Archive for August, 2018

Hidden truth? (Psalm 117-118)

August 31, 2018

117 Praise the Lord, all nations!
    Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!  Psalm 117:1-2

Wow, there are just days when you get up and you are filled with praise for the goodness of God.  Our focal text for the day is filled with reasons to praise the Lord.

As a Christ-follower, I serve The God who left heaven to reach down to both Jews and Gentiles.  Romans 15:12 says, “…In Him the Gentiles have hope.” This is glorious news.

In Psalm 118 we are encouraged to say, “Let those who fear the Lord say, His steadfast love endures forever.”

This is truth we can live by.  Consider how this flushes out in our lives:

  • We do not have to live in distress.  He is on our side, Vs: 6.
  • We do not have to trust in men.  We take refuge in God, Vs: 7-9.
  • We do not have to worry about eternity.  God is our salvation, Vs: 14.

Brothers and sisters, this should be the wind in our spiritual sails.  I love Vs: 15 “glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous.”

If you are discouraged today, you need to consider what God has done for you.  You need to have a song for Jesus.

Consider this, most of the world does not have a song or they have the wrong song.  If you and I live out our song of faith, much of the word will come to know what is hidden now.

Take time to prepare yourself for the song (read His Word).  Now as you get ready to leave home, clear your voice, clean your mind, and commit yourself to singing your song for Jesus this day!!!

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What’s in your cup? (Psalm 116)

August 30, 2018

I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord, Psalm 116:13

Each morning I have the same routine.  After finishing the essentials I go into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.  Each morning I take the coffee to my office and it begins.  You ask, what begins?

With my coffee in hand, I begin my time with the Lord.  This morning the Lord spoke first as He always does.    Maybe you are thinking, what is really in your cup?  If you heard the audible voice of God, there must be something else in your cup.

My response to you would be, does He not speak to you?  Each day my lord speaks to me personally. You can read what He said to me.  His Word to me is recorded in Psalm 116 and  in Hebrews 10.

For our time, I want you to consider His Word in Psalm 116.

This Psalm begins with a bold statement, I love the Lord because…

Brothers and sisters, the Psalmist goes on to tell us why He loves the Lord.  Here are four reasons why:

  • The Lord has heard and answered his prayers.
  • The Lord is gracious, righteous, and merciful.
  • The Lord has given rest to him.
  • The Lord has given him the cup of salvation.

Did you notice the last reason?  Here the writer uses a metaphor to illustrate what God has done for him.  His life is blessed because the Lord loves him.  He is filled with praise and love because God loves Him!  God has delivered his life and soul from death.

This cup reminds me of another cup.  The cup of God’s wrath.  Our Lord drank the cup of the Father’s wrath so you and I could drink the cup of His salvation.

Brothers and sisters, this brings joy to my life on this early Thursday morning.  Yes, there are many dark things to face today and yes you may be very tired.  But take time with the Lord this morning and drink from the cup of His Salvation!!!

Remember this song from days gone by

FILL MY CUP LORD

Like the woman at the well
I was seeking for things that could satisfy
But then I heard the Savior calling
Draw from this well that shall never run dry

Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up, Lord
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole

There are millions in this world who are craving
The pleasures earthly things afford
But none can match the wondrous treasure
That I find in Jesus Christ, my Lord

Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up, Lord
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole

Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up, Lord
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole

Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole

 

Father, fill my cup and walk with me into this day giving me the strength from your cup to do your will for the glory of your name!!!

What Are You Building? (Psalm 115)

August 29, 2018

Those who make them become like them;
    so do all who trust in them. Psalm 115:8

It was finally complete.  Three months of hard work was finished.  It was ready for the unveiling.  During those three months my mother often would ask me, “what are you building?”  I would not tell her because I wanted it to be a surprise.

I can still remember as I brought home the grandfather clock.  I so wanted to give this to my mom.  It was an amazing moment as my mother looked at the clock and then began to praise her favorite son (I inserted this part) for his work.  All these years later I became convicted about that time in my life.

Psalm 115 reminded me of this truth, I was building the clock for the praise I would receive from my mother!

You ask, How did Psalm 115 lead you to this convicting discovery?

This Psalm leads us to see the difference between the One True God verses the gods made by man.

Man made Gods have the following characteristics:

  • The dwell only on the earth.
  • They are the creations of men.
  • They have no life nor can they give life.
  • They exist to entrap men in pride and idolatry.

The One True God is so different:

  • He dwells in heaven and on earth.
  • He is the uncreated creator.
  • He is eternal life and He gives live to men.
  • He exists for His own glory.

Brothers and sisters, What are you and I building?

This day I am convicted to tear down what I am building and I am challenged to follow His pattern of building.  Here are the strong words of Paul on this subject from I Corinthians 3:10-15.

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled[b] master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

The God who is able (Psalm 114)

August 28, 2018

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
    the flint into a spring of water. Psalm 114:7-8

Have you ever responded to someone’s cries for help with the following responses: I would if I could or I am not able at this time.  Brothers and sisters how often do you and I find ourselves boxing in God’s power by thinking of Him in terms of our power?

In this beautiful Psalm, which would have been sung by God’s people in their descent from Jerusalem at the end of Passover week, we are reminded of the God who is able.

Notice the Psalmist’s teaching about this our God:

  • He is the God who brought Israel out of bondage, Vs: 1.
  • He is the God who dwelt among His people, Vs: 2.
  • He is the God who possesses  all power, Vs: 3-6.

As I read these words I realize I can never compare God to any man.  At best we are only powerless in comparison to our all-powerful God!!!

The Psalmist challenges us to tremble (stand in awe) of who is The Almighty God.

The Psalmist challenges us to give testimony to the power of The Almighty God.

Brothers and sisters, I needed this reminder today!!!  I needed to hear of God’s almighty power and I needed to get back on my knees in full faith.  How about you?

Ephesians 3:20-21 English Standard Version (ESV)

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Who is Like The Lord our God? (Psalm 113)

August 27, 2018

Who is like the Lord our God,
    who is seated on high? Psalm 113:5

The Psalmist invites the people of the Lord to praise the Lord.  So, on this Monday, I invite you to praise the Lord!!!

Question: “Did you or are you like me, so busy that you kept on reading?”

Take one minute and praise Him.  Don’t read the next paragraph until you do.

Wow!  You and I serve an amazing God.  Psalm 113-118 would have been the Psalms the people of God would have sung during Passover.  I can imagine the people worshipping as they considered the Lord our God.

This week our focal passage for Sunday is Mark 11.  The verses are so familiar to us.  We know this event to be Palm Sunday.  The worshippers that day were most caught up either in the emotion of the moment or they were caught in the hopes of some earthly gain.

If they could have only understood who Jesus was.  Psalm 113 answers two questions concerning the worship of God:

  1. Why would we worship Yahweh as God?

According to verses four and five He is both above creation and at the same time He is caring for creation.  He is the one true God over all nations.  He is the one true caring God who provides for all men.  He is the God who redeems the spiritually poor.  He is the God who gives favor to those who surrender their lives to His Son, Jesus Christ.  He is preparing a place for those who are His.

2. When should worship this one true God?

The Psalmist writes, “from this moment forward…” Yes we are to worship God from the moment we understand who He is.  For the rest of our lives we are to worship Him.  We are to worship from the moment we awake to the moment we fall asleep.

Oh that you and I would praise our Lord. Praise positions you to see things different and to live differently.  So, lets praise the Lord!!!

 

 

When healing comes (II Kings 5)

August 24, 2018

13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” II Kings 5:13

It was off to the doctor for the third time in the same week.  Once at the doctor’s office it was the same routine, but with one slight difference.  This time the doctor said, “If you don’t take the medicine it is useless for you to come here.”

The words of the doctor ring true with our Scripture for the day.  Naaman had leprosy, this was the diagnosis.  The cure was prescribed by the prophet of God, Elisha.  But Naaman did not like the prescription.

Why did He not like the prescription for his healing?  Vs: 10

I believer there were two reasons:

  1.  He thought he was worthy of a better way to be healed.
  2. He did not want to humble himself by getting into the muddy Jordan River.

Bottom line: “He did not want to humble himself before God.”

Here are some scripture for your consideration:

1 Peter 5:5-6 English Standard Version (ESV)

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

James 4:6 English Standard Version (ESV)

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

John 15:7 English Standard Version (ESV)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Naaman’s servant reminded him of this truth; “God has said He will heal you if you humble yourself before Him.”  This very day I believe the Lord is speaking to each who read this about the hurts in your life.

God is offering you a prescription of healing of you, humble yourself and obey Him.

Here was my prayer for my own life today.  I offer it as an example of how to pray in this matter:

Lord, show me the area’s where I need to humble myself. Please be gracious in showing me.  Lead me to humble myself out of love for you and for a love to do your will oh God.

Changes (I Peter 4)

August 23, 2018

 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.  I Peter 4:2

One of the most dreaded emails a company can receive from the board would be this, “there are going to be some major changes in the company.”

Often this translates into downsizing which means the loss of many people’s jobs.

I find, in life, most people fear changes unless there is a clear and proven reason for the change. It is the same way in our Christian lives.  We dislike change.  But change is a major deal to God!!!

In I Peter 4 we read in the first eleven verses about change.  Peter informs the Christ-follower of the needed changes in their lives.  However there is an immediate push back because we wonder, will this be good for me?

Let me say to you with confidence, “Godly change is very good!”

According to Peter, change requires three movements on our part:

  1. We must move to a place of discipline in our lives.

God calls us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. God calls us to daily be active in our faith.  It takes godly discipline to change.

2. We must move to a place of sacrifice.

God calls His followers to lay down the passions of the flesh.  Each of us have developed sinful habits, hurts, and hangups.  God calls us to arm ourselves with a different way of living.  If this is going to happen, we must sacrifice what we used to crave.

3. We must ultimately wave the white flag of surrender.

Only when we come to the place where we genuinely believe His will is the only way will we ever embrace change.

I truly believe the Lord is sending you an email which says, “There are going to be some major changes in your life.”  The question is, are you ready for it?

Footnote: If you are already facing change, here is a word from the Word which brings great encouragement:

Hebrews 2:18 English Standard Version (ESV)

18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

A Favorable Time (II Corinthians 6)

August 21, 2018

“In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. II Corinthians 6:2

It was not a good time for the question to be asked.  It was so obvious by the way the person responded.  The response was cold and it was cutting.  As I walked away I cried out to God, “Please direct me to know when it will be the right moment.”

Brothers and sisters, sometimes it is very hard to know when it is the right time to ask a question or when it is the right time to make a statement to someone you are trying to help.  Each of us can identify with this because it has been our experience in life.

I felt the weight of this last week as I stood in a mall waiting on Sherry.  I engaged the clerk so easily until it was time to share the gospel.  Suddenly my heart began to race and I began to wonder, is this the right time? Thankfully, I did not listen to the voice of my old nature.  I shared the gospel with this man.

In II Corinthians 6 Paul is writing with an urgency fueled by his partnership with God in getting the gospel to all men during the age of grace.  Paul wanted his readers to know:

  • It is always the right time to share the gospel because God wants lost people to pray for their salvation, Psalm 32:6; 69:13.
  • It is always the right time to be set apart for the gospel because we do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone.
  • It is crucial for the Child of God to stay away from connections with people who would side-tract us from our urgent task.

This very day you and I will meet many people who need the message of the gospel.  The question you and I must answer is this: “Will it be a favorable time to share the gospel?”

Paul would respond from days gone by, “yes, yes, Oh yes!”

 

Taking inventory of your life (II Samuel 7)

August 21, 2018

18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?  II Samuel 7:18

Last week I had the honoring of ministering at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Stanton Kentucky.  This was an awesome time of reflecting on ministry in years gone by, but it was an awesome time of seeing God at work in the present.

Each night as I would drive back to where I was staying, I had time to take inventory of God’s goodness in my life.  Each night I had an overwhelming sense of unworthiness before God.

I believe David must have felt this way as He reflecting on what God had done for him (II Samuel 7:1).  David wanted to build God a house to dwell in. God loved David’s heart, but He had bigger plans that did David.

This is a wonderful reminder of how God has called us to His plan throughout our lives.  The Lord reveals to David his plan:

  • I will give victory to you and your nation.
  • I will send forth a Savior for all nations.
  • I will place Him on the throne for ever.

When David hears God’s plans, He enters the Tabernacle to worship the Lord.

Notice how David’s worship is even more reflective:

Vs: 18-20, ““God, you know me and still you blessed me.”

Vs: 21-22, “You alone are the true God.”

Vs: 23-24, “You are redeeming and establishing a people for your own good will.” 

Brothers and sisters, this revelation was not only for David’s day, it is also for our day as well. God is blessing us even though He knows us. He is God alone who dwells in unapproachable light.  He has redeemed us through Jesus Christ and He is establishing His church to be His kingdom citizens for all eternity.

Oh my brother and sister, when I take inventory of who I am in Christ I can only think of one thing to do. I lift my hands to praise Him!!!

Our hearts desire (Romans 10)

August 20, 2018

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. Romans 10:1

Last week I met a man who in his own words said, “I will never believe in the existence of God.” This man was the most confident non-believer I have ever encountered in my life.  It seemed that no matter what I said, he was always confident that I was wrong.

After two plus hours I walked away sad for the condition of his mind and heart.  But at the same time I walked away with an increased awareness of the darkness in men’s hearts.  In some ways I believe I can identify with Paul’s heart for his countrymen in Romans 10.

These were people who wanted to earn their own way to heaven.  These were people who rejected Jesus as their Messiah. These were people who daily defying God.  But still Paul agonized over them (Romans 9:1-2).

Question: Keith, where is your heart for your fellow-man?

This question comes at me with the power of a dam breaking.  I see even more the need of the world around me.  My desire is simply this: “All men would be saved.”  Yes, all men would be saved from their wickedness and the wrath of God.

Is this your heart today?  If this is my heart and your heart attitude, we need to follow God’s path for gospel impact:

  1. We must accept the call to be sent to share.
  2. We must share the gospel with people around us.
  3. We must seek to share so they will hear.
  4. We must pray to the Lord to save those who hear.

Here is something I know you know. Our nation cannot call on the God they have never heard about and our nation will not call on God without knowing why.

So, let us open up the gates of our hearts to the gospel call.  Men’s lives hang in the balance.