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Monthly Archives: March 2014
1 Thessalonians 4:16: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
The day was cold and dreary. Blustery winds whipped through the cemetery, as tears streamed down the faces of our family. My uncle Donnie had been killed by a mortar blast in the jungles in Vietnam. His casket was being lowered into the North Carolina dirt. From the distance, a bugle call broke through the gloom, piercing the solemn November air. The sound of taps burst forth, causing shrieks of despair from Donnie’s loved ones. As a six year old child, I experienced the harsh reality of death, in a manner which still causes me to shiver 46 years later. I can still hear the sound of that horn blaring in my head.
Now I am awaiting the sound of another horn: the trumpet of almighty God. As the world spins further away from the hands of her Creator, my heart longs for the call to come home. The older that I get, the more that I long for a better place, a better life. My ears are listening and my heart is longing. I look forward to the day when the sound of Gabriel’s trumpet rises above the noise of a world waiting to be delivered. Jesus will take His children home. I will see my uncle Donnie again and I will see my Lord, the one Who has saved me and given me eternal life.
Dear Father, I am ready for the sound of the trumpet. I am ready to be delivered. I am ready to come home. In your precious name, Amen.
Luke 19:40: “But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”
Rocks can be used for different purposes. Either you can use rocks to build or you can use them to destroy. Rocks were used in the Bible to kill people and they were used to praise God. Jesus said that rocks, which are dead objects, could be used by God to give Him praise (Luke 19:40). When I gaze upon Stone Mountain here in Georgia, I marvel at the work of God. A huge piece of rock gives praise to its’ Creator.
In John 10, the Pharisees tried to kill the Son of God with rocks. With a pile of rocks, the children of Israel built a pillar of praise to the Lord (Joshua 4). Which would you choose; rocks of hatred or rocks of praise? Would you stone Him with rocks or would you praise Him with rocks? If we don’t praise Him, the rocks will.
Father, I don’t want the rocks to praise you by themselves. I lift up my rocks of praise to you today and worship you my God. In your holy name, Amen.
Genesis 35:1: “Then God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.”
Where were you when you came to know the Lord? Some people were at home watching a worship service on TV, or at a youth camp, or in a crusade meeting. According to Ed Hinson, in his book Courageous Faith, most people are saved in a church or a church-related service. In other words, most people come to God in the house of God.
Jacob was a deceiver and a liar. He had difficulty dealing with other people and with God. After deceiving his brother Esau to gain his father Issac’s family leadership and money, Jacob fled for his life. As he was running from his angry brother, Jacob was confronted by a holy God. He saw angels coming and going from heaven. He heard the voice of the Almighty. He had a saving encounter with the God of his fathers and his life was dramatically changed. He built an altar of rocks there and called the place “Bethel”, or “house of God.”
But Jacob did not stay in “God’s house” nor did he follow God’s plans. Instead, he did what many people do today. He wandered away from God and did his own thing. He “backslid.” He “got out of church.” His life got pretty messed up. Sound familiar? Perhaps you have done the same thing. Maybe you have walked away from God and His house. Your life, like Jacob’s, has gotten messed up.
What do you do? Do what Jacob did. He got back to Bethel. The Bible records that Jacob returned to the place where he first met God. (Genesis 35) More importantly, he got back to the God of the house of God. He re-named that spot “El Bethel” ; God of the house of God. You might need to get back to God and get back in His house.
God, I need to return to You and to the place where I was saved. I am tired of wandering and doing my own thing. Help me Lord to get back to El Bethel. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Let’s be honest….about the times in which we live.
Human history is both good and bad. While we can celebrate the amazing achievements of mankind…the good things…we also acknowledge the other stuff. There has always been lying, deceit, jealousy, murder, hatred and war. On the other hand, humans have the capacity to love, give and to glorify our Creator. We are able to think, to create and to produce a better world.
Unfortunately, the constant presence of sin messes things up. We all have sin in our hearts and, left untouched by the grace of God, sin leaps forth out of our hearts and into the world around us.
The times in which we live are full of evil. I am 52 years of age and have witnessed a steady decline into sin and rebellion against God. I believe that we are living in the last days before the return of Jesus Christ.
At this point, I could talk about war, human sexuality, drug and alcohol use, government, guns, violence, or a number of other terrible things. I could talk about the Book of Revelation with its description of weird creatures, catastrophic events, and the mark of the Beast. What I want to say, however, has more to do with the church of Jesus than it does the wicked world of the devil.
In 2 Peter 2, the Bible warned us about false teachers. God warned us that these teachers would come into the church and “secretly bring in destructive heresies.” The devil knows that if he can destroy the Gospel of Christ within the walls of the church, then he will have no problem in destroying the world outside the church.
We see it happening today. Without being specific, many “destructive heresies” are being preached in pulpits today. These false teachings are eating away at the power of the Gospel. (2 Timothy 3:5) When the Gospel is stripped of its’ power, lives are no longer changed by it. When lives are no longer transformed by Jesus, then the family, the church and the society all crumble. That is a precise explanation of what is happening in our world today.
Two thousand years ago, Timothy warned us about the coming of “perilous times.” We are living in them.
Do not sit and listen to the lies which are coming out of deceptive pulpits. Get your self under the preaching of the unchangeable, powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ. Time is running out.
Jesus is coming soon.
John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
My only experience with sheep has been in petting zoos. When I was really young, there used to be a petting area at Six Flags over Georgia, and I recall laughing when the goats would chew on my clothing. I remember how “fluffy” the sheep were and how my parents explained that their wool was used to make clothing.
Much of the shepherd and sheep imagery in the Bible is foreign to me. As a “city boy,” I know little to nothing about it. In my studies, however, I have read much about the relationship of God and His people. Followers of Jesus are often referred to as “sheep” and Jesus called Himself the “good shepherd”. What He implied, of course, is that are bad shepherds.
We need to be aware of “bad shepherds”. Bad shepherds are those who do not lead or protect their “flock”. They are selfish, destructive and “scatter” God’s people, instead of keeping them safe. Bad shepherds are leaders who do not love the ones they lead, Rather than “give their lives” for the sheep, they would rather steal from them, destroy them and even kill them.
Jesus is the good shepherd. According to the Bible (1 Peter 5:1-4), God gives us good leaders who love His people and are earthly examples of the “chief shepherd.” As “sheep” it is important that we listen to the voice of Jesus and only follow the shepherds that work for Him.
Dear God, I thank you for leading me and feeding me through Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Thank you for the godly shepherds that you have sent into my life. Teach me and guide me through their faithful service. In Your Holy Name, Amen.
1 John 2:15-17: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
The other night in Hollywood, California, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awarded their annual “Oscars” to those which are considered the finest in the movie industry. The Best Picture award went to a film called “12 Years as a Slave,” while Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett won Oscars for their acting performances. I did not watch the television show nor did I see any of the movies which won awards, except the animated Disney film “Frozen.”
The Bible does not explicitly state that entertainment is sinful for Christians. In fact, there are millions of devout followers of Jesus who watch television and movies. I am one of them. What the Bible does say is that we are not to “love the world.” This does not mean that we are not to love other people or God’s beautiful creation. What it does mean is that we are to completely avoid three things: the lust of the flesh, which we all struggle with on a daily basis, the lust of the eyes, which causes us to be greedy, selfish and to desire things which are not good for us, and the pride of life, which the Bible warns will lead us to destruction.
Hollywood often produces entertainment which promotes and glorifies the things of this fallen, corrupt world. Movies and TV shows seldom lead people to God, but frequently lead people away from God. Followers of Christ should focus upon the “good things” in life (Philippians 4:8), those things which strengthen our love for Jesus and enable us to not love the world. This world is dying, but those who do God’s will live forever.
Dear Lord, Give me the strength to resist the lust of my flesh, the lust of my eyes and the pride which is in my sinful heart. Help me to focus on the good things that You have created, in order that I love You and not this dying world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.