Archive for May, 2018

Something trustworthy (Psalm 119)

May 31, 2018

89 Forever, O Lord, your word
    is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
    you have established the earth, and it stands fast. Psalm 119:89-90

Yesterday, our dishwasher decided to no longer completely drain after its cycle of washing.  My wonderful wife looked to me with great faith believing I could repair the dishwasher.  I in turn looked to what every hands on American man does in this day.  I turned to YouTube!  I found a six-minute video that explained what the problem was and how I could fix the problem.  The man said, “almost every machine is like this one.”

In that last statement was his exception clause. Guess what, my machine was the exception clause.

Why does it seem as if everything in this life comes with an exception clause?  We enter into friendships knowing there are limits. We buy a product with a lifetime warranty, but in the fine print we see the exception clause.

Is there anything in this world which is totally trustworthy?

Psalm 119 gives us the answer: “God’s Word is totally trustworthy.”  The Psalmist in verses 89-90 teaches us of its trustworthiness in every generation.  God’s Word never fails.

In all 22 stanzas of Psalm 119 we are reminded over and over again “God’s Word is totally trustworthy.”

Here are 4 reasons, from Psalm 119, to place your total trust in God’s Word:

  1. The Word gives life, Vs:93.
  2. The Word guides our lives, Vs: 105.
  3. The Word shields our lives, Vs: 114.
  4. The Word guaranties life, Vs: 160.

Dear brother and sister in Christ, the Word brings happiness into your life, Vs: 1-8. This Word comes from God Himself who sent His Son into the world as the Living Word.  Be assured, Jesus never fails.

Take a moment and repeat out loud, “Jesus never fails.”  Say it again.  Now say it one more time.  He is trustworthy!!! His Word is trustworthy!!!

Below is a great southern gospel song that will bring joy to your heart.  Sing it out loud today:

Jesus Never Fails Words & Music by: Gary Driskell Featuring Shawn & Lee Ann and Tim & Bridget Dill

Verse 1 So many souls have tested Him throughout the course of time. So many still reach out to Him with broken hearts and minds. And every one of them will say, Without exception that they find… Jesus never fails…

Verse 2 Even in the days of old, He brought His people through. And then He came to show His love and died for me and you. Then He rose again to prove, That every story has been true… Jesus never fails…

Chorus Jesus never fails. Jesus never fails. You might as well get thee behind me, Satan You cannot prevail, because Jesus never fails.

Verse 3 Sometimes this world brings trouble I find so hard to bear. I know I could not make it without Jesus being there. It’s so encouraging to know, How ever deep we’re in despair… Jesus never fails.

Verse 4 So what can I do to prove to you, tell me how can you deny? No untold facts, no mysteries, it’s all so cut and dried. On the witness stand of your life, I’ll be the first to testify… Jesus never fails!

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Who will prevail? (Psalm 9)

May 30, 2018

Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
    let the nations be judged before you!, Psalm 9:19

During the night hundreds of shells where shot at Israel, thankfully their defenses were in place.  During the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, 8 people were killed and 20 were seriously wounded.  It seems to many as if evil is prevailing?

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the storms of evil and to forget the truth set before us in Psalm 9.  Here is that truth: “Our Sovereign and Eternal God will prevail.”

Those who understand and apply this truth to their lives will follow the path of David in Psalm 9:

I. David begins this Psalm with praise which stirs our minds to remember, Vs: 2-9.

As we praise God we remember His wonderous deeds from the past.  He has turned back evil time and time again. He has always maintained the cause of the just.  The wicked have not and they will not prevail.

Sovereignly, God rules from the throne. He is a strong-hold for all who trust in Him.

II. David continues to praise God which stirs us to place our trust in God, Vs: 10-12.

Our God never fails His people. We are to sing praise to Him and to tell of His wonderful deeds to all men.

III. David cries out to God in prayer, Vs: 13-20.

He asks the Lord to be gracious to Him by not allowing evil to prevail in his nation and in his personal life.  David knows the Lord will do what is right. Take time to read chapter 10:12-18 and discover how believing in God’s sovereignty will direct you to confidence in life.

The words of an amazing song come to mind in this moment:

Play “We Will Not Be Shak…”
on Amazon Music

“We Will Not Be Shaken”

For we trust in our God
And through His unfailing love
We will not be shaken,
We will not be shaken,
We will not be shaken
[x2]

Though the battle rages
We will stand in the fight
Though the armies rise up against us on all sides
We will not be shaken
We will not be shaken
We will not be shaken

For in the hour of our darkest day
We will not tremble, we won’t be afraid
Hope is rising like the light of dawn
Our God is for us He has overcome

All those against Him will fall

For our God is stronger

He can do all things
No higher name we can call
For Jesus is greater
We can do all things

A Terrible Habit (Hebrews 10)

May 29, 2018

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

Oh my goodness, he did it again.  I thought I had made it clear that his habit was very offensive to all in the room.  But to my shock he was still engaging in his bad habit.

The above scenario is one I made up, but it is a scenario that illustrates a strong point: Habits are hard to break!!!

Question: “Do you have any bad habits?”

The Hebrew church had some people in its body who had a glaring bad habit.  We see it in verse twenty-five.  Some in the body of Christ were failing to meet together.  Today, we would say, they are failing to come to worship.  But it is deeper than this.  They were failing to hold up their end of the equation in the church.

In verses 21-24 the writer of Hebrews writes about our responsibilities in the body of Christ:

  • We are to draw near to God in prayer with a pure heart.  Each day we are to be engaged in intercessory prayer.
  • We are to stand firm in our faith.  The CSV, “We are to not waver in our faith.”
  • We are to watch out  for each other.

Some in the church had gotten in the habit of failing to keep their end of the equation.  What leads a person into developing a bad habit?

I think verses 36-39 gives us the answer:

36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

I believe many of us lose sight of our purpose in life.  God has called us to serve for His good pleasure.  When we lose sight of this we become people who center on other things in life.

I believe many of us lose the excitement of our faith.  We slack off in our pursuit of God and we end up pursuing other Gods.

I believe many of us lose the expectation of His return.  We live as if this life is all there is.

I believe many of us lose heart in the trials of life.  God intends for us to get better instead of bitter as we go through trials.

These are the reasons why such bad habits come.  But we can overcome those habits by simply coming back to the one who saved us.  If we return to the God of our first works (Revelation 2:5) and cultivate His love for us, we will once again purse Him.

Split Personalities ? (Matthew 16)

May 28, 2018

23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance[f] to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23

I was so ashamed as I thought about what I said.  I went before the Lord and I cried out, “Father, where did the evil words come from?  Those words are not who I am.”  Question, has this ever happened to you?

You are God’s child, but in certain moments you seem to be like the child of Satan.  It was this way with Peter in Matthew 16.  This chapter marks a major shift in the ministry of Jesus. From this point forward Jesus will emphasis the cross more and more.

The apprentices are starting to understand who Jesus is.  This is indicated by Peter proclaiming, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  The apprentices would become the apostles who would lead the church to unlock the keys to the kingdom for the Jews and Gentiles.

But at the same time the apprentices had moments when they still did not get it.  I can say, I am the same way!!!  How about you?

In the scene of Vs: 21-23 Peter does not get it.  Jesus words to Peter seem to strike a nerve in my spiritual nervous system.  Was Peter really Satan?  Charles Spurgeon has an amazing thought here:  He says, it was as if Satan was standing behind Peter and Jesus sees right through Peter to the one who was whispering to Peter.”

If this is true, I really start to understand why at times I seem to have a split-personality.  It is in those moments when I fail to be on guard when Satan gets the upper hand for the moment.

Here is what Peter later wrote: I Peter 5:7-9

 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

James also wrote about this: James 4:7

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

“Father, I do not want to be used by the devil in any way. Forgive me when I submit to his whispering in my spirit.  Let me to every day submit over and over to your will and your way.”

A Just Condemnation (Romans 3)

May 25, 2018

“And why not do evil that good may come? As some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” Romans 3:8

This morning I once again arose with a deep burden in my heart.  I find it so hard to find a just answer for the waves of condemnation and crucifixion being pounded on people from all walks of life.  It’s almost daily that we read of people being exposed and expunged immediately upon accusation. (please hear me, I am not seeking to side with those who are wrong).  I am just trying to swim through these waves and discover what God’s position is.

This very morning I cried out to God, “What is your answer?”

Just like God, He said in response, “look at what I have said in my Word.” His Word is Romans 3.

3 above the wave truths for us:

  • All men are sinners who are guilty before God. 3:10

The Jews who were entrusted with the law of God broke the law of God.  They are guilty.  The Gentiles were guilty of living a lawless life, 3:11-18:

1. They are lost, Vs: 11.

2. They are lifeless, Vs: 12-13a.

3. They are loathing (disgusting), vs: 13b-18.

  • All men will give account to God for their sin, Vs: 19.

No man can ever earn a righteous status before God.  We are saved by the gift of His grace, Vs: 24.

  • Only one man paid the price for our sins, Vs: 24-26.

God sent Jesus as the payment for our sins. All men must by faith receive Jesus as the only one who was just and the only one who could justify men from their sins.

Here is what I take away from all of this:  No man can boast in his or her innocence before a just God.  No one can earn a place with God. All men must fall before this just God, confessing our sin before God, repenting of our sin before God, and receiving by faith the payment of God for our sins.”

From this point forward a person can be:

  1. Right with God, Romans, 8:1-2.
  2. Free from his or her past, Romans 5:1.
  3. Life a life with a new mindest and a new ministry focus, Romans 8:5-8.

The world may never see you different on this side of heaven but someday if you follow God’s Word you will be justifed, I Peter 2:11-13

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Submission to Authority

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,[a] whether it be to the emperor[b] as supreme,

 

What am I doing (Romans 2)

May 24, 2018

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.  Romans 2:6-8

It was Mother’s Day.  John and I took Sherry out to dinner.  As our waiter came to our table, it was clear, he was not in a good mood. He seemed to be distracted, distant, and downright unprofessional.  He took our order and walked away.  Honestly I wondered if he would even get our order right.  I, in the moment began to complain.  But immediately God began to talk to me.  I felt this in my heart.  I could hear God say, “Keith, let’s talk about your attitude.”  In that moment, what I was about to do was disarmed.

In Romans two the Jewish people were not only about to attack Paul’s teaching, they already were.  They were willing to agree with Paul concerning the sinfulness of the Gentiles. But they would not agree they were also condemned before God.

So, in chapter 2 Paul proves their sinfulness as well.  Three points leap from the text in the first 11 verses:

  • The Jews were condemning others for what they were also doing.
  • The Jews were confused about God offering His kindness to the Gentiles.
  • The Jews failed to see their own need of Jesus.

Think with me about point 2.  I wrote down some of the kind things God has done in my life.  Here is a short list.  In His kindness He has given me the provision of all my needs, Hie delayed His wrath so that I could be saved, Jesus came to die in my place, He gave me  Sacred Word, He gave me the church, He placed before me His witnesses , and lastly He gave me pastors who have taught me the Word of God.

These acts of kindness were to lead me and others to repentance.  The Jewish people had no desire for repentance. The Gentiles were repenting in great numbers.  The Jewish people hardened their hearts to God’s Word and they were unrepentant.

Question, Where is your heart today?

For me, on that Mother’s Day, my heart was wrong.  When I considered the kindness of God, I repented of my attitude.  I showed kindness to the waiter.  I asked him about his day and discovered the reason for his attitude.  We showed this waiter the love of Christ even in our tip at the end.

It is my prayer that each of us would show forth the kindness of God that leads men to repentance!!!  This is what we should be doing.

Dying in the storm (Matthew 7)

May 23, 2018

 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:26-27

The weather forecast called for major storms, but this was not the first time they had called for storms and it did not happen.  The crew strongly urged the captain to wait until the storm passed by, but to no avail.  The captain was driven by his need to catch all the fish he could because the storm of a house payment was coming due.

Question: “Are there any storms in your life?”  For this captain the financial storm clouded his judgment concerning the greater storm coming into his life.

As the crowds gathered to hear Jesus deliver the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) there must have been contributing factors as to how they heard and how they responded to the message.

In chapter 7 Jesus deals with 5 issues of life:

  • In Vs: 1-6 Jesus deals with the issue of judging others.
  • In Vs: 7-11 Jesus deals with the issue of trusting prayer.
  • In Vs: 12 Jesus deals with the issue of how do you want others to treat you.
  • In Vs: 13-14 Jesus deals with the choices we have in life.
  • In Vs: 15-20 Jesus deals with the issue of good versus bad fruit.

Those who heard Jesus were in one of two mindsets. Either they had their minds transformed by Christ or they had their minds trapped by the world.

Jesus makes a profound statement here:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Many people will say, “Yes Lord,” but they will not obey what they have heard.  To those the storm of God’s judgment is coming and they will not be able to stand.

It was the same way with the captain and his crew. The storm did come and they all died in the storm.  The truth is, in eternity house payments really are not so significant.  An even greater truth is this: “on this side of eternity one must prepare for the day of judgment.”

I want to challenge you to make sure you have heard and obeyed God’s will for your life.  Refuse to allow your circumstances to dominate your mind.  Rebuke the storm and resolve to listen to the voice of God.

When you do, the storms will still come, but great will be your stand because you are standing in Christ!!!

What would you rather be doing? (John 4)

May 22, 2018

 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest John 4:34-35

I truly do not take it for granted that I am sitting in my office chair (at home).  My Lord has been so good to me.  I am so thankful for both God’ saving grace and His sustaining grace.  Each day I get to do the think I love!

Now I know there are those who read this who cannot say what I just wrote above.  For you, life has become a means to an end that you have not found as of yet.  It was this way with the woman at the well in John 4.  She thought she could happiness in marriage, but it did not work.

But by verses 24 and 25 she had received the saving grace of God that brought her real joy.  She immediately went out and began to proclaim the good news of what she had received.  This is where true joy in comes in a believers live.

Maybe you ask, “Could it really be this simple?”  My response to your question is this, “Yes.”  The God who saved you by grace and the God who sustains you by grace also gives you simplistic grace.

You ask, “What is simplistic grace?”  Simplistic grace is God’s great love poured out in making clear His plan for your life.  We serve a God who does not make us chart our own course in life.  We serve a God who simplistically lays out for us His plan for our lives.

Each of our lives will be unique in circumstances and in places where we live.  But our lives will be simplistically connected in each of us living out our circumstances for the glory of the Lord.

Who can forget Philippians 1:6 and Colossians 3:17.  These verses lay out for us God’s simplistic grace.  I challenge you to take time to read these verses and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have I personally experienced God’s saving grace?  If your answer is no, check out Romans 10:9-10.
  2. Have I personally experienced God’s sustaining grace? If your answer is yes, check out Ephesians 3:14-21.
  3. Have I personally embraced God’s simplistic grace?  If your answer is no, check out Acts 9.  If your answer is yes, check out Ephesians 1:14-21.

Give what you have (Acts 3)

May 21, 2018

But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”  Acts 3:6

There he say by the road as we drove by.  Ovi noticed the young boy, but we thought he was there maybe for a moment.  Hours later we came back by and the boy was still in the same position.  As we went by, Ovi commented, “what can we do for this boy.”

Weeks have passed and I wonder, what happened to that little boy?  I also wonder, what could we have done for that little boy?

In Acts 3 Peter and John come to the hour of prayer (3 Pm) in the temple.  It is a typical day for those who sat at the gate begging.  They had been there so many times before.  I wonder, what were their expectations?  For one man, he expected for Peter and John to share what they had.  Little did he know, but they had nothing of silver and gold to share.  But what they did have they willingly shared.

The mans life was changed by what they shared.

Question: “What do you and I have to share?”

I was so gripped by this familiar story in my life.  Like Peter and John I have the gift of both the gospel and good works!

I encourage you to take time and walk through Acts 3:11-26 and write down the parts of Peter’s sharing the gospel.  Here are a few headings to help.

  • Peter tells the crowd who Jesus is.
  • Peter tells the crowd of what Jesus did and what they did.
  • Peter tells the crowd of their need of repentance.  He invites them to repent and receive the forgiveness of God.

This very day I want to give what I have.

Dear Father, lead me to confident and compassionately give what I have been given to those who are both spiritually and physically poor.

The ethical slide (I Corinthians 5)

May 18, 2018

Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I Corinthians 5:8

As I sit here in a fast food place on the quest WiFi I find myself wondering how far people in our nation are willing to ethically slide before they will turn around?  I see people from all walks of life desperate for Jesus but have clue they are where they are.

The people in Corinth could not say this.  Paul had clearly shared the gospel and a church was started.  But the church was ethically sliding because of two things:

  1. Some in the church had lost their sincerity.  They were being arrogant by saying their sin was ok,
  2. Some in the church had strayed away from the truth.  They were refusing to deal with the sin in their camp.

The Lord has directed Paul to remind them of the coming day when the Lord will be the judge (4:5).

I wonder, “Where will people be standing when they meet the Lord?”  Will it be as a people who have kept on sliding or will they have come to the knowledge of the truth?  One think is for sure, they cannot know unless someone tells them.  So here goes, I am off to seek those who are on the slide.