Archive for April, 2010

It’s Okay!

April 16, 2010

These words have been a mainstay in my vocabulary as a father.  For the last, soon to be, seventeen years I have been saying, when my children found themselves in a stressful situation, “It’s okay.”  I could share many examples, but one will be sufficient. When Beth was a little girl she loved to play Barbies!!!  How do I know?  I spent many evening’s playing with her.  One evening she came to me with barbie’s body in one hand and Barbie’s head in the other.  She was sobbing as only a four year old can.  She said, “daddy its broken and I can’t fix it.”  Next I remember the words coming from my lips, “It’s okay.”  I followed up with, “Daddy can fix it.”  And I was able to fix it.

Through the years my children have faced many stressful situations and many times I have been able to fix it for them.  However daddy is not all-powerful and there are some things I cannot fix. But it’s ok, because I have introduced my children to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has opened their eyes and He has redeemed them.  They have discovered it’s okay with the Lord.

Never was the truth of it’s okay any clearer than it was in my devotions, Psalm 41-50, this morning.  Read the words of the Psalmist, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” 46:1.  The phrase, “Very present,” has the meaning of an abundance of help.”  The psalmist was reminding us that God has an abundance of help for those who follow His Lordship.

How awesome to know that in every circumstance, He is abundant! Yes you read that last sentence correctly.  So let me ask you, “Does this give peace in your circumstances?” “Does this truth bring calmness and confidence to your troubled soul?”  Our answer should be yes, but it isn’t always.

This is not because of God’s previous failure because God never fails.  The problem lies with our trust.  Do you really trust what he says? I mean, do you trust Him when you can’t see the way through your circumstance.  I was reminded while at a conference of the words of a great pastor, “When you cannot see His hand, trust His heart.”  This is my encouragement to you.

So in closing let me confidently respond to your stressful circumstances, “It’s okay, God is on the throne.”  I pray you learn to experience the joy of this truth in your life today.

I leave you with the precious words of the Psalmist, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth,” Psalm 46:10.

You Are Always Right

April 14, 2010

Can you imagine living with a person who is always right?  What thoughts come to mind when you hear such a question?  I think about someone who was either being arrogant or they were not dealing with reality. No one is always right.

I know, as a man, that it is not easy to admit I am not always right.  My wife will be the first to tell you that I am stubborn in an argument and I always want to be right.  However scripture is clear I am not always right.  Our Lord went as far as to say, “There is none righteous, no not one.”

However there is one who is righteous and there is one who is always right. The Psalmist wrote about this one, “For the word of the Lord is right, And all His work is done in truth,” Psalm 33:3.  As I read these words I was reminded of the absolute perfection of our Lord.

When we apply the word perfect to someone we usually place it at the end of a descriptive statement, ” He our she thinks they are perfect.”  Our God doesn’t think He is perfect, He is perfect.”

I don’t know about you, “But I am thankful He is.”  Because of His perfection, we have a God who thinks correctly and acts correctly in every situation.  We have a God who directs us correctly and we have a God who is worthy of our praise, glory, and honor. One chapter later the Psalmist writes, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations,” 33:11.

Every generation finds Him to always right.  So here is my challenge to you, “Trust the Lord!”  Trust Him to lead you in every life move you make.  Trust Him when He is chastening you.  Trust Him when He is moving you from your comfort zone into new territory.  Trust Him especially when what you think is different than what He says in His word.

Why should I trust Him in all these situations and also in everything else in life?  Here is the answer. “He is always right.”  Be assured, “Until you believe and apply this in your life, you will continue to make unsure and unsettling decisions in your life.”  Trust Him because He is always right.

I leave you with the precious word of the Lord, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him,” Psalm 34:8.

I”ve Got You Covered

April 13, 2010

In life it is always a comfort to have people who stand with you in all of life’s circumstances.  I was reminded of this last night in deacons meeting.  One of the guys said, “Don’t worry preacher I’ve got you covered.”  Even though it was in a joking way, I knew this guy really would stand for and with me in any circumstance.

This morning as I was reading Psalm 31-40, I was reminded of this.  Here is what the Psalmist wrote, ” Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”  We know David is the author of this Psalm and we know he penned this Psalm after having sinned with another man’s wife.  II Samuel 12 records his repentance.  Psalm 31 records his restoration with God.

In every person’s life there is a record of sin, Romans 3:23.  The record is clear, this sin places us in a place of condemnation and we await the judgment of God.  Unless our sin debt is paid, we will face the eternal wrath of a Holy God.  This is the bad news, but wait there is good news.  Jesus Christ offers God a sufficient payment for our sins.  All those who embrace Christ realize He has us covered.

As I read this I began to praise the Lord.  I am so thankful Jesus stood up for me and I am so glad he stood up for all who come to Him in faith by grace.  He is the reason I can hold my head up in society.  I can even return to my home town with confidence and know that even though people know about my record, He has me covered.

This not only has past ability But it has a present ability.  I still sin from time to time and even then he has me covered.  And then I know I will sin in the future.  Still yet He has me covered.  Oh how thankful I am for the blood of Jesus who not only covers my sin.  He removes it.

Question, “Are you feeling the guilty of a past sin or a present sin?”  If you have confessed and forsaken your sin, leave the guilt behind because Christ has you covered.  Praise be to His precious name.

I leave you with the sweet word of God, “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin,”  Romans 4:8.

I’ve Got all I want

April 12, 2010

Do the words of the title of this post strike you as being unusual?  Try saying the words, “I’ve Got all I want.”  These are wonderful words, but are they just words?

As I read Psalms 21-30 this morning I found myself meditating on the words, “I”ve got all I want.”  These words were penned in the most familiar Psalm in the bible, Psalm 23.  Here is what David wrote, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”

David was teaching us that He had come to a place where he found total fulfillment in Christ.  The rest of Psalm 23 is simply David teaching us about the blessing of this relationship of total fulfillment in Christ.

Question, “Have you gotten to this point in your walk with Christ?”  I wish I could say, “Every moment of every day, I was here,” but I cannot.  Just when I think I have arrived, my old nature flares up and I find myself seeing fulfillment in things I see at the mall.  My old nature says, “You need those clothes, they will give you fulfillment.” My old nature sees the new car and says, “Keith you need a better car than what you have now.”  By now you get the point because you face the same battle.

So the nature question would be, “How does a person come to the place where he or she has all they want?”  Two words stand out, “Learn, Love.”

The first word comes from Paul’s teaching in the book of Philippians, chapter 4.  Paul writes, “I have learned in whatever state I find myself in, to be content,”4:10-11.  Having all you want is something that is learned over a period of trial and error. I have “Learned” that all other things do not bring fulfillment.  They actually enslave us.  The one thing that brings fulfillment and contentment is a relationship with Christ who defeats my old nature and helps me to have the joy of the new nature.

The second word is Love.  Again we look to the book of Philippians where Paul speaks about, in chapter 3, the giving up of everything inorder to gain Christ.  Paul was so in love with Jesus that everything else was pale in comparison to the beauty of Christ.  I can honestly say as I have learned to love Jesus that I can say, “I’ve got all I want.”

It is my prayer that you can come to this place today.  When you do, you will discover what David did, “The Lord is my Shepherd and I’ve got all I want.”

I leave you with the precious word of the Lord, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4.

A Good Nights Sleep

April 9, 2010

One of my favorite comercial’s of all time is the comercial depicting a guy trying to go to sleep by counting sheep.  The more sheep he counts the wider awake he becomes.

Yesterdays devotion centered around, “A song in the night.”  Job discovered the vastness of God and was able to spend the rest of his life with a song in the night.  Todays devotion covers the first ten chapters of the book of Psalms. The book of Psalms is a wonderful book that has offered encouragement and equipping for every saint who desires to worship the Lord.

As I read the first 10 chapters I found myself wrapped around the theme of “A Good Nights Sleep.”  Could it be because I failed to have a good nights sleep?  Possible, but more likely it is because of the many times the writers make reference to the ability of the child of God to rest in Him.  Here is an exert from chapter 3, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.”

Now before you start to rationalize this as being a reference to someone who was having an easy life, read the heading of the chapter.  You will discover David wrote this as he was fleeing from the throne as his son, Absalom, was overthrowing the throne.  It was anything but easy in David’s life.

Certainly many who are reading this are struggling to have a good nights sleep. For some it is a increased work schedule, as was the case of a police officer in our church who has little if any sleep this week.  For some it could be a result of physical problems that keep them awake.  But for many of us the problem lies beneath the surface because we cannot seem to lay our work, family, finances, or any other problem down.  So we wrestle through the night, going over and over again the problems and trying to find the solution.

In these sleepless nights we fail to see the answer to a good nights sleep is not within us.  The answer is in Christ Alone!  “Salvation belongs to the Lord, Your blessing is upon your people,” 3:8.  Only those who put their trust in the Lord find such rest.  “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him,” 2:12.

When we rest in Him several realities come into being. Christ becomes the captain on your storm tossed ship.  Christ becomes the bunker when the enemy is hurling bombs into your life. Christ becomes the storm shelter in the tornado’s of your life.  Oh how I pray you receive this by faith.  For those who do, “a good night of sleep awaits.”  Try it on for size as you go to bed tonight.

I leave you with the precious word of God.  “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety,”  Psalm 4:8

A Song In The Night

April 8, 2010

As a parent there is nothing anymore exciting than to be awakened in the middle of the night by  child who is standing by your bed simply staring into your face to see if you are awake.  In these blessed moments our responses are certainly not calculated.  They are just the opposite, a gut reaction to being awakened.

Personally, I usually respond like a cat that jumps back to see what’s the deal.  Others, will call out the person’s name and ask, “why are you standing here?”  Seldom do I hear of anyone who responds, “Praise be to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you just scared the life out of me.”  Actually I have never heard anyone who responded this way.

This morning’s devotions covered Job 31-42.  Certainly Job has had his share of problems and he has cried out to God during the night season of his life.  But there is something I do not find him doing.  I do not find job having a song in the night.

One of the guys who was standing by and listing to all of the conversations between job and his friends was a young guy by the name of Elihu.  He speaks up and for about four chapters shares his opinion.  There is one verse that leaped off the page, “But no one says, “Where is God my maker, Who gives songs in the night,” 35:10

Even though this guy was wrong in accusing Job of being in sin. He was right in the fact that God gives songs in the night.  Naturally the question that comes to mind would be, “To whom does He give songs in the night?” The correct answer is, “He gives songs in the night to those who trust their days and nights into His sovereign hands.”  Those who believe God is always working everything for His pleasure trust in His goodness and His grace.

Job would repent for not having a song in the night, 42:5, and God would pour out a great blessing.  Question, “Have you been awakened in the night by a storm?”  Has this storm startled you and has this storm stunted your growth?  If so, I encourage you to begin to sing songs of praise, faith, and adoration to our King.  I love the song that says, “When answers are not enough there is Jesus!”

I leave you with the commentary of Luke concerning Paul and Silas when they faced a dark night, “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,” Acts 16:25.

There Is Gold In Them hills!!!

April 7, 2010

In the 1840’s, Gold was discovered in California, and the rush was on.  The news spread everywhere, “There is gold in them hills.”  One of my favorite John Wayne movies, “North to Alaska,”  depicts the gold rush in Alaska.  At one point in the movie, John Wayne has a falling out with his partner.  Here is a classic line, “I have all the gold I want, so I want out.”

As I continued working my way through the book of Job, chapters 21-31, I remembered this scene.  Job has grown weary of his trials.  He feels that no one is listening to his cries, 31:35.  Job 31:40 ends with, “The words of Job are ended.”  In Job’s frantic desire to get out of his trials, he forgets one thing, “There is gold in them hills called trials.”

Job declared he wanted to go back to when life was easy, “Oh, that I were as in months past,” 29:1.  But what he didn’t realize was that his trials would produce gold in his life. The last part of Job’s life would be better than the first as a result of the gold that would be mined in his life during the time of his great trial.

So confused was Job that he did not even take to heart what he was saying.  In chapter 23:10 he wrote, “When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”  Adrian Rogers has a great commentary on this verse, “In order to refine gold, a goldsmith places it over a fire until it bubbles and glows.  He skims the impurity from the top again and again.  When he can see his reflection, the gold is pure.”

The gold in the hills of your trial is that you are being conformed to the image of Christ.  God allows trials to remove the distractions and the depravity within each of us.  God is shaping us into His image inorder that we might walk in happiness, holiness, and that we would be able to accomplish heaven’s purposes.

Maybe you are like Job in that you want out of your trials or you want to go back to when it was easy?  I have been guilty of this.  Please don’t ask God to take you back to the old days.

Job needed to take heart because there is gold in them hills.  You and I need to take heart because there is gold in them hills called trials.  Oh that I could grow in my faith to the place where I celebrate the trials and even cherish what God is doing in them.

I leave you with the precious word of God, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” I Peter 1:6-7

Between The Hedges

April 6, 2010

I have a great friend in Georgia, Tom Draffin, who used to take me to the Georgia football games when I lived in Georgia.  I was amazed at the 90,000 fans who would bark like a dog when their team took the field.  I was also awestruck how the fan’s lived and died with every play.  But most of all I was fascinated with the look of the field.  The field was wonderfully cared for.  It was as if every blade of grass had been hand cut.  Surrounding the field were beautifully groomed hedges.  Everything was ready for the combatants to play the game, “Between the hedges.”

I was reminded of all of this as I was reading Job 11-20. God had placed a hedge around Job and Satan had challenged Job’s love for God.  God allowed Satan to get through the hedge and cause all kinds of havoc in Job’s life.  However Job held strong in his faith. Here are his own words, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him,” 13:15.

Question, “Do you trust God between the hedges?”  I mean, when the field you are playing on becomes difficult, do you trust Him? Everything in Job’s life went haywire.  His friends turned on him and said he was in sin.  His wife told him to curse God and die.  His own servants would not listen to him.  Job declared, “No one understands what I am going through.”  However he still held strong in his faith between the hedges.

I am so overwhelmed with this fact, “You can trust God between the hedges.”  In my life there was a season when I went through a between the hedges time and I discovered He is all I need between the hedges.”  The field gets messy and the stadium becomes quit because it is just you and God.  In these moments hold on to Christ because you will only find victory as you walk with Christ.

Be assured you will have a “between the hedges” time in your life and you will find your faith put to the test.  In these moments, it will become clear where your faith lies.  When it comes, I pray you realize He alone is what you need. I pray you will in faith place all of your trust in Him.

I leave you with the words of a man who was standing between the hedges as he wrote, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom shall I see for myself,” Job 19:25-26.

Tell me, why?

April 5, 2010

One of the things that I have noticed in being a parent is the constant questions I find myself bombarded with.  I used to think it was cute when the kids were small, then I transitioned to thinking it was simple rebellion, and now I have come to realize that my children are like all of humanity, that really wants to know the why’s of life.

Certainly you and I are no different, “We want to know the why’s of life?”  For example, “Why do we have to go through the many tough spots of life?”

Today’s devotion covers the first ten chapters of the book of Job.  As I began to read through this familiar story of “ultimate hard times,” I found myself identifying with all Job faced in the loss of children, influence, and joy because of all he faced.  However there was one think  I could not identify with.

What am I writing about?  The answer is in chapter 9:33, “Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on both of us.”  Job wanted to find out why God was allowing all of these hard times.  But he did not have anyone who could get he and God together.  Dear friend, I could not identify with this in my life.

I have a mediator, and His name is Jesus, I Timothy 2:5.  He has been with me through every hard time in my life.  It was Jesus who took my place on the cross and it was Jesus who became my Lord and Savior when I was seven years old.  For all of these years, I have been able to go to Him with every hard time and I knew He would take me before the Heavenly Father, and I knew He had given the Holy Spirit into my life to guide me, convict me, and fill me with His power.

Job was at loss for answers and he was at loss for why.  Brethren this is not so for the child of God.  We have a Mediator who guides us and who gives us grace to walk through every trial.

Maybe you are feeling down, alone, or just going through the motions?  Let me encourage you to spend time with our Mediator!  I was on the phone, early this morning, with a dear brother who is feeling down and I asked, “How is your bible reading going?”  He responded, “I haven’t been doing as much as I should.”  Then he said, “Could this be the reason I am down?”  He knew the answer and so do you and I. If we do not spend time with our Mediator we too will spend our days in despondency.

Job’s life teaches us how tough life can be, but his life also teaches us to be very thankful for the Mediator, the Son of God.  If you are wondering why, talk with Him on a consistent basis.  Read His word, more than just a few lines in a devotion book.  Read with the intend of hearing what the Mediator is communicating from the Father.

I leave you with the sweet words of the Psalmist; “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!  Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings,” Psalm 37:7

What’s so good about Friday?

April 2, 2010

As you know today is celebrated as, “Good Friday,” in our country and in the church.  But as I have been reading through the gospel accounts of the week of the cross, today Luke 19-24, I found myself asking, “What’s so good about Friday?”

When we read about the agony of the cross, we are lead to wonder, “What’s so good about Friday?’  I believe most of our world no longer even knows why we call this day, “Good Friday.”

So, for a few moments allow me to remind you of why we celebrate good friday.  First, this is the day when Jesus completed the work He came to do.  Mk 10:45, “He came to seek and save the lost.”  The agony of the cross lead to the atonement by the one on the cross.  Secondly, this is a day when Jesus defeated the power of sin.  Sin no longer has any control over the one who embraces the one who hung on the cross.  “He who knew no sin became sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God,” II Corinthians 5:21.  Thirdly, this is the day when we realize His work would leave to our victory over death, hell, and the grave.  Because He arose we too will arise.

The fact is, the cross helps us to realize we can be different and we can live differently.  Every day is a good day for those who embrace Christ.  Oh how I pray on this Friday you help others to see this truth!

So as I think about this day I realize it is a good day because of all He has done.  Oh how I pray that you do not get caught up in the Easter bunny and the eggs of our day.  But that you are filled with praise for our Lord and Savior.

I leave you with the precious words of scripture, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose strips you are healed,” I Peter 2:24.