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.