November 20 “Has God removed His hand from our nation?”

crumpled and wrinkled american flag backgroundHas God removed His hand from our nation? Has He given us over to our sinful desires and self-will? And, if so, how should we respond?

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 31 & 32
Psalm 130.1-4
Proverbs 28.28
James 1.1-27

Ezekiel 31 & 32:

Has God removed His hand from our nation?

In chapters 31 & 32 God continues to speak to Egypt, perhaps more as a warning to His people that they could no longer turn to worldly powers for help and protection. In chapter 31 He compared Egypt to a great tree under which many had taken refuge, but which was about to be broken and destroyed.

As I said yesterday, it’s God who raises up nations and individuals, and He can just as easily bring them to ruin and does—for His holy, just, and righteous purposes.

Sadly, as I listen to the news and see the magnitude of evil, the lack of restraint, the lack of respect for the law (even by our elected leaders), I wonder if God has taken His hand off of our nation as a whole (Rom. 1.24, 26, 28).

But rather than becoming depressed or giving up, we must pray harder, witness more faithfully, and speak the truth in love as God gives us opportunity.

Pray harder, 1 Timothy 2:

¹First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.

Even while I complain about the state of our nation, I’m convicted that I don’t pray enough, especially for our leaders.

Witness more faithfully, 1 Peter 3 NASB:

14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but ]sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

Are you ready to give a defense to everyone you meet? Can you defend your faith … not just what you believe, but why? Do you know how to share the Gospel or do you leave that to the pastors and preachers? Do you share your testimony with others?

Speak the truth in love, 2 Timothy 2:

24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

We need a holy boldness to speak the truth, but do it in love. Paul said if we have not love we’re not much better than a clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13.1).

So let’s pray for our leaders and pray for ourselves that we might have boldness, faith, and confidence in the day of trouble (Ps. 86.7). Let’s better prepare ourselves to share the truth. And let’s never forget:

“… where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,  so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5.20-21).

 

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August 23 “Danger in not judging sin”

dangerWhile we cannot know another person’s heart, it’s a misunderstanding of the Bible to think we are never to judge someone else’s behavior. In fact, there is great danger in not judging sin, especially to the person caught up in it.

Today’s Readings:
Job 37 & 38
Psalm 100.1-5
Proverbs 23.26-28
1 Corinthians 5.1-13

Job 37 & 38:

Things to consider when going through a test or trial

In chapter 38, God turns the tables on Job and begins to question him! Remember God has already vindicated Job in the court of heaven and He will vindicate him again as He speaks to Job and his friends, but as John MacArthur says in his Daily Bible notes, “… He first brought Job to a right understanding of Himself.” Continue reading

August 22 “Adversity & consequences”

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Have you truly surrendered your life to God? Is your relationship with Him genuine or just religious activity? Sadly, we’re often content with little more than an appearance of godliness until hardship, drought or adversity comes our way.

Today’s Readings:
Job 35 & 36
Psalm 99.1-9
Proverbs 23.22-25
1 Corinthians 4.1-21

Job 35 & 36:

Adversity

Verse 36.15, “He delivers the poor in their affliction, and opens their ears in oppression.”

God uses tests, trials, and times of suffering to draw us closer to Him. Sadly, we are often content to just go about our lives without giving God much thought until we have nowhere else to turn. Sometimes the only way He can get our attention is to allow some adversity into our lives.

But in other cases, even when we are living our lives to please Him (as Job was), He allows adversity to take us to a higher place with Him, not to pull us down. That is when trust is so important. Continue reading

January 20 “Private temptations, sin & accountability”

high contrast love

Like Joseph and Judah, all of us are tested and tried, sometimes through private temptations, sometimes by the sins of others, and other times by having to wait on God. And, like the psalmist, we sometimes feel like God is far off at those times.

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 39 & 40
Psalm 10.1-11
Proverbs 4.1-6
Matthew 13.31-58

Genesis 39 & 40:

Private temptations

What a contrast between Genesis 38 and Genesis 39! In 38 we saw Judah’s private immorality, followed by his initial public self-righteousness as he condemned his daughter-in-law to death.

In 39 we see Joseph’s righteous behavior even when tempted in private. How easy it would have been for him to say, “What’s the use? Look what doing good has gotten me so far!” And talk about temptation! Here’s this woman throwing herself at him, but he shows honor to his master even in his speech (a proper attitude about authority, ladies!). And, most important, he says, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

Our sins can create major problems in our lives (Gal. 6.7-8; Heb. 12.7-11), Continue reading