Archive for April, 2021

And They Came (II Samuel 5; I Chronicles 11-12)

April 30, 2021

22 For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God. I Chronicles 12:22

Brothers and sisters I love to read the Biblical narratives of people’s lives in the Bible. I love Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Esther, Ruth, and the Apostle Paul’s stories. But above them all I love the narrative of David’s life.

God spoke to David when he was a teenager (I Samuel 16). God called David and he equipped David to become the King of a united people. David became the greatest king of Israel’s history. Only King Jesus eclipses David. I sometimes am reminded that there was one key to David’s success. I Chronicles 11:9 says its all:

“And David became greater and greater for the Lord of Hosts was with him.”

David’s success came because God loved Him. David in turn loved God. David stepped into the very perfect plan of God for his life.

In today’s readings we discover one result of God’s love for David. Day by Day (12:22) God brought mighty warriors into David’s life. These warriors came alongside of David. We see their names and theirs stories in our reading plan. I wrote the following in my journal:

WHEN GOD DOES SOMETHING, HE DOES NOT DO IT HALF-WAY!!!

Here is one example of the ability of the warriors who came to David’s side:

 14 These Gadites were officers of the army; the least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand. 

I want you to know that God does not do things half-way in your life. He will do all things well. Yours is the task of simply loving God and daily following God’s leadership of your life. Here is how Paul directed Christians to understand this process:

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phil. 2:12-13

Question: Are you clear as to God’s plan for your life? Question: Are you paying attention to those God is bringing into your life to accomplish the plan?

As my takeaway from the study today the Lord led me to sit down and recall every staff person I have every worked with. I spoke their names before the Throne of God and I asked God to bless them and to lead me to always remember that I am here to serve others (Mk. 10:45).

I love each of you who serve others!!!

Who is Really In Charge? (Psalm 102-104)

April 29, 2021

27 These all look to you,
    to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your Spirit,[c] they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground. Psalm 104:27-30

This morning, as I often do while waiting for my coffee machine to produce my coffee, I opened my I Pad to check my email and then I open my Facebook account to take a quick glance to see if Ovi or someone else had messaged me in the night. As I glanced at my account my eyes fell upon my good friend Dr. Doug Carters post. His post was about Dr. Jody Ray’s courageous stand against the United Methodist Church. Please be in prayer for Mt. Carmel Church in Roswell Ga. This pastor and congregation are standing up for the gospel and for the entire truth of God’s Word.

I ended up watching an entire sermon by Dr. Ray and I can tell you, it was easy to see that God was and is in charge of his life. In our readings for the day the Psalmist is giving praise and insight into the greatness of the God who is in charge.

In Psalm 102 we discover God as the one who is enthroned forever. He will be remembered by every generation, 102:12.

In Psalm 103 we discover God as the one who redeems us from our sins, 103:3.

Please take time to pray to this God. I used this chapter as my prayer guide for my praise time this morning. Here are a few things I praised the Lord for:

  • He forgives sin.
  • He heals our diseases.
  • He renews us every day.
  • He is merciful and gracious.
  • He disciplines us in love.
  • He cleanses us from our daily sins.
  • He in steadfast in love.

In Psalm 104 we discover God as being honored by His creation, Vs: 27-30.

Brothers and sisters, do we as humans honor our creator? I know many who are honoring Him, but I realize I am living in a world where most people are not honoring Him as being in charge. We see this also in many churches where pastors are preaching a secular humanistic approach to the gospel. Such unbiblical truth is damaging the church by knocking out the legs we stand on. Such unbiblical truth is destroying the one hope that lost people possess.

Ours is the call not to be led by media or by men. Ours is the call to be led by God who is truly in charge.

Let me challenge you to pray for the success of Mount Carmel Church and its pastor Dr. Jody Ray.

Two questions:

  1. Who is in charge of your life today?
  2. What are you going to do with what He directs you to do today?

What will be written about you? (I Chronicles 7-10)

April 28, 2021

13 So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. I Chronicles 10:13

This past weekend a wonderful servant of the Lord retired from leading his church for over 31 years. Pastor Michael Catt was faithful to his assignment. This morning I watched the video tribute to his ministry. As I watched I suddenly was reminded of how quickly life goes by. Jesus brother said, “Life is a vapor that is soon gone away,” James 4.

This same truth was before my mind and heart as I completed my journey through the rest of the genealogies of the tribes of Israel. As I read I underlined a few statements about the people:

I underlined when I read the descendants of Issachar were mighty warriors.

I underlined when I read the descendants of Benjamin were able to go to war.

I also underlined when I read that Judah was taken into exile because of a breach of faith with God.

Finally I underlined the tragic commentary of Saul’s life. This man failed to consult and honor God.

For a moment lets just consider Saul (chapter 9). Life could have been so different for him if he would have only honored the Lord by obedience. It is true that no one is perfect, but it is also true that the person who meets with God every day fails forward in faith. Saul led Israel for 40 years without consulting God.

I wonder, what will be written about my life when I come to the end? When Paul came to the end of his life, God led him to write the following in summary:

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  II Timothy 4:7

This could have been Saul and this can be you and I if we fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith. Here is what Paul wrote:

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 4:8

I take away two truths from what I have read this day:

  1. Life is going by quickly so I need to listen closely to God.
  2. My life has the potential to count for God if I live by faith and I fight the good fight.

It never gets old (Psalm 81,88, 92-93)

April 27, 2021

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
    to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
    and your faithfulness by night Psalm 92:1-2

I love the Psalms. I love being able to sing the songs that God wrote for His people to sing. Each time I read and sing the Psalms I find myself getting filled with truth that jumpstarts my day. Consider the jump start we received this morning in our reading of the Psalms:

  • In Psalm 81 I was jumpstarted by God calling me to listen to the one who has all knowledge and power.
  • In Psalm 82 I was jumpstarted by God reminding me that He is my source in the darkest of times.
  • In Psalm 92 I was jumpstarted by God’s constant faithfulness.
  • In Psalm 93 I was jumpstarted by viewing God’s eternal throne.

Brothers and sisters, God’s Word never gets old. Listen to me, no matter how old you get, God’s Word is enough for you.

Consider this truth: When you take in God’s Word it is as if the sunlight has broken through the storm clouds called life.

This happened with me today as I read Psalm 92. To be revealed, I came to my quiet time feeling exhausted and feeling mentally drained. I opened my Bible and cast my eyes on the following verses:

12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree
    and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
    they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age;
    they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the Lord is upright;
    he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

As I considered these verses I pictured the beauty of a healthy palm tree being blown by strong winds. The winds have no affect on the tree. Its roots are deep and it has been fashioned by its creator to stand such storms. I picture the strong cedar tree in the Middle East that endures the heat and lack of rain. Its roots also go down deep to grasp the water it needs to thrive in the heat of life.

Brothers and sisters, I feel stronger already by just reading and receiving the truth of this text.

My simple challenge to you is to be a Christian of the Word of God. Be a Christian who longs for the fruit of God (John 15:1-11) and the life of God (John 10:10).

Do you need extra help today? Consider Psalm 1

Blessed is the man[a]
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

  1. Why do the righteous flourish?
  2. Why do the unrighteous fail?

What’s Your Assignment? (I Chronicles 6)

April 26, 2021

 48 And their brothers the Levites were appointed for all the service of the tabernacle of the house of God. I Chronicles 6:48

“Oh, no,” thought the middle school guy who was asked to read I Chronicles 6 out loud before the class. This young man responded to the teacher by saying, “This is a disaster chapter. There is no way I can pronounce all those names.”

The truth is, we would feel the same way if we were asked to pronounce all those names out loud.

Just for reminder, the first 9 chapters of I Chronicles is a listing of all kinds of genealogies. God has placed these lists before us as a reminder that God was reminding the returning exiles of the constant love and care of God in Israel’s past. It was also God’s challenge for the people to take their place in God’s redemptive plan.

The natural question for we Gentiles is, what value is this to us? Brothers and sisters there is much value for us in these chapters. For example, we see the mighty hand of God in bringing our Saviors birth to completion. We also are challenged to find what our assignment for God really is.

Let me help you here. This past week I have spent extended time in John 15. 11 times Jesus uses the words, “abide in Me.” In I Chronicles the people were pointed to following the path their ancestors were on. But in the the New Testament we are called to follow Jesus.

In the New Testament we realize God’s path is for everyone to be saved and out of this salvation the realization comes that the Lord has individual assignments for each person He saves. I love John 15:16

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

On this Monday I challenge you to do the following:

  • Rejoice in being chosen by God to be saved.
  • Rejoice in God for being chosen to serve.
  • Rejoice in God for being chosen to bear fruit that has eternal impact.

Yes there are many hard to pronounce names in I Chronicles. But did you know there is a book in Heaven with many names that you might not be able to pronounce. The book is the Lambs Book of Life where all who are saved and will be saved have their names written.

I know my name is there and I know that I am to reach those who’s names are written there. This is my personal assignment.

2 questions:

  1. How does it make you feel to know that your name is in the Lambs Book of Life?
  2. What is written on your to-do schedule for the day?

No Moving Van Needed (Psalm 43-45, 49, 84-85, 88)

April 23, 2021

For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
    his glory will not go down after him. Psalm 49:17

Can you imagine how weird it would be if the Funeral Home offered, as a part of their services, moving vans so that the deceased could have all his or her worldly possessions moved with them to their next stop in eternity? I know you are probably laughing right now because this is crazy. But please stay with me.

How many people do you know who live as if their possessions are their eternal possessions. If there is anything I learned from the life of Job it was that all we have from God is only on loan to us while we live here on the earth (Job 1:21).

A guy was standing with another guy at the graveside service of a friend who was wealthy. The man asked his friend, “how much money did Bill leave?” The friend responded, “He left it all.”

In Psalm 49 the author pleads for all people (rich and poor) to listen to God’s wisdom. The writer offers eternal wisdom in this Psalm. The author knows all people are born as sinners under the wrath of Gd. He knows no man has the ability to save himself.

Truly no man can ransom another,
    or give to God the price of his life, 49:7

The Psalmist understands that death comes to all people:

for the ransom of their life is costly
    and can never suffice,
that he should live on forever
    and never see the pit. 49:8-9

The rich needed to be reminded that their riches cannot save them (49:10-11). The poor needed to be reminded of the same truth. What is the solution for dying people?

15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
    for he will receive me. 

Brothers and sisters, what great news that we have received from the Psalmist. Jesus Saves!!! This news comes with this assurance, God’s salvation comes with an eternal residence in Heaven, John 14:3.

I rejoice in knowing that where I am headed I will not need anything from this life. There is no need for temporal things in Heaven. It is my desire to pass on to others what was loaned to me.

  1. What will you leave behind when you die?
  2. What are you doing with what God has loaned you?

God’s Agenda (I Chronicles 1-2)

April 22, 2021

34 Abraham fathered Isaac. The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel, I Chronicles 1:34

If you are 50 and older and grew up in home where Christian was honored, you probably had a family Bible somewhere in the house. I remember my grandparents had our family Bible. As a kid I did not value it, but now I do. In our family Bible were the names of people when they were born and when they died. There were also the names of people’s wedding dates. It was our family tree in the front section of the family Bible.

Now that I am older I truly see the value of a Godly heritage. Each person is a product of their family heritage.

As we open our Bibles to I Chronicles we find a listing of many names. We know these names make up the family tree of the Jewish people from Adam to Zerubbabel (Chapters 1-9). Dr. Ed Hinson’s commentary is very helpful:

“The writer is showing the returners their geneological connection to God’s-redemptive purpose. These were called to worship God,” (The Essence of the Old Testament).

As I now own my grandparents Bible-I am reminded to do two things:

  1. To praise the Lord for placing me in a home where I heard the gospel and became a Christ-follower.
  2. To seek to pass on what has been given to me.

There are two New Testament passages that stand out to me:

I Corinthians 10:6-11

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ[c] to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

II Timothy 2:1-2

 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men,[a] who will be able to teach others also.

Two questions:

  1. What are the lessons you learned from your ancestors?
  2. What lessons are you passing onto others?

Two Great Blessings (Psalm 6,8-10,14,16, 19,21)

April 21, 2021

The law of the Lord is perfect
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple, Psalm 19:7

Several nights ago during our Community Group time the question was asked; what are the blessings of being an heir of Christ? The person who was given the assignment began to smile and as they shared the joy of the Lord was overflowing from this person.

Question: Do you feel blessed this morning?

Adrian Rogers once said, while preaching on John 15:11, “Without genuine joy life is meaningless.”

In Psalm 19 we read the wonderful words of God as penned by a joyous man. The man was David. In this Psalm David is giving his readers insight into the revelation of God. This revelation is two-fold:

  • In Verses 1-6 we see God’s general revelation revealed in creation.
  • In Verses 7-14 we see God’s special revelation revealed in His Word.

Question: Did the coming up of the sun give you reason to rejoice in your blessings today?

Each morning when I arise, I am reminded to give thanks to the God who has given me another day of life (James 4:13-17). Each evening as the sun goes down I am reminded to give thanks to the God who has cared for my needs all through the day (Phil. 4:19). Each night as I lay down to sleep I sense the presence of my ever watchful creator (Acts 17:28).

Question: Have you read the Word of God today?

His Word cries out, we have a Savior!!! As I open His Word I am reminded that it is perfect, powerful in transformation, and trustworthy. Each day I know I am made wise by the Word of God. Brothers and sisters I am so thankful for God’s specific revelation through His Word.

As I pause to consider what I have just written and what I have just read from His Word, I cannot hep but praise Him as my creator, my Lord and Savior, and my coming King. This day I know I have much to do, to say, and to consider. I know I need Him. My prayer is the prayer of David in Psalm 19:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Question: Have you drawn close to this Redeemer?

This day I leave you with the joyous words of John 15

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:1-11

He Truly Loved His Enemies (I Samuel 1-4)

April 20, 2021

11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and destroy you from the earth? II Samuel 4:11

If I have been asked this question once I have been asked it a thousand times. Here is the question: How is it possible for one to love his or her enemies? The question usually comes when a Christian either reads Matthew 5:43-48 or the Holy Spirit deeply convicts the Christian of their hardness of heart toward one they now consider their enemies.

Before we move forward, lets read Matthew 5:43-48 together:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect

In context, Jesus in Matthew 5 was correcting the false teachings of the religious leaders. Those who were listening to Jesus teaching had been taught to love those who loved them and to hate their enemies. Wow, this teaching would be embraced by anyone who had revenge and hate in their heart. But this is not what God said.

Jesus taught just the opposite. In His teaching Jesus pointed the people to understand the mindset of God the Father. God the Father offered mercy to the good and evil. He provided for the needs of both the good and evil. The true Christ-follower will love all people, even his or her enemies.

Now this does not mean that one approves of their deeds. It means that one keeps themselves pure in heart as Kingdom citizens when he or she loves as God loves. Yes, this means even ones enemies.

Brothers and sisters, this was David’s heart in II Samuel 1-4. He loved Saul and wept for him when he died. He loved Abner and wept for him when he died. He loved Saul’s son and wept for him when he died. The Bible said, “He won the hearts of all Israel.”

Brothers and sisters, do you love the way David did? Do you love the way Jesus taught in Matthew 5? I think that most of us would say, this is what I want to do. But to do it is a great mystery.

Brothers and sisters, this call of God is not so hard if you are willing to live a transformed life! When Christ saved you, you were called to surrender everything to Him including your mind and heart. When this happens, Romans 12:1-2, your heart will be filled with love for all people.

Take time today and consider how you can lean into a transformed life. Check out Romans 12:1-2:

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

  1. What is God saying to you personally out of todays readings?
  2. What happens when we refuse to love our enemies?

Where Could I Go? (Psalm 121, 123-125, 128-130)

April 19, 2021

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is plentiful redemption. Psalm 130:7

As a child I secretly enjoyed the fifth Sunday hymn sing night services at our country church. The reason I use the word secretly is because I never said anything to anyone about liking to sing the songs of the faith. But deep inside of me there was something special about those times when we were called to worship the Lord in song.

As the people of Israel traveled each year to Jerusalem for special feast times, God had written songs of ascent (as they went up) for the people to sing. Year after year this would take place. Now that I am older and am no longer a secret worshipper, I can sing opening the Psalms.

Psalm 130 is one of the Psalms that teach us about the amazing love and redemption of God. The Psalmist understood the common lot of all humanity. He knew all are born as sinners. He also knew if God had not provided a way for men to be redeemed, all men would spend eternity apart from God in Hell. Here is how he worded this truth:

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    that you may be feared.

I am so glad that Jesus loves me and I am so glad that Jesus loves you.

In Psalm 130 we are reminded that we can always go to the Lord with every circumstance of life. From my childhood I have know this truth. One of the songs that spoke to me as a boy was the song written by J.B. Coats entitled “Where could I go but to the Lord.” Here are part of the lyrics of this song:

Living below, in this old sinful world
Hardly a comfort can afford
Striving alone to face temptation so
Now won’t you tell me Where could I go but to the Lord
Where could I go (could I go) oh where could I go (could I go)
Seeking the refuge for my soul (for my soul)
Needing a friend (needing a friend) to save me in the end (in the end)
Won’t you tell me
Where could I go but to the Lord

As a little boy I first heard that I could go to the Lord. This day I invite you to go to the Lord with whatever you are facing today. This day I invite you to seek His cleansing for the failures that are breaking your heart. This day I invite you to sit before Him and feel His wonderful love. There is no one like our Lord. Yes, He is the one we call upon in all times. Here is how the Psalmist began Psalm 130:

 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
    O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

2 questions:

  1. How long has it been since you truly worshiped before the Lord?
  2. Will you find a quiet place for just a few minutes to be alone with God and just worship Him?