Proverbs 27 Tomorrow is not guaranteed my friend…

Prov 27 “There is no Guarantee of a Tomorrow”

Fools plan on getting right with God tomorrow,but what if there is no tomorrow? Take the example of Felix, trembling under Paul’s preaching. He said, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25). It never came.

If today you knew that this would be your last day here on earth, how would you consider using it? It is a truth that we all know but fail often to consider: to each man has been given a certain life span. Yet how often do we take for granted that which God has given to us? What we do with that time and how it will be viewed in eternity is a question we all should consider. Thus it is fitting that both the writers of the OT and NT wisely tell us: “Do not boast about tomorrow; for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”  The NT writer James echoes this thought:  “You do not know about tomorrow.What is your life like? Remember this you are like a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes.” [Jam 4:14] Even Jesus spoke about this fact:  “But as for that day and hour no one knows it– not even the angels in heaven – except the Father alone. [Mat 24:36]

Do not presume there will be a tomorrow. Prepare for eternity today.

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Psalm 132: A Gentle Reminder

Psalm 132 “O Lord…In Prayer I come …to remember the acts of service of others. “

Prayer is coming before God humbly seeking Him and Him only 

How often do we begin our prayers asking God to not forget a specific person? It seems like many, we often begin as the thief on the cross “Remember “me” when you come into your kingdom,” but we fail to ask God to remember a loved one or a friend’s acts of service BEFORE we plead for ourselves.

 When you have faced a strenuous effort, as David did, it would behoove us to ask God to not waste that effort. Solomon asked that his father’s work be held up as an example of steadfast endurance. He doesn’t want that hardship to have been wasted and so he begins by asking God to remember his father’s vow and how he earnestly sought to fulfill it. Not only did his father make a vow and seek to fulfill it,but he lost sleep over it and others heard of it as well. David made a start but Solomon would complete it. In the meantime, Solomon was bringing his petition to God for his father David’s sake reiterating the truth of Hebrews: “God,you are not unjust so as to forget his work…” [Heb 6:10  author’s thoughts]

As you go to prayer, stop and consider others acts of service and ask God to remember them before you seek your own petitions.  

A+ or F? What is your grade?

If you have not read this story please take time now to open your Bible and read John chapter 9.

john 9 pass the testw2aJohn devotes an entire chapter to the story of the blind man who was given the gift of sight,  but he is not the only character in this story. As Jesus is leaving his time of worship and his humiliation of others who scoff and deride him, the blind beggar may have overheard the incredibly insensitive questions by the disciples about his condition. Yet, Jesus puts aside his own hurt to minister to this one who also has felt the stinging remarks of the disciples. He lovingly explained in his hearing that he was innocent of sin but now God would get the glory for the miracle He would do for this sightless man. He had “passed the test”of faith and Jesus would now prove it.

Mixing mud and then applying it to his eyes might seem rather crude but we are made of dust and to dust we shall return. Why is it any wonder that Jesus would use the very material of which he was made? After obediently following Jesus orders to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, the man awoke to sunshine that he could see, birds in the air that were not just sounds but also visual images of the very freedom he was experiencing. He saw, not just heard, people jostling others as they rushed about in their work. And oh! So much more. As he joyously returned to his home and his neighbors  parents with this great news, he was met not with praises for God’s work but a silent astonishment. Instead of praising God, his parents would later tell the priests; he is of age ask him how he was healed. They all “failed the test.”

The neighbors, the city dwellers, the priests all had opportunity to give God praise. Instead they scoffed and turned him away.

So how did he respond?

Overcome with praise for seeing that which he had only heard, the man goes to the very place of worship where he would not be turned away; the Temple. Even if everyone else has “failed the test” he has not, for once again he hears the Master’s voice.  The Master says you have heard but now you will see Me.  Once again Jesus allows the man to not just hear but now to see him.  Unlike those who saw the miracle but scoffed, he bent in humble adoration, believed and worshiped the One who gave him sight.

When Jesus touches your life do you allow others to scoff and seek to deny your gift of spiritual sight or do you return to the Gift giver and believe and worship?

What will Jesus say about you? Have you passed the test? 

 

How Like Us

Soon Thanksgiving will be upon us. Are you looking forward to it or are you wishing that day would just go…away…takes too much time and no one helps or is grateful. You are not alone…Jesus also faced this….

john 6 be grateful

John 6 How Like Us

On the shores of Galilee Jesus turned a small boy’s picnic lunch into a smorgasbord. It was there many saw how the Master took what was a little and made much so the hunger of the crowd was abated. In fact, even the disciples were able to pick up 12 baskets of leftovers!  However, those who partook did not even offer a thank you to the master chef. How like us.

After the evening passed and morning came, they were surprised to find that there was no instant breakfast; so they went looking for the master chef. But Jesus knew their hearts. They wanted not only a free meal but also to make Him king. Finding him across the Sea they audaciously said what miraculous sign will you perform so that we may see it and believe you? How like us.

We see a miracle yet remain unsatisfied and just want more. God had given the children of Israel freedom and then He provided manna, water, and even quail; yet they grumbled and complained. How like us.

We are unsatisfied because our hearts are hard and will remain that way until we have experienced the Bread of Life and the Living Water. Jesus is the one who can satisfy our hunger and our thirst.

 Or are we still looking for a sign?  

How like us.  

Who Am I? Who Are You?

who are youProverbs 26 “Who Am I? Who Are You?”

Jesus told a parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The Pharisee, in his boasting, left his time of worship just as he came, unforgiven and unloved by God. The publican in his humility left his time of worship full of joy because the Father God saw his heart. This is where the intellectually wise and the simple fool part ways. If truth be told, sometimes we find ourselves wearing the shoes of one or the other.

We need discernment to decide the character of each before us. There is the Pharisee; loud, prideful and pushy who can’t see beyond their noses; speaking gracious words that belie what they really think. They are only wise in their own opinion.  It is certain that there is more hope for a fool than them.

There is the publican graciously waiting his turn in the line of the faithful as Esther did. She waited patiently to seek the ear of the king and see the scepter extended her way.

The Father God sees it all.

He sees through the Pharisees words as evil deceit from a lying tongue and a flattering mouth—all of which will bring down their ruin.  Beware of them. Like the rich man in Luke 16, their earthly pomposity will lead them to the eternal pit of hell where they will look over and see the humble, basking in Paradise.

Who Am I? Who are you? One day we will stand before the wisest king who will hand down his judgments. Ask God now to:

 “Examine me O Lord and test me!

Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives.” Ps 26:2  

 

All Alone

John 5 “All Alone”

all alone 2 john 5a

The movie “Home Alone” is about a child who somehow got left behind when the family set off on a vacation. No one was aware of his absence until they reached their destination – in Europe. The mishaps he went through brought lots of giggles. But in John 5 this is no laughing matter. The man at the pool of Bethsaida is “all alone.”

Jesus had been in Galilee but returned to Jerusalem for a Jewish feast. While there, he strolled through the five covered walkways near the pool as if he were looking for one person in particular. We don’t know if he had stopped there previously but today he was looking for this man who was “all alone.” Jesus does the same for us. He is looking, seeking and stops.

“Do you want to become well?”

“Do you want to be saved?”

“Do you want to live in heaven with God for eternity?”

Whatever situation you are facing, His questions penetrate the soul.  He wants you to realize He is there. You are not alone.

All around him were others with family members, friends or someone but this man said “I..have no…one…” His heart wrenching statement reveals his desperate situation and causes Jesus to stop and reach out to him.

Do you feel you are all alone? Just as Jesus stopped to inquire about this man, Jesus stops to say you are not “alone.” I am here to meet your need. I will be with you and I will never leave you or forsake you.

 

 

Are You Revealing God’s Glory?

John 2 “Are you Revealing God’s Glory?”

john 2 water into wine2a

When there is a task that needs attending, do you do it half-way or all the way? Do you do it to reveal God’s glory or your own?

Jesus was an invited wedding guest to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. While there,  Jesus’ mother noted a problem; the wine had run out.  As a mother, her first thoughts were how to help, so she solicited the help from her #1 son just like many mothers would do. Note his answer: Woman, or as we might say, ma’am, why are you telling me about this problem? Yet because this was the perfect opportunity to reveal his glory, he left his merriment and sought to end this drama by producing the wine needed. He instantly changed the metabolic nature of the water into the finest of wines. And to be sure there no question as to what happened; He engaged the stewards or servants of to be His witnesses. He ordered them to fill the jars to the very top; then give some to the wine steward as evidence of the miracle which just happened.

The water became the finest of wines as noted by the steward. In this way, Jesus chose to demonstrate to his disciples a practical lesson and a spiritual lesson. The practical was when you see a need; meet it–whole-heartedly. The spiritual lesson was that in this way Jesus He revealed his glory—and his disciples believed in him.

When Jesus transforms he does it miraculously to reveal His glory. You may not do a task with a miracle, but when you fulfill a need which is out of the ordinary, you show God’s glory to others of His transforming power in your life.

Stop and think: whose glory are you seeking to reveal? 

 

The Rabbi Messiah is Revealed

john 1 baptism2aToday’s reading is in John 1 “Rabbi Messiah is Revealed”

How often do we not “recognize” the Rabbi, the Creator God? We see the beauty of the changing leaves, the newly fallen snow, but we take it for granted.  God gave us his marvelous creation but it was and is ignored. So then, He sent Moses and the Prophets, but they too were ignored. So, God sent John the Baptist to reveal His Blessed Son in full-blown flesh residing among men.

John testified, “This is the One!”

The news reverberated around Israel, so the Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites in from Jerusalem to find this man they had heard about. They had been students of Moses and the Prophets but came seeking answers to their questions.

You can almost visualize the scene, can’t you?

Dressed in their flowing robes walking miles through the desert to find this man everyone was talking about. “Grumble, grumble, complain! Why are we out in this god-forsaken desert? Why doesn’t he come to the Temple?”  When they found him, he was dressed in his camel-skin garment eating locusts and honey! On top of that, they saw him baptizing others in the River Jordan! “This is the man with the answers?” With eyes rolling, they stood on the riverbank and peppered him with questions:

Who are you? Are you Elijah? Are you the Prophet? Why are you baptizing?

John answered with one statement: I came baptizing with water so that he, the Rabbi Messiah God in the flesh, could be revealed to Israel.

Even John admitted that he did not recognize the flesh and blood Messiah either—UNTIL the Spirit of God revealed Him to him. But once revealed, he recognized and received Him! He then recalled the promise: to all who believe in the Rabbi Messiah’s name has been given the right to become a child of God.

He told the questioners: I am now a child of The True Rabbi Messiah—and you can be too!

Are you at the place of the questioners? Like John, you too may not have recognized the Messiah yet, BUT if you are willing to allow God’s Spirit to speak, He will answer all of your questions and He will reveal the Rabbi Messiah to you. Then if you receive Him you too will become a child of God.

It is just that simple! Recognize Him. Receive Him. He will reside in you!

Trust God …End of Discussion!

storm and mountain ps 125APsalm 125  Trust God ..End of Discussion 

Two principles: The Lord God carved out the seas and the mountains. He raised up and continues to raise up and put down kings or rulers. Some kings are like the sea; unpredictable. They ebb and flow like a sea; quiet one day and a raging fury another.  Some kings are like mountains; predictable; steadfast and immovable.

We ask: so what…? Let’s see what God wants us to learn.

Illustration One. One day our life is calm as a quiet rhythm yet in a matter of minutes life can become a raging fury. If we choose to put our trust in the sea, we may find ourselves blown and tossed around by the water and wind. Our life becomes like a raging and furious storm which is uncontrollable and often produces devastating results. But the psalmist offers a simple but profound truth. If we trust in the Lord, we will not be like the sea that is unpredictable. Instead, we will be like Mount Zion, a picture of strength and endurance. Sunny or stormy, the sea is unpredictable. Sunny or stormy, the mountain stands firm and steadfast; it is predictable. Where will you put your trust?

Again another illustration. The wicked king seeks entrance into our beautiful land of peace. He comes with scepters to seek, kill and destroy. But if we trust in the Lord, we have His scepter, his double edge sword, which is stronger and mightier to fight off the “wicked king’s” wrath. Additionally, the Lord has a promise for those who choose to trust in Him.  He will surround you and protect you with His mighty army so you can withstand any storm that the “wicked king” may design and seek to thrust upon you. You do not need to fear! Just trust in the Lord and you will be firm like the mountain.

Remember Elisha’s servant who was fearful as he saw the “wicked king’s” army? [2Kings 6]  Elisha assured him, “Don’t be afraid, our side outnumbers them.”   Elisha prayed; open my servant’s eyes to see the angelic forces surrounding us. And God will do that if you pray that same prayer. It is all about trust in the One who carved out the sea and the mountain; raises up and puts down kings.

The answer to the so what question: Stand strong like a mountain!

Truth: Greater is He in us than he who is in the world and that’s because that’s just the way God is.

A Tale of Three men and the Lessons for Us

Fall Festival With Leaves.pngDoes character count? How do we evaluate?

3 John  A Tale of Three Men and the Lessons for Us.

The Apostle John wrote a snail mail letter to the church. He had no hesitation of having it read publicly; in fact—he published it on the open market! So what did he say and why should we read it too?

This is a tale of three men with different character qualities. Two are good, we might even say great, but then there is that one that is ugly to the core. If written today, we might call him a “stinker.”

Two men, Gaius and Demetrius were truth seekers. The church testified that they loved Christ. The Apostle John called Gaius both brother and friend, which show us their close relationship. In addition, Gaius was esteemed because he was also hospitable to the itinerant preachers as they came to town seeking food and provisions. He opened his pocketbook more than once, it seems, so John encouraged him to keep supporting these traveling preachers.

John adds that he rejoiced because others testified to both men’s faithfulness.

Now, as to Diotrephes, the no-good church member, the one we might call a “stinker.” It seems he had a problem with pride. John wrote,  “he loves to be first among them.” If others didn’t shower praise upon him, he just wrote them off his list. If that didn’t get their attention, he ushered them out the back door much like the Pharisees did to the early apostles. Both Diotrephes and the Pharisees had a problem of envy or being jealous. Beloved, jealousy happens when we fear others getting the attention we feel is justly ours. Can you resonate? Sometimes that sin enters our life as well so we need to be on guard. Remember, even Pilate saw through the cracks of the Pharisees and John saw through Dioterphes’ cracks as well.

So what is our “take away” from what John wrote?

 Be grateful for the faithful. Be discerning and lovingly rebuke those who have a character flaw.

But in the end,  remind yourself of this truth: 

“the one who does good is of God; the one who does what is bad has not seen God.”

So does character count? I guess we could say it does. If John were to write about you, what would he say?