Monday, September 1, 2014

Don’t Lean on a Spider Web!

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Our ancestors were wise,

so learn from them.

 

Our own time has been short,

like a fading shadow,

and we know very little.

 

But they will instruct you

with great understanding.

 

Papyrus reeds grow healthy

only in a swamp,

and if the water dries up,

they die sooner than grass.

 

Such is the hopeless future

of all who turn from God

and trust in something as frail

as a spider's web-

they take hold and fall

because it's so flimsy.

Job 8:8-15

Are you wiser than the people that came before you?  You may quickly say, of course because in this age of information and computers we have so much more knowledge available!  But knowledge is not the same as wisdom.  A wise man is not simply the one with the largest vocabulary.  A wise man is the man who uses his vocabulary properly in stating and pursuing the truth!  My grandmother used to say that some college graduates were just "educated fools!"

One problem with some democracies around the world is that they are often like an airplane flying at 30,000 feet and the passengers decide they need a new pilot.  So they have an election and pick the most handsome or beautiful and charming passenger to fly the plane!  You know how that story ends!

When you turn from God and take hold of a spider's web you will fall!  Truthfully, if you turn from God, there is nothing in the entire world that you can take hold of which will keep you from falling.  There is only one option for those who have turned away from God!  TURN BACK TO GOD before it is too late!

"Lord Jesus, show me how I might have turned my heart away from You.  And if I have, draw me back to You today.  And may You be praised forever!  Amen."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cleanliness and Godliness!

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So let's come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let's keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water.

Hebrews 10:22

There are lots of misunderstandings about the what the Bible really says.  I suppose many of them have to do with "sins" that are recognized by groups of Christians, but are things about which the Bible is silent.  One of the most common prohibitions when I was young was "dancing."  It was widely accepted as a sin for a man to dance with a woman who was not his wife. The issue of course was lust not dancing, and the truth is you can dance without lusting and you can lust without dancing!

But the one that I always thought was a "made up" admonition from scripture was "cleanliness is next to Godliness."  I always thought it was just a way to get a kid to take a bath when he didn't want to.  But look again at Hebrews 10:22 which says "Let's keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water."  There it is!  Cleanliness does have something to do with Godliness.

You may have noticed that when a person with bad hygiene comes to know Jesus, his or her personal grooming will improve!  Physical filth does go hand in hand with spiritual filth!  This process is sometimes called "Redemption and lift."  When you are redeemed your standards for living, including personal hygiene are lifted up as well.

Here though is the bottom line.  Cleanliness is a result of Godliness, not the other way around.  Just because you are neat and clean does not mean that you are living a Godly life.  But if you do turn your heart to Jesus Christ, your life will be changed spiritually and physically.

"Thank You Jesus for washing me with Your Blood so that I may be clean in the eyes of the Father.  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Friday, August 29, 2014

Is the End Near?

 

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Look and be amazed

at what's happening

among the nations!

Even if you were told,

you would never believe

what's taking place now.

Habakkuk 1:5

Yes of course I am taking this verse "out of context."  But the principle is sound and extremely important at this time in history!  The nations of the world are in turmoil and distress.  The financial stability of the world is being questioned on every hand and may be on the brink of an unprecedented collapse.  Those who hold that Christianity is a false religion are multiplying as they seek to destroy all who call on the name of Jesus!  And leaders with common sense are rare!

It certainly seems that a major shift in the "world as we know it" is at hand.  Will this shift be the End of Days or just another major marker on the time line of history? 

We cannot know for sure where we stand in relation to the End, but we can know Jesus who stands at every point on the road that leads from the Garden of Eden through the Garden of Gethsemane to the Glories of Heaven!  

Two thousand years ago Jesus told His disciples that He was going away and that they could not go with Him at that time.  Then Jesus said "DON'T LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED!"  Still today, those words remind us that trusting Jesus is the only place of peace and rest, even when the world is falling apart!  When you are holding on to Jesus Christ even death cannot harm you.

"Lord Jesus, help me today to hold Your hand and to trust that no matter what happens in the world around me, or even to me, that all is well!  Jesus I long to see Your glorious face.  Come quickly, Lord.  Amen."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cry for Justice!

 

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If you hire poor people to work for you, don't hold back their pay, whether they are Israelites or foreigners who live in your town. Pay them their wages at the end of each day, because they live in poverty and need the money to survive. If you don't pay them on time, they will complain about you to the Lord, and he will punish you.

Deuteronomy 24:14-15

In the streets of a town near St. Louis, Missouri you can hear the cry for justice! After a young man was killed during a confrontation with a police officer the local community and many people from around the country marched, rallied, looted, rioted and demanded justice! Absent from their cry was a demand for TRUTH! And the justice they demanded apparently did not have to reflect the truth in order to satisfy their desires.


Many years ago a co-worker threatened me with a knife while I was a work. I was able to get away unharmed, but I immediately wanted to report the problem and "get him fired!" When I prayed, I decided to leave the matter in the hands of God for whatever justice He decided was appropriate. Within three days the man was caught lying and was fired! This man taught me a valuable lesson! When you see the need for justice in the world around you call out to God and leave the matter with Him! His justice is awesome and relieves you of the burden of trying to avenge yourself!


I remember as a child the ultimate threat of my mother was "I will tell your father when he gets home!" That always turned me into an obedient child almost immediately. The justice of my father was not a pleasant prospect.


The justice of God is a very sobering reality. God sees everything, so His justice is certainly fair, but if you are the target of God's justice it is also frightening! Remember, that what we all need from God is MERCY not JUSTICE!


"Lord Jesus, I lay all my desire to get revenge with others at Your feet and ask that You give them Your Mercy rather than Justice! Help me to rest in the forgiveness and mercy that You meet out to all men who turn to You! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Only One I Need!

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We are people of flesh and blood. This is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying.   Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham's descendants.  He had to be one of us, so he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins.   And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.

Hebrews 2:14-18

Are you afraid of dying? The fear of death makes perfect sense if you are under the control of Satan because death will usher you into the pits of Hell! The "Blessed Assurance" of knowing Jesus Christ is that death will bring you into the Glorious presence of the Lord, and you will remain with Him forever!


There are some followers of Jesus who will not have to die at all. They are the ones that are still alive when He returns. According to the Bible it will be a time when there is much trouble in the world, and then without warning and in the blink of an eye, history itself will transform into the new reality that "Jesus Has Returned."


Until Jesus returns the Devil will try to make you fear death again and will make sure that you are bombarded with temptations! Remember, Jesus came to destroy Satan and the work that the Evil One does. So Jesus takes away your fear of death and helps you with your temptations!


The next time you are tempted to sin or become afraid of death again, call on the Name of Jesus. Say it out loud!


"Jesus, I know because of Your death I do not have to fear dying. And Lord, when I am tempted You are the only one who can help! Lord, You are the only one I need here on earth now and forever! Amen."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sing With Heaven’s Choir!

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Then I heard all beings in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea offer praise. Together, all of them were saying,

“Praise, honor, glory,

and strength

forever and ever

to the one who sits

on the throne

and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 5:13

This verse refers to an amazing reality that we almost always overlook! When you sing praises to God here on earth it may be that all the beings in Heaven are singing with you!

Now frankly, I've got to pause and ponder that for a minute. When I praise God even while taking a shower, all of God's creation that now dwell in Heaven may be raising their voices to join me in praising Him!


The Bible does not say that this always happens, but it does say that it happens! Heaven and earth join together to sing adulation and praise to God!


This truth leaves me with four options when it comes to praising God. I can praise God alone with no one else joining in my worship of the Father. I can praise God with others here on this earth. Also, I can ask God to reveal to me what song is being sung before His throne so that I can join in with Heaven's singing. And finally, I can choose a song of praise and humbly ask God if Heaven could join me in bringing praise before His throne!


So when the worship in song in your fellowship is especially glorious, it may be that Heaven itself is joining you in praising God! Even the possibility of Heaven joining in with our worship makes me want to be there on time or even early, and makes me want to praise God as a regular part of every day!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for letting me know that I am part of the praise of Heaven. I don't have to wait to lift my voice in praise in Your hallowed throne room. And may I always be part of Heaven's Choir as we praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lose Your Head for Jesus!

 

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I saw thrones, and sitting on those thrones were the ones who had been given the right to judge. I also saw the souls of the people who had their heads cut off because they had told about Jesus and preached God's message. They were the same ones who had not worshiped the beast or the idol, and they had refused to let its mark be put on their foreheads or hands. They will come to life and rule with Christ for 1,000 years.

Revelation 20:4

As the Second Coming of Jesus Christ approaches, one predicted means of persecution is rearing it's ugly head! Those who stand in direct opposition to Jesus are using decapitation as a means of execution, and are making video recordings available to the whole world of the gruesome practice!


The very sobering reality is that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ and you refuse to renounce Jesus when confronted by His enemies, you may indeed become a victim of this terrible fate!


Here is an awesome Truth: God will either deliver you from becoming a Martyr or He will deliver you by letting you lose your head for Jesus! Either way as a follower of Jesus Christ you will be delivered!


In the English language saying that someone has "lost his head" may also mean that he is following a path without any regard to practical restraints. That is what every Christian must do in their walk with Jesus here on earth. That means that every follower of Jesus will lose his or her head one way or the other!


Which way is harder? Frankly, staying alive on this earth as you lose your head for Jesus is the harder of the two paths. When you are killed for your faith you are immediately "absent from the body and then present with the Lord."


Of course, you will not seek to become a martyr, but if it comes to you remember that what the enemies of Jesus intend to be a curse will in an instant become the doorway to Eternal Blessings in Heaven!


"Lord Jesus, I will see You soon, either when You come back to earth or I go to Heaven to be with You forever! Help me today to be willing to lose my head for You! Praise Your Holy Name forever! Amen."