Archive for June, 2021

The Justice and Love of God (Obadiah; Psalm 82-83)

June 30, 2021

God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Psalm 82:1-3

Certainly we live in a society that has much injustice. We could fill this blog with example after example. The injustice of life begins so early for each person. We see it even with the ranks of preschoolers as toddlers decide who is worthy of their friendship and who is not worthy of their friendship.

In the days of the Psalmist Asaph, he writes about the injustices of his day. People were being unjust with the weak, the fatherless, the afflicted, the destitute, and the needy. The prophet Obadiah wrote of God’s judgment upon the people of Edom because of their unjust treatment of God’s people.

The question that should come to your mind and mine would be this: What should a Christian do in the wake of such a society? The Psalmist gives us our answer:

Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

God’s people are in the rescuing work. We are called to come to the aid of people who cannot help themselves. Such people do not even know there is a just God in Heaven. Such people are living in ungodliness and unrighteousness. In their blindness they want what the unjust possess. They fail to realize there is no freedom in riches.

God’s people are in the work of deliverance. We are to seek out those who are overcome by their captors. We are called to model Christ’s ministry in reaching people where they are (I John 3:15-18).

Christians, we serve a just and loving God. He is always just. In His justice He must punish sin. So just is God that He sent His Son to the earth to rescue and deliver unjust people (John 3:16). In His love, He poured out His wrath of Jesus for those who would repent of their sin. (Isaiah 53:5-6)

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

A Sad Commentary (II Chronicles 19-23)

June 29, 2021

20 He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. II Chronicles 21:20

This past Sunday I preached from Genesis 13 on the life of Lot who was along for the ride with Abraham. As we examined his life, it turned into a tragedy because he set his eyes in the wrong direction. You can check out the message at http://www.jacksonfbc.com

When Lot found himself in a cave having lost everything, it was a sad commentary. Question: Where is your life headed? Adrain Rogers said, “It is a fool who judges their life where they are now. A wise person judges their life based on the direction they are headed in.

In II Chronicles 19 we read of the wise leadership of King Jehoshaphat who according to Scripture; “he set his heart to seek God,” (19:3). But the same could not be said of his son, Jehoram. He set his heart to seek idols.

As I considered the contrast in those two kings I found myself drawn to what was said of them at the end of their lives. King Jehoshaphat was missed when he died because of his impact for godliness. But King Jehoram was not missed when he died because of the anguish he caused during his life.

What happened in his life?

  • He rejected the God of his father.
  • He married the daughter of wicked king Ahab.
  • He did evil continually in the sight of the Lord.
  • He murdered his brothers.
  • He turned Judah toward idol worship.
  • He caused the nation of Judah to experience the wrath of God.

Is it of any wonder why the people did not regret his dying? I have seen people at funeral’s who evidence no sorrow for those who died. Today I have sorrow in my heart for such people because they are in Hell or they are headed to Hell.

Two considerations at the end:

  1. Lord I want my life to be lived for You so that the impact I have will be toward godliness.
  2. Lord, help me to lead the Jehoram’s of the world to a saving knowledge and acceptance of Jesus.

When Jesus comes in a whole new life begins (II Cor. 5:17). Let this life lead your life today!!!

A Useless Endeavor (II Kings 22; II Chronicles 18)

June 28, 2021

 29 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” And the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. II Chronicles 18:29

As a Christ-follower I realize what a useless endeavor it is to attempt to hide oneself from God. In our focal test Ahab (the king of Israel) had been told by Elijah (I Kings 21) that judgment was coming from God. According to I Kings 21:25-29, the king repented and God delayed His judgment, but it still was coming.

A I read through the narrative of how Ahab died I was drawn to the truth of who God is and how we are to approach God. The writer of Hebrews proclaims: “there is no creature hidden from God,” (Hebrews 4:13). The writer makes it clear that “all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we will give account.” The Bible reveals to us in Proverbs 25:6 that even death and Hell cannot hide us from God.

How useless it was Ahab to disguise himself in battle. God’s eyes and hands are everywhere! Two things to see:

  1. Look at the king trying to escape the judgement of God. The prophet had said, “you will die,” and die he did.
  2. Look at the king trying to extend his life. What a terrible picture we see of Ahab being propped up in his chariot as the blood slowly dripped from his body. He died as the Lord had said.

What can we take from what we have read?

God is all-knowing and everywhere present. Do not hide from Him. Instead humble yourself before Him (Heb. 4:12-13).

God is sovereign-He rules the universe. Instead of living your own way, surrender to His way so that when you meet Him face to face, it will be a joyous moment in eternity, (Rom. 5:1; 8:1).

God is merciful and kind-so do not give up when you mess up. Go to Him and He will receive you and walk with you along the journey, Acts 3:19-20.

2 questions:

  1. What useless things are you attempting today?
  2. How can Ahab’s story benefit your life?

Walking in the path made by others (I Kings 15:25-16:34; II Chronicles 17)

June 25, 2021

The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel.  II Chronicles 17:3-4

Several times during the year Sherry and I will get to take a day trip to a State Park where we get to take trails to walk on that others have walked before us. Sometimes those trails have a lot of roots growing in the path. On several occasions I have seen other people trip over those roots and fall. To be honest, I have gotten pre-occupied a few times and tripped myself. Such is the life of taking paths of other people.

This mornings readings reveal to us two different paths taken by the kings of Judah and Israel. The Bible records some of the kings “walked in the sins of Jeroboam (I Kings 16:31). I noticed as I mapped their paths that with each king they sinned even more than the king before them. Such is the path of sin.

The Bible also records the path of those kings who followed the path of king David (II Chron. 17:3-4). For example Jehoshaphat followed the godly path of his father Asa who patterned his life after the path that David walked.

Still today all of humanity follows one of two paths. People follow either the path of sin (ungodliness) or the path pf righteousness (godliness). If you do not believe me, take a look at the society we live in.

Paul warned Timothy of the path of sin in II Timothy 3. He wrote, “but understand this, that in the last days times of difficulty will come.” Such times come because people are heaping up sins of all kinds for those who walk behind them to pick up. I must ask, how much more can this world stand?

Brothers and sisters, we have a choice to make today. We can either avoid the circumstance or we can forge a different path for people to follow. The path of sin is dark but the path of righteousness is bright. The light shines even brighter as we see the day of His return approaching.

I am resolved to walk a path of righteousness because He has placed me on this path. I am resolved to keep my path clean from the roots of my failure. I will confess my sin every day and clean the road so that others can be pointed to Christ. I will lift up the glorious name of Jesus so that others can embrace this new path (Matt. 7:14).

Two questions:

  1. Which path are you on?
  2. Do you have roots in your path that need to be uprooted?

Take Courage (I Kings 15:1-24; II Chronicles 13-16)

June 24, 2021

 But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” II Chronicles 15:7

There are days when the Scriptures are so rich for my life that I have to slow down and take the text one bite at a time. It was this way in II Chronicles 14-16 as I considered God’s work in the life of King Asa. I pray you only read this blog as application after you have feasted on the greatness of God’s Word itself.

Often people ask, I am going through something, and I need a recommendation for a book that speaks to this subject. Now there are many great books out there which help us in God’s Word. I have just completed my sixth book in writing, but at best these are minor in comparison to God’s Word. Make sure God’s Word is your go-to book in every circumstance of life.

This morning I found myself taking great courage as I examined God in His work in Asa’s life. Here are a few highlights:

  • God gave peace on every side of Judah, 14:7.
  • God gave a great victory over a million Ethiopian solders, 14:9-13.
  • God gave courage to Asa to lead the nation to a spiritual awakening that led many from Israel to join the people of Judah, 15:1-19.
  • God gave peace for many years, 15:19.
  • God loved Asa so much that He disciplined him when he failed to seek God’s wisdom, 16:7-10.

Take a moment and look back over the highlights. Now let me ask you the following questions:

  1. Do you need peace? Asa’s God offers peace.
  2. Are you in a battle large or small? Asa’s God is a victorious God.
  3. Do you need courage to speak up? Asa’s God filled him with courage.
  4. Are you weary of constant battle? Asa’s God gave extended rest to the nation.
  5. Are you in a slump failing to pray as you should? Take Asa’s advice, run back to Jesus, He is your rest and revival.

This day I have been so challenged by God’s Word. I find myself feeling as did Paul when God stood by him and spoke in the storms of life, Acts 23:11, 27: 23-25.

 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 

Take courage today. Here are four concluding questions:

  1. Are you facing life’s storms? Who is the captain of your vessel?
  2. Has God ever failed you? How does your answer reshape your mindset for this day?

Lessons for Christians in every country (II Chronicles 10-12)

June 23, 2021

12 And when he humbled himself the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to make a complete destruction. Moreover, conditions were good[a] in Judah. II Chronicles 12:12

Can you imagine being a president of any nation in the last 18 months? It is tough enough to lead in an ordinary day, but when you add the pressure of a pandemic to the mix, it is beyond my ability to comprehend. The reason I begin here is because our focal text comes from the Chronicles which gives us the overview of Israel’s leaders.

Here is one example from chapters 11-12. The King of Judah was Rehoboam. In chapter 12 we read of both his wise and unwise decisions. Check out the following:

  • He was a wise king in fortifying the cities around the capital city, 11:1-12.
  • He was a wise king in receiving the priests and Levites into the kingdom, 11:13-17.
  • He was an unwise king in abandoning the Law of God, 12:1-5.
  • He was a wise king in repenting before the Lord, 12:6-7. “He humbled himself.”

Brothers and sisters leaders are people who will not be perfect and the pressures they face every day are gigantic.

instead of being critical of their every move, let us move on behalf of our leaders in the following ways:

  1. Pray every day for the wisdom of our leaders. I pray every day that President Joe Biden would open his heart and mind to God Himself. The Bible says that the heart of the king is in the Lord’s hands.
  2. Seek every day to leverage your influence to spread the righteousness of God in the world.
  3. Daily confess, before God, the sins of your nation and daily seek the mercy of God in bringing a great Awakening to our world.
  4. Become a leader in your local church in building a wall of prayer before the world.

Brothers and sisters, no matter where you live, your place in the world counts. It seems so appropriate to claim the truth of II Chronicles 7:14 today:

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14

Disturbing Days (I Kings 12-14)

June 22, 2021

…For I am charged with unbearable news for you,” I Kings 14:6

King Jeroboam sent his wife to speak to the prophet of God concerning their sick son. The reason the king did not go is because he was a wicked king who worshipped dead God’s. The dead gods had not been able to help their son, so he sent his wife to seek wisdom from the true prophet of God.

Brothers and sisters, what disturbing days. This morning I sit before my laptop with a very sad and broken heart. I have just completed reading I Kings 12-14. Those were truly disturbing days. The nation of Israel once united as one nation under the leadership of Holy God divided into two nations with both nations worshipping dead God’s.

The disturbing days would lead to devastating days because the judgment of God was coming against a people who had according to Scripture, “cast God behind their backs,” I Kings 14:9. Take a moment and let the truth sink in. The leaders had turned away from God. The God who was before them in leading and directing was now behind them. The God who they worshipped was now behind them.

Please take the time to consider their days and sadly our disturbing days. The Psalmist wrote about such people in Psalm 50. Notice Vs: 17

1For you hate discipline,
    and you cast my words behind you
.

Brothers and sisters, I must ask: Is God before you or have you cast Him behind your back?

In John 15 Jesus opened the eyes of those who had Him in front of them when He said:

 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. John 15:7-8

Is God before us as a nation or have we cast Him behind us?

All we have to do is to look to our leaders for the answer. Our leaders bow the knee to every special interest group and they stand with their back raised toward the God of Heaven. Sadly many denominations have stood with their backs turned to God and now the nation is divided.

Only when the leaders of the church repent and come back on bended knee will there be hope for America and hope for the world. Join me on bended knee today praying for repentance that will lead to revival in America.

Don’t Just Sit Here (Proverbs 30-31)

June 21, 2021

Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.[c]
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9

Last week our church hosted block parties in one of our cities sub-divisions. The first night, very few came. The second night a few more came. But on the third night there was an outpouring of drawing as many people came. As I have been reflecting over the weekend, I have gleaned these things:

PEOPLE ARE HURTING IN SO MANY WAYS

In Proverbs 31 God commands us to come to the aid of those who are hurting:

  • They are mute which means they have no voice to help themselves. They have no voice before men and certainly before God. But you and I do (Mk. 11:23-24).
  • They are destitute which means they do not have the basic essentials of life. But you and I do (Matt. 6:25).
  • They are poor and needy which means in both spiritual and physical they are in desperate need. You and I have what they need (I John 3:16-18).

PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW WHERE TO TURN FOR HELP

In Proverbs 31 God commands His people to speak for those who are hurting. We are to be their voice before God and their voice before leaders in the world. We are to be God’s hand and feet as Job was for his generation (29:12,15,16). We are to carry out the directions of God given to us through the prophet Isaiah:

17    learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:17

PEOPLE WONDER IF THE CHURCH IS THE REAL DEAL

The people we reached out to on Monday were waiting to see how we treated those few who came. It was the same way on Tuesday. The word began to spread, its ok! These people are helping us to have community. Brothers and sisters Jesus said, the world will know we are Christians by our love (John 13:34). The world will see the Light of Jesus if that light is shinning brightly in us (Matt. 5:16). People will begin to come to Jesus as you and I call out to Jesus (Matt. 6:6-9).

PEOPLE FIND BOTH IMMEDIATE AND ETERNAL HELP IN CHRIST ALONE.

I know Jesus gave His life for all people. What He did was enough for anyone’s soul (Rom. 10:9-10,13). I know He cares for the immediate needs of all people (Matt. 6:25-33).

Brothers and sisters, it is time for each of us to get out of our homes and back into the fight for the souls of all people. Here is encouragement from the Apostle John:

1By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. I John 3:16-18

2 quesions:

  1. What is your personal response to Proverbs 31:8-9?
  2. How will you help the hurting today?

What Should We do this Summer? (Ecclesiastes 1-6)

June 18, 2021

I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life, Ecclesiastes 2:3

It happens every year. Our family always sees everyone around us taking vacations and it prompts us to ask ourselves, what we should be doing for the summer. If you live in another country you may not grasp how stressful of a decision this can be.

Life in the United States is filled with options of things to do. In some ways Solomon evidences our struggle as he places before his readers his quest to find purpose in life. Solomon was, blessed by God, with wisdom greater than any man who ever lived before him or after him. His wisdom made him the perfect person to explore all that life had to offer. As you read the book of Ecclesiastes you get a sampling of his exploration. Here are a few things Solomon did:

  • He built houses and he built lakes and forests.
  • He gave himself to all kinds of self-indulgences.
  • He gave himself to studying the wisest sayings of his day.
  • He focused on wealth and the value of gathering wealth.

In the midst of these pursuits he wrote, “I concluded that all my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” 2:11

Some people believe Solomon was depressed or he became a person of negative views. This was not true at all. Solomon came to the following realities:

25 for apart from him[d] who can eat or who can have enjoyment (2:25)

 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (3:11)

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. (3:14)

Brothers and sisters did you see the realities? If you did, you know what to do for the summer. Here they are in action items:

  1. The best summer is when you walk with God (4:12).
  2. The best summer is when you do it with a team of people (4:9-11).
  3. The best summer is when you enjoy in a Godly way what He places before you (3:24).
  4. The best summer is when you engage in eternal things (3:14).
  5. The best summer is when you leave it all on the table for God’s glory (5:15).

Oh my friends, these are the actions our family have decided to engage in this summer. It is going to be a great summer.

2 questions:

  1. What are your plans for the summer?
  2. Do you need to change plans now that you have read God’s Word?

The Beauty of Friendship (Proverbs 27-29)

June 17, 2021

Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
    and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel, Prov. 27:9

One of the worst mistakes a Christian can make is in trying to walk through this life alone. The Devil does His best to get you to live on an island of isolation. When we are isolated the enemy comes with lies and deceit. Suddenly we begin to listen and we begin to give in and often we give up.

God has given into every Christian a set of friends. Now we know the Devil will plant false friends and we must beware of them. However, God places true friends in our lives to walk with us in this journey. One must ask, what do these friends do?

  1. They see and confront our blind spots. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered” Prov. 28:26.
  2. They remind us of who God is and who we are. “Ones pride brings him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor,” Prov. 29:23.
  3. They partner with us to win the battles of life. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future,” Prov. 19:20. “Plans are established by counsel. By wise guidance wage war.”
  4. They keep us from giving up or giving in. “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity,” Prov. 17:17.

The above is only a sample of the value of true friendship. Maybe you have forgotten these truths? Maybe you need to once again reach out to those you have for some reason not been able to get back together with.

There is one more thing I must write about today. Out of all the friends God places in your life there is one that stands above the rest. This friends name is Jesus. He is the friend who is always there, Heb. 13:5. He is the friend who runs into your trouble when all others run away from the trouble. He is the friend that stands at the door of your heart and knocks when you attempt to push Him away, Rev. 3:20.

The hymn writer put it this way: There is no one like the lowly Jesus, no not one.

2 questions:

  1. Who is your best friend and what are they speaking into your life today?
  2. Who are you being a friend today?