Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dialoging with Jesus

Dialoging with Christ
Scripture Reading: John 4:1-38
Then the woman of Samaria said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  (John 4:9 NKJ)
Have you ever carried on a dialog with the Lord Jesus concerning matters of upmost importance? Of course you have! Every believer at some point in his or her life has brought questions, issues, circumstances, relationships, disappointments, grievances, or other requests to the Lord seeking answers and solutions. The dialog usually begins with question words such as: Why? What? How/ When? Where? Are? Does? Would? 
     Many passages in both the Old and New Testaments contain dialogs with God or his Son, Jesus Christ. For Example:
     Abraham carried on a dialog with the angel of the Lord concerning the people in Sodom and Gomorrah, “Would you destroy the righteous with the wicked?
     Miriam and Aaron’s dialog against Moses began with, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us too?’ And the Lord heard it. (Nu. 12:2)
     Gideon’s dialog with the angel of the Lord began with, “O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? (Jud. 6:13)
     Satan’s dialog with God about Job began with an accusatory question, “Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? (Job 1:10)
     The Samaritan woman’s question at Jacob’s well began a dialog over a simple drink of water and the Jew’s relationship to the Samaritan’s but escalated into a discussion over her spiritual emptiness and her need for life giving water. The woman’s estimation of Jesus grew from a simple Jew, to a prophet, and then to a Savior. She left the conversation with the assurance that Jesus was the Messiah.

     When was the last time you carried on a dialog with Jesus? Do you have a troubling question? Take it to the Lord—nothing is too difficult for him. Are you facing a life changing decision? A relational problem? A family issue? A physical need? A job related decision? An uncertain future?  A financial dilemma? Jesus is waiting to dialog with you. He welcomes your questions? There is no problem too great, no issue too complicated, no circumstance too severe, no question too out of order, and no need too great that he can’t meet it. Jesus not only has the answer, but he is the solution to our every need. Trust him! Depend upon him! Go to him! Seek him out—he is right beside you waiting for your call. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Unwanted Gift


The Young Maiden
Read: Luke 1:26 – 38
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!” You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.”  (Luke 1:30-31 NLT)
            The first promise of a redeemer took place when God passed judgment on
the serpent (Satan) in Genesis 3:15.  God said to the serpent,
“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals, cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life.  I’m declaring war between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers.  He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.”  (The Message)
The fall of man caused a separation between God and man.  Isaiah says, “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God.  Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.”  (Isa. 59:2 NLT)  The only way to repair the damage done by the disobedience of Adam and Eve was for God himself to come down from heaven in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ and offer himself as a blood sacrifice for the sins of mankind. 
To fulfill the plan of redemption, God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in search of a young maiden by the name of Mary. 
The first question that comes to mind is:  Why Nazareth?   Nazareth was located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee.  It was not known as having any Jewish spiritual significance.  If the Messiah was to be from the tribe of Judah and lineage of David, why not have him born in Judea?  Why would God bypass Jerusalem, the place of the Temple, ignoring the seat of worship?  Nazareth was not on any major highway and was so unpopular that Nathaniel said in his response to Philip, “can anything good come out of Nazareth.”  (John 1:46)
By bypassing royalty, splendor, religiosity, and choosing a common, run-of-the mill town, God was showing that Jesus came for the ordinary – common people. 
The second question is: Why Mary?  Mary was already betrothed to Joseph, a local carpenter.  She was not a person of position, wealth, or culture.  The situation was further complicated by the fact that she was a virgin. 
Luke 1:26-27 says, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.”  (NASB)
A betrothal was not something to be taken lightly.  Most Jewish girls were married by the time they were 15.  Mary was likely 14 or 15 when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.  Can you imagine God placing his divine son in the hands of an inexperienced mother? 
Think of the humiliation and shame if Joseph chose to publicly divorce the young maiden.  It was vital that the marriage be consummated in order to legitimize the child’s birth and inheritance. 
Mary’s response to Gabriel revealed her faith, humility, character, and courage.  Her youth and inexperience did not get in the way of God’s plan.  I’m sure Mary must have wondered – how can I become pregnant not knowing a man!  In order to ease Mary’s doubts and fears the angel said to her, “Nothing shall be impossible with God.”  (Luke 1:37)

This is a statement that calls for faith in action.  How many times have you faced obstacles that seemed impossible to overcome, but through faith and perseverance victory came?  God’s timing is always perfect – we need patience to wait for it.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Thanksgiving is the Heat of Worship

Thanksgiving is the Heart of Worship
“Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I, even I, will sing to the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.” (Judges 5:3 NKJ)
Who can deny that singing is a vital part of worship? Many of the songs recorded in the Old Testament were sung as a means of celebration. The song of Miriam celebrated the crossing of the Red Sea, and the song of Deborah and Barak celebrated the victory over the Midianites. The songs sung by David and others in the Psalms centered on praise and victory over enemies.
     Worship is a time to praise and thank God for his victories over our struggles in life. Everyone faces battles. These conflicts or skirmishes with the forces of evil can sap our energies unless we remain in a constant state of worship. All of us face some kind of daily struggle whether it be: a battle against cancer, a battle to save a marriage relationship, an effort to hold on to a job, a struggle against depression, how to discipline a wayward child, or ability to meet financial obligations. Everyone has battles!
     James wrote: “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything” (Jas. 1:2-4 NLT).
     When victory was handed to Israel, Deborah responded with worship. She and Barak lifted up their voices in praise and thankfulness to God for his faithfulness in battle. As you read her song, you will notice that Deborah does what all of us should do when claiming victory over the battle we face—namely, focusing upon the source of our victory and recounting the wondrous works of God. This kind of worship honors God, and at the same time boosts our faith to face the next battle.
     When we take our battles to the Lord and see his amazing hand guiding and carrying us through each struggle, how can we not worship him with songs of praise and thanksgiving?

     What victory has God given you? Shout thanks to him! How has God blessed you? Offer up a song praise to him. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Contrast of Wealth

Four Contrasts Between the Shepherds and the Magi
Part Two – The Contrast of Wealth
In our previous devotion we saw the extreme contrast between the social status of the shepherds and the Magi. In today’s writing we continue to see extreme differences, but this time it involves wealth.
     The lowly shepherds were not only despicable outcasts and looked down upon because of their status in society, but they were also on a par with the poor and destitute. They had little or no money of their own and probably owned no more than the sandals on their feet and the cloaks on their backs. Talk about minimum wage! Their pay was even lower than the lowest paid employee. The person who did manual labor digging ditches was paid more than the shepherds. They were so poor that they couldn’t afford a gift to bring to Jesus, so they just brought themselves.
     We have many people in our cities, towns, and villages today who are working several jobs just to keep their families alive. Many do not have the means to buy Christmas gifts for their children, and must rely upon charitable institutions, and the good heartedness of others. Just putting food on the table and a roof over their heads is a daily struggle. We have the same extreme conditions between the rich and the poor in our day as existed between the shepherds and the wise men in the time when Jesus was born.
     The wise men belonged to the rich and famous group. They were wealthy men of untold riches. They did not have to face a daily struggle for survival. They lived in luxury and splendor. Their closets were filled with fancy clothes, designer sandals, and linen undergarments. When they left their palaces in the east to follow the star, it was with a huge entourage. The caravan included many of high estate with a military escort to protect them and their gold.
     A camel’s normal gait is about 3 mph and they can carry a load up to 300 pounds. They can travel 5-7 days without water or rest. A normal day’s travel is approximately 20 – 30 miles. Sitting on the back of a camel is not what I would call a comfortable ride and if it were me I would stop for rest many times in a day. When I used to travel with my wife on a motorcycle we would stop every one hundred miles at a rest area to relax and allow the tightness in my left shoulder to loosen. I have no doubt that these wealthy wise men took plenty of time to make the journey from Persia to Jerusalem. In fact, the context of Scripture seems to indicate that their trip took about one to two years because by the time they reached Bethlehem Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary, were living in a house. (Matthew 2:11)
     The shepherds and wise men were as diverse as you could get. The lowly shepherds were living in the fields eating hot dogs and roasting marshmallows over an open fire, while the wise men were feasting at banquet tables filled with wine, caviar and exotic delicacies fit for a king. I can see servants hustling about serving them with great pomp and ceremony.

     The one thing that we see in this extreme contrast is that no matter how rich or poor you are in the eyes of the world—Jesus came for you. The very fact that he came to the shepherds first reveals how much the ordinary people of the world mean to him. At the same time, he did not ignore the wealthy which shows us that He came to seek and save those who were lost and “all who come to him will in no wise be cast out.” (John 6:37)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Contrast between Shepherds and Wise Men--Part One

Part One – Contrast of Social Status
The lowly shepherds who were keeping watch over the sheep were some of the most desperate in society. They were considered among the social outcasts, mistreated, dishonest, crafty, and unscrupulous, whose testimony was not even allowed in a court of law.
     In today’s society they would be on the same social ladder as the homeless, the beggars, the abandoned, and the forgotten. The shepherds of old came from the base elements of society. Most shepherds were considered on a par with gypsies, vagrants, and con men. It is possible that the shepherds mentioned in the gospel of Luke were illiterate men.
     In the Old Testament during the time that Joseph was prime minister of Egypt, the shepherds of Israel were despised by the Egyptians (Gen. 36:34). We also see in 1 Sam. 16:11 that Jesse, the father of David, when questioned by the prophet Samuel about any other children said, “There is still the youngest, but he is out in the field watching the sheep.” That is to say, David has the lowliest job of all my seven sons.
     In spite of their low esteem and position in society, these lowly shepherds were given the task of providing green pasture and protection for the sheep, making sure the one year old male would be keep healthy and pure for the family to offer as their sacrificial lamb.
     In contrast to this scene, we see the wise men in an entirely different light. It is like the difference between day and night. Their social status was viewed as an extreme opposite. They were men of influence, highly respected, and high on the ladder of success. When they came to Jerusalem looking for the birth of the King of the Jews they didn’t stop at a gas station for directions. They went straight to Herod’s palace and were received as VIP’s and given a red carpet reception. A state dinner was held in their honor in the red room of Herod’s white house. 
     The wise men remind me of Daniel’s status while a captive in the city of  Babylon. He was a young Jewish teenager when taken by Nebuchadnezzar and through his ability to interpret the king’s dreams quickly climbed the social ladder until he reached the position of favor next to the king. No one was held in higher esteem than Daniel.
     What this contrast shows you and me is that God is no respecter of persons. He came to reach out with the Good News, to both the great and the small, the lowly as well as the mighty. No one is too far down the ladder or too far up the ladder that he cannot receive the gift of salvation that comes through faith in God’s son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

     I pray that this Christmas each one of you reading this will either accept the gift of salvation that Jesus has offered, or your will re-commit your life to him.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Questions for the Lord

Questions for the Lord
“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manassah, and I am the least in my entire family!” (Judged 6:15 NLT)
Have you ever felt like Gideon? When circumstances begin to overwhelm you and the pressures of decision making saps your resolve, questions may arise in your mind just like they did with Gideon. If the Lord sat down with you for a question and answer session wouldn’t you seize the opportunity to ask a few pertinent questions? Maybe your questions would resemble those of Gideon: Why are you asking me to do this? How can I possibly complete this assignment? Lord, don’t you think you chose the wrong person? Or perhaps your questions would take a different tack: Where will I get the funds to finance this overseas mission trip? How can I support my family without a job? What will happen to our relationship? I’m sure you can pose some questions that cover spiritual, emotional, physical, and relationship issues.
     How does the Lord react to our questions? The good news is that God welcomes our questions. They don’t upset him. He doesn’t get angry when we question our circumstances or his plan for our lives. Look how he responded to Gideon. He didn’t get upset. He didn’t reprimand him. He patiently dealt with each excuse. He didn’t require that Gideon have some super strength or courage. He simply said, “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (Judges 6:14 NLT)
     Isn’t it encouraging, to know that we can come to the Lord in worship knowing he is not “bent out of shape” by our questions? He is fully aware that, like Gideon, we often feel weak, discouraged, or overwhelmed in our everyday lives. I believe he wants us to bring our questions, doubts, fears, and issues that plague our minds to him. The Scriptures urge us to bring everything to him in prayer—our praise, our thanks, our doubts, our questions, and yes—even our failures.
     The Lord’s response to you will be the same as it was with Gideon—“I will be with you” (6:16. If God is for us, who can possibly be against us. (Romans 8:38-39).
     Be honest with God. Tell him all that is on your heart. Don’t leave anything out. Nothing is hid from him who knows and sees all things even our very thoughts.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I take great comfort in the fact that you are patient and longsuffering with us. I feel confident and free to come to you with all my needs and desires knowing that you hear and care about me.

     

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fear Surrounding the Magi's Journey

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Mt. 2:1-2 NLT)
Who were these Magi? Where did they originate? How far was their journey? How long did the journey take? What fears and dangers did they face?
     Let’s investigate these questions and try to put them in some frame of reference:
Tradition
     Most of our information about the Magi comes from early church traditions. We often assume that there were three wise men because of the three gifts given to baby Jesus. But nowhere is this stated in the Scriptures. As the years passed, the traditions were embellished. By the third century they were given names: Belhesarea, Melichior, and Gathaspa. Later a fourteenth century American tradition identifies them as Bathasar, Melchior, and Gasper.
Origin
     The Magi were an old, powerful priestly caste that practiced astronomy as well as astrology. Likely, they would have been familiar with the writings of Balaam the Mesopotamian. (Dt. 23:4)
     Balaam was a prophet whom the king of Moab hired to curse the Israelites on their way to Canaan. But Balaam could only speak what the Lord commanded. Instead of a curse, he prophesied a blessing. One of his interesting prophesies is found in Nu. 24:17, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” The extraordinary star that led the Magi to Jerusalem and on to the newborn king could have been the Shekinah glory of God.
The Journey
     People in ancient times traveled in caravans for protection against raiders and thieves. Since the Magi were wealthy, important, powerful men, it would seem reasonable to assume that they hired a contingent of military men to escort them and their entourage up the Mesopotamian valley and over the desert to their destination. No one in his right mind would attempt such a journey without protection. There was always the threat of attack and fear in such an undertaking. We also know that the desert in that part of the world can produce at any time violent sand storms that make it impossible to travel. It was a long trip that took almost two years to navigate.
     If you’ve been on a long trip with children in the car, you know kind of question you’d be hearing along the way. “Dad, are we there yet?” “Dad, how long before we get there, I’m getting hungry.” “Dad, I’m bored—there’s nothing to do.” Of course, that probably doesn’t happen today since all the kids have games to play on their smart phones. But it happened to me back in the 50s and 60s.
Arrival
     A stir arose when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem. King Herod, his advisers, and the whole populace were disturbed and alarmed at the sudden appearance of the Magi. Their request of Herod regarding the one “who has been born King of the Jews was a calculated insult to him, a non- Jew who had contrived and bribed his way into that office. When Herod heard about a rival king he called in his priests and scribes to find out where such a one would be born. They consulted the Old Testament Scriptures and found a passage in Micah that stated: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” (NLT)
     Isn’t it amazing how a star led the wise men to Jerusalem and once they arrived, the Scriptures led them to Bethlehem and the house where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were staying.
     One of the things that I learned from this story is that the Word of God is reliable and I can rest assured that God will lead me down the right path if I follow his directions. Therefore, it is paramount that I spend time studying his word on a daily basis

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fear Surrounding the Fianc'e

Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancĂ©, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly. As he considered this he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit.” (Mt. 1:18-20 NLT)
The Biggest Loser reality show has had contestants who were not only grossly overweight, but who harbored unresolved fears. I have watched past shows where a contestant was deathly afraid of heights, and it took a lot of urging on the part of the trainers to convince them to face their fears and overcome them. On the present show one of Jillian’s team members was afraid of water. She couldn’t get him to let go of the edge of the pool. Finally, she just jumped in beside him and coaxed him into letting go and attempting to swim. He did the dog paddle as most beginning swimmers do, but he made it across. What a joyful expression lit up his face and he realized that he had conquered his fear!
     We all face our giants of fear, and the people involved in the birth of Jesus were no exception. In our previous devotions we saw the fear of Mary, the shepherds, the Magi, and Herod. Now, we need to think of the fears that the prospective father Joseph faced.
     If you were in Joseph’s shoes, what kind of fears would you have to face? Would you be fearful of Mary’s young age (she was thought to be in her early teens) to be with child? Would you be fearful knowing that you would be responsible for the baby’s delivery and upbringing? Would you be fearful of the ninety miles journey from Nazareth to the small village of Bethlehem? Then there’s the fear of Mary’s condition (she may have been about eight months pregnant) to make the trip on the back of a donkey over the hilly topography of Israel? What about lodging and food when they get there? When you arrived and found no room in the inn wouldn’t you be afraid?
     The one thing Joseph had in his favor and which he could cling to, were the promises that God gave to him through the angel. He was assured that the baby would be born because he was instructed by the angel of the Lord to name him Jesus, for he would save his people from their sins. (Mt. 1:21) Both Mary and Joseph were given the assurance that Jesus would become very great and would be called the son of the Most High. “And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Lk 1:32 NLT)

     All of us have to face the giants of fear. Fear of broken relationships! Fear of loss of job and home! Fear of faded health! Fear of loneliness! These and many other fears we have to deal with on a daily basis. But we have the same promises and assurances that were given to Joseph and Mary. They trusted in God and enjoyed the fulfillment of God’s promises. You and I can do the same as we cling to Jesus by faith. Through the many years I have known the Savior, he has been faithful in keeping his promises to me. The same can be said of each of you. Let us renew our commitment to him this Christmas.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fear Surrounding the Birth of a Child - Part Two

Fear Surrounding the Birth of a Child
Part Two
“Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance.” (Mt. 2:16-17 NLT)
Herod the Great came to power in Israel when the Roman Senate proclaimed him “King of the Jews” in 40 B.C. Herod had two significant attributes: (1) absolute loyalty to Rome, and (2) political prowess, which he exercised with extraordinary brutality. He did not hesitate to execute several of his own sons when he suspected them of plotting against him. He also murdered his wife, the Hasmonean Marlamne. He was both paranoid and fearful. Herod was adroit at currying favor with his Roman masters, especially Augustus and Agrippa, the Roman governor of the eastern provinces.
     Matthew Chapter 2 relates the story of the arrival of the Magi from the east. They inquired as to the birth of the newborn king of the Jews. They said, “We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Mt. 2:2) When Herod heard this he was deeply disturbed. Since he was paranoid and suspicious by nature, Herod’s fear grew when he heard the wise men speak of a newborn king of the Jews. Wasn’t he declared “King of the Jews?” Is there another person born who would grow up and threaten to take over his throne? He could not stand to have any opposition. It is said that he had secret police that circulated among the people to report any scuttlebutt about uprisings. It was certainly within his power and a part of his devilish way of thinking to have anyone executed who stood in his way. At the moment he heard this news, he was devising a plan to get rid of any opposition. In order to execute what was in his fearful mind he tried to trick the wise men by pretending to find the newborn so he could worship him. However, nothing was further from the truth.
     He called in his priests and scribes to find out where this child would be born. They consulted the Scriptures and found the answer in Micah 5:2, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” NLT) Having heard where the newborn king of the Jews would be born, the wise men made haste to Bethlehem and found Joseph, Mary, and the child living in a house. After paying homage and presenting their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, but to travel home another way. Joseph was also warned to flee to Egypt because Herod intended to kill the boy.
     When Herod learned that the wise men had outwitted him he was furious with rage. He sent soldiers with instructions to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under. (Mt. 2:16)

     Christmas that year was a time of great rejoicing, but, at the same time a day of deep sadness, mourning, and remorse. As you celebrate the birth of our newborn King, remember the many Jews who have lost their lives to the many evil Herods in the world today.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fear Surrounding the Birth of a Child

Fear Surrounding the Birth of a Child
Part One
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said, “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! (Lk. 2:8-9 NLT)
There is a certain element of fear involved at the birth of a child. At some point during the pregnancy questions enter a woman’s mind such as: Will I have a healthy baby? Will he or she be a normal child? Will the delivery be long or short? Will I carry this child for the full term?
     Our first boy came right on schedule. He was born on the exact day and time that the doctor had predicted and was a healthy well developed baby weighing in at 7 lb. 11 oz. I remember the joy and relief we felt at his birth. The same could not be said for our other five children. Our second child, a boy, was born four months premature and lived for only about 12 hours in an incubator. Since he lived for a short period of time we had to give him a name (Donald) and arrange for his burial which the U.S. Navy took care of. We don’t know where he was buried, nor have we ever seen his grave, but we are assured from God’s word that we will see him when we get to heaven. (2 Sam. 12:23) Three of the four remaining children were born prematurely and weighed in at a little over 5 pounds.. All of these premature births caused anxiety and fear even though we were trusting in the Lord for their safety.
     I wonder if the same kind of questions entered Mary’s mind as she carried the Messiah in her womb. The Bible tells us that she was “confused and disturbed” when the angel Gabriel first appeared to her and her first question was, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.” (Lk. 1:29 and 34)   I am sure other fearful questions entered her mind: What will Joseph think when he finds out? What will he do? Will he get rid of me? Will I become an outcast? Will I be accused of adultery and be stoned to death? 
     Mary did the same thing that Elaine and I did during the birth of our children.  She said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants.” (Lk. 1:38a NLT)
     The next occasion for fear came out on a darkened hillside. Shepherds were standing night watch over a flock of sheep. Suddenly, an angel stood in their midst and the sky lit up in a blaze of the Lord’s glory. They were overtaken with fear. How would you feel if you were sitting around a fire with your cloak wrapped around you because of the cold night air, and an angel popped up beside you? Wow! That’s reason enough to be scared to death.
     The angel told them the good news that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem. After the shepherds’ fear subsided, they said to one another, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Lk. 2:15 NLT)
     They raced into the village and found Mary and Joseph residing in a stable with the Messiah Jesus lying in a manger. How excited they must have been as they gazed down upon the Savior of the world. Their terrible fear that they had experienced out by the fireside had now turned to reverential fear as they stood in awe at the scene before them. I have no doubt that this was a life changing moment for the lowly shepherds also. Their lives would never be the same again. They left and hurried to tell everyone the good news.

     As you and I revisit once again the birth of our Savior, let us show our reverential fear by sharing with our friends and neighbors the Good News that salvation has come.   

Monday, August 26, 2013

Harken Unto Me

Read: Proverbs 13:1-3
“A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”               (Prov. 13:1 NKJ)
What do you think you are doing?  Where will you go?  Who are these guys you are running around with?  Where will you get money to live by?
     My son became adamant muttering audibly under his breath, “Don’t sweat it, Dad, I know what I’m doing.” 
     Oh, so you think you know, do you?  Like you knew in the past when your so-called friends took you in, then after a few short weeks dumped you out on the street.  Sit down, and listen to reason.  Then with a prayer in my heart and my caressing hand on my son’s shoulder, I attempted to explain that the friends he was pursuing were pulling him further and further away from family and God.  I shared with him experiences from my past when I failed to heed my father’s advice and got into trouble by running with the wrong crowd.  When we are young we think that we have the world by the tail only to find out that it is the tail of a deadly serpent. 
     How do we as fathers teach our children that living apart from the counsel of God’s wisdom brings disillusionment, fear, doubt, worry, and frustration?  What advice should we give to our sons and daughters, including grandchildren, in order to keep them from making the same mistakes we did when we were their age? 
     Let me suggest four principles to practice in your daily life:
1.      Seek God—ask for wisdom in making decisions.  (Jas. 1:5)
2.      Meditate on God’s word—gain his insight on important matters.
3.      Heed godly counsel—share needs and fears with others you trust.
4.      Hang out with wise people—choose friends carefully.

     How do you perceive wisdom and instruction?  Do you see instruction as a father’s love and care for you, or a nagging voice that you tune out?  God’s love and care are boundless and cannot be measured in terms dictated by this world.  The wisdom he offers is eternal and comes from heaven above.  He longs to conform you into the image of his dear Son.

     Today, listen and heed the wise instruction made available to you through family members that God has placed over you.  Seek wisdom and let it lead you to a successful walk with God.  


Prayer: Dear Lord, I ask you to give me wisdom in my daily decision making process.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Name of Jesus

"And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21)
What's in the name of Jesus?  How do you respond when you hear that name spoken?  Does it send a tingling sensation down your spine or cause your hair to stand on end?  Just saying the name of Jesus brings a sensation of love and adoration to my mind.
People in the world react either positively or negatively at the mention of Jesus's name.  To some his name brings a sense of reverence, but to others it is a name to be dragged through the mud of vulgarity and disrespect.
In biblical times the name of Jesus carried great power.  The name of Jesus set people free from their sinful lifestyles, opened the eyes of the blind, straightened out the twisted limbs of the paralyzed, caused the deaf to hear, and raised the dead.  Since an angel instructed Joseph to name Mary's baby Jesus, the world has witnessed miraculous wonders that resulted from the power of his name.
What does whispering the name of Jesus do for you?  Does it calm your fears when a tragic phone call comes in the middle of the night?  Does saying or singing the name of Jesus bring joy and comfort to your heart?  No day would be complete unless I say or sing a little tune using the name of Jesus.  I love such songs as "At the name of Jesus," or "There's Just Something About That Name."
The next time you face a stressful situation open your mouth and sing "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus there's something about that Name."  Take notice of the calming effect the name of Jesus has on your life.

Prayer: Jesus, I love to say your name.  Something about saying or singing the name of Jesus brings peace to my trouble heart and calms my nerves.  Lord Jesus, you are my only Savior.  I need you today.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Music Helps Our Memory

Memory Enhanced With Music
Read: 1 Chronicles 25:1,6-8
David and the army commanders then appointed men from the families of Asaph, Heman, and Jaduthun to proclaim God’s messages to the accompaniment of harps, lyres, and cymbals.  All these men were under the direction of their fathers as they made music at the house of the Lord. (1 Chronicles 25:1,9 NLT)
            Our memories are fickle – they like to play tricks on us.  When was the last time you said, “Now where did I put my car keys?” or “Where did I leave my purse?”  Just the other day I looked high and low for my shoes.  I forgot that I had taken them off outside because they were muddy.   
            Forgetfulness – It happens to the best of us.  We struggle to remember birthdays and anniversaries, phone numbers and addresses, appointments and deadlines, and oh yes, “where did I put my glasses?’
            “What does all this have to do with God and His Word,” you say?  Just this – forgetfulness is one reason why memorizing God’s word is so difficult.  Try as you will, you can’t seem to get the Bible verses to stick in your memory bank.  The older you get – the harder it comes.  That is why we encourage children to memorize bible verses when they are young.
Music played a major role in the worship of God by the people of Israel.  David was a superb musician and performed a great service for us by instructing his army commanders to proclaim God’s message through music.  Putting the word of God to music makes memorizing easier.
Many of you remember the little “jingles” used by manufacturers to advertise their products.  How many times did I go around singing the Pepsi commercial?
“Pepsi cola hits the spot!
Twelve full ounces, that’s a lot!
Twice as much for a nickel, too
Pepsi Cola is the drink for you.”

            There were many other jungles such as:

·        Ajax – laundry detergent – “Ajax is stronger than dirt.”
·        Colgate dental cream – “Cleans your breath while it cleans your teeth.”
·        Charmin – “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.” (Mr. Whipple)
Showing people that we are happy while singing about the Lord is a great witnessing tool.  You never know what responses you might get or conversations that may develop.

            Guess what? All the time you are singing praises to God you are in a worship mode. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Take Time to be Holy

Take Time to be Holy
“For I am the Lord your God.  You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy…”  (Leviticus 11:44 NKJ)
          As I study the word of God I find that God calls me to live a life of holiness.  The Apostle Peter clearly points out in his first chapter “to be holy in all your (my) conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”  (1 Peter 1:15-16)
          This command from the Lord is a deep mystery to me and seems unattainable.  Questions of doubt arise in my mind.  What is holiness?  Where do I begin?  Does it come from observing certain prohibitions against such things as drinking, worldly attractions, or unholy lifestyles?  Does it come from avoiding sexual impurity?  Does it come from serving others?  Is it a by-product of our post-modern cultural revolution?  These and other questions persist in causing confusion of mind.
          Would it help to describe holiness if we explain what it is not?  Holiness is not being a goody-goody.  It is not adherence to a set of moral principles?  It is not living a lifestyle of sexual purity (although that is important).  It is not just moral integrity, even though God wants me to be honest and upright. 
          What is Biblical holiness?  Biblical holiness includes purity, morality, righteous living, but it is much more than that.  The most basic meaning of the words “be holy for I am holy” is “to be set apart unto God.”  It means dedication and consecration to our Creator God. 
          One of the promises given to Moses for the people of Israel is found in Leviticus 26:12, “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be my people.”  There it is stated that a person who is holy belongs to God and has a unique relationship with Him.  This personal relationship certainly has moral ramifications, but it precedes moral behavior. 
          This relationship is made possible through the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ on the cross.  Jesus bridged the gap between God and man.  Paul says,
          “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…”  (Galatians 2:20a)  Elsewhere, Paul tells us that our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), and we are “seated with Christ” (Eph. 2:6).
           Throughout the New Testament we are told that our union with Christ allows us to participate in the life of God our Father.  We dwell in Christ and Christ dwells in us; therefore we are holy because he is holy. 
          I love the old time hymn – Take Time to be Holy written by William D. Longstaff;
          Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
          Abide in Him always, and feed on His word.
          Make friends of God’s children; help those who are weak;
          Forgetting in nothing, His blessing to seek. 
Thought for the Day:  We worship a God of purity and holiness.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me be obedient to your command to live a life of purity and holiness.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Coming Kingdom

Read: Daniel 2:26-35
“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”  (Daniel 2:44 NASB)
          Daniel’s prophecy to Nebuchadnezzar about the future under the Times of the Gentiles contains a fascinating element at the end.  Daniel predicts that a stone (who is none other than the Son of God, Jesus Christ) will someday come and set up a kingdom on earth that will crush into dust the kingdom of the revived Roman Empire .  This will take place at the end of the period known as the Times of the Gentiles. (See Revelation 19:11-16; Luke 2124-28)
          What kind of Kingdom will Christ establish?  What is the nature of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands?  Who might this stone be?
          First, let it be established that this kingdom will be a supernatural kingdom.  Man will not play a part in its establishment.  Man can make cinder blocks, bricks out of clay and straw, mortar to hold them together, skyscrapers, bridges, arches, and monuments out of steel, but only God can make a stone.
          Second, the kingdom will come suddenly.  All the other man made kingdoms were erected on the ruins of one another and took place over thousands of years.  The return of Christ, called the Second Advent, will take place in two phases.  First, will be the rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17); second, the coming as described in Revelation 19:13-16).  Both of these events will take place without any prior notice.  The Apostle Paul describes them as “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” and “like a thief in the night,” “suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child.”  (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 5:2-3)  His coming will not only be sudden but it will be decisive – millions will die at his second coming.
          Third, When Christ’s second coming takes place it will not be in secret.  The Bible states that every eye will see him; “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him.  So it is to be.  Amen.”  (Revelation 1:7 NASB and Matt. 24:30)
          Fourth, the stone that represents Christ was implanted in the young Jewish virgin, Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The baby born to Mary and Joseph was the Son of God who laid down his life on the cross, and took it up again on the third day.  Jesus himself said, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.  I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.  This commandment I received from My Father.”  (John 10:17-18 NASB)
          When Christ comes at the end of the seven year tribulation period the psalm written by Solomon says, “All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him” (Psalm 72:11 NLT).
          Jesus will be the one in charge.  There will be no opposition, no Al-Qaeda and no decay.  His kingdom will endure forever.
          The big question is: Are you prepared for the sudden appearance of the Lord?  Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?  If not, why not acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of savior, and believe that Jesus died for you.  The Bible says, “Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  (Romans 10:13)
Thought for the Day: The King is coming – are you ready?

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you that you have given to me eternal life through Jesus Christ my Lord.   

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Living a 3 D Lifestyle

Living a 3D Lifestyle
Read: 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”.  (1 Corinthians 2:2 NASB)
            To effectively live a 3-D lifestyle, we need to put into practice three qualities: Determination, Devotion, and Demonstration.  (Taken from Turning Point Devotional by Dr. David Jeremiah, October 2011, pages 17-190)
            Determination is defined as “the act of coming to a decision or conclusion, a fixing of one’s position, a firm or fixed position, to resolve or purpose to do something.”  (The Merriam Webster Dictionary, 2005 page 134)
            One of the outstanding examples of determination was Daniel and his three friends as described in Daniel 1:8a: “But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the King…” (NLT)
            Other translations say, “he resolved” (NIV), “he purposed (NKJ), or “he made up his mind” (NASB). 
            Determination is one quality that seems to be lacking in our present day post-modern church circles.  Politicians are not the only ones who are guilty of “flip-flopping” over philosophical issues.  Christians, I fear, are just as guilty of changing positions for the sake of convenience.  What we need are believers whose lifestyle indicates a willingness to take a determined stand for the Lord no matter what happens.
            The second 3-D quality is Devotion.  Devotion is defined by Webster’s Dictionary, p. 135 as “a state of being dedicated and loyal.  It involves religious fervor.  Such synonyms as faithfulness, fidelity, steadfastness, passion, enthusiasm, eagerness, attachment, admiration, and strong affection can also be applied to the term.”
            True devotion requires an intimate relationship with Christ.  That’s why it is so important to find a place of solitude where time can be spent listening to the voice of our Creator.
            The final 3-D quality is Demonstration.  If practiced on a daily basis, this quality is an active function that puts Christ on display in the marketplace.  It’s determining to put James’ command to be “doers of the word” into practice. 
            What kind of 3-D lifestyle are you and I living?  Are we determined to show our devotion by demonstrating Christ to the world?
Thought for the Day: Christ is looking for determined, devoted, demonstrators of His love to the world.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be a demonstrator of your love to the world.

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Place Called Home

Read: Psalm 84:1-12
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.  With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. (Psalm 84:1. 2 NLT)
            KSDK TV in St. Louis sponsors a program called, “A Place Called Home.”  The purpose is to find homes for children who do not have a family or home to call their own.  There are literally thousands of children who are living in foster care, and have no permanent place to call home.  This year (2011) the call went out on the air waves seeking individuals, businesses, and churches who would provide over 3,000 “little wishes” for children who are in in foster care waiting to find “A Place Called Home.” 
            In other parts of our war torn world you will find a soldier sitting on an army cot or alongside a vehicle dreaming of home.  Home, where family and friends gather to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or holiday.  Home, with a comfortable chair or bed, and home cooked meals.  Home, where he feels safe and secure.  Home, with familiar surroundings. 
            As you read Psalm 84, you can’t help but feel the writers longing for home – to escape the hassles and cares of this world and enter into the presence of the Lord.  His desire is to worship God in his holy Temple.  Just as thousands of children cry out for “A Place Called Home,” and the lonely soldier yearns for home, the Psalmist had an urgent desire “to enter the courts of the Lord.” (84:2)
            The truth is, God has taken up residence in human hearts through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.  No matter where we go as believers, God is always with us.  We don’t have to climb any mountains, or traverse jungle trails, or seek out exotic places because he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) 
            No wonder the Psalmist says, “I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.” (84:2)  That’s  where he would feel safe and secure.  It’s where his heart is.
            How about you?  Where do you feel safe and secure?  Do you consider your house of worship a safe place?  Is it the place where you can feel loved and wanted?  Whatever situation you find yourself in, rest assured that God has promised to not fail or abandon you.  He is sitting in your house (heart) right now longing to enjoy fellowship with you.  Are you happy in his presence? 
Thought for the Day: God is more than anxious to communicate his good pleasure with you.
Prayer: Dear Lord, how I thank and praise you for coming into my house.
           

            

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Convictions - What are they?

Convictions – What Are They?
Read: Genesis 39:1-18
“Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.  It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me.’  But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house then I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.  How then could I do this great evil and sin against God.” (Genesis 39:6c – 9 NASB)
          Joseph was a man of principle and conviction.  When Potiphar’s wife attempted to get Joseph to commit adultery he refused and defended his actions by claiming such action would be a great sin against God.  Not a sin against her or her husband, but a sin against his Holy God.  (Gen. 39:8-9)  It is apparent from this context that Joseph believed in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman for life. 
          Around the lake where I live there are approximately forty or fifty ducks and geese.  Whenever it rains (we’ve had a wet spring) puddles of water gather on our sidewalk and in the back yard.  A beautiful Mallard duck and his mate (they mate for life) spend most of their time splashing around in the water.  The male does not allow any of the other ducks or geese  to interfere with his relationship.  The same holds true for the mating of the geese.  I have watched male geese chase their counterparts away if they get to close to his mate. 
          Joseph held the same conviction as our duck and geese friends.  He had no intention of interfering with the relationship between his master and his wife.  Of course, the same was not true for Potiphar’s wife as she persisted in her attempts to seduce Joseph.  Joseph made a final refusal and ran away from her leaving her with a vindictive spirit whereupon she accused him of rape.  Without being given an opportunity to defend himself against the false accusation, Joseph was thrown into prison. 
          What do we mean when we say, “\We have convictions?”  We are claiming to have a system of belief about certain issues in life.  Upon what should our convictions or beliefs be based?  Biblical convictions must be based upon truths found in the word of God.  In order to undergird our Biblical belief system, we must be saturated with the word of God.  God’s word is our standard by which we compare and judge truth or untruths.  Without a knowledge of the truth, we will be unable to spot error.
          Periodically we need to stop and check our belief system.  What do we believe about the sanctity of marriage?  Is it God ordained?  Is marriage between one man and one woman?  Is it for life?  Or do we believe it’s okay to bail out whenever it comes inconvenient or something better comes along?  And what about our obligation to children?  Friends?  Finances?  Morality?  Church?  Is there sufficient Scripture to deal with all these issues?
          What should we do if doubt arises or questions persist?  When that happens it is time to set down with the Bible and do some research until we come to a solid conviction concerning each area. 
          The mistake that I’ve made in the past, and many others make, is we ask God to help us interpret his word to suit our preconceived ideas, or the worldly philosophy of relativism.  This can only lead to more confusion and uncertainty.
          Trust the Holy Spirit indwelling with you for guidance in finding the truth, and allow him to mold your God given convictions in such a way that truth will prevail. 
Thought for the Day: God promotes truth; Satan is a liar and promotes error.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to stand upon convictions that are based upon the truth found in the Word of God.

          

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Brotherly Love Reaches Across the Aisle

“If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life…”  (1 John 5:16a NLT)
          It is obvious from verse 16 that the Apostle John is concerned not only about our own obedience, but also about the obedience of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we love God, John says, “We should love our brother also.” (1 John 4:21)  (my paraphrase)  In other words, brotherly love should reach across the aisle to those who are struggling with sin in their daily lives. 
          Prayer is not only a resource to be used in meeting the needs in our own lives, but is also to be directed to God on behalf of our brothers and sisters who’s need may far exceed our own. 
          Paul encouraged this practice in 1 Timothy 2:1; “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.  Ask God to help them; interceded on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” (NLT)
.         Eternal death is not the issue in 1 John 5:16.  Once a person has believed in Jesus as Savior, he receives the gift of eternal life and his name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life with a non-erasable Sharpies indelible ink pen.  His position in Christ before a Holy God is eternally secure.  Jesus said, “I give eternal life to them (who believe) and they shall never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28 [parenthesis mine].
            We might better understand the meaning of John’s message if we place the word “premature” in front of each use of the word “death” as suggested by Dr. Constable in his notes on 1 John found on Sonic Light Ministries. 
          What can you expect to happen if you pray for a situation where the sin is one that does not lead directly to death?  John says in verse 16, “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to (premature) death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to (premature) death [parenthesis mine].  In other words, our prayers may play a part in God relenting of his judgment and extending the life of the sinning brother.  This was the case with king Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:1-6.  The king was mortally ill and facing death, but he turned and opened his heart in prayer to God.  God saw his tears and heard his prayer, and said, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you.  On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord.  I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.”  (2 Kings 20:5b)
          Thus prayer and restoration of a sinning brother may secure a prolonging of his physical life.   
          Praying for a brother or sister entangled in the web of sin is evidence of our love for them.
          If you know of a fellow believer, family member, co-worker, or friend entrapped in a sinful lifestyle that is ruining their testimony and bringing shame and reproach on the name of Christ – by all mean pray for them that God will get a hold of their lives and turn them around before it is too late. 

          Ask God the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction in how you might show the love of Christ to them.    

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Face to Face with God

Face to Face with God
Read: Exodus 33:7-11
“So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”    (Exodus 33:11a NASB)
          Can you visualize the scene in Exodus 33:11 – Face to face with God?
Here’s Moses, the one who said to Jehovah at the burning bush, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)  He also gave several other excuses, one being, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10). 
          Moses had plenty of speech training when he was attending the educational institutions of Egypt.  He had received the best education the Egyptian universities had to offer, but forty years in the backside of the desert attending lazy dirty sheep had apparently stripped him of his eloquence.  “I can’t talk,” he moaned to God.  How ridiculous!  What a flimsy excuse! 
          Now we see him standing in the door of the Tabernacle carrying on a friendly conversation with the Holy God of the universe face to face.  What a change!  How does a tongue-tied sheepherder become such a dynamic leader and conservationist? 
          If you had to deal for forty years with a congregation full of grumblers and complainers like Moses did wouldn’t your life change?  Would it be for better or worse?  How would you react to a disobedient and obstinate people?  Consider what effect spending forty days and nights in the very presence of God would have on your life.  Would you expect changes from that experience?  
          I’ve always admired Moses for his fiery leadership and humble attitude.  He faced unparalleled criticism and bore the brunt of the people’s sinful ways for forty years; yet he remained compassionate and humble before God.  Yes, he grew angry, showed frustration, and acted impulsively at times, but his heart remained in tune with Jehovah.
          When God wanted to annihilate the people because of their idolatrous sin, Moses interceded for them, even suggesting that the Lord blot his name out of the book rather than destroy His heritage.  That, my friends, speaks of true humility and compassion.
          One of the most profound statements regarding Moses’ relationship with Jehovah was penned by the psalmist David, “He (God) made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the sons of Israel” (Psalm 103:7 NASB).  The “ways” of God are the innermost secrets of His being.  Moses had a special relationship that few Old or New Testament servants could claim. 
          Bible characters such as Enoch (who walked with God and was not because God took him), Abraham (who was called the friend of God), Noah (who was the only righteous man on the earth before the flood), Abraham (who was called the friend of God), David (who was regarded as a man after God’s own heart), and the prophets were noted men of courage and strength, but Moses is the only one who the bible says talked to God “face to face.”
          What would a face to face experience with God be like?  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and have been washed in the blood of the lamb, and have your name written in the lamb’s book of life, you will get that opportunity when you enter heaven’s gate. 
          The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”  (NASB)
Thought for the Day: God is waiting to carry on a friendly conversation with you.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I can hardly wait for the day when I will see you face to face and carry on a father/son conversation.