Finishing Well

legacy-enterlinedesign-gen-48aGenesis 48 “Consider the Legacy You Leave Behind”

Jacob has not always been faithful to God throughout his life. He has schemed and lived a life that was less than honorable but in the end, he realizes this truth: even “If we are unfaithful, he (God) remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.” And so Jacob rehearses before Joseph, and perhaps his other sons, the faithfulness of God. In essence, he has taken the time to reveal his life to them and show them how the hand of God has been upon him. He now wants to share that with those he leaves behind. Jacob is a man who wants to finish well and that should be our goal as well.

What do you do when you realize you are about to die?  You get right with God, you spend time with loved ones and you share your faith with others. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16 reveals this in spades. Lazarus apparently lived a righteous life and dying he was found to be in paradise with Abraham. In contrast, the rich man did not and found himself in torments. He called to Abraham to send him help and barring that to send someone back to tell his brothers what he wished he had told them when he was alive. May we learn from him to not waste the moments we have today.

Keith Krell notes “Begin to pass on your faith to those you love most.”

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Children Are A Gift from God

pregnancy2aGenesis 33 “Children are a Gift”

This week marks the 40th anniversary of Roe vs Wade here in America. It has been a long journey fraught with ups and downs and often hostility. No one has won in this war and the losses have been extreme for all.

When Esau met Jacob to reunite with him his first question was: “Who are these people with you?” Note Jacob’s answer: ““The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” And that is how we are to see these precious ones that we bring into the world. Children are indeed a gracious gift from God. The psalmist knew that as well: “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” [Ps 127:3] May we honor each life in this way and pray for those who carry these lives to full term.

This week stop and pray for the Pregnancy Clinics/Centers in your city. Honor and pray for them to have wisdom as they seek to help young women see that the life they carry is precious.

All scripture is taken from the FREE online Bible Study Tool Lumina from Bible.org 

 

Are You Satisfied with Your Life?


absent-from-body-quote-b-grahamGenesis 25
“Are You Satisfied with Your Life?”

“Abraham breathed his last and he died at a good old age, an old man who had lived a full life.” How is it that Moses could say this about the patriarch? He could because Abraham “believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” He had obeyed God and “went out without understanding and by faith, he lived as he looked forward to the city with firm foundations whose architect and builder is God.” [Heb 11] By faith, when tested, he offered up Isaac as his one and only son. And so when the end came Abraham knew that he had done as God had said and God now would let him join his ancestors. And centuries later, Dietrich Bonhoeffer would say “This is the end—for me the beginning of life.” We who believe God know that our preference is to “be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” for this is just a step on our journey into life with our Lord forever.

When your end comes will you be satisfied that you have been faithful to God? Today you are one step closer to eternity. Are you ready?

Forgive Me but Really????

hands-words2q

Do not be rash with your mouth or hasty in your heart… for God is in heaven and you are on earth! Therefore, let your words be few.”[Ecc 5:2] God often brings this verse to my mind as a gentle reminder of who I am and who God is. Who we are is often revealed by the voluminous words we speak versus the few words God speaks. Elihu, in Job 32-34 would have been wise to have taken this advice but he is really a pompous windbag in many ways.These chapters on Elihu are so like Meryl Streep’s rant at the Golden Globe awards to which I say “Forgive me but really??” And here’s why:

Elihu begins with his diatribe saying he is angry. When we are angry we often say things we later regret. He is not just angry with Job but the other three friends as well. He has, as we often say, “had enough.” He is controlled by his anger which is a danger signal. Secondly, he does not attribute wisdom to the fear of God but to age. Granted with age we do become wiser but the source of godly wisdom is from God, not from man. Thirdly, he admits he is full of words! Over and over through the book of Proverbs, it is the fool with the busy tongue. James reminds us that we cannot subdue the tongue and it is full of deadly poison. Fourthly, Elihu says Job is not listening to God for God reveals his plan and purpose and Job, you don’t a clue!

God exalts the humble, not the proud. Forgive me but I think Elihu is a proud “windbag.” Instead,  we should heed this verse:  “Like apples of gold in settings of silver, so is a word skillfully spoken.” [Pro 25:11]

Mo Matter What, Who, When, Why, How or Where…God Can Be Trusted!

bible2a“No Matter What, Who, When, Why, Where, How…”

Are you are a believer in Christ? Then you need to read and reread the book of Job because you need to know the God you serve and His and your adversary. This is not just a well I will but it is a book that YOU MUST devour until you understand each and every character’s profile but mostly your own and God’s!

Beloved, when you are faced with afflictions and situations that seem ‘out of character’ you will be like Job asking the proverbial question: WHY?  As you wander the book of Job you will unearth this question more than once. Job’s friends have been saying he has sin in his life.  Yet Job has been saying to his friends God Knows All. Job 31: 4 “Does he not see my ways and count all my steps?” God cannot, nor will He ever lie. That is why he can trust God.  Although he has been through the fire and continues to feel the heat, one thing he knows is this: God knows all and therefore no matter how bad life has become and how despondent he is over this strange set of circumstances he will not walk away from his belief that God is God and He knows the reason; this is true EVEN IF WE OR JOB NEVER DOES!

Job knows this about God: He cannot, nor will He ever lie. That is why he can trust God.  Although he has been through the fire and continues to feel the heat, one thing he knows is this: God knows all and therefore no matter how bad life has become and how despondent he is over this strange set of circumstances he will not walk away from his belief that God is God and He knows the reason; this is true EVEN IF WE OR JOB NEVER DOES!

If we fail here, Satan wins.  

God has, as one author noted, “locked himself in” to consistently adhere to the laws He has established and that is why we can trust Him. He cannot lie, change, break a promise or allow his power to be stopped. His word cannot be broken, annulled, and he cannot sin. All of these are true about God and that is what Job is clinging to even as he wonders what all of this is about. We too face these same dilemmas.

James reminds us that when we are in a trial to ask for wisdom and that is what Job is doing. This is where the rubber meets the road and we must decide: will I trust God or not. Ask yourself: Has God been faithful in the past? Then you can trust that he be faithful now and as well in the future.  If we can say yea and amen to this we can know for certain that at some point in time God will end our suffering, our pain or our dilemma. And if perhaps we need to know, He will also reveal its purpose. May you be encouraged to know that as Job wondered you may as well. But, even in his wondering, he still trusted God. You can as well.

 

 

Preparation for 2017

rooted-in-the-word2aPsalm 1&2 “Rooted in the Word”

Who wants to be blessed or happy? Most would answer “I do!” But our way to happiness and blessedness is fraught with dangers set by our enemy the devil whose intents and purposes are in sharp contrast to the Almighty. Thus to be truly “happy” and “blessed” the psalmist directs our attention to the way of the “righteous”  which is compared to a tree which is nourished and grows in sharp contrast to the chaff, the leftover of the harvest, or ungodly amongst us.

He who has ears to hear should listen was the word of the Lord in Revelation. In doing so the righteous are able to distinguish or discern those that are the “chaff” of the field that walk with us each and every day who seek only their own way or scoff at God and his Word. Their words echo across the centuries; “I’m okay, you are okay” but we know from scripture that we are not for God says “there is none righteous, no not one.” Their philosophy is anti-God and the words of Col 2:7 remind us not to be swept away by their philosophy: “Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

 

As you begin this 2017 journey remember these words from Psalm 1 and Malachi 3:10: Earnestly desire to be planted and rooted by the streams of living water which flows from the throne of God. It is then that God will open his windows of heaven and pour forth blessings which cannot be numbered.

Tick Tock….

clock-christmas-mug2Revelation 16 “Tick Tock….”

‘You are just—the one who is and who was, the Holy One—because you have passed these judgments, they got what they deserved.’ Does God take pleasure in this? NO! The answer is found from the pen of Ezekiel: “Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign Lord? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live?” [Ezek 18] and from the pen of Peter: God ‘is being patient toward you because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.’ [2Peter 3]

The truth is this: what you sow you reap. Satan has sown his seeds of the “deadly d’s” and now God has set his sickle to him and his tares and with righteous judgment they will be reaped to destruction. Satan’s heart was defiant from the beginning and now God’s patience has run its course. God’s sacred history and His plan are unveiled that we might know and be challenged to repent and live righteously. He has immersed us into the lives of the 7 churches that we might know God’s standards of righteousness and be warned of the consequences if we do not. God has opened his book that we might see how much He hates unrighteousness as we should as well.

It is darkest before the dawn but Christmas is coming and the Holy One, the Ancient of Days’ clock will have sounded its last tock forever and we hear the bells resound: “It is finished!” and so it will be.

All Scripture is taken from the FREE online Bible Study tool of Bible.org ministries.

The Singing Saints Pt 1

harp-rev-14-2aThe heavenly choir “were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one was able to learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth.” [Revelation 14]

Julie Andrews’ song echoes in our heads: “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” One day it will not the hills but Mount Zion of God will be alive with the sound of music. The choir of the 144,000 sealed by God will be heard singing a new song before the throne. They will be accompanied by the harpists playing their harps reminiscent of the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah. That choir celebrated joyfully with songs of thanksgiving and songs accompanied by cymbals, harps, and lyres. [Neh 12] The difference being that this song is sung by those purchased and preserved. They are the professing choir of virgins redeemed from the earth and are now rewarded for their faithfulness and purity. They had heard the Lamb say “follow Me” and they did.
The Shepherds of old heard the choir of heavenly angels as they sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased” as they proclaimed the Messiah’s birth. What song will you sing for the Messiah king?

 

The Empty Manger

empty-manger2aRevelation 3&8 Part 6: “The Empty Manger”

The Alpha and Omega’s solemn pronouncement to the Church in Sardis. I hold the seven spirits of God and the seven stars and thus can see your vulnerability. Your walls appear strong and impenetrable but the enemy without sees with his binoculars that your watchman failed to stay alert. While retrieving his dropped helmet, he revealed your secret entrance and now the enemy has infiltrated your midst. Take a lesson from Habakkuk who stood at his watch without wavering.

To the outside world, your church appears alive but inside, I who searches the mind and heart see that you are like whitewashed tombs with dead men’s bones. Like the Pharisees of old, you are a hypocrite because you do not hunger and thirst for righteousness. Instead, you have a high opinion of yourself and are relying upon your works to earn your salvation.  In addition, I see your Christmas traditions with the nativity replica but the manger is empty. Where am I? Will you invite me to your Christmas celebration?

Oh Father, forgive us for relying on traditions, lights, and gifts which are temporal rather than on the Eternal Wonder of Your coming to earth as Emmanuel. Forgive us for being satisfied with the victories of the past and failing to see the fields are truly white for harvest. Come and fill our manger hearts with your presence.

Photo Credit: Udra11 http://tinyurl.com/z8l8jl8

The True Christmas Message: Sin Kills, The Gospel Saves

cross-saves2aRevelation 2&8

To Thyatira, from the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze. Because I am the Son of God I search not just with my eyes but also my heart and I find that which is profitable but not that which is beneficial. I commend you for the love you have for others and how faithful you have been to My Church. You work tirelessly for the poor just as I did. Your works now are greater than when you began and for that you are to be commended.

However, I see a glaring sin. In fact, you have lived with this sin for so long that your eyes are clouded to its impact upon your flock. You no longer call sin sin but have bought into the lie of love the sinner and hate the sin and that is true. However, hate demands action and you have not taken that step. Instead, your actions reveal that you have fallen like King Ahab to the ways and mores of Queen Jezebel, an outright idolater. She has taken captive your mind and swayed you to offer sacrifices of my children to the idol god Baal. It would be better to put a millstone about your neck and throw you into the sea than to allow her to lead and teach. I love you and that is why I have been so patient with her and you. But, my patience will come to an end. Her message kills because it denies Me. Be careful lest you be judged along with her by my penetrating eye.

Father, may Your eye reveal to us where we have accepted that which you call an abomination. May we hold fast to the truth that only through the blood shed on the cross can one be saved.

All scripture is taken from the FREE online Bible Study Tool of Bible.org