Archive for December, 2013

A Revelation of Things Yet To Come (II Chronicles 10: Revelation1)

December 10, 2013

“Write therefore the things that you have seen; those that are and those that are to take place after this.”  Revelation 1:18

As I opened my Bible to the book of Revelation I found myself having feelings of both anticipation and awe.  I read with anticipation about the revelation of Jesus given to us by John.  Here we see Jesus in His glorified state (1:13-16).  I also read with awe concerning the one (Jesus) who is coming to redeem all things (Vs: 17-18).

Question:  “How often do you read the book of Revelation?”  Certainly I know there are many objections given by well-meaning people.  These people suggest that Revelation is hard to understand, not for today, or has really no value to your daily life.  However, all of these things are false statements.

The Bible gives us a promise that is just the opposite; “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”

Think it through:

1.  The coming of Jesus gives us reason to be busy about God’s work.

2.  The coming of Jesus gives us reason to have hope in dark circumstances.

3.  The coming of Jesus gives us greater understanding as to who He is and to what He is going to do when He comes.

Truth for life:

You and I have been called to follow Jesus even though we have never seen him (II Cor. 5:10 “We walk by faith and not by sight.”).    You and I have been called to serve Jesus because He is coming again.  I cannot think of anything that encourages me any more than knowing that I will some day stand before Him and that someday I will be given access to His kingdom.  Praise be unto our God for His great name and for His soon coming.  

Maneuvering Through Land-Mines (II Chronicles 9, Jude1)

December 9, 2013

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you, to content for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints,”  Jude 1:3

Yes, life can become very risky.  This risk can come for many different reasons.  It could be that you and I have self-inflicted wombs because of silly decisions.  For example, standing on a rocking chair trying to change a lightbulb can end in disaster (Not that I have experience here).  Or, riding in a Van with Ovi in Malawi Africa can put your life at risk.

At other times we find ourselves in a place of risk simply because we are followers of Christ.  To this the half-brother of Jesus gives himself the task of writing.  Jude encourages us to content (Stand up for, fight for, and even die for) for the faith.

Jude reminds us that there are many false followers who are in the church (Vs: 4-16).  He identifies them in two ways: 1.  They are undercover, Vs:4-7 2.  They are underminers of the truth, Vs: 8-14.  However Jude assures us that these people will stand before God who will execute judgement on these false followers.

At the same time there are true followers in the church. It is to these people whom Jude gives great encouragement.

Think it through:

1.  We see our work in the Lord, Vs:17-23

Spend time working through these verses discovering what our responsibilities really entail.

2.  We see God’s work in the life of His followers, Vs: 24-25

God’s work is both grace-filled and full-proof:

A.  God created us (We are His workmanship)

B.  God continues the work (He keeps us)

C.  God completes the work (He presents you before the Father)

What must we do now?

We must live knowing that everything depends on God but at the same time knowing we have a personal responsibility to work with all of our might as His servants.  This is how we maneuver through the land-mines of life.  

Approaching God’s House (II Chronicles 6:12-42)

December 6, 2013

“Then he (Solomon) knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven.”  II Chronicles 6:13

This weekend, if God allows, I will once again go to the House of the Lord.  I will meet brothers and sisters in our family (Kings Baptist Church).  We will sing songs, proclaim the Word, and pray.  This happens week after week.

Often I take for granted this honor to come and worship in freedom.  While in Africa, I was reminded of the happiness that should accompany my life as I approach God’s house.  The worshippers in the services had joy and happiness as they came to God’s house.

This morning I was gripped by Solomon’s approach to God’s house.  He came in a posture of humility.  In Vs: 13-15 we see clearly his humility in both bowing down and in proclaiming the sovereign reign of our Lord.  Solomon reminds us of God’s sovereign faithfulness in all of life.

I also was gripped by the wealth of Solomon’s prayer.  In Vs: 18-42 Solomon pleads for mercy and justice.

Think it through:

1. Solomon asks for God’s eyes and ears to be open, Vs: 18-20.

2.  Solomon asks for God to forgive when people repent, Vs: 24-27, 36-39.

3.  Solomon asks for God to act and judge, Vs: 20-23

4.  Solomon asks for God to judge the intentions of men’s hearts, Vs: 30

5.  Solomon asks for God to grant mercy to Gentiles, Vs: 32-33

6.  Solomon asks for God to lead them through battles, Vs: 34-35

As I came away from this prayer, I realized how amazing it was to hear such a prayer.  But even more amazing was the truth of this prayer. Solomon knew that true life and success was totally the work of God.  Solomon knew that only God could give mercy in the place of judgment.  Solomon knew there would have to be one who would come to purchase our forgiveness.

Our need of action:

Much in the same way, you and I need to weekly approach the house of God.  Take time this weekend to prepare yourself before going to the house of the Lord.

In this is love (II Chronicles 5:1-6:11; I John 4

December 5, 2013

“And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother,”  I John 4:21

How often have we heard the following, “I love you, but…”  Whenever a person begins a conversation like this, I wonder, “Does love have a stopping point?”  Usually, such a conversation will end up not in love, but in condemnation.

Genuine love (as taught by John) goes beyond confession to the way in which one conducts his or her life.  This is clearly taught in I John 4.  Take time to ready slowly through the text.  Here are three headings to help you along the path of discovery:

1.  The model of true love is placed before us, vs: 9-10

2.  The method by which we can truly love is placed within us, Vs: 11-13

God made us new creations and placed His Spirit within us so that we could love.

3.  The magnitude of love is before us, Vs: 17-18

God’s love gives us confidence on the day of judgment.  God’s love gives us clarity in each day of life.  “As He is in the world, so should we be…”  

Think it through:

If we truly love God (Confession) we will truly love others (Conduct of our lives). Lord help me to conduct my life in total agreement with my confession!!!

The Evidence is In (II Chronicles 3-4; I John 3)

December 4, 2013

“By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the Devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”  I John 3:10

Last week I was in shock as I read Todd Starnes article from Foxnews.com.  The article told the story of how a teacher in Missouri was sued for simply praying for the sick in her school.  Yes, you read it correctly, the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit because she simply prayed for sick people and because she organized to help the poor.  Brothers and sisters, ours is a nation that is in desperate trouble!!!

However, if you are going to be sued, “It is a good thing to be sued for serving the Lord!!!”  Before us in I John 3 is a clear contrast.  We see a clear contrast between those who are Children of God versus those who are Children of the Devil.

Question, “Have you and I ever been challenged because of our faith?”  Now, I do not desire to live in conflict, but I do desire to live a Christ-centered life.  John writes the following, “do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you,” Vs: 13.  

Think it through:

1.  The world will always be at conflict with those who are walking in a different direction.

2.  The Christian will always be at conflict with the world because we are living with different standards.

Actions to consider:

1.  Take time to write down all the evidences given in I John 3 for those who are children of God.

As I read through this chapter, I discovered no less that 8 evidences for being a Child of God.  Here are the references to help you: Vs: 1-2, 3, 4-7,11, 16, 17-18, 22,24

2.  Take time to write down all the evidences given in I John 3 for those who are children of the Devil.

As I read through this chapter, I discovered no less than 4 evidences for being a Child of the Devil.  Here are the references to help you: Vs: 8, 10, 15, 22

Our response:

Once we gather the evidence, we must decide, “In whom do we belong.”  Certainly no one who gathers the evidence will be perfect.  But he or she will be able to have confidence (Vs: 20-22) if they belong to God.

Dear father, transform our lives into the very image of your Son.  Help us to stand out as your light bearers in this dark world.  Turn our nation around for your glory and honor.  

Addressed to the God who is worthy (II Chronicles 2; I John 2)

December 3, 2013

“The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods.  But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him?”  II Chronicles 2:5-6

This morning I awakened to emails that somehow had gotten through my filtering system.  These emails were advertisements for Christmas gift ideals.  Honestly, this was the last think I wanted to see.  However, God has a purpose in all things.

As I opened my Bible to II Chronicles 2 I was face to face with King Solomon.  King Solomon is on a mission.  This mission is to build a house for the Lord (The Temple).  As I read this chapter, I could not help but think about the reasons why Solomon was preparing materials and manpower for this building.  I realized Solomon was addressing a gift to God.

Think it through:

1.  Solomon was building this house for the name of the Lord, Vs: 1

There is much in a name.  There was no God who compared to Solomon’s God.  His name was great and greatly to be praised.  This place would be a gathering place for people to praise His great name.

2. Solomon was building this house because he loved the Lord, Vs: 5-6

God had given grace to Solomon.  Solomon was in his position because of God.  Solomon had come to realize how much God loved him.  Now Solomon is addressing a gift to the God he loved.

3. Solomon was building this house because he wanted the world to know his Lord, Vs: 11-12

Solomon wanted everyone to know what he knew about God.  The King of Tyre had come to know this.  The temple would give witness to who God was.

Thinking deeper:

You and I have been called, by God, “The temple of God.”  You and I have been challenged to, “Glorify God with our temple.”  Question:  “does your life and my life reflect lives that have written across them, “addressed to God?”

I want to live a life that reflects my love for God.  I want to mirror the words of John in I John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”

A Grace-filled response (II Chronicles 1; I John 1)

December 2, 2013

“Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for can govern this people of yours, which is so great.”  II Chronicles 1:10

Recently while flying back home from a mission trip I found myself seated next to a businessman from New Hampshire.  Both he and I had a very pleasant plane ride as we shared in conversation. I was greatly impressed at his humility concerning his work.  He has been at his present company for many years.  He has risen through the ranks to a very high position.  But he still retained the humility of one who realized, “He was where he was because of the grace of God.”

I believe this was the same mind-set of Solomon in the early years of his reign as King of Israel.  II Chronicles 1 recounts those early days.  Follow the path of his life in the early days:

1.  Solomon is in his present position for one reason, “The grace of God,”  Vs: 1

“And the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.”  Solomon understood that he would not have been king without God’s grace.

2.  Solomon response to grace is simply worship, Vs: 6

“And Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before the Lord, which was at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.”  Solomon response should be the response of every recipient of God’s grace.  Each of us should give worship to the one who has supplied grace in our lives (Ephesians 2:4).

3.  God’s response to worship is to give more grace, Vs: 7

God always honors those who honor Him.  We honor Him not to gain wealth but because we love Him.

4.  Solomon’s response was to ask for wisdom to carry out his duties in God’s work, Vs: 10

Solomon was focused on doing the will of God in his God-given position.  This was a grace-filled response that is refreshing to every true grace-filled follower of Christ.

Think it through:

1.  Are you and I living a grace-filled life?

2.  Are you and I longing to fulfill the purpose of grace in our lives?

Taking it out for a test drive:

Spend this day focusing on the grace that has been given to you.  Write down as many things as you can that reflect God’s grace to you.  Next write down as many things as you can that reflect your responses to grace.  Finally, seek His wisdom to walk in grace every day (Colossians 2:3-4).