“How would you fill in the blank?” March 14

 

How would you fill in the blank? - Fill in the blanks: "I won't be happy until ____________." "I must have ___________." What do your answers have to do with your worship?Fill in the blanks: “I won’t be happy until ____________.” “I must have ___________.” What do your answers have to do with your worship?

 

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 25 & 26
Psalm 34.1-7
Proverbs 11.28
Mark 13.21-37

 

How would you fill in the blank?

 

Numbers 25 & 26:

Modern Day Idolaters

 

As we see God’s swift and strong judgment on sin in the Old Testament, we need to remember a couple of things. First, He was protecting the people and the bloodline through which He was going to bring forth the Messiah.

But second, though God is patient and merciful with us in our sin and idolatry, it doesn’t mean He’s changed His mind about sin! It’s only the blood of Christ that keeps us from a similar fate and it was the mercy and love of God that made provision for our salvation. And how great a salvation it is!

We tend to write off the idea that we, too, are idolaters. We may or may not bow down to carved images, but we are frequently guilty of having other things on the throne of our hearts besides God Himself. Things like: I must have a spouse to be happy; I must have a godly husband; I must have a wife who respects me, I must have obedient children; or some other, “I must ..” Even good things can become idols if they are the focal point of our lives in the place of God.

Ask yourself, “Is there something or someone I think I cannot be happy without?”

Our idols can become so important that they blind us (Ezek. 14.1-8). In our blindness we can begin to justify sin or even refuse to see that it exists. We murmur and complain like the children of Israel in the wilderness. We compromise our moral standards, resort to sinful anger, or give in to fear.

When we do, it is sin—pure and simple. No amount of sugar coating will change it, but the answer is just as simple Continue reading

“Will you experience the Rapture or the Tribulation?” September 16

 

tribulation

There will be a day when, “… the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout … we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air …” (1 Thess. 4.16-17). There will also be those who think they’re OK with God because of all the things they have done. They may be religious, but will realize too late that they were not truly saved and that they have been left behind. What about you? Will you experience the Rapture or the Tribulation?

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 23 & 24
Psalm 107.10-22
Proverbs 25.17
2 Corinthians 8.1-24

 

Will you see the Rapture or the Tribulation?

 

Isaiah 23 & 24:

God will one day judge the world!

 

Chapter 24 changes the pattern in this book. Instead of talking about God’s judgment on specific nations, the prophet begins to speak to the inhabitants of the earth. This prophecy is more general in nature.

It certainly had near future meaning, possibly either the devastation brought about by Sennacherib and his Assyrian army or by Nebuchadnezzar and his armies from Babylon.

But it also has yet future application concerning the period of history called the Tribulation. The book of Revelation talks about the incredible destruction that will take place during those horrible, terrifying seven years: fires, earthquakes like the world has never seen, pestilence and wars, among other things.

The next few chapters of Isaiah will continue talking about God’s judgment on the world, but there is also comfort contained in many of the passages for God’s people. Even in the worst of times, God cares for His own! And as for the Great Tribulation to come, I don’t believe those of us who have made a decision for Christ now will be around to see that time. I believe that time will be proceeded by the Rapture of the church:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4.16-17).

But there will also be those who attend church, but who have never made a personal commitment to Christ and who will realize too late that they were not truly saved. Continue reading

“Calling Evil Good & Wrong Right” September 7

 

Wrong = Right

God has strong words to say to any nation found calling evil good. Yet … we have decided to call homosexuality another lifestyle option and abortion just a choice. We justify the wicked for a bribe and call it politics and speaking up for the truth intolerant. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 5 & 6
Psalm 105.23-36
Proverbs 24.28-29
1 Corinthians 15.29-58

 

Calling Evil Good & Wrong Right

 

Isaiah 5 & 6:

Justifying the Wicked

 

Even though these passages are specifically about the nation of Israel, there is much universal truth contained in them.

I commented on some of this yesterday, but think about our nation as you read the following verses 5.20-24:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!
22 Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,
23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away justice from the righteous man!
24 Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble,
And the flame consumes the chaff,
So their root will be as rottenness,
And their blossom will ascend like dust;
Because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

 

politics

We call evil (abortion, homosexuality, etc.) good.
We call speaking up for the truth on those and other subjects “intolerant” and considered by many to be evil.
We put forth darkness (all kinds of sin and immorality) as being “enlightened”—intellectual.
We rail against the backward narrow minded Christians who supposedly want to “impose” their views on everyone.
We justify the wicked for a bribe and call it politics.
We take away the justice from the righteous man.

Then we are outraged when the flame of a bad economy consumes our retirement plans and our stock portfolios and our jobs disappear like blossoms gone by and turned to dust.

We want to blame past presidential administrations, immigrants, the middle class, the rich, the poor, or corporate America. But the real problem is we “have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel”!  Continue reading

October 17 “The Rapture & Uncle Benjamin”

ancient wooden doorImagine your family sitting around the dinner table one night and there is a knock at the door … and there stands “Uncle Benjamin” whose funeral you had attended a few years before? And imagine what it will it be like a few seconds after the Rapture of the Church? What do those two scenarios have to do with each other?

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 19 & 20
Psalm 119.1-8
Proverbs 27.13
1 Thessalonians 4.1-18

 

Jeremiah 19 & 20:

Is the Word like fire in your bones?

Rather than believe the truth, the leaders of Jerusalem tried to intimidate Jeremiah into silence. Have you turned on the news lately? Sound familiar?

Even though Jeremiah was tempted to keep quiet, he said, “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (19.9).

Is that you? Are you so full of God’s Word that it’s like fire in your bones? So much so that you would risk mistreatment, persecution or death, as Jeremiah did?

 

thoughtful riverPsalm 119.1-8:

Mind, will, and emotions

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and is an acrostic psalm. As it was written in the original Hebrew, it contains a literary device to drive home the truths contained in it—something like what we do when we say “A is for apple; B if for ball; … or when we use an acronym to help us remember the name of an organization.

While it is long, it contains some of the greatest truths about God and His Word, beginning with verses 1-2: Continue reading

September 24 “Are you ready and watching?”

watching, looking, happy little girl three years old signing the sky

Mark 13.33, “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.” While we don’t know when the Lord will return, many signs point to the fact that it could be soon. Are you ready and watching? Are you praying?

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 39 & 40
Psalm 109.21-25
Proverbs 26.2
Galatians 2.1-21

 

Isaiah 39 & 40:

At least it’ll be good for me

Hezekiah made me think of some of our politicians. He has just been told that his actions are going to cost his children and grandchildren dearly. Look at his response. Isaiah 39:

5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts. 6 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the LORD. 7 ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”

8 So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “At least there will be peace and truth in my days.”

Continue reading

September 16 “The Rapture or the Tribulation?”

sky, sun, cloudsThere will be a day when, “… the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout … we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air …” (1 Thess. 4.16-17). There will also be those who think they’re ok with God because of all the things they have done. They may be religious, but will realize too late that they were not truly saved and that they’ve been left behind. What about you? Will you experience the Rapture or the Tribulation?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 23 & 24
Psalm 107.10-22
Proverbs 25.17
2 Corinthians 8.1-24

Isaiah 23 & 24:

God will one day judge the world

Chapter 24 changes the pattern in this book. Instead of talking about God’s judgment on specific nations, the prophet begins to speak to the inhabitants of the earth. This prophecy is more general in nature.

It certainly had near future meaning, possibly either the devastation brought about by Sennacherib and his Assyrian army or by Nebuchadnezzar and his armies from Babylon.

But it also has yet future application concerning the period of history called the Tribulation. The book of Revelation talks about the incredible destruction that will take place during those horrible, terrifying seven years: fires, earthquakes like the world has never seen, pestilence and wars, among other things.

shockedThe next few chapters of Isaiah will continue talking about God’s judgment on the world, but there is also comfort contained in many of the passages for God’s people. Even in the worst of times, God cares for His own! And as for the Great Tribulation to come, I don’t believe those of us who have made a decision for Christ now will be around to see that time. I believe that time will be proceeded by the Rapture of the church:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4.16-17).

But there will also be those who attend church, but who have never made a personal commitment to Christ and who will realize too late that they were not truly saved. Continue reading

September 7 “Calling evil good”

imagesCA33UMYH

God has strong words to say to any nation found calling evil good. Yet … we have decided to call homosexuality another lifestyle option and abortion just a choice. We justify the wicked for a bribe and call it politics and speaking up for the truth intolerant. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.”

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 5 & 6
Psalm 105.23-36
Proverbs 24.28-29
1 Corinthians 15.29-58

wolf in sheep's clothingIsaiah 5 & 6:

Calling evil good

Even though these passages are specifically about the nation of Israel, there is much universal truth contained in them.

I commented on some of this yesterday, but think about our nation as you read the following verses 5.20-24:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!
22 Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,
23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away justice from the righteous man!
24 Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble,
And the flame consumes the chaff,
So their root will be as rottenness,
And their blossom will ascend like dust;
Because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

bribeWe call evil (abortion, homosexuality, etc.) good.
We call speaking up for the truth on those and other subjects “intolerant” and considered by many to be evil.
We put forth darkness (all kinds of sin and immorality) as being “enlightened”—intellectual.
We rail against the backward narrow minded Christians who supposedly want to “impose” their views on everyone.
We justify the wicked for a bribe and call it politics.
We take away the justice from the righteous man.

Then we are outraged when the flame of a bad economy consumes our retirement plans and our stock portfolios and our jobs disappear like blossoms gone by and turned to dust.

We want to blame past presidential administrations, immigrants, the middle class, the rich, the poor, or corporate America. But the real problem is we “have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel”!

Continue reading

July 19 “The Rapture … will you be left behind?”

confused

Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left (Lk. 17.35-36). Which one will you be?

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 34-36
Psalm 86.1-5
Proverbs 21.13-14
Acts 21.1-17

2 Chronicles 34-36:

Mercy … but then judgment

In chapter 34 Josiah had become king at the ripe old age of 8, but what a king he was! Verse 3 says that he began to seek the Lord in the eighth year of his reign. He would have been just 16 years old. By the age of 20 he was putting a stop to idolatry. Next he began clearing out the temple and getting ready to reinstate the proper temple worship. In the process Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord.

Several things struck me about all this. First, the Word of God was not being taught. People were just doing whatever seemed right to them. The second thing was Josiah’s response to the Word when it was read to him. He tore his clothes, a statement of intense mourning and repentance. He was repenting, not just for himself, but for the nation as a whole, because he realized just how far they had departed from the truth. He understood that they were under God’s judgment because of it.

So he sent Hilkiah and a group of men to meet with a prophetess named Continue reading

March 14 “Fill in the blank”

Fill in the blanks. “I won’t be happy until ____________.” “I must have ___________.” What does your answer have to do with your worship?

idolatry

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 25 & 26
Psalm 34.1-7
Proverbs 11.28
Mark 13.21-37

Numbers 25 & 26:

Our sinful idolatry

As we see God’s swift and strong judgment on sin in the Old Testament, we need to remember a couple of things. First, He was protecting the people and the bloodline through which He was going to bring forth the Messiah. But second, though God is patient and merciful with us in our sin and idolatry, it doesn’t mean He’s changed His mind about sin! It’s only the blood of Christ that keeps us from a similar fate and it was the mercy and love of God that made provision for our salvation. And how great a salvation it is!

We tend to write off the idea that we, too, are idolaters. We may or may not bow down to carved images, but we are frequently guilty of having other things on the throne of our hearts besides God Himself. Things like: I must have a spouse to be happy; I must have a godly husband; I must have a wife who respects me, I must have obedient children; or some other, “I must ..” Even good things can become idols if they become the focal point of our lives in the place of God.

Ask yourself, “Is there something or someone I think I cannot be happy without?” Our idols can become so important that they blind us (Ezek. 14.1-8). In our blindness we can begin to justify sin or even refuse to see that it exists. We murmur and complain like the children of Israel in the wilderness. We compromise our moral standards, resort to sinful anger, or give in to fear.

When we do, it is sin—pure and simple. No amount of sugar coating will change it, but the answer is just as simple—to repent and turn away from our idols (Ezek. 14.6), receive God’s provision of forgiveness and seek His help to grow and change, beginning with trusting in His wisdom and timing. Continue reading

March 6 “The only remedy for sin”

There is only one remedy for sin. We can never be good enough on our own, be religious enough, do enough good works, or do anything to save ourselves.

remedy for sin

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 9 & 10
Psalm 31.6-14
Proverbs 11.7-11
Mark 9.30-50

Numbers 9 & 10:

At the last trumpet

Verse 10.1, “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying. ‘Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation ….'”

Trumpets are frequently mentioned in the Bible. They were used here to signal several things: calling the people so Moses could speak to them, calling the leadership, and signaling the time to break camp and move out.

In other places, trumpets were used to call the people to war and to signal other events. But, for us as believers, the greatest trumpet call will be on that day when the church is taken out of the earth and God’s judgment begins—”in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15.52). Continue reading