Archive for November, 2015

Kept (II Peter 2; Luke 14; Micah 5)

November 30, 2015

“Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.”  II Peter 2:9

Question:  “What if I told you this, “the Lord is keeping something for you.”

Ok, I confess, I just told you, “The Lord is keeping something for you.”

For a moment. lets get into the context of what we have read in II Peter 2.  Peter has really only one point, “Beware of false teachers .”

  • Peter describes their work in Vs: 1-3.
  • Peter describes their wickedness in Vs: 10-23

These false teachers along with those who follow their teaching will face the extreme judgment of God.  Peter informs us in Vs: 9-10, “God is keeping it for them!”

This is one of the reasons why we must be committed to God’s call in Luke 14:23 to go into the highways and into the hedges of life sharing the gospel.  Unless these people hear and heed the true gospel, what God has kept for them is judgment.

This is also one of the reasons we need to be committed to God’s command in Luke 14:10 to humble ourselves.  While God has kept judgment for the unrighteous, He has also kept His followers from judgment because of the great grace of God in Jesus taking our place on the cross.

Here is the big deal:  Jesus is a teacher greater than the teachers here described.  Even the best of Pharisees understood this in John 3.  This teacher would hear the amazing truth of the gospel in John 3:3-22!!

It is my prayer that you and I would both rejoice for what we have been kept from and reach out to those who do not know what is being kept for them!!!

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Floods and Fires (I Peter 4; Luke 11: Micah 2; I Chronicles 23)

November 27, 2015

“With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and the malign you,” I Peter 4:4

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you,” I Peter 4:12

On the day after Thanksgiving we still are finding so many things to give thanks for.  Today we are giving thanks for “floods and fires.”

As one comes to I Peter 4 he or she is continuing to be challenged by Peter to stay focused in the midst of God’s sanctifying work through the means of suffering.

Peter uses two metaphor’s to illustrate the new life we have.  These two metaphor’s help us to identify two things to praise the Lord for:

  • We are praising the Lord for being delivered from the flood of debauchery, Vs: 1-6.

You might ask, “What is the flood of debauchery?”   These are the things of the flesh that used to characterize our lives without Christ.  The flesh overcame us as a flood raging down a calm river.  This is how we were born and there was nothing in our old self that could stop the flood.  But now, “in Christ.” we live a different way, having conquered the flood.

This is truly a great reason to give thanks.

Each time I watch the news and see terrible crimes, I am reminded, “This flood could be me if not for the might power of Christ!”  We praise our God for this new life we have, Vs: 7-11.

  • We are praising the Lord for delighting in us to walk with us through the fiery trials of life, Vs: 12-19.

The trials we face are multicolored (James 1:2).  Here in I Peter we see the color of suffering.  Peter encourages us to be thankful for Christ being so clearly seen in our lives.  This is why the world persecutes us.  Christ is being formed.

We have so much to be thankful for.  Above all, Peter writes: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful creator while doing good.”  I Peter 4:19

Application:  Are there any fires or any floods in your life today?  If so, make sure you are committed to the Faithful Creator who will give you victory over and through both!!!  Trust Him by praising Him now rather than later.  

A Thanksgiving blessing (I Peter 3; Luke 10; Micah 1; I Chronicles 22)

November 26, 2015

“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing,”  I Peter 3:9

Each year our family greatly anticipates this day on our calendar.  It is the day when we gather together to prepare together the Thanksgiving meal.  Believe it our not, all of us help prepare the meal.

For me, I really enjoy preparing the dressing!!!  Or, if you really are from the south, “stuffing.”  Sherry and I have fun with each other determining how much sage we put in the dressing.  I always like more than she does.  Again this year, we shall see who wins the day!!!

Our greatest blessing on this day is in obeying I Peter 3:9, “Bless.”

For 23 years of marriage we have always opened our home to anyone who would come and join us for our meal.  Through the years we have had people from all walks of life at our table.  This year is no exception as we share with others what God has done in our lives.

As you consider this day, heed the words of Peter in I Peter 3:9.  They come in the greater context of a chapter that is filled with instructions for the Christian life:

  • Verses 1-7 speak about how husbands and wives are to serve each other as they follow Christ.
  • Verses 8-22 speak about how all Christians are to live out their faith, even in the midst of persecution.

In the midst of this living out of our faith we see the command to be a blessing.

Consider, how you can bless others today:

  • Praying for others is always a way to bless them, Matthew 5:41-42.
  • Speaking words of encouragement.
  • Acts of kindness, Luke 10:17-25.
  • Proclaiming the gospel, James 5:19-20.
  • Opening your home for a meal.

Be assured, when you bless others you will be blessed!!!

This day, I though of some many who have blessed us as they sat at our table.  Yes, we are truly blessed!!!

 

 

“But You” (I Peter 2; Luke 9; Jonah4)

November 25, 2015

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  I Peter 2:9

Today we continue to write about some of the many things we have to be thankful for.

This day, I want us to consider being thankful for the “But you.”

Check out the first 9 verses of I Peter 2:

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”[a]

and

“A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Two glorious truths about the Word of God stand out:
1.  The Word of God is the spiritual milk that makes us strong in faith, Vs: 1-3.
As we take time each day to take in the Word, we gain spiritual nourishment for our daily loves.  Those who are thankful for the Word reach for the Word every day.
2.  The Living Word of God is the power that brought us to saving faith, Vs: 4.
Now that we have been brought to faith we rejoice because God is making us into a spiritual house filled with praise for the God who is daily making us into a people who live for His glory, Vs: 5.
The World rejects both the Living and written Word.  In doing so they are stumbling over their only hope.  This very day, you and I can praise our Lord for helping us to see the Hope of Christ!!!
Here is my big faith moment:  “We were once not a people but now, by His mercy, we have been made His people.”  Yes, we are the “But You!”
So on the eve of Thanksgiving, we give thanks to this glorious God who has given us life through His blood and is making us stronger through His Word.

Thankful for belief, I Peter 1; Luke 8; Jonah 3; I Chronicles 19-20)

November 24, 2015

“Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” I Peter 1:8

As you know, we are spending this week focusing on “What do we have to be thankful for?”

Yesterday we focused on being thankful for the grace and mercy of God.

Today I want to focus on being thankful for “belief.”

As you and I turn the page from the book of James to the book of I Peter we find ourselves engaged with a book of hope.  Chuck Swindoll speaks of this book as being, “a book that brings hope again.”

Here we see Christ-followers who have been forced to leave their comfort zone and to disperse to the world.  It is in this discouraging place where we are given 5 chapters of hope in and through Christ.

Here we see, in chapter 1, four thankful moments of remember:

  1.  We should be thankful that He has caused us to be born again, Vs: 1-3.

In God’s mercy he came and purchases our redemption.  In his might he has purchased our resurrection.

2.  We should be thankful that He has created an inheritance for us, Vs: 4-5.

We see the inheritance described in Vs: 4 and we see his defense of the inheritance in Vs: 5.

3.  We should be thankful that he is creating us into new people, Vs: 6-8.

God, daily tests us so that we can be molded into a people whose lives will match our name.  God also gives a testimony that is great because of the trials we have endured and overcome.

4.  We should be thankful that he would will complete what he has started,  Vs: 9

We will obtain the salvation of our souls.

Brothers and sisters, these 4 moments are worth giving thanks for.  But be reminded, they all happen because God placed within us the ability to believe.  Without belief we would have no reason to follow God.

I have much to be thankful for, especially belief.

Moved to tears (Luke 7; James 5; Jonah 2; I Chronicles 15)

November 23, 2015

“And standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment.”  Luke 7:38

This week, in America, we pause from our busy lives to give thanks for all we have.  Question, “What do you and I have to be thankful for?”

I want to take this weeks blogs and focus each day on the answer to this question.

In Luke 7 there is much to be thankful for:

  • Two miracles: servant healed, Vs:1-10; Son raised from the dead, Vs: 11-17.
  • Two encounters: Followers of John the Baptist, Vs: 18-35; Pharisee, Vs: 36-50.

It is to the last encounter that I want us to examine.

Jesus has been invited to have a meal with a Pharisee, who really does not love Jesus nor does he desire to be a follower of Jesus.  He has simply, “an enquiring mind.”

While at the meal, one who loved Jesus comes to show forth her love.  So great is her love that she is moved to tears!!!

The Pharisee was not moved.  He was so not moved that he even failed to give the common curtesy of providing a pan of water and a towel for Jesus to wash the road dust from his feet.  We even find him condemning Jesus for his encounter with the woman.

Question:  “When people see us, do they see us as people who are showering Jesus with love by the way we worship and by the way we witness?”

If this woman would have been in a worship service yesterday, she would have been moved to tears!  You ask, “Why?”

She loved Jesus because she understood the greatness of God’s love and sacrifice for her sin.

Shel loved Jesus because she had been forgiven by God and was now right with God through what Jesus was going to do on the cross.

As we approach Thanksgiving, do we have anything to be thankful for?  Could these things or should these things move us to tears?

Lets ask two people to give a testimony:

Jonah-“But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay, salvation belongs to the Lord.”  Jonah 2:9-10

James-“The Lord is compassionate and merciful.”  James 2:11

Now it is our turn to give testimony!!!  Let’s take to the streets and let’s take time as we sit down to eat to be moved to tears!!!

 

A strange request (Luke 4; James 2; I Chronicles 14-15)

November 20, 2015

“And he said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, Physician, heal yourself.'” Luke 4:23

This morning in the midst of Dr. Luke writing about the life of Jesus we come to a moment that has always been of great intrigue for me.  Jesus, after having endured 40 days of testing, begins his public ministry.  His first stop, as would be for most of us, was in his home town.  The heading in my personal study Bible for verses 16-30 is this, “Jesus rejected at Nazareth.”  We actually could write, “Jesus rejected in his hometown.”

This moment in Jesus life pictures ultimately what all of the world will do at some point when considering Christ.  In the midst of this shocking moment Jesus makes a bold prediction, “You will make a strange request.”  Here is the request, “Physician, heal thyself.”

We see the fulfillment of this prophecy 3 years later as Jesus is hanging on the cross.  People were walking by and saying, “You who would destroy the temple in three days, save yourself.”  Matthew 27:40.  “He saved others, he cannot save himself.  he is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him,” Matthew 27:42.

Jesus, in the early days of his ministry, all ready knew how these people would react to his ministry.  They were focusing on the miracles not the message of Jesus life.

Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.  Yes Jesus was and is the Great Physician.  Yes, Jesus did heal others, but He did not come down from the cross because this was our greatest need!!!

Today, people make strange request of the church:

  • We need money for food when they really want money for smokes and drugs.
  • We need clothing when they actually want the clothing to sell to other people.
  • We want pray so that we can be healed when in truth they want is earthly healing.

 

Brothers and sisters, may God awaken us to our need of truly ministering the gospel because this is our greatest need!!!

How do you respond to a famine? (Luke 3; Amos 8; I Chronicles 13-14; James 1)

November 19, 2015

“Behold, the days are coming. declares the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land-not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”  Amos 8:11

Question:  “What first hand knowledge do you have concerning the famine in our world?”

For me, I rely much on what others, who are positioned in the places, report.  For example, we are partnering with Hope for the Future in Malawi Africa.   I have attached a link at the end.

In our partnership we have seen first hand the hunger of 2 million people.  Our church along with other churches have partnered to provide food for as many people as we can.

Question:  “Is this the famine spoken of by the Prophet Amos?”  Answer, “No.”  Amos is speaking about the famine of the gospel.  The people of Israel had turned their ears away from God and God had removed his presence from them.

Think it through:

This is a tragic picture of most places in our world today.  Yes, we have a great need to care for the poor (James 1:26-27) and we have a great need to help those who face famine (Luke 3:12-14).  However, the greatest need is to sow the seed of the gospel in places of famine.

This day I want to challenge you to do several things:

  • Begin now to pray for the entire world to hear the gospel (Operation World has a great resource to help in this).
  • Begin now to discover ways in how you can personally share the gospel in places of famine.
  • Seek out partners that will join hands in touching places of famine.  (We at FBC partner with the IMB of the SBC.  We also partner with Hope for the Future, BMDMI, and many stateside agencies to get the gospel to the world).
  • Fan the flame of the gospel in your own church.  This is where it must begin!!!

“Heal our land Lord through a hunger for the gospel.” 

© Mission2Malawi.

 

Doing His will (Hebrews 13; Luke 2; Amos 8)

November 18, 2015

“Equipping you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever,” Hebrews 13:21

Brothers and sisters, “you and I serve an amazing God.”  However, there are often things that come into our path that cloud this truth.  Here is an example of this, “Our days can become so crazy busy that we fail to even see his daily miracles or to carry out his daily will.”

When talking with people I occasionally hear the following, “doing his will is a hard task.”

Question, “What does the Bible say?”

The Bible teaches us two things in response:

  1.  God has equipped us so that we can be successful in carrying out His will.

Here in Hebrews 13 the writer gives us a variety of tasks that are part of God’s daily will for our lives.  In particular there are two that summarize the tasks:  We are to love God, Vs: 15 and we are to love others, Vs: 16.

Writing to the church, Peter clearly says, “God has given us everything we need to live the Christian life.” II Peter 1:3-4.

2.  God is equipping us so that we can be successful in carrying out His will.

As you read Hebrews 13 it is clear, God is daily equipping us!!!  The question that comes to my mind is this, “Are we taking full advantage of the resources he has given?”

Here are six resources we have bee given: “Instructions in his Word, Vs: 1-4; His fellowship along the path, Vs: 5-6; Growth in knowledge of who He is, Vs: 7-13; Daily expectation of His return, Vs: 14; Leaders to guide us on the path, Vs: 17; and the honor of prayer, Vs: 18.

Brothers and sisters, the only reason it is hard to do the will of God is because of our weaknesses in not being disciplined to do His will.

This was my prayer this morning: “Father, thank you for giving us everything for this Christian life.  Help us to be disciplined in order that I and all who follow you might take full advantage of all you have given us.”

 

A song for every generation (Luke 1:38-80; Hebrews 12; Amos 6; I Chronicles 9-10)

November 17, 2015

“And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation,”  Luke 1:50

Admission:  “I do not look forward to Christmas music.”

Yes, I am sorry to admit that I do not like Christmas music.  I could make excuses such as, “We sing them for an entire month or we seem to sink them without any zeal at all.”  But a deeper look reveals the condition of my heart!

Altercation:  “The story of Christmas has been amazing told through song.”

This morning I was confronted (With a serious altercation) with the Lord in His Word.  I did not expect the altercation nor did I approach the Word thinking it would happen today!!!  But it did.

The setting from Luke 1 is Luke’s telling of the events surrounding the first coming of Jesus!!! Our text for the day, Luke 1:39-80, give us three moments in the developing story:

  • Mary visits Elizabeth, Vs: 28-56
  • God visits Elizabeth, Vs: 57-66
  • Zechariah gives for a prophecy, Vs: 67-80

It was in the first part of the developing story where God met me with an altercation.  As Mary meets with Elizabeth we see two glorious things:

  1.  Mary hear’s glorious news.

Mary was blessed to carry the Son of God in her womb, Vs: 43.  Mary was blessed to have faith in the Lord, Vs: 45

2.  Mary share glorious news.

“His mercy is for all who fear him, from generation to generation!!!  The word fear speaks about coming in awe before Him and proclaiming him to be Lord of heaven and earth.

It was in this moment when the altercation took shape in my heart.  Oh how often I overlook the glorious news of the God who came for every generation.  Many people do not sing the songs of Christmas because they do not value Jesus.

I think of awesome songs such as, “Oh Holy Night.”  Hark the herald angels sing, silent night, away in a manger, and go tell it on a mountain.”

Adjust, “I have a new passion to sing Christmas carols”

Here is my favorite song for your consideration:

Joy to the World
Christmas Hymn and Carol

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

I pray they Lord gives you a song!!!  The song every generation needs to hear.