Archive for January, 2022

The Battles Continue (Genesis 16-19)

January 31, 2022

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”[d] for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16:13

I Love God’s Word! His Word is living and life-giving for all who read, heed, and live-out it’s truth. Today, we return back to the life of Abraham. Today we see Abraham continuing His battle of faith. With each passing year, he drew closer to the fulfillment of God’s promise of a son. In the chapters before us we discover several amazing truths about God:

  • He is God Almighty (17:1).
  • He is The I Will (17:2).
  • He is The God who does the impossible (18:14).
  • He is The Righteous Judge of all the earth (18:26).

All those who eventually stand on the parade ground of victory come to personally know God as He is described in our readings. But there is something else about God that we discover in these chapters. It could be the characteristic of God that you need today. It could be the characteristic of God that gets you over the hump in your battles.

Here it is: God sees you at all times.

This truth was revealed to the exploited slave of Sarah. This precious woman, in God’s eyes, was named Hagar. Take time to read her story before you proceed any farther (16:7-12). In the midst of her misery and heartbreak (her battlefield), the Angel of the Lord comes to her.

By the time the conversation had ended, she discovered “God sees me.”

Spurgeon captures the heart of this truth as he writes:

“There came home to her what she had often heard before but never felt. There is a God in Heaven who cares and is at the same time here with me. He sees me not as being far away, not as one who is asleep. I am not friendless after all. He loves me so much that He speaks to me.” (Spurgeon Study Bible, Pg. 22; CSB)

Brothers and sisters what does this mean for our lives?

  1. Christians are never alone (Heb. 13:6).
  2. Christians have a friend at all times (Prov. 19:6).
  3. Christians are always loved (Heb. 4:14-16).
  4. Christians have a constant companion who listens (Heb. 2:17-18).
  5. Christians have value and purpose (Jer. 29:11-13).
  6. Christians will always be cared for (Matt. 6:25-33).

Here’s great news, God approaches lost people with the same invitation as He did Hagar.

Brothers and sisters, you and I can enter the battlefield called life know He is leading us to victory (Phil. 1:6).

How can today’s study get you over the hump? How can you help someone you meet by sharing what you have discovered today?

Who’s In charge? (Isaiah 18-22)

January 28, 2022

For thus the Lord said to me:
“I will quietly look from my dwelling
    like clear heat in sunshine,
    like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” Isaiah 18:4

As I stand at my desk writing this blog, the two strongest super-power nations are flexing their military muscles as if war could be coming. Our President said on Monday, “This crisis is on a scale that could be compared to World War II.” I confess, these two nations have my attention. But I also confess they are not in a position to cause me to worry and stress.

I know a super-power much stronger than these two nations combined and even greater than the power of all the nations of the world combined. This mornings readings in the book of Isaiah are a strong reminded of who is really in charge.

The prophet Isaiah is giving proclamations (from God) concerning God’s judgements upon the nations of the world in that day. Notice where God is in these judgments:

  • In chapter 18, He is quietly ruling from His throne, but mighty in deed.
  • In chapter 19, He is riding on a cloud coming to judge the earth.
  • In chapter 20, He is the God who controls the future.
  • In chapter 20, He is the God who’s hand causes fear to rise in the hearts of nations.
  • In chapter 22, He is the God who has set a day of judgment for all people.

When anyone asks me, who is in charge, I respond: God is. Sometimes people will respond to my response by asking, if God is in charge, why is there such mess in the world. Oh, what a great question. Here is God’s answer:

  1. He is a long suffering God who offers people time to repent, II Peter 3:9.
  2. He is the God who is removing His hand of blessing, (Isa. 22:8) in hopes that people will see their sin and turn to Him (Rom. 2:4).
  3. He is the God who is allowing humanity to self-destruct as judgment (Rev. 6:1-18).

This day I am praying for Russia and for The United States. I am praying for every nation to turn to God in repentance. At the same time I am praying in thankfulness that we serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s who is ruling faithfully in our lives.

My challenge to you is this: Join the ranks of humanity by pointing each to the one who truly is in charge and who truly wants to be in charge of all people’s lives (Joel. 3:12-14).

The Questions that beg for answers (Job 7-8)

January 27, 2022

How long will you not look away from me,
    nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?
20 If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind?
    Why have you made me your mark?

    Why have I become a burden to you?
21 Why do you not pardon my transgression
    and take away my iniquity?
For now I shall lie in the earth;
    you will seek me, but I shall not be.” Job 7:19-21

Once again we pick up our study in the Old Testament Book of Job. Our friend Job is physically suffering in ways that are hard to imagine. Here is his own description of his circumstances from 7:4-6:

When I lie down I think,
“When will I get up?”
But the evening drags on endlessly,
and I toss and turn until dawn.
My flesh is clothed with maggots and encrusted with dirt.[a]
My skin forms scabs[b] and then oozes.

My days pass more swiftly than a weaver’s shuttle;
they come to an end without hope. (CSB)

I cannot wrap my mind around all he faced. But I can wrap my mind around how that his friends added mental pain to his physical pain as they offered him answers to his questions that were true to what God said. But they were not true for what Job was facing, so Job came before God as he should have and poured out his questions.

Certainly Job desired God’s mercy (as do each of us) but there was something deeper at work in Job’s situation. Job was locked in a battle with the forces of Hell. His question is one we can identify. He asks over and over, what have I done.

Brothers and sisters, honest confession: In times of ease we often waste our opportunities to talk with God in peace. The Scriptures teach that we are to seek the Lord while He can be found.

Brothers and sisters, honest confession: In times of trial we return to God with renewed urgency in hearing God speak.

In my faith journey I have learned that the first and most important prayer to place before God is this:

Father, reveal to me what you goal is in what I am about to go through.

Proverbs 5:1 teaches us to be attentive to God’s wisdom and to incline our hearts to receive His understanding.

Jesus taught, in His model prayer, that we should pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done…” Matt. 6:10.

“Father, teach me thy will in every trial I face. Father, touch my will to want to be led by You through every trial. Father, triumph in all my trials bringing glory to yourself alone. I love you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

What Will You Do? (Psalm 9-11)

January 26, 2022

if the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3

A new married couple stood in front of the rubble of a house that had gone through a tornado. This house had been the couples home since their honey-moon. As they stood there, the world seemed to have ended for them. The young wife buried her face in her husband’s chest and asked, what will we do.

Brothers and sisters, every one of us can identify in some way with what was happening with this couple. Either you have been though such a time or you are in one now. In Psalm 11, the writer was in such a time. He asked the correct question: When you lose everything (foundations), what can the righteous do?

Here are two important points to consider:

  1. The writer of this Psalm was in the camp of the righteous. Here is the deal: The righteous persons response to devastation should be radically different than the response of the unrighteous.
  2. Being in the camp of the righteous does not exempt the righteous from devastation in life. Here is the deal: The response of the righteous must be radically different than the response of the unrighteous.

Charles Spurgeon’s commentary bears our reading today:

“The righteous must not do as the unbeliever does, who puts his hand to his fevered brow and says, “I am a ruined man.” The righteous one cannot be a ruined man. We must not say, “I have lost everything.” We cannot lose everything. Christ is our all. and Christ cannot be lost. Just accept the blow, kiss the rod, touch the hand that smites thee and say, “blessed by you, my Father.” (The Spurgeon Study Bible, CSB, Pg. 700).

Brothers and sisters, as long as God occupies the throne, we do not have to worry. “The Lord is in His holy temple and His eyes are on us.” There is no one who can overthrow His throne (Matt. 16:18).

Learn what Paul learned in Philippians 4:10-13, in whatever state we can be content, because God is doing greater things! In Acts 4 the apostles were placed in jail and then released. They learned that God knew what He was doing. Check out their prayer after being released:

24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,[d] said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers were gathered together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed’[e]

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Wow! Let the church today follow the same God they followed. That young couple did and they discovered a house is not a home. A home is where two people come together with God as their Lord. Today, the couple rejoice in what God taught them.

Reenlisting in the Battle (Joshua 16-20)

January 25, 2022

18 because the hill country will be yours also. It is a forest; clear it and its outlying areas will be yours. You can also drive out the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and are strong.” Joshua 17:18 CSB

Last Tuesday, I closed our blog post with the following: “If you fail to engage your personal battles, you leave your giants for the next generation to content with.” One week later, the Holy Spirit will not let me get away from this truth.

Today, we are back with Joshua and the people of Israel as Joshua continues to divide the Land of Promise between the tribes. When I read these chapters, I realize that God was laying out each tribes battle plan or we could say, Joshua was placing before each tribe the will of God.

Spurgeon wrote: “The best advice I can give is that we make the best of the portion God has given us,” (Spurgeon Study Bible, CSB Edition, Pg. 290)

Question: Have you completed God’s battle pan for your life?

In Joshuas day:

  • The Ephraimites had not, 16:10.
  • Joseph’s descendants had not, 17:16.
  • 8 tribes had not even started, 18:3.

Brothers and sisters, I do not want to leave my battlefields for my family to contend with. Here is truth:

It could be that the greatest contribution you will make in your families life will be in winning the battles in your own life so that those who come behind you will not have to fight the same battles.

The teaching of Scripture so confirms this:

12 Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.  2:12-13

Here are 4 practical suggests for those who reenlist:

  1. Give your best effort to obey God’s battle plan.
  2. Battle in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
  3. Don’t give up when you fail. Get up and stay up.
  4. Pray every day as if your life depended on it.

Battles that shape our lives (Genesis 12-15)

January 24, 2022

15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great. Genesis 15:1

This day, we visit with a man of faith. His name is Abraham. The Apostle Paul wrote the following about our connection to Abraham: “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahams seed, heir’s according to the promise,” Gal. 3:29.

Brothers and sisters, both Jews and Gentiles (who follow Christ) owe a debt to Abraham because he was obedient to God. This man walked by faith in both believing and receiving the promised of God.

Just so that we can be on the same page I remind you of the following:

  • Abraham was chosen by God to obey what God would set before him.
  • God was going to build a nation that would serve Him and spread the news about Him around the world.
  • God was going to bring forth a Savior who’s earthly connection would be tied to the people of Israel.
  • God was going to accomplish these things by His own power. He was and is “The I Will.”
  • Abraham’s part in the process was to obediently walk by faith.

Brothers and sisters, now that we are on the same page I want to place the following before you:

God never said obedience would be easy.

By Genesis 15, Abraham was growing weary of waiting on The I Will. But here is what I know. You have to engage in the battles God places before you or you will never taste the sweet victory of obedience. Here are 5 battles Abraham had faced by chapter 15:

  1. The battle with security in chapter 12. He was asked to pull up stakes and move.
  2. The battle with his basic needs in chapter 12. When a famine came, he almost blew it big time.
  3. The battle with his family in chapter 13. He took the high road and put his nephew above himself.
  4. The battle with honor in chapter 14. He would not take honor that belonged to God alone.
  5. The battle with the impossible in chapter 15. How could God give them offspring?

Each of the above battles served to mark Abraham’s life. The end result would be the coming of our Messiah (Rom. 4:20-25). Question: How important are your battles? Believe me, they are far more important than you are realizing.

All last week God kept this on my heart: Without the battle God has no place for you to experience victory!

This week commit to obedience in every trial you face!!!

Looking beyond where you are (Isaiah 12-17)

January 21, 2022

2 “Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God[b] is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

Sometimes our outlook in life becomes overrun by all the life issues that seem to gather in our lives. In those times we struggle to look or even think beyond the life issues before us. It was David who asked, where does our help come from? David answers his own question when he writes, “our help comes from the Lord.”

One of the toughest battles for a Christian is the battle of both working through storms while at the same time worshipping God in those battles.

Consider the days of Isaiah. God’s message to and through this prophet was a difficult message to receive. The people would face persecution that would lead to countless deaths and deportation from their homeland. But beyond this season, “there was coming a day when they would give thanks to the Lord…” (12:1).

Battles are always going to be a part of our Christian journey. Paul faced such seasons in his life. As he wrote Second Timothy he was in deep trouble that would end in earthly death. But notice how he looked beyond the storm. He wrote:

“I am bound with chains as a criminal. But the Word of God is not bound” (2:9). Brothers and sisters, as we join Christ on the road of suffering we must look beyond the battle and see the victory that is ahead. Paul continued to evidence this in II Timothy as he wrote, “If we have died with him, we will also live with him. If we endure with Him, we will also live with Him,” (2:11).

Two challenges that will help you look beyond where you are:

  1. Walk with Jesus through the storms. “You can trust and not be afraid.”
  2. Worship Jesus knowing that you walk with Him is a light to others.

I love what the prophet Zechariah wrote, “10 men from nations of every tongue will ask; let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you,” (8:22-23). This can be the end result of what you are going through.

Does the Shoe Fit? (Job 4-6)

January 20, 2022

“However, if I were you, I would appeal to God and present my case to God,” Job 5:8 (CSB).

This day we find ourselves once again back in the book of Job as we read of Jobs grief and despair (6:2). Job did not understand the why of his devastation. His 3 closest friends had assumed that Job must be in sin. They could not imagine any other possible reason for his affliction.

In our text, Job asked his friends to reconsider and not to treat him unjustly. Job understood that his righteousness was on trial (6:29). At this point in our studies, in Job, I have come to realize the following:

We must refrain from putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

Job’s oldest friend, Eliphaz attempted to insert his limited knowledge into his friends circumstances. His wisdom was correct, if Job was wearing the shoes of discipline for sin. Consider what Eliphaz said:

  1. We should always go to God in prayer (5:8).
  2. We know God is able to redeem (5:9-10).
  3. We know God does discipline His children (5:17-18).
  4. We know God does restore the repentant (5:19-24).

Each of the above is true. But these truths do not fit into the shoes Job was wearing. Let us be careful with what we offer as God’s answers for others times of great trial.

The teaching of Paul rushes into my heart at this point. Here is what Paul wrote: “Carry one another’s burden’s; in doing so you will fulfill the law of Christ,” Gal. 6:2.

Christ taught us to love one another and care for one another (Matt. 22:37-38).

Here are two major takeaways from what I have read:

  1. Let us each re-evaluate our advice to others.
  2. Let us first comfort and then secondly pray for others before we speak into their lives.

The Entire Story (Psalm 6-8)

January 19, 2022

If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;
    he has bent and readied his bow; Psalm 12:7.

Sometimes we humans hear what we want to hear and we sometimes ignore the rest of the story. In our sinfulness we create stories that prop up whatever agenda we are promoting. Here is a good example of what I am sharing with you. The example comes from the pen of commentary writer Allister Begg:

“The cry of this age is that God is merciful, that God is love. Yes, who said he was not? But remember, it is equally true God is just, severely and inflexibly just. If he were not God, he would not be just. And he could not be merciful if he were not just, for punishment of the wicked is demanded by the highest mercy to the rest of mankind,” (Begg, Allister, Spurgeon Study Bible, Pg. 696.

Maybe you are asking, pastor what does this mean?

In Psalm 7, David was pleading with God for help with his enemies (7:1-2). David understood the entire story of who God is. David wrote, Lord if I am in the wrong judge me (7:3-5), but if my adversaries are in the wrong, judge them (7:6).

Brothers and sisters, we need to understand the entire story of who God is. He is the just God who judges righteously (7:8-11). He establishes the righteous and He pours out wrath on the wicked. But at the same time He offers mercy to all who repent. But to those who do not repent, He judges by carrying out both earthly and eternal wrath (7:12).

This is the entire story. Because of who He is we must persuade people with the entire story. Yes, God is merciful, this is why Jesus came. But for all who refuse to repent the wrath of God is coming.

The Apostle Peter understood the entire story when he wrote:

“For Christ also suffered once for sin, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God,” I Peter 3:18.

Two takeaways:

  1. Seek with all of your heart to understand the entire story of God. It will change your story.
  2. Tell others the entire story. Their eternity hinges on God Himself.

Embracing the battles (Joshua 11-14)

January 18, 2022

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them, slain, to Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” Joshua 11:6

I am just mentally tired from all these battles I am facing. I am ready to just give up. Question: Have you ever been in the place where you are mentally tired and ready to just give up? The truth is, we have all.

However, I can tell you that there is no need to give up in the battles you are in. Scripture encourages us to “not grow wearing in doing good, for in due season we will win the battle if we do not faint,” Galatians 6:9.

I know this is easier said than done. It is so true that sometimes the battles seem like it is you against the world. In Joshua 11 the Scriptures teach us that a mighty army was formed by a coalition of kings whose armies were according to Scripture, “numerous as the sand of the seas,” (11:4).

But listen my friend, if God is on your side you are in the majority and the victory will be yours. Here is a truth that you must grasp if you are going to embrace the battles before you:


As I sit here taking all this in, I cannot help but think about the battle Jesus faced. I realize all He did would have been wasted if He had turned away from His greatest battle, which was the cross. Here is how Paul summarizes Jesus victory:

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Cor. 15:57

Because He embraced the battle, I can embrace the battle. But there is more:

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. I Cor. 15:58

I challenge you to embrace the battlefields before you this day!

Two takeaways:

  1. God, show me the battlefield and show me your battle plan.
  2. God, empower me too fight by your side knowing the victory is assured.