Thursday, February 16, 2017

For the Glory of God

                  For the Glory of God

                                       John 11:l-4
 . . . “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”  But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Have you ever considered that your suffering is a gift from God to you and, “It is for the glory of God?”  Or, is it hard to think that suffering is a gift when you are in the midst of the suffering?

Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was very ill and in that message they included words so important to those whom suffer, “he whom you love is sick.” The sisters of Lazarus were distressed and hurting for their brother. They wanted Jesus to be there for him, but Jesus did not come to Bethany immediately. He tarried awhile before making that journey. Martha, in her pain said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21).

Jesus knew Lazarus was sick and that he had already died before He even came to Bethany. What was His purpose in waiting to come to Lazarus and to Mary and Martha? Jesus told His disciples,“It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be Glorified through it.” The death and resurrection of Lazarus was intentional to bring glory to the Son of God. Amen!

What a great gift the Lord gave to them in their despair. With deep affection and a compassionate heart the Lord Himself came to them. Jesus drew near to whom He loved and raised Lazarus from the grave. We may never be healed in this life from certain adversities or sickness, or be raised from the grave. But, will it be said of you, they suffered for the glory of God in their life and in their death? Is your suffering meant as a gift from God to bring glory to His name? Why else are we here, but to glorify Him!

Lord, I glorify You.

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Spiritual War

                       A Spiritual War 

                                     2 Corinthians 10:4,5
( For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

In 2 Corinthians 10:4, the Bible speaks of fortresses or spiritual strongholds which hold people captive by the forces of evil. How can one dispel the satanic assaults that the prince of darkness promotes? How does one demolish the influences of the evil one and defeat falsehood? Only by the Gospel according to the Word of God can one be rescued from the lies and deceptions of hell (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). Wrong philosophies, false teachings, and those that oppose the Word of God are the enemies of Christ. They are fortresses that seal off the mind, damage good reasoning and assault one’s purpose in life. If we allow ourselves to be taken in by deceptive doctrines and distorted theories, we will find ourselves in a battle called, spiritual warfare.

Be careful what you allow to influence your mind especially through books, articles, internet, etc. As Christians, we are to keep our hearts pure through the reading of God’s Word and sound teaching. To permit erroneous ideas into our minds is dangerous and threatens our ability to view God correctly.

“ Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments (elementary principles) of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). When the world tries to say, “There Is No God,” beware!

We are not instructed to fight demons or wage an attack on Satan himself, according to the New Testament, but we are called to dispute error with truth. Only the truth of God’s Word can conquer the fortresses that hold people captive, shattering the chains of sin and making them free  indeed (John 3:36; 8:36).

Lord, may the influences I allow in my life help to spread the Gospel of Christ.

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Love Story

                        A Love Story

                                         Ruth 1:1-2
Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth–lehem–judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth–lehem–judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

The story of Ruth is an exciting adventure during a most difficult time in history, “when the judges ruled.” It was the worst of times because, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” During this time in history, we come to the little book called Ruth, a true historical account of God using the most difficult of times to show He is never idle. Ruth is a picture of the helpless, and hopeless sinner, separated from God and doomed to eternal death. The story of Ruth is not only a picture of God’s amazing grace but of God’s redeeming love for unworthy sinners.

As the story begins, the curtain is lifted just enough for us to see the beautiful picture God is revealing to us of His redeeming love. Not all the actors in this small book even realize the impact their lives will play in God’s wonderful plan. Ruth, the Moabites is a member of a race that began in an incestuous relationship (Genesis 19) under the curse of God (Deuteronomy 23:3-6). His plan was to take Ruth from in the lowest conditions of life to the highest honor ever, the lineage of Christ.  This story has only one outstanding message–––REDEMPTION!

As you read this delightful story of redeeming love, prepare your heart to grasp the wonderful picture of salvation through Ruth’s life. If you will cast yourself upon His redeeming grace, and believe in His finished work on the cross for you––––that is REDEEMING LOVE.

Lord, thank You for Your perfect and gracious love to redeem a sinner like me.

Friday, January 27, 2017

One That Worshipped God

           One That Worshipped God

                                      Luke 10:41-42
"And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Let’s go to a little village outside the city of Jerusalem. This little village called Bethany is where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus live. Jesus has been invited by Martha to come to her home and while He is there, she becomes extremely busy preparing for Hm. We all know how preoccupied we can become when guests come to our home and in Martha’s case, this was a very special guest, the Lord of Heaven was visiting.

Mary, the sister of Martha, finds a place at the feet of Jesus and listens to His every word. Martha, on the other hand, is absorbed in preparing for her invited house guest and is cumbered about with much serving. Martha is distracted, and frustrated over the unnecessary and extravagant details of her planning. She becomes so distraught that she complains to Jesus;  "Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?"  If she complained to the LORD and rebuked Him, I wonder what she would do to other house guests? Martha then gives the LORD a command, “Tell her to help me! Don’t You care?” Oh, my!

The LORD answers Martha and tells her that she is troubled about so many things and is allowing anxiety and preparation to control her. What is it that Mary is choosing over planning and preparing with Martha?  She is desiring to sit at the feet of Jesus, honoring Him. Mary is making a choice in her life; to be satisfied in Christ and in worshipping Him, first. The true worshiper of God is the one who is consumed with praising and honoring Christ. How can we serve Him, if we don’t first, worship Him.

Lord, may I serve You with a loving and devoted heart, while honoring You as a true worshipper of Christ.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Turning Away From God

             Turning Away From God
                                     Jeremiah 13:1-11
Let’s go back in time to a prophet and priest named, Jeremiah. His ministry was extremely difficult and lasted for over forty years. During his ministry, he endured rejection, starvation, prison, dungeons and death threats. His divine calling was to warn the people of Judah that judgment was coming, if they did not obey God. They had turned their hearts away from the truth of the Word of God and from the prophet of God.

Jeremiah taught by using many object lessons and in chapter 13, the Lord had Jeremiah take an undergarment 200 miles away, traveling by foot, to the Euphrates River. He was told to bury the garment and return to Jerusalem. After an allotted time, God told Jeremiah to return to the rock and dig up the linen girdle. The garment was filthy and had begun to rot. God likened Judah to the defiled linen girdle; totally worthless in the sight of God.

When the people of Judah did not heed to the words of Jeremiah, he wept for them and became known as the “Weeping Prophet.” Throughout the book of Jeremiah he preaches, begs, pleads and weeps for God’s people to listen. He proclaims that destruction will come upon them and they will be taken into captivity by their enemies. They never take into consideration the words of Jeremiah and consequently, their beloved city is destroyed, the temple left in ruins, and the Babylonian empire takes them captive.

Jeremiah had a heart for the people of Judah–––mourning and weeping for them in their sinful state. We, too, should grieve and weep for those who have turned their hearts against God and who are dead in their trespasses and sins. This story is a reminder of the total sinfulness from which we have been redeemed. We should willingly, prayerfully, and faithfully share the wonderful gospel message of Christ with those who are lost and those who have turned their hearts away from God.

Lord, there is hope for the lost but only through You can this hope be attained.

Friday, January 13, 2017

So, Who's in Charge?

                 So, Who’s in Charge?
                                     Deuteronomy 6:1-7

The Lord is instructing Israel to teach their children and their children’s children to love and obey God. To listen and be careful to observe all that God commands them to do and they will prosper in the land. Though this promise is given to the Israelites, it is a principle of truth that we can follow in our attempt to teach our children “in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6).

We’ve all seen and heard children acting out their sinful natures in public. Uh-oh, wonder who’s in charge now? Ignoring the situation is popular in our culture today. Just keep shopping and they’ll loose interest. No, we’ve never seen that work, not one time. The screaming and crying accelerates and little Susie turns shades of red we’ve never seen to get her way. Mom acts like she hears and sees nothing. This opposes God’s intention for the home and the peace and tranquility for regular Wal-mart shoppers ceases.

Some parents refuse to take their children out in pubic. They won’t go to restaurants, grocery stores or most anywhere with them so they won’t be humiliated. That means the child is in charge of where they go, when they go and how long they will stay. Why? Maybe they didn’t read the handbook? The Bible tells them that they’re in charge and this authority is given by God (Ephesians 6:1-3).

So, how do I recover from this parental authority crisis? Our God is Sovereign and He’s in charge of all things. His design for the family is that He be first in our homes. Placing God in His rightful position begins the change needed to develop a home that is not child-centered. (Not to say that you’ll be trouble free.) Letting children know that some changes will be made and that you’re seeking God’s wisdom is a good start. Then, follow God’s plan for training children. Seek help from Godly people, read good books and pray.

Lord, help me to make changes that honor You.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Unacceptable Worship

               Unacceptable Worship
                                      Exodus 20:1-6
“. . . I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. . .”

The Israelites lived in a pagan society and were constantly being pulled away by strange gods or deities. God gave to them the Ten Commandments and commanded them to have no other gods before Him. Bowing down to any image or using any aid to replace God was not acceptable worship and is still unacceptable worship today.

Idolatry can appear in the worship of any person. A pastor, a Sunday school teacher, a school teacher, a movie star, an athlete, or even a family member. Christ said in Matthew 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” We are to love Christ more than any person we may have a deep affection for and we are to love Christ more than we love ourselves.

Sometimes we worship the true God, but in our own way, or on our own terms––missing the whole point of worship.  If we are not worshipping God in the manner He prescribes, then we are worshipping Him in an unacceptable way. To truly worship God, the worshipper must be born again, regenerated by the Spirit of God. Jesus said in John 4:23-24, “ . . . when the true worshippers (Christians) shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

If we’re are not worshipping God on His terms, with a right attitude in “spirit and in truth,” then our worship is unacceptable and rejected by God. We are to worship God with a pure heart, clean hands and an obedient spirit which is acceptable in His sight–––bringing glory to His name.

Lord, I worship You in spirit and in truth.