Thursday, December 20, 2007

Some Encouraging Words from a Minor Prophet

“Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts,” (Hag 2:4 ESV)
“My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not” (Hag 2:5 ESV)
“and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts.” (Hag 2:7-8 ESV)
“And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts.’ ”” (Hag 2:9 ESV)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Essence of Complacency

“I will punish the men who are complacent,* those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.’” (Zeph 1:12 ESV)

“She does not trust in the LORD; she does not draw near to her God.” (Zeph 3:2 ESV)

In the book of Zephaniah the Lord is leveling charges at Judah, making promises of judgment and then of restoration.

It is interesting to note that in the above texts we have a rather vivid description of complacency. These complacent people have become complacent because they do not believe that God will do anything. Therefore they do not trust God, or draw near to Him.

From this I gather that complacency is grounded in unbelief. What is it that makes life excitig and fresh? Living with the expectancy that God is going to act in our lives. It is drawing near to Him, trusting Him, watching what He is going to do for our good and His glory.

"Lord give us the faith that we need to be delivered from complacency"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What it means to Live by Faith

““Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith” (Hab 2:4 ESV)

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed* instruments.” (Hab 3:17-19 ESV)

Friday, December 14, 2007

God's Accomplishments in our Storms

“Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god.” (Jonah 1:5 ESV) “Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.” (Jonah 1:16 ESV)“Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish,” (Jonah 2:1 ESV)

I believe that the Lord always accomplishes more than one thing in everything that He does. Such is the case in this fierce storm that was threatening the lives of Jonah and his shipmates.

As is the case with most of life's storms, God brought this storm in order to teach men about Himself. It is very obvious from 1:5, that Jonah's shipmates had a theological problem. They believed that there was more than one true God, hence when they became afraid, "each cried out to his god." It is interesting to note that their crying out made no difference in the intensity of their storm. It wasn't a problem with their passion, rather it was a problem with their theology. But in and through this storm, their theology was corrected. By verse 16, they were no longer crying out to their gods, but were rather fearing the one true God, offering Him worship, and making vows to Him. Thus God used this storm to deliver idol worshipers from their idolatry, and bring them into a relationship of worship with Himself.

But these shipmates were not the only ones who needed a correction in their theology. Jonah thought that He could run from the presence of God. (v.3). How foolish to think that a geographical change, would result in an escape from God! In Jonah's case it would take something more dramatic than a life threatening storm to bring him to repentance. It would take being cast into a stormy sea, and then being swallowed by a great fish. Once in the belly of the great fish, Jonah's theology was corrected, and he realized that even there, the Presence of the Lord that He he had been trying to escape, became the only comfort that he had. He cried out to God, and was delivered to fulfill the assignment that He had been given.

May we remember that our storms are never without purpose. God brings them in our lives to accomplish many things, not the least of which is teaching us something about Himself.

"Dear Lord, Thank you for the storms that you have brought in to our lives. Thank you that they are indeed evidences of your mercy to us, in showing us our wrong thinking about you. Help us to learn what we need to learn, and change what needs to be changed through these difficult times."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rev. 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

It is interesting, that in this scene from eternity, the fact that God created everything is the reason given for why He is worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. We must understand that the meaning of receiving glory, honor and power, is actually ascribing glory, honor and power.

We cannot give glory to God in the sense of making Him more glorious, but we give glory to God in the sense of recognizing and speaking of His Glory.

The King James Bible says, "and for they pleasure the are and were created." Creation exists for one reason only, to reveal the glory of God, and thereby to give Him pleasure. God's greatest pleasure is in His own glory! Creation mirrors back God's glory to Himself, and brings Him pleasure.

I am thankful this morning that God chose to give me existence, and then chose to save me and make me part of His Family. I must confess that my life doesn't always reflect His glory. I "come short of the glory of God" often. But when I confess my sin and repent, God's glory is manifested in that He shows me grace and mercy and forgives me.

I am thankful that my standing is in Christ this day, and therefore no matter what I am guaranteed acceptance with God.

Truly He is good!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Precious Practical Truths about The LORD

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. “ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Rev 3:7-8 ESV)

There are several truths about the Lord Jesus Christ that I want to meditate on from this text.

  • The Communication of the LORD- The Lord Jesus Christ communicates with His people “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write" In this case and in our case, He communicates with His church in writing. The very life blood of the Christian is communication with and from the Lord Jesus Christ. If we fail to read that which He has written to us we will shrivel up, spiritually and be very susceptible to sin. If we had time we could spend an entire session on how the Lord communicates with His people, and the effect of His communication in their lives.
  • The Character of the LORD. ‘The words of the holy one, the true one," He is Holy, meaning that He is pure, sinless, and uniquely one of a kind. He is the "different"one. He is true, meaning that He is faithful, and what He says is accurate, and dependable. He will never forsake us or let us down, we can depend upon him moment by moment explicitly.
  • The authority of the LORD. "who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens." One who has the key is the one who has authority. When the LORD opens the door, no one can shut it, and when he closes the door, no one can open it. If it were not for the Lord opening doors for us, we could not proceed along the road that He would have us to walk down. It is wonderful to realize the no one, not even Satan, can close the doors that the Lord opens for us. It is also true that when the Lord closes the door behind us no enemy can get through it to us, unless He permits them.
  • The Awareness of the LORD. "I know your works... I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” The Lord know what we have done, and he knows that we have little power. He knows us! Thank God we don't need to have much power, because He has all power! Maybe you are feeling particlarly weak today. That is not a bad thing that is a good thing. In our weakness, His strength is made perfect.
"Lord thank you that you communicate with your people. You are Holy and true. You have all authority, and you are aware of what we have done, and how little our power is."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Wise

“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;* and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Dan 12:3 ESV)

Who are the wise? Before we can answer that question, we must understand the meaning of wisdom. In order to do that consider Paul's words in Ephesians: “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph 5:17) By contrast, Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, defines wisdom by contrast, as understanding what the will of the Lord is. In his prayer for the Colossians, Paul gives us another indication of what wisdom is: “and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” (Col 1:9). In this text Paul defines wisdom by association as the knowledge of His will. Therefore we conclude, that wisdom is the knowledge of God's will. If wisdom is the knowledge of God's will, then the wise are those that know and do the will of God.

There is a distinctiveness about those who know and do God's will. They stand out like the brightness of the stars above on a dark cloudless night.

There is an beauty about those who are wise, just like the beauty of the stars above.

There is a steadfastness and durability of those who are wise. "forever and ever"

There is an accomplishment that only the wise can achieve, "and those who turn many to righteousness." Only the wise can turn many to righteousness. If one is not doing the will of God he is not wise, and he is not righteous and therefore cannot turn anyone else to righteousness.

"Dear Lord fill us with the knowledge of your will, that we might do it, and display your glory in such a way, that you can use us to turn many to righteousness."

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Fruit of Knowing God

“but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” (Dan 11:32 ESV)

“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”” (Psa 122:1 ESV)

I, like many other people, am on a Bible reading program. This program contains a daily selection from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. It is amazing how that many times the Lord will emphasize in my heart a theme that seems to at least wind it's way through two of the four scriptures for the day.

Today is one such day. The theme that the Lord seems to have emphasized to me today is the idea of knowing Him.

What does it mean to know God? It means that we have a relationship with God. It means that God speaks to us, and we speak to Him. He has revealed Himself to us through this communication, and we get to the place where we know what he likes, and what He dislikes. We know how He is, as much as finite beings can know. This relationship is one of love, and trust. He loves us and we love and trust Him. He displays his affection for us, and we worship Him.

This relationship is made possible only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Being sinful beings the only way that we can have this relationship with Him is through the merits and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who know him are strong, they stand when others fall by the wayside, and they take action. The do amazing things because of their relationship with God. And they are glad when it is time to go to his house!

His house today is not a temple made with hands, but the church of the living God! Those who know him love to get with others who know Him, and spend time in worship and praise and adoration of them!