It holds everything in place, and makes everything better. No doubt you’ve heard the humorous assessment of marriage attributed to the Amish: “Kissin’ wears out, cookin’ don’t.” Well, when the husband and wife magnify and exalt God’s name together nothing wears out. The romance, joy, happiness, love, interest, comfort, and overwhelming blessings of marriage just keep getting better and better.

Be faithful to God, be faithful to your spouse, be faithful to your family, then you’ll have the best of life no matter the circumstances of your life.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father’s Day 2016

God is the Father we are all trying to emulate.
He is the Father we are all trying to show to our children.
He is the Father we ourselves love and want to be like.
So that brings us to a question about God’s fatherhood.

What kind of Father is God so we can model our behavior on His? (Not just human fathers, but all Christians)

1.     1. God is love – He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 Jn 4:8)
God’s life, God’s essence, God’s relationship with his creatures, with humankind, with his family the church, is all love.
               He gives sun, rain, food to the just and unjust – He is even handed, and loves even those not His children. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45
               You want to be like God? Live a life characterized by love.

2.    2. God is faithful – Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it (1 Th 5:24).
No matter who we are. No matter how many times we fail, or fall into sin, God does not give up on His children.
I will be there for you because you belong to me.
Be there for your children, family, and others.

3.     3, God responds to prayer and is generous

Do you remember Jesus’ parable?
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Fatherof lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).

Little boys often say: I want to be like my dad. Christian fathers want to be like their heavenly Father. All Christians should want that.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Devotional Thought From The Book Of Esther

And the king said, What honor and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him.     Esther 6:3

Mordecai, the uncle of Esther, Queen of Persia, was probably a low level executive in the administration of Ahasuerus, as he is called in the Bible, known to secular history as Xerxes. Modecai “sat in the king’s gate.” On one occasion he became aware that two of the door men in the king’s palace were plotting against the king. Bigthan and Teresh were their names, and their plan was to terminate Ahasuerus’s reign “with prejudice.” Mordecai discovered the plot, and sent word to the Queen who informed the king. The king judiciously had the matter investigated, and when the truth was discovered he had Bigthan and Teresh hung, when we hear that term we think hung by the neck until dead, but in Persia in those days it meant hung by being impaled on a giant stake with a spear point at the top. A full police report was then included in the official court documents (chronicles) of King Ahasuerus.

Mordecai may have been disappointed. There was no “Citizen Hero” ceremony in the court, no cash reward, not even a participation ribbon. All that happened was the report of Mordecai’s patriotism went into the Congressional record.

Well, if you know the story of the book of Esther you know  it was all good, that God was in control, and since the King’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, God was getting ready to turn it whithersoever he will.

On the very night that Haman, the would be “Hitler of the Old Testament,” had decided to execute Mordecai and the Jewish people, across town at the palace Ahasuerus could not  get to sleep. God would not let him although the king didn’t know it. So to pass the time and get himself good and drowsy the king called for the most boring thing he could think of, the chronicles of the administration, to be read to him. Normally that would put anybody to sleep, but not tonight. Tonight the historian just happened, I think by God’s direction, to read how Mordecai saved the king’s life, and the king asked, “What did we do to reward Mordecai?” The historian replied, “Nothing, nada, niente, niets, zero, zilch, zippo” (So to speak).

This little incident and that answer, saved Mordecai’s life, and eventually the lives of all the Jewish people of Persia. If you want to know the details pick up the story at Esther 2:21 and read through the end of chapter 9.

But here’s a lesson for modern-day believer/citizens. Do what is right as a citizen of the nation realizing the nation is called to obey and honor God’s righteousness. Even when you disagree with the king’s direction of the country, honor him. Follow God’s directions for life even if the nation is turning away from them. Work, save, take care of your family, vote, protest peacefully, obey the law, be a good neighbor, love your enemies, seek peace, pray for the nation, be a part of the quiet majority who want a great, honorable, righteous, way of life to be the essence of your country.

            Having done this, like Mordecai, wait and see what God will do, what blessings He will bring, and pray that the nation’s king will not be able to sleep.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Devotional Thought From 2 Chronicles

Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father:     2 Chronicles 28 :1
Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and 20 years old, and he reigned nine and 20 years in Jerusalem, And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.     2 Chronicles 29:1,2

These verses are a study of two Kings, both in the line of King David who is called their father according to custom although, as founder of the line, he would’ve been far back in the history of the Kings, and the great, great, great, great, grandfather or something. Both men reigned from the same throne as David in the capital city Jerusalem in Judah, but their reigns, their administrations, had very different outcomes and consequences, and any observer of Judah’s history could have predicted that just by comparing the verses above. One king, Hezekiah, was like David, the other, Ahaz, was not. One did evil in God’s sight, the other did that which was right. One was not buried  among the Kings, and the other when he slept with his fathers was buried in the chiefest of the sepulchers of the sons of David with great honor of his subjects.

He that honors God, God honors. He that does evil is not revered by the people. These simple principles are true today. Rulers who wish to leave a legacy in their nation, and for history to record and revere should do that which is right in the eyes of the living God, the God of the Bible. This has always been true of any king, queen, ruler, president, patriarch, or Prime Minister. It is so obvious and yet because of the sinful nature of their hearts some men and women or kings and queens, even when they know what they are planning to do is morally, spiritually, biblically wrong, will nonetheless simply go ahead and do wrong much to the harm of the people they are supposed to be serving. Given the sinful nature of man and the addiction of power can we expect any less among modern-day rulers? Only if they are willing to turn to God’s word and do what is right in His eyes!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Devotional Thought From 2 Chronicles

And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, there is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the King say so.     2 Chronicles 18:7

One of the sinful missteps of Jehoshaphat’s administration in Judah was to become good friends with the evil king of Israel, Ahab. Ahab talked Jehoshaphat into joining with him to make war against his enemy Syria at the battle of Ramothgilead. Jehoshaphat true to his faith despite having put his foot into this cow pie, asked Ahab if they couldn’t enquire of the LORD to see if this endeavor would be blessed. Ahab was only too glad to indulge his ally and called forth four hundred prophets, apparently those who were followers of false gods or, at least, not in touch with the true God of the Jewish people. They said, paraphrased, God says do it you will win.

Jehoshaphat was uneasy, apparently recognizing the sketchy connection of these prophets  with real Jewish faith, and he said to Ahab, Isn’t there a prophet of the LORD we can ask? Ahab’s response is  striking. There is yet one man, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil.

Ahab, the king and government of Israel, liked to be told that whatever he wanted to do was good, would work, and everything would be honky dory. That’s why when he got religious he called the false prophets. They told him what wanted to hear. That’s why Micaiah was usually persona non grata, and was only called on when necessary. Micaiah told it like it is. His prophesies or sermons were based upon what God said, and often what God said, and therefore what Micaiah said, contradicted the administration’s policies. If you read on in this chapter you will find Micaiah paid a price for his faith candor, imposed on him by the king (Ahab) who rejected God’s truth.

In western  societies we have a similar thing today. The Bible preaching church stands in the place of Micaiah, and is rarely listened to regarding the cultural changes sought by a reckless unfaithful society. When the leader of our country, the administration, the special interest groups, or the courts decide to redefine what is appropriate and moral, and then accuse traditional morality of being wrong and bad and hurtful, they do not call the Bible preachers to ask them for the revelation of God’s truth from the Bible. They don’t want to hear that. It will not tell them what they want to hear. They can always find a “clergy person” who will support the liberal redefinition of what is right and wrong, and rather that openly and honestly state that they don’t believe the God of the Bible, they will say that the Micaiahlike Bible teachers just don’t understand it.

Then the poor parishoners (church attenders and members) who have been taught the Bible and have believed it, whether they be bakers, college students, bathroom attendants, or whoever gets caught up in the redefinition du jour, ends up getting clobbered by an unsympathetic legal system that has decided free speech is for those who tow the new cultural line. Let not the king say so.

Our nation and the nations of the world need Jehoshaphats not Ahabs!