Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A chord of three strands...

 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.(Acts 4:31 ESV)
Ecclesiastes reminds us that a threefold chord is not quickly broken.  The threefold chord in the book of Acts is the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the prayers of the people of God.  This is how the church "turned the world upside down," and the only way we can expect the same to happen today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Controversial, Convicting Word...

  Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
  for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
 There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
  and no knowledge of God in the land;
 there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
  they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
(Hosea 4:1-2 ESV)
The world ususally loves controversy.  It's the fodder of spin-doctors.  It helps keep drama in the schoolroom and the office.  But this controversy is with God.  It's not a matter of opinion.  It's fact.  Yet no one seems to care.  The controversy is building.  He keeps speaking His Word; we keep ignoring it.  This will not go on forever...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Word of God blows you away...

  A voice says, “Cry!”
  And I said, “What shall I cry?”
 All flesh is grass,
  and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
 The grass withers, the flower fades
  when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
  surely the people are grass.
 The grass withers, the flower fades,
  but the word of our God will stand forever.
(Isaiah 40:6-8 ESV)
One phrase in this passage is quite common to us: "The word of our God will stand forever." But in context we need to notice that His Word remains after it has blown everything else away.  The Word of God that brings life into being also blows away all that is temporal, all that tempts, all that tries to stand in His way.  How overwhelmed we should be by whatever He may say.  When we really listen as we should listen, it will indeed blow us away.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

His Word, not many words...

  Every word of God proves true;
  he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
 Do not add to his words,
  lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
(Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)
If the first part of this passage sounds familiar, it should.  As Solomon writes here he is repeating what his father David had stated.  He also adds a bit if wisdom found throughout this book - that in many words there is much sinning.  The more we talk, especially on our own, the more opportunity there is to say something untrue.  Less of our words, more of His.  That's something we all can take to heart.

Friday, January 25, 2013

LIsten to His words... watch yours...

  Are the comforts of God too small for you,
  or the word that deals gently with you?
 Why does your heart carry you away,
  and why do your eyes flash,
 that you turn your spirit against God
  and bring such words out of your mouth?
(Job 15:11-13 ESV)
God is always speaking... by His Word and by His Spirit.  He speaks softly and gently to touch our hearts. And we...  what do we often do? Yell back and disagree?  Stomp and stammer? We doubt His very character by our rebellious response.  Let's listen a little better today, shall we?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The God of History and me...

  This God—his way is perfect;
  the word of the LORD proves true;
  he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
  “For who is God, but the LORD?
  And who is a rock, except our God?
(2 Samuel 22:31-32 ESV)
Notice the reference.  This is not from the Psalms, but from a book of history - the history of God's people, and David's personal testimony of his history with God. What does he remind us of? That God's Word proves true and His protection is sure.  No one else compares. No one else's Word compares.  What is our history with God?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

No Distractions...

 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to pass on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.” (1 Samuel 9:27 ESV)
Saul had just been chosen to be king.  He was focused on doing what he had been called by God to do. When he was about to leave, Samuel had things to share with him that he really needed to know - things he needed to give full attention to, things that needed to be heard without distraction.  That is how we need to receive the Word of God - without distraction.  It's hard to do these days.  But it still needs to be done.  Saul strayed away from that, and paid dearly.  So do we.  Let us take the time, make the time to hear God speak without distraction. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.(Joshua 1:7-8 ESV)
In doing our family devotions yesterday, we began a new study, which said that one of the things we would be doing is learning to meditate on the Word of God.  I'm excited, because indeed we need to learn how to meditate, as Joshua did.  Could it be that part of the reason in our society Christians do such a poor job of obeying God's Word, that we live such non-victorious lives, is that we meditate so poorly?  It is a key to living the Christian life. Let's do it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

God's Good Word... Our Bad Response

 And they took in their hands some of the fruit of the land and brought it down to us, and brought us word again and said, ‘It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us.’
 “Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the LORD hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
(Deuteronomy 1:25-27 ESV)
The Word of the Lord is not always that of judgment. In fact, His word is often that of hope and blessing and positive challenge. Case in point: the message brought back from the spies about the Promised Land; like the Garden, it was good.  But also like the Garden, it was not good enough.  Instead of hearing and seeing the goodness of God in His Word, we focus on what we do not have, and complain - complain about our "lack", complain about His Message, complain about Him, as if He is less than good.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and our sight is often obsured from seeing the goodness of His Word.  Let's look again, and listen, and taste, and see that He and His Word are good.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We need a Josiah!

 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech. (2 Kings 23:10 ESV)
In the middle of all the things Josiah did to bring renewal to Israel - tearing down all the altars to idols, is this note that he ended the child sacrifice, the killing of innocent infants.  Among all the other proper responses to the attack on life in our culture, may we pray the God will raise up young people with a passion for the sanctity of human life, who will do better than we have done to stand up for it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Can it get any worse???

 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asheroth, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.” And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. And the carved image of the idol that he had made he set in the house of God, of which God said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever, and I will no more remove the foot of Israel from the land that I appointed for your fathers, if only they will be careful to do all that I have commanded them, all the law, the statutes, and the rules given through Moses.” Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel. (2 Chronicles 33:1-9 ESV)
When Ahaz promoted child sacrifice and all sorts of idolatry, he was labeled an evil king.  Could it get any worse?  Afraid so...  After one generation of renewal under Hezekiah, the value of life devolved even lower - in essence, to the point of no return.  Now is always to time for repentance, revival, and a return to valuing life the way God does.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Not the Mind or Heart of God...

 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.(2 Chronicles 28:1-4 ESV)
In my chronological Bible, there are headings for each king, labeled good, bad, or very bad.  You can guess what score Ahaz gets.  He did not have the mind of God when it came to life (Jeremiah 32:35) and he did not have the heart of God like David.  We need more men and women with the heart and mind of God when it comes to the sanctity of human life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What is and what is not in the mind of God

 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. (Jeremiah 32:35 ESV)
As followers of Christ it is to be our goal to "let the Mind of Christ" be in us.  That requires that we allow Him to renew our minds.  Because our hearts are desperately wicked, we have things in our minds that would never even enter the mind of holy God.  One of those things is the torture and murder of babies.  Where did that idea ever come from?!?  Not from God.  We can be sure of that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Context is important...

  And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
  I would fly away and be at rest;
(Psalm 55:6 ESV)
In the several instances in which the Bible talks about flying away it refers to anything from escaping an enemy to leaving this life.  In this case it means PRAY FOR US!  We leave for Israel and will be doing a lot of flying.  Will be in touch...