Archive for June, 2015

Ministering as God’s people (Matthew 10; Joshua 2; Psalm 123-125; Isaiah 62)

June 30, 2015

“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”  Matthew 10:42

The days of ministering without persecution is rapidly coming to an end in the USA.  The winds of persecution are beginning to form on the landscape of our nation.  It might seem to some that the previous two sentences are gloom and doom predictions?  But actually the opposite is the case!  The church has always flourished in times of persecution.

Think it through:

In Matthew 10 Jesus is preparing the disciples for their first solo flight in ministry.  Keep in mind, these men, minus Judas, will be tasked with leading the church in its beginning days.  Jesus direction is clear:

  • They are called by name, Vs: 1-4
  • They are commissioned with a purpose, Vs: 5-15
  • They will be confronted by persecution, Vs: 16-25
  • They would be covered with protection, Vs: 26-33
  • They must be totally committed to one person (Jesus), Vs: 34-39
  • They were challenged to care, Vs: 40-42

This would be their life’s work.  But the work would not end with them.  This life’s work would also be given to every believer in every age.  I was clearly challenged by this truth as I considered the days ahead.

Our response:

The question that comes to my mind is this:  “How will we respond to God’s call to minister in this new era of life?”  I believe the answer comes directly from the passage above:

You and I are called to partner with God’s people called the church.  We are to care, not about our own lives, but for the lives of our fellow disciples.  As we partner together we are able to see the great work of God being accomplished in our cities and in the countryside.

Today, decide to fully engage in the work of making disciples of all people!!!  Choose to walk in faith with others who are walking faith.  Truly believe this will be our greatest hour in reaching the masses of people of our nation and world.

Harassed and helpless (Matthew 9: Joshua 1; Psalm 120-122; Isaiah 61)

June 29, 2015

“When he saw the crows, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”  Matthew 9:36

Yesterday FBC of Jackson studied together Matthew 7.  I entitled the message, “Perspective.”   Our perspective of life determines how we respond to the life happening around us.

Consider Jesus perspective in Matthew 9.  Matthew helps us to see both the brokenness in the world and the Lord perspective toward the world.

Notice three things:

  • Jesus compassion, Vs: 33

Jesus met with the people in their context and He ministered the gospel through both Word and deed.

  • The crowds had issues, Vs: 1-32

Jesus ministers to the following people: a lame man, evil men, a dead girl, a broken woman, 2 blind men, and a mute man.

  • The community was divided:
    • The religious crowd accused Jesus of blasphemies
    • His own disciples were confused
    • Crowds wanted to see the miracles

Into this message of a harassed and helpless world Jesus comes!!!

Our response:

As I considered all of this my heart was pricked concerning my personal perspective.  I realized, “If my heart is seared with a condemning and critical spirit, I can not and will not share the gospel with harassed and helpless people.”  I realized, “Every day I need a heart check-up and a blockage breaker so that I can faithfully share the gospel.”

Here was my suggestion to our church in how to accomplish this:

  • Test your heart every day against the Word of God, Hebrews 4:12-13
  • Test you actions with the accountability of others, Matthew 18:15-18
  • Test you life against the effectiveness of your prayer life, I Peter 3:8

Oh how I want to have the correct perspective so that I can see the harassed and helpless harvested for the glory of God!!!

Coming to the end (Deuteronomy 31; Matthew 6; Psalm 119:97-120; Isaiah 58)

June 26, 2015

“And the Lord said to Moses, Behold the days approach when you must die.  Call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.”  Deuteronomy 31:14

The events of my sons wedding last weekend reminded me of two important lessons:

  • The shortness of life
  • The implications of life

It only seemed as if it was a few days ago when our children were being born with a whole lifetime of life before us.  23 years later we are now moving into the 3rd quarter of our lives.

I can remember one of my mentors, Jerry Falwell, saying, “I am in my 4th quarter and I want to make every second count.”

Fact:  “You and I do not know when the last second will tick off the clock of our lives.”  This is why we must consider the implications of every moment of our lives.

Think it through:

In Deuteronomy 31 Moses is told by the Lord: “You shall not go over this Jordan.”  The fact is, “Moses is 120 years old when God speaks a final word to him.”

2 truths leap from the passage:

  • God has been sovereignly working throughout Moses life, Vs: 1-6

Moses life can be separated into 3 movements:  1.  40 years in Egypt  2.  40 years in Midian.  3.  40 years in the wilderness.

In each of these movements God was sovereignly at work.  R.C. Sproul comments: “Consider the time in Midian, it was not wasted.  Moses learned the geography and climate of the Sinai peninsula in preparation for leading the Israelites in that area for another 40 years,” Cited from Pg. 287, “Reformation Study Bible.”

Brothers and sisters, “your moments are never wasted if you are submitted to the sovereign Lord.”  Even when we fail God is able to take the failure and turn it around and use it for good.

  • God has been sufficiently working throughout Moses life, Vs: 7-8

Moses informs Joshua of how God does the following:

  1. He goes before us
  2. He goes with us
  3. He never leaves us

Oh how this echoes Romans 8:35-38; Matthew 28:18-20; Hebrews 13:6

Our response:

Question, “Do you and I spot these same two truths in our lives?”  If yes, then praise Him and keep pressing forward for the glory of God.  If no, make the adjustments that are needed.  Repent of places of rebellion.  Turn away from useless activity.  Follow Christ with your whole heart with what time God has given you!!!

The question of when (Deuteronomy 30; Psalm 119:73-96; Isaiah 57; Matthew 5)

June 25, 2015

And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you,” Deuteronomy 30:1

The great question of, “When,” has been with us for a long time.  In my life there have been many when’s!!!  As a child I wondered when would I be old enough to stay up later to watch TV.  As a child I wondered when would I be old enough to get a driver’s license.  In my college years, I wondered when would I ever graduate.  I also wondered would I ever get married.

Now that I am older I still find myself asking the question when!

But there has been a change in the when questions for me.  What are the when questions in your life?

Think it through:

In Deuteronomy 30 we read of Moses last official address before the nation of Israel.  The Lord will soon come for him in death.  Moses places a great when before the people.  The issue is the rebellion that was below the surface of the people’s hearts.  As I studied the chapter, God showed me three questions in regard to the when:

  • When will the people recognize their rebellion?  Vs: 2-5
  • When will the people repent of their rebellion?  Vs: 6-10
  • When will the people return to their Redeemer?  Vs: 11-20

In this moment it would almost seem impossible for the people to imagine that they would rebel against God.  But this would be exactly what they would do.  But there was a “when” moment.  A moment when the Lord would convict, Vs: 2, the Lord would circumcise their hearts, Vs: 6, and he would change them, Vs: 10.

The real issue for us is this, “Will be trust the Lord with the when moment?”

“But the word is very near you.  It is in your mouth and heart, so that you can do it.”

The fact is, all of us have a “when” moment of rebellion.  The fact is, some of us are still in this moment.  The fact is, God is brining some to another when moment.

We see this paralleled by Jesus in Luke 15

This very day you may be praying for the “when” with a wayward child or you may be praying for the “when” in a difficult situation of work, finances, or health.  Be assured the “when” moment will come.

Our response:

We must trust’s God’s power, plan, and timing in everything!!!

A false sense of security (Deuteronomy 29; Revelation 22; Isaiah 56)

June 24, 2015

“One who,when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike.”  Deuteronomy 29:19

He thought the lights, security system, and his place in the community would protect hum, but they did not.  In the end his car was vandalized and his pride was extremely hurt!!!  All of his complaining to the police failed to merit any benefit!  His false sense of security had betrayed him.

In Deuteronomy 29 Moses shares glorious news with the people of Israel, “Today you will enter into the covenant of the Lord sworn by the Lord.”  Because of God’s love and mercy the nation would have a place in the world.  But their blessing was not a license to live any way they wanted.

Moses warned the people of what would happen if they chose to live a life of rebellion.

As I read these verses I could not help but be saddened by our false of security in the USA.  For over 200 years we have experienced God’s favor, even though we as people have fallen farther and farther from the Lord.

This very day I pray all who read this will take to heart Moses words that point us to Jesus and the covenant he offers us:

  • Revelation 22: 17 “And let the one who is thirsty come and take of the waters of life without price.” 

This very day I pray all who read this will take to heart Moses words that point us to Jesus and His return:

  • I Thessalonians 5: 3 “For you yourselves are fully aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

Just as Israel lived with a false sense of security so do many other nations!!!

However there is a coming a day when the Lord will return and all those living with false security will be swept away in the wrath of God.  Only those who know Jesus will live forever in heaven!!!

Our takeaway:

  • Make sure you have genuinely surrendered your life to Jesus.
  • Seek to live a Christ-centered life that reflects the path of following Jesus.
  • Live as if this could be the day of God’s return.

For further reading consider, Luke 16:19-32!  Make sure you do not fall into the trap of the Rich Man!!!

Where can I find peace? (Matthew 3; Deuteronomy 28:20-68; Psalm 119:25-48; Isaiah 55)

June 23, 2015

“And among those nations you find not respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the Lord shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life.”  Deuteronomy 28:66

I see them every day and often I experience the results of their pain.  Here is the deal, people without God live lives of either fear or frustration.

Now there could be those who would question the above deal!  But consider the following:

  • People are very good at cover up.

We see this in Deuteronomy 28 in gruesome terms for both the refined man and woman, 28:54-57.  Such people live with earthly abundance that gives them zero inner peace.

  • Satan is very good at cover up.

Many people blame others for their lack of peace.  These people lash out at the world and even the church.  Satan is the master at blinding men’s hearts!  II Corinthians 4:4-6

  • Only the Savior can give you peace!!!

Isaiah writes: “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.”  Isaiah 55:3

The Psalmist writes: “Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise.” Psalm 119:41

Think it through:

When Israel heard these words, she was in the moment when the Promised Land was ahead.  The curses predicted seemed to be so farfetched for these people, but the day would come because they chose to follow the God’s of the world.  When this happen peace was no more.

This very day I pray that all who read this will come to know the Prince of Peace who alone can give peace, John 14:27!!!

Your response:

May we each desire what the Psalmist desired:  “I will keep your law continually, forever and ever, and I shall walk in a wide place, for I sought your precepts,” 119: 44-45

If you find yourself in fear or frustration, turn away from what causes fear and frustration and pursue the one who gives peace!!!

Answering an important question (Deuteronomy 27:1-28:19; Psalm 119:1-24; Isaiah 54; Matthew 2)

June 22, 2015

“How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to your word.”  Psalm 119:9

In both Deuteronomy 27-28 and Psalm 119 the subject matter is the Word of God.  Moses writes of the choice of either blessing or cursing that was offered to Israel based upon her response to God’s Word.  The Psalmist promises the following to those who respond correctly to the Word of God, “blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.

The question that now comes to my mind is this: “How can I respond correctly to the Word of God?”

To some this may seem like a “Duh” question.  The obvious answer would be, “Obey the Word.”  Yes, the answer is easy but the application is not so easy.

Think it through:

In Deuteronomy 27 and 28 the application is, “Keep the entire Law.”  I wrote in my journaling Bible, “This is an impossible task.”

In Psalm 119:3 we read the following, “who also do no wrong.  But walk in his ways.”

The fact is, there is no one who keeps all the law every day!!!

So the question is, “How can I still be blessed if it is impossible for me to keep the entire Law?”  Answer, “Trust in Jesus.”  Paul writes in Galatians 4:5 “Christ came to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

Our salvation (blessing) comes through Christ alone!!!

It is to our sanctification that the Psalmist is speaking in Psalm 119:9

Here is to be our response to Psalm 119:9

  • We are to elevate the Word into its proper place, Psalm 119:9-10

We are to give a whole-hearted effort to position the world in our heart!!!  We must guard our hearts so that other things will not occupy the place intended for the Word.

  • We are to engage in the Word with a persistent plan, Psalm 119:11-16

Here is that plan:

  1. Plead with the Holy Spirit to be your teacher, Vs: 12, I John 3:37
  2. Memorize God’s Word, Vs: 11,15, II Timothy 2:15
  3. Share God’s Word with others, Vs: 13, I Peter 3:15
  4. Enjoy the Word of God, Vs: 14,16, II Timothy 3:16

With this plan you and I can be blessed!!!  Let this be your persistent plan this week!!!

A thankful Dad (Deuteronomy 24; Psalm 114-115; Isaiah 51; Revelation 21)

June 19, 2015

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness,” Psalm 115:1

This weekend is very special to those who pause to consider the blessings of a dad.  On Sunday our nation will pause to celebrate the impact of dad’s in parents lives.  There will be many churches that focus on the Father’s role in their families lives.  Here at FBC Jackson, a great message will be given challenging Father’s to decide to lead their families to serve the Lord.

As I consider this important decision to follow Jesus as a dad, I think about the Father I have had since 1974.  In 1974 God the Father, through the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to my need of Jesus.  On that day, God became my Father!!!  Since that day, my life has been so blessed by my heavenly Father.

This weekend is a very special weekend in regard to God’s blessings!!!  My oldest son, Keith II, will be married to the love of his life, Amanda Webb.  I have the honor of officiating this great moment in their lives.

As I anticipate this moment of gaining another daughter, I wonder, “Did I do all I could to prepare my son to be the husband and some day father he needs to be?”  In this moment I was reminded, “anything good in my son’s life came as a result of God’s power in his life.”  James 1:16-17!!!

This day, I am thankful for what the Father has done in my life and in my son’s life.

I pray you will take time this weekend to thank your Heavenly Father for all He has done in your life!!!

I pray you will take time this weekend to thank your earthly father for he has done in your life!!!

Looking ahead (Deuteronomy 23; Psalm 112-113; Isaiah 50; Revelation 20)

June 18, 2015

“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20:15

It seems that most people find themselves locked into a life that basically can be described as, “living in the moment.”  Certainly followers of Christ are called to not worry about tomorrow, Matthew 6:24.  But this does not in any way speak against looking ahead in regard to the future in God’s Kingdom Life.

This morning I arose on the fast track of what must be accomplished in this day.  But before I began the day’s race, I met with the Lord.  It is amazing to be honored to meet with the Lord.  I pray each day you are meeting with the Lord, Matthew 6:5-14!

As I meet with the Lord and I daily meet with the Lord he shows me in his Word the following:

  • What I am to do in each day.
  • What I am to prepare for in future days.

Consider Revelation 20:

  • Some day (Could be this day) the Lord will return

We know this to be the Second-Coming of the Lord.  When the Lord returns He will bind Satan and cast him into the bottomless pit to be punished for a 1000 years.

  • When the Lord returns, all those who have died in Christ will rise from the dead to be rewarded for their walk with Christ.

We know this to be the moment when the Judgment seat of Christ will take place, II Corinthians 5:10-11.

  • At the end of 1000 years the battle of Gog and Magog will take place.

In this moment Satan and his secret followers will be destroyed.

  • At the end of 1000 years the rest of the dead will rise to stand at the Great White Throne Judgment.

In this judgment all will be clearly identified in their willful rebellion against God.  In this judgment all will be thrown into the lake of fire which is never quenched.

Our response:

In this moment I find myself asking the following questions:

Where will I be in the future?

Where will all my family be in the future?

Where will my fellow-man be in the future?

A proper look at the future dictates how I live in the present.  The words of the half-brother of Jesus are very impactful as I look ahead.  I offer them to you today:  “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains.  You also, be patient.  Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you might not be judged; behold, the judge is standing at the door.”  James 4:7-9

When the heavens open (Revelation 19; Deuteronomy 22; Psalm 110-111; Isaiah 49)

June 17, 2015

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse!  The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.”  Revelation 19:11

Each morning I arise with immediate thoughts of the day’s agenda.  As is the case with most people, my days are filled with responsibilities that occupy my mind from the first moment of being awake.  Sadly I sometimes fail to think about the reality before us in Revelation 19.

Consider this truth:  “Some day Jesus is going to return to this earth.”  The church knows this to be the Second-Coming of Christ!  When I was a little boy our pastor used to say, “Each day, look to the sky because the Lord could return today.”

Question, “When was the last time you paused and considered looking for the heavens to open?”

Think it through:

We see three heavenly scenes in chapter 19:

  • The scene of rejoicing, Vs: 1-5

The multitudes are rejoicing because God has overthrown the world system and is coming to rule and reign.

  • The scene of reunion, Vs: 6-10

As we look at heavens scene we see God’s people (The church) gathered in heaven with the Bride Groom (Jesus Christ).  In this scene the church is finally wedded to Jesus!!!  The church has been granted a place with God in the heavens.

  • The scene of retribution, Vs: 11-21

The Lord is seen as coming from heaven to judge the world for its rebellion.  Notice John’s viewpoint, “From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.”

Brothers and sisters, “We have a reason to rejoice, to make ourselves ready, and to reach out to others!”

Our response:

As I came to the end of chapter 19, I thought, “What will my response be when the heavens open?”

In this moment I realized how awesome it will be to join with the great multitudes in praising the Lord.  In this moment I realized how in awe I will be to see Jesus and to see the Apostles, the Patriarchs, the early church fathers, my family, and millions of others who have stood for Jesus!!!  In this momentI also realized how I will be with the armies of heaven coming to the great Battle of Armageddon.

Brothers and sisters, “Let us be alert and active this day because the heavens could open!!!”