Archive for March, 2022

What should I do (Job 28)

March 31, 2022

“From where, then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?” Job 28:20

Last weekend a group of world leaders gathered in Poland to discuss the war in Poland. Each leader gave their view as to what the answer should be. The group completed their meeting with more questions than answers.

Job was wrapping up his meeting with his three friends in Job 28. His friends believed Job was in sin. The world always has answers, but most of the time the answers are their own and not Gods.

Job reminded his friends, as well as you and I, that Gods wisdom is more valuable than the richest gems in this world. Brothers and sisters, if you have Gods wisdom you are rich beyond the richest person in the world.

If you have Gods wisdom you are on the path of peace. You also are on the path of purpose. Yes, you are also on the path of path of power and praise.

As a Christian you have access to God’s wisdom. The question is, are you applying Gods wisdom? Job teaches us how to apply wisdom:

“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28

Each day seek the Lord through time in His Word and time in prayer. Each day apply what He says!

Do What You Want To Do (Psalm 36-38)

March 30, 2022

Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

How could the pastor make such a statement? Did he not know that the flesh rages in a young man’s heart? Had he forgotten that the heart is deceitful above all things? But he did say it. Yes, it came out of his mouth. The pastor said to me, when I was a teenager, do what you want to do.

The context of his comment was in reply to my question about my future. I had asked my pastor if he thought I should go back to school to prepare myself for a life of ministry. His response was coupled with a verse of Scripture. The Scripture was Psalm 37:4. The CSB translates the verse as follows: “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart desire.”

My pastor knew what the Psalmist knew. They both knew that when a person loves what God loves and wants what God wants, he or she can ask what they want because God wants what they want. Now this may seem difficult to grasp if you are a person who believes Christianity is simply a life of not doing what you want.

No one describes Psalm 37:4 better than Charles Spurgeon:

“When I hear persons say, my religion consists in some things that I must do and in somethings I must not do,” I reply, mine consists in things I love to do and in avoiding things I hate and would scorn to do.” (CSB Spurgeon Edition, Pg. 722).

The question that comes to my heart and mind is this: Do you take delight in doing what the Lord wants?

David describes such a life in Psalm 37:5

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.

This taking delight involves no less than 4 pursuits:

  1. I purse being born again.
  2. I purse loving what He loves.
  3. I purse hating what He hates.
  4. I pursue living out what He delights in.

Such a life sings like this to God: “Yes, Lord, Yes, to your will and to your way! My answer is, yes, Lord, Yes!!!”

If this is you, just do what you want to do, in Jesus name!

The Person in the Mirror (I Samuel 11-15)

March 29, 2022

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to listen than the fat of rams.” I Samuel 15:22

In the epistle of James we are commanded by God to do the following, “Be doers of the Word and not hearers only deceiving yourselves,” James 1:22. Following this command James illustrates how this works in a Christ-followers life. We are to see the Word as a mirror that causes us to see ourselves as God does. James concludes the illustration by reminding us to always look into the perfect law of liberty. God’s Word leads us to be liberated from our sin as we obey its commands.

In I Samuel 11-15 we read about King Saul who failed to obey God’s commands. As we read his story, let’s allow the Word to be the mirror for our lives. At the start of his kingship Saul was a humble man (15:17 “he believed he was unimportant…”). But this did not last long because he allowed the taste of leadership to become a craving for self-glory. Samuel confronted Saul in I Samuel 15. Samuel was direct with Saul, “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you,” (13:13). Saul’s reign would become an ugly mess because he could not see the man in the mirror. God would take the kingdom and give it to another (13:14).

Now, let’s apply James 1:22 to our lives. Do you and I see ourselves in the life of Saul? I cannot speak for you, but I can for my life. I see shades of Saul in my life. I have been guilty of wanting to rule the kingdom myself. I have been guilty of attempting to build my own kingdom. Does anyone else see sin the mirror of your life?

God’s call to Saul was to repent. But Saul would not repent. I want you to know that repentance is a daily part of keeping the mirror of one’s life clean. When God shows us our sin in the mirror we are called to repent and to obey from this point forward the Word of God.

The longer we reside in the Word, obey the Word, and remember the Word the better we will look in the mirror.

The beloved Hymn writer wrote a song about the Wonderful Words of Life. Enjoy this as we close:

Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life,
Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.

Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life,
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

Christ, the blessèd One, gives to all wonderful words of life;
Sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life;
All so freely given, wooing us to heaven.

Sweetly echo the Gospel call, wonderful words of life;
Offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior, sanctify us forever.

Heavenly Perspectives (Genesis 48-50)

March 28, 2022

20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[b] should be kept alive, as they are today.  Genesis 50:20

In this life you and I encounter many diabolical pitfalls. These pitfalls are placed in the road of our lives for the purpose of us falling away from the purpose of God in our lives. I could give you many illustrations of these pitfalls, but one will do since it was Satan’s pitfall placed in front of Joseph.

In Genesis 37, Joseph’s brothers, out of jealously, sold him into slavery. The pitfall would have been in hate, bitterness, and unforgiveness by Joseph. However, Joseph did not fall into the diabolical pit because he possessed a Heavenly perspective. How was Joseph able to do this?

  • God was with Joseph. He rescued Joseph out of all his troubles, Acts 7:9-10.
  • God favored Joseph as He favors all who follow Him, Acts 7:11.
  • God took the evil intentions of Joseph’s brothers and used them as the passage way for Joseph to get to Egypt, Gen. 50:20.

Joseph understood these things because he had been given a heavenly perspective. He understood it so well, that he not only forgave his brothers, but he also cared for all their needs.

I believe, you and I need a Heavenly perspective in all we face each day. Here are three perspectives from Heaven that will change your life:

  1. God is in charge of our lives. People are not in charge.
  2. God’s plans are always good so I trust Him.
  3. God’s purposes will prevail in the end.

Because these things are always true, I can see clearly the pitfalls before me and I can walk right on by them. This is what Jesus did on the cross. He looked down at those who placed Him there and said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Where is all this headed? (Isaiah 62-66)

March 25, 2022

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” Isaiah 66:24

The prophet Isaiah delivered to Israel a devastating prophecy. God had said, because of your rebellion I will judge you. The judgment would be severe: “I trampled you in my wrath; your lifeblood will be spattered on my garments,” (63:3). God explained, through the prophet, that the people were without excuse for their rebellion, “I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devises,” (65:2).

Surely they knew where their rebellion was headed? Isaiah knew that only an intervention from God Himself could lead the people in a different direction. The prophet cried out, “Oh that you would open the Heavens and come down…to make your name known among the nations,” (64:1-2).

Question: As a believer, do you see the handwriting on the wall? Our world is on a collision course with God.

In my life, I see what is coming and I know that only God’s intervention can turn it around. It’s time, for we His people, to pray as we have never prayed before. Isaiah promised: “God will meet with those who joyfully work righteousness, and those who remember God in their ways,” (64:5).

Church awake to repentance and righteousness!!! God is calling us return to a life of holy separation from the things of this world. God is calling us to righteous living among the people of this world. In our decisions and in our actions we must model Christ in us the hope of glory.

As we do so, His light opens the way so that we will be afforded opportunities to witness the good news of the gospel. Yes, we could sit this one out, but what kind of Heaven would we have if the people we love were not with us?

Yes, there is coming the day when God, according to Isaiah; “will create a new Heaven and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind,” (65:17).

Until that day, let is work righteousness and honor God in all our ways!!!

How can I be for sure? (Job 25-27)

March 24, 2022

“Will he delight in the Almighty? Will he call on God at all times?” Job 27:10

Two friends meet as they had been for years on Monday morning for their weekly coffee and conversation. As they began, it was first lighthearted stuff that they focused on. But as it had so many other times, the conversation turned to God things. As the conversation became more intense one of the friends noticed that his friend was struggling with something. Finally he asked his friend, whats going on my friend?

The friends response was a shock. The friend shared that for some time he was been struggling with whether he was saved or not. His friend asked, what has led you here? The other friend responded by telling the story about a visiting pastor who shared about the effectiveness of prayer in his life. The friend responded, I have no prayer life.

Brothers and sisters, one of the surest ways to know that you are born again is to judge ones prayer life. In the book of Job, we find some truth relating to this point. In Job 25-27, the debate was still taking place between Job and his friends. His friends were still maintaining that Job must be in sin. But Job was still maintaining that he was innocent. Job said: “I will cling to my righteousness and I will never let go. My conscience will not accuse me as long as I live,” (Job 27:6).

At this point Job listed characteristics of people who were lost without God. One of those characteristics is in that they do not call on God (27:10).

Spurgeon wrote: “Prayer is as good a test of spiritual life as the pulse is of the condition of physical health.” (CSB, Spurgeon Edition, Pg. 668)

Brothers and sisters, Christians pray because:

  • We are Children of God.
  • We want to know what God says to us.
  • We love to be with God.
  • We know nothing happens apart from His plan.

Prayer is second nature to a Child of God as breathing is to our daily lives. When I think of an example of this, I am reminded of the life of Daniel who lived in constant communication with God. “He prayed three times a day to His God,” (Daniel 6:10).

The issue with the friend in our illustration above was not that he was not saved. The issue was that he had not grown to see the value in prayer. But it is different now.

I leave you with this challenge today. For the next week, commit one hour per day with God. If at the end of the week you are not different, then ask Jesus to lead you to salvation. Romans 10:9-13 will help you to pray.

For the rest who come to know that you are saved. Let prayer become second nature to you!!!

Where is the Lord? (Psalm 33-35)

March 23, 2022

“The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit,” Psalm 34:18.

Have you ever called out to God, with a cry that has one sentence in your prayer? Here is the one sentence: Where are you God. In Scripture we see many examples of this. For example, tomorrow we will rejoin Job as he cries out, where are you God. Maybe this is your one sentence prayer this week.

This day the Lord has led me to dig into Psalm 34 where David celebrates the Lord who was with him and delivered him from the mess he had gotten himself into (I Samuel 22). David wrote:

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and rescued me from all my fear,” (34:4).

As you read the previous verse, did you find a reason to rejoice or did you cry out, why am I not experiencing this? I truly don’t know why you are not experiencing this. But here is what I do know:

  • When God seems far away, it is usually because I have moved away from him.
  • When God seems far away, it is usually when I have pursed sin in some manner.

God was not far from David as he wrote Psalm 34. David gives us great hope when we are crying out to God. David writes about God:

He is “The Angel of the Lord” who encamps around us, 34:7.

He is the Lord who is always near the broken hearted, 34:18.

He is the Lord who saves the crushed in spirit, 34:18.

He is the Lord who redeems the lives of His servants, 34:22.

Take heart my friends, the Lord is near. I know He is!!! Call on Him in repentance if you have walked away from. Call on Him in submission as you own your desperation for Him. I leave you with David’s own words of encouragement:

“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him from all his troubles,” Psalm 34:6.

The Lord has helped us (I Samuel 6-10)

March 22, 2022

“The Lord has helped us to this point,” I Samuel 7:18.

Reading God’s account of Israel’s journey in the Old Testament is like following the constant movement of a Yo-Yo which goes up and down. It seems they were always up and down in their connection to God.

God Himself summarized their lives when He said, “Since the day I brought them out of Egypt unto this day, they abandoned me to worship other God’s.” (8:8)

Question: What is your track record with God?

In I Samuel 7, after God delivered Israel once again from her enemies, the prophet Samuel set up a monument to the Lord. At the dedication he named the monument, Ebenezer, which means, “the Lord has helped us.”

Two truths stand out to me:

  1. I serve a God who always is helping His people.
  2. I serve a God who has never failed His people and He never will.

Father, I want to raise an Ebenezer to you. Spurgeon said: “We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose he worked all of his mighty acts in days gone by, but does not perform wonders for the saints now on the earth.” (CSB Study Bible, Pg. 352).

Here are two wonderful takeaways:

  1. Child of God-trust in God in your present storm. He is working it out, Phil. 1:6.
  2. Child of God-testify of God’s greatness in the presence of those who are in the storms of life, I Tim. 6:12.

Strange ways but the same God (Genesis 44-47)

March 21, 2022

“And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependents.” Genesis 47:12

As one, who is a Christ-follower, l look back at life and also at my current life, I must say, “God is faithful.” In every moment and in every memory in my life, I must say, God is faithful. Yes, there were times when God’s ways seemed strange to my mind, in the moment, but in the end they have always been exactly what I needed.

When I consider the story of Joseph and God’s work through his life, I must say, it was a strange way for things to work out. Joseph was promised by God (Genesis 37) to be a leader of people. It would seem ordinary for someone to go to school for such training. It would seem appropriate for someone to apprentice under other leaders in preparation for leadership. It would also see wise to place this person in places of leadership where they could safely grow in their abilities.

But that was not God’s way. Joseph’s schooling would be as a slave and then as a prisoner. Looking at Joseph’s journey, I must say, it seems strange. The scriptures teach us the following:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. Is. 55:8

God’s ways in Joseph’s life produced a great harvest that was more than Joseph could have imagined. God sent him ahead to save the lives of not only the 70 Jews back in the Promised Land, but also of countless generations to come. Ultimately, it would be through his brother Judah’s offspring, that the Messiah would come.

The same God who worked in a strange way in Joseph’s day is the same God who work’s in strange (that is to us) ways in our day.

Here is what I know: I can fully trust in God because He knows exactly what we need and He knows exactly what is the best for each of us (Rom. 8:28). If it seems strange, do the strange thing. Trust Him!

What the Lord Sees (Isaiah 56-61)

March 18, 2022

The Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice,” Isaiah 59:15.

I wish I could say that I always see things correctly, but there are countless times when I fail to see as the Lord sees. Could it be that you, like I, have those things that you are praying about this very day? Could it be that the harder you pray the less answers you seem to discover?

In Isaiah 59, God reveals the reason for Israel’s coming captivity. The Lord saw what was really happening in the lives of those people and it displeased Him. I believe the Lord looks down on the events of our day and He is displeased. Isaiah wrote of his day, “Truth was lacking,” (59:15).

It was not that God was untruthful. God is truth. The truth was lacking because the people refused to listen to God and to see things as God saw them. Here is a question for our day: Who knows what God knows and who sees what God sees?

The Scripture offers this answer: The Holy Spirit knows the mind of the Lord. Romans 4:6 states, “God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.” When Christians listen to God, He reveals what He sees and what we are to do in every circumstance of life.

Now, I realize that some of you are responding, I am a Christian, but I am not hearing even though I am praying. If this be the case, let me suggest to you what God directs the people to do in Isaiah 58. God said, “fast.”

Here is what God said about fasting:

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[b] go free,
    and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ Isaiah 58:6-9

Please work back through what you just read. God says, Keith, humble yourself and repent. Spend time mourning and then seeking one thing which is My desired will. When you do this in your fasting, Keith, I will hear and respond from Heaven.

This is the fast God has chosen. If you want to see as He sees and do as He says, prayer and fasting are the key!