Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Joseph was sold for a servant:
His feet they hurt with fetters:
He was laid in chains of iron,
Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of Jehovah tried him.
"If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9 (NIV)
The night after I had taken my driver's test as a teenager, I had a dream in which I was driving down the road and all of a sudden the clouds became giant bells that were ringing. Everyone was getting out of their cars and coming out from wherever they had been. I realized that this was the second coming of Jesus. Angels were everywhere in the sky, then Jesus came with a list in His hand. Everyone's name was on the list and beside each was a numerical value. Whoever had a number of seventy or above was going to Heaven, and I was so happy that my number was seventy exactly.
I have never forgotten that dream. It made an impression on me because it is the only time that I have dreamed of Jesus returning to earth. I dream in color and it is still all so vivid in my mind. I can remember, too, the fear I felt as I waited to hear the number by my name. As I have gone over it once more in my memory, one part has truly caught my attention. That would be the list.
Imagine if Jesus were to return with two lists in His hands. One list would contain the names of those who would go to Heaven and the other those who would be sent to eternal torment. This is just a "what if" question. Just something to think about.
I am sure that there would be unbelievable rejoicing when names from the Heaven list were read. I can just hear the praises being shouted and the songs of adoration being sung. The angels would play their mighty trumpets and the celebration would only be beginning.
But, when the names on the other list were announced, there would be screams of horror, great anguish, hysterical crying and voices begging for another chance. People would be ripping the hair from their heads, looking for somewhere to hide and denying that this could possibly be true.
Here is another "what if." Suppose we had advance knowledge of which list our names were on. How would that change how we live out the rest of our lives? Would we grow complacent as Christians if we knew we were on the first list? Or would we, out of love for our Savior, spend more time in His Word, in prayer and in sharing the Gospel?
And if our names were not on the coveted list, what would we do? Would we curse God and fall deeper into sin that we ever thought possible?
As I have thought of myself in these scenarios, this is what I have decided. First and foremost, I love Jesus. The most important thing to me is honoring Him and seeing Him glorified. No matter which list my name was on, I would like to think that I would continue praising His name and serving Him because life is about Him, not me.
Thankfully, scripture is very clear on what we must do to be saved. The verse I chose for today is only one of many that direct us toward salvation. What I have described above is just to create introspection. Although His return will not be like my dream, or my "what ifs," He will return. We may not know the day or the hour, but God is faithful and Jesus will come back eventually. Are we living our lives in preparation? If He was to return tonight or tomorrow, would you be ready?
If you have not received Christ as your Savior, please don't delay. Contact a Bible believing church, or ask a Christian friend if you have any questions. Today could be the last day. God bless.
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Monday, May 29, 2023
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Let us dive into the treasure trove of Philippians 1:20-24, as we learn to live with purpose, fully embracing a Christ-centered existence.
Before we delve deeper into Paul's perspective on life, let's remind ourselves of the foundation we established in our introduction—a Christ-centered perspective that can transform our entire existence. In Philippians 1:20, Paul declares, "For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die". (NLT)
As we continue our exploration of Paul's profound perspective on life, we come to a pivotal verse in Philippians 1:21: "For to me, living means Christ, and dying is even better" (NLT). This statement encapsulates Paul's unwavering commitment to living a life completely devoted to Christ's glory.
Saturday, May 27, 2023
The word which he commanded to a thousand generations,
The covenant which he made with Abraham,
And his oath unto Isaac,
And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a statute,
To Israel for an everlasting covenant,
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan,
The lot of your inheritance;
When they were but a few men in number,
Yea, very few, and sojourners in it.
Friday, May 26, 2023
Thursday, May 25, 2023
His wonders, and the judgments of his mouth,
O ye seed of Abraham his servant,
Ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
My childhood was filled with stories of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and other wonderful tales that all had the same ending, "and they lived happily ever after." Each of these characters had wishes that seemed unattainable, yet, in the end, they came true. Either a fairy godmother worked her magic or a kiss from Prince Charming broke an evil spell. However it came about, the same was true. That girl's dreams became reality. Of course, anything is possible in make believe. Real life isn't always tied up with ribbons and bows though.
Somewhere along the way in my younger days, I came to believe that the dreams I had for my life came from God. I thought,"Surely He wouldn't allow me to have a dream that He didn't intend to fulfill." Needless to say, I had a lot to learn about my relationship with Him and about His purpose for me on this earth. Even now, at an age that I certainly should know better, I still find myself realizing that dreams that I have held onto for decades just probably aren't going to come to fruition. I shed a few tears over some of them then reluctantly relinquish them into the hands of the One who has much greater things in store.
As I examine some of the things I dreamed for, I am able to see how selfish they really were. I wanted them simply because I wanted them. It isn't that any of those things were bad, only that the only purpose they would serve would be my own. I didn't figure eternity into them. I never thought about how I could serve the Lord better through them. I never even really asked Him about them. They were lofty hopes that were mine. All mine. I just assumed that once they came about, my life would be complete.
What happens when we spend so much time dreaming, is that we run the risk of not seeing what God is actually doing in our lives. When I stop to think about it, what gives me unspeakable joy is simply sharing the love of Christ with those around me. When I keep my focus on Him and my mind in the present, then my eyes are opened to all the opportunities He gives me each day to reach out to friends, family, acquaintances and strangers with the love, encouragement and compassion that can only come through the power of the Holy Spirit. None of the dreams that came from my own mind can even begin to compare with how content I feel when I simply do the work He sets in front of me to do.
This world is temporary. I could spend my limited time fulfilling my own desires, or I can go to Him each day and ask Him what He would like for me to do. If He chooses to use one of my dreams for His purposes, then I will praise Him and ask Him to help me remember that it is for HIM and not for me. And if He doesn't choose to, then I can know that it isn't because of any lack of love He has for me, but quite the opposite. He loves me so much that He only wants the best for me while I walk this planet. And, one day, I will be in Heaven which will be far beyond anything any human mind could ever dream of. God bless.
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Monday, May 22, 2023
Sunday, May 21, 2023
Saturday, May 20, 2023
Friday, May 19, 2023
And thou renewest the face of the ground.
Let the glory of Jehovah endure for ever;
Let Jehovah rejoice in his works:
Who looketh on the earth, and it trembleth;
He toucheth the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing unto Jehovah as long as I live:
I will sing praise to my God while I have any being.
Let my meditation be sweet unto him:
I will rejoice in Jehovah.
Thursday, May 18, 2023
There is leviathan, whom thou hast formed to play therein.
These wait all for thee,
That thou mayest give them their food in due season.
Thou givest unto them, they gather;
Thou openest thy hand, they are satisfied with good.
Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled;
Thou takest away their breath, they die,
And return to their dust.
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
And to his labor until the evening.
O Jehovah, how manifold are thy works!
In wisdom hast thou made them all:
The earth is full of thy riches.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
Wherein are things creeping innumerable,
Both small and great beasts.
"Jesus told him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6 (NLT)
When my daughter was still in high school, one of her classmates invited her to an outreach that his church was having. Directed toward young people, the hope was that those who were unchurched would be attracted enough to begin attending regularly. After the event, I picked them up and as I was taking the classmate home, I began asking how everything went. As it turns out, the night was comprised of performances by "Christian" rock bands, most of which were playing heavy metal music. Apparently, the music, coupled with the mosh pit, afforded an evening full of fun.
I would have been interested to know how many of those who attended this event actually came back for a church service. I still fail to understand how people can be drawn to Christ by being enticed through imitations of what the world offers. I have no problem with different genres of Christian music, but I do believe it is necessary to at least hear and understand the words that are being sung. And a mosh pit and body surfing? How is Jesus presented through that?
Across this nation, churches are being abandoned and boarded up. Many of those that remain open claim that attendance has been dropping. Fewer Americans believe that this country is a "Christian" nation. Jesus has become the punchline of jokes and those who choose to worship Him are touted as believing in fairy tales. By giving in to the demands for coffee bars and tickling the ears of attendees with "feel good" messages, we have lost our focus on our mission.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives this charge to His disciples, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are to share Him with others. The Lord has gifted each of us with abilities and talents that will assist us in doing so. If you sing, worship Him in song. If you are an artist, then honor Him with your art. If you have the gift of hospitality, then open your home and share the Gospel with your visitors. If you can do public speaking, then openly declare Him. Maybe you have a deep love for children. Children are ready learners. Their hearts are open to the stories of the Bible.
We need to return to solid Bible teaching. I love listening to men of God speak the truth. It is rare these days to hear the honest rebuking of sin from the pulpit. Too many church leaders are afraid that people will be offended and leave the congregation. But if the true need for Jesus is exchanged for warm and fuzzy messages, then we fail to offer the need for forgiveness.
We are watching frightening changes in this country and around the world. The enemy must sit back and laugh as evil increases and fear grips the followers of Jesus. This must not continue. Christians need to be in earnest prayer and we need to stand up for what is right and true. The Gospel is desperately needed and we are the ones that hold it. But we need to be ready to speak it in truth which means that the world will likely not appreciate what we have to say. No more compromising. We have Jesus to show the way. God bless.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Monday, May 15, 2023
The rocks are a refuge for the conies.
He appointed the moon for seasons:
The sun knoweth his going down.
Thou makest darkness, and it is night,
Wherein all the beasts of the forest creep forth.
Sunday, May 14, 2023
The wild asses quench their thirst.
By them the birds of the heavens have their habitation;
They sing among the branches.
He watereth the mountains from his chambers:
The earth is filled with the fruit of thy works.
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle,
And herb for the service of man;
That he may bring forth food out of the earth,
And wine that maketh glad the heart of man,
And oil to make his face to shine,
And bread that strengtheneth man’s heart.
The trees of Jehovah are filled with moisture,
The cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;
Where the birds make their nests:
As for the stork, the fir-trees are her house.
Esau, the eldest son of Isaac and Rebecca, had a birthright that entitled him to a double portion of his father's inheritance and the honor of leading the family. However, in a moment of hunger and desperation, Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew. Esau's actions not only cost him his birthright but also set a precedent for a pattern of behavior that would be repeated throughout history. Just as Esau chose temporary satisfaction over long-term gain, so too have many individuals, communities, and even nations made choices that have led to the loss of their birthright. In America, we see a similar pattern of moral decay, a failure of the nuclear family, and a turning away from God. It is a warning that the choices we make today can have long-lasting consequences for future generations.
Esau's decision to trade his birthright for a bowl of soup was a costly mistake for him. He disregarded God's law and suffered the consequences. And yet, he is not the only one in history to make such a trade. In Romans 1:28-32 NLT, the apostle Paul describes a society that has turned away from God, a society that has chosen to indulge in sinful desires and practices. This passage describes a people who have exchanged the truth about God for a lie and have worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator. As a result, God has given them over to a depraved mind and to do what ought not to be done. The consequences of such a trade are dire, leading to all manner of evil and wickedness.
Saturday, May 13, 2023
Unto the place which thou hadst founded for them.
Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over;
That they turn not again to cover the earth.
He sendeth forth springs into the valleys;
They run among the mountains;
And the goats are the price of the field;
And there will be goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household,
And maintenance for thy maidens.
Friday, May 12, 2023
The waters stood above the mountains.
At thy rebuke they fled;
At the voice of thy thunder they hasted away