Archive for the ‘direction’ Category

There Has To Be More (Ecclesiastes 1, I Timothy 3)

April 14, 2014

“What has is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 1:9

As a little boy, my life was filled with so much discovery.  I often would share my discoveries with my grandmother who always listened with great zeal.  Often my grandmothers response would be, “There is nothing new under the sun.”  I would respond to this comment with the following, “This cannot be true.”  I gave reference to the invention of the color Tv.  It had never been before!!!  Each time my grandmother would smile and say, “Some day you will figure it out.”

This morning I have figured it out (by the power of the Holy Spirit.)

Solomon is the author of the book of Ecclesiastes.  He is the king who has been blessed with both wisdom and understanding (Vs:13).  In his unique position he has been given the opportunity to investigate life.  He has discovered two things:

1.  Life is an unhappy business.

2.  The more you know of life the more unhappy you become.

Think it through:

Solomon over a period of 12 chapters will review every category of life and will sum up the pursuit with these words, “vanity of vanity, all is vanity.”  The truth is, life is filled with empty promises.  Yes, there are new things to discover each and every day.  But they all in themselves come up empty.  This is why Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”  It all ends up with the same result.

However, it is different when you look not to the world (Creation), but you look to the God who created this world.  Jesus teaches us about the more in John 15:16, “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain.”

There is more to life when you love Jesus.  Life takes on a new meaning because you are living with eternity in mind.  This day I want to encourage you to look away from the vain things of this life.  This day I want to encourage you to look to what is truly of value, “A life lived for Jesus!!!”  The Bible teaches us, “His mercies are new every day!”

Who Are You Trying To Please (I Thessalonians 5, Proverbs 25)

April 7, 2014

“Take away the dross from silver, and the smith has material for a vessel.” Prov. 25:4

The young boy had worked so hard on the project.  He had spent many hours doing his best to get the shoe-shine box just right as a gift for his dad.  The day came for him to give the gift to his dad.  He could hardly wait until it was time for his dad to open the presents.  Now it was time, his dad opened the gift and was overwhelmed by what he had received.  He came over to his son and wrapped him in his arms.  Mission accomplished, “the son had pleased his father.”

As Paul comes to chapter 4 in his writing we see a phrase that leaps off the page, “That you do so more and more.” Paul with zeal desires that the church life a life that is pleasing to the Lord. This was also the desire of Paul’s own personal ministry, “So we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.”

Question, “Who are you trying to please?”

Those who are genuine followers of Christ are seeking to please the Lord!  You can spot the true desires of their heart:

Think it through:

1.  They desire to live a holy life, Vs: 1-12

Paul writes, “This is the will of God, Vs: 1-3

Paul writes, “This is the work of God, Vs: 4-11

a.  We possess our bodies in holiness and honor before God.

b.  We love one another.

c.  We seek to live a quiet, peaceable, and productive life.

Paul writes, “We are to be a witness for God, Vs: 12

a.  We walk properly before outsiders.

b. We are dependent on God.

2.  They desire to live an expectant life, Vs: 13-18

a.  The church should live in expectation of God’s Second-coming.

b.  The church should live in expectation of eternity with God in heaven.

Our response:  

If you and I live this way, we will clearly be people who are trying to please the Lord.  By the way, this is the will of God.  If we do these things, we surely will be pleasing to our Lord.

Image how we must please the Lord when we do what pleases him.  As a father I understand the joy of receiving a pleasing gift.  The boy at the beginning of this blog was my son Keith.  The gift he gave me all those years ago still holds great value to me.  I carried it with me to Georgia just two weeks ago.

Going It alone (Proverbs 11; Ephesians 4)

March 24, 2014

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

“I know what I am doing!”  Question, “Have you ever found yourself saying these words to others or maybe to yourself?”

In such moments, I want to urge caution in your life!!!

The scriptures speak clearly to the trap of going it alone in life.  The fact is Solomon gives us graphic results of going it alone:

1.  Prov. 11:22, “You are headed for sure failure.”

2. Prov. 15:22, “All your plans will fail.”

3.  Prov. 20:18, “Without guidance, you are wandering in the dark.”

4.  Prov. 24:6, “Every battle will end with your defeat.”

Think it through:

Going it alone in life is no life at all!!!  But there is a better way.  Paul writes in the book of Ephesians, “Speak the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,: 4:15

As followers of Christ we do not have to go it alone in life.  We are in God’s family.  As a member of God’s family you are blessed with help that will assure victory in your life.

1.  Prov. 11:14, “In an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

2.  Prov. 15:22 “With many advisors they succeed.”

3.  Prov. 20:18, “By wise counsel wage war.”

4.  Prov. 24:6, “In an abundance of counselors there is victory.”

Our take away:

Decide to no longer go it alone in life.  Follow these five easy steps:

1.  Enlist wise counselors in your life.

2.  Listen to wise counselors.

3.  Plan with wise counselors.

4.  Wage war with wise counselors.

5.  Celebrate with wise counselors.

Where Can I Find It? (Job 28; I Corinthians 14)

February 27, 2014

“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?”  Job 28:32

Last week, while having a lunch meeting with a dear brother, my wife texted me with a simple three item list of things she wanted me to pick up at Sam’s since my lunch meeting was so close.  As soon as my meeting was completed, I found myself on a quest to retrieve these items.  Two were fairly easy, but the third was a challenge.  Yes I know I should have asked for help, but I am a man!!!  After a good search, I determined the product was no longer available.  I felt that I was successful in 2 out of 3 items.  At least until I got home and discovered that I had gotten the wrong brand in one of the two items.  So goes the quest for finding what my wife needed.

In a much more significant search, Job is seeking wisdom in his present circumstances.  In this chapter Job helps us to understand 4 things about wisdom.  Lets dig them out together:

1.  Wisdom’s price, Vs:18

Job teaches us that wisdom (true wisdom) is of greater value than the richest pearl ever produced in our world.  It cannot be obtained by men (on their own). Yes, men can mine gold and other precious metals.  Yes, men can do great feats in the world, but true wisdom escapes man.

2.  Wisdom’s possession, Vs: 23-27

God is the embodiment of wisdom.  He alone has established wisdom.

3.  Wisdom’s path, Vs: 28

God offer’s wisdom to all who turn from their sin and seek Him (This is the awe of God).

Think it through:

This is what it means to fear God.  As a follower of Christ I understand this to be the awe of God.  You and I can spend our entire lives mining the gold of God’s wisdom.  In the end, we will not have even come close to examining the extent of God’s wisdom.  For all of eternity we will be examining the gold of God’s wisdom.

4.  Wisdom’s productivity

As we turn from evil (Vs: 28) and pursue God, we will discover the impact in our daily lives.  Psalm 110:11 “The world will see the awe of God in our lives.”

Our take away:

I do not want the world to see me as a person who is spiritually wandering around the store of life looking for things that have no value.  I want to be seen as a person who is living in awe of God!

What We Know About The New Year (Ezra 1; Acts 1)

January 1, 2014

“He said to them, it is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority,” Acts 1:7

2014 has officially begun.  In Times Square the clean up crews are trying to finish their work of removing the remains of another New Years Eve celebration.  In other places in the world people are trying to remain positive as they face another year of life.

This morning our church begins a New Year in our Daily Bible Reading Plan.  You can access our reading plan online at

Our first readings in the New Testament will be to walk through the book of Acts.  Acts gives us the historical narrative of the beginning of the church.  We will see its inception and life for the first 30 years.

This morning I found great encouragement as I walked through chapter 1.  Here are the things that encouraged me:

1.  This could be the year in which our Lord returns, Vs: 1-7

As Luke records Jesus last conversation with His Disciples, we discover a question:  “Lord will you establish your kingdom at this time?'”  In Jesus response we discover teaching about the future.  The future is in God’s hands.  Our task is simple:  We are to stay alert and we are to stick with our assignment.  Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 24:36-44.

2.  This could be a year of great revival, Vs: 8-26

If you and I stay alert and stay faithful to our assignment, it could be a great year.  Jesus told His disciples to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.  To accomplish this task, they would need to organize the church and they would need to have power.  The power was the Holy Spirit!!!

As we read the rest of the book of Acts we will see this being lived out!!!

Think it through:

This could be the year when our Lord returns.  We must be about His work while there is time.  This could be a year of great revival if we choose to walk in the power of the Spirit and not in our own power!!!

Our response:

Dear Lord, may this year be the best year of our lives in serving Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.  

A Name Worth Mentioning (I Kings 17; Colossians 4)

October 14, 2013

“Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab…” I Kings 17:1

“And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord,” Colossians 4:17

This morning I found myself reading through a listing of people who were so important to Paul that he mentions them in his inspired letter to the church at Colossae.  As I read through these names I began to ask myself the following questions:

1.  Who were these people?

2.  What was their contribution’s to the kingdom of God?

3.  Do their lives have any impact on the church today?

These questions were clinging to my heart and mind so much that I brought them before my family in devotions and I brought them before the Lord in prayer.

Here are the answers that came.  1.  These people were named because they had impacted or would impact the people who received the letter.  2.  Their contribution was simply this, “They served the purposes of God for their generation.”  3.  Their lives still have impact because they inspire us to serve the Lord.

Think it through:

1.  How can our lives impact our generation and the generations to come?

2.  Are there specifics that should be governing our desire to impact others for the gospel?

Here is Paul’s answer: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.  At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison-that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.  Walking in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person,” Colossians 4:2-6

Take it out for a spin:

You and I may never have our name mentioned on the grand stage of great ministry meetings or in the halls of congress.  But be assured as we live out Colossians 4:2-6, we will be mentioned in eternity!!!

Strange Events (II Samuel 3; I Corinthians 14)

September 9, 2013

“And all the people took notice if it; and it pleased them, as everything that the king did pleased all the people,” II Samuel 3:36

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”  I Corinthians 14:33

There are moments in each of our days when we either see or experience strange things.  For example, “I was visiting, last week, in a tough part of the city of Louisville.  As I drove down a particular street, I noticed two police-cars outside of a house.  As I approached I noticed an altercation taking place.  To me, it seemed strange to see people in such a position.  But to those who lived with altercations every day.  It did not seem strange.”

In some sense, I felt the same way as I approached II Samuel three.  The events in chapter 3 mirror that of a modern-day drama.  Consider the events in this chapter.

1.  We see a King whose personal life is kind of a side bar discussion, Vs: 2-5

2.  We see a battle between two families-the house of Saul and the house of David, Vs: 1

3.  We see a leader who changes sides in the midst of the fight, Vs: 6-25

4.  We see an angry leader who bitterness leads to murder, Vs: 26-30

5.  We finally see a faithful king who is loved by all the people, Vs: 31-39

Certainly one could say after reading this chapter, “Strange events!”  

Question, “Where is God in days of strange events?”

Think it through:

God is working behind the scenes moving to remove those who opposes his plan of redemption.  Be assured God does not cause any man to do evil (James 1:12-14).  But be assured God does use the evil of men to further his purposes.  God wanted Abner out-of-the-way and He wanted David to have a free path to the throne of Israel.  

Taking it out for a spin.

Consider where God is in your strange days.  Walk through Romans 8:28-31.  Could it be that God is really at work in your strange days?  I personally know He is.  This brings great peace to my life, especially during strange days.  

It is not what it seems (I Samuel 29: I Corinthians 10)

September 5, 2013

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide they way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  I Corinthians 10:13

“I find no fault in him to this day,”  I Samuel 29:3b

“Life is seldom what it seems.”  This truth for life statement has often served me well during the years of my journey as a follower of Christ.  As a follower of Christ I have often been in circumstances that looked like they were happening because of what I could see, but later I would discover that they were anything but what I could see.

Consider a timely example in the life of David in I Samuel 29.  David has been living in the land of the Philistines for over a year.  He has been secretly destroying the enemies of God’s people.  One of the kings of the Philistines has no clue of David’s real purpose.

Here in I Samuel 29 the conflict between Saul and the Philistines is reaching its climax.  God has already told Saul that his life would end in the battle (I Samuel 28).  Here  we see David coming with his band of 600 to march with one of the Kings of the Philistines into battle.  But things are not what they seem.  David is not loyal to this king-but to Thee King.  David boast of his innocence before the king-but he is anything but innocent.  Thinks are not what they seem

Consider Achish.  Things are not what they seem to be.  He misjudges the loyalty of David and he vouches for David’s character.  If he only knew that this man was against him (Daily we must be careful to truly see what God sees and not what our flesh sees).

Think it through:

1.  Where is God in all of this?

God is where He is always.  He is sovereignly working all things for His glory (I Cor. 10:31).  God is both keeping David from being connected to the demise of Saul and He is executing judgment on Saul.  

2.  How many times has God worked in spite of our foolish decisions?

3.  How much praise does He deserve for our present success?  I Cor. 10:31

Taking it out for a spin:

Today I want to challenge you to consider God’s work in the world.  Take time to pray in submission to His plan and take time to seek out what He is doing.  Always remember He is in charge of all you are facing today, Romans 8:28-31.

The God who holds your hand (Numbers 29; Psalm 73)

May 20, 2013

“So Moses told the people of Israel everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses,” Numbers 29:40

“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.”  Psalm 73:23

This morning’s More For Christ readings were a precious reminder of the love of God for his people.  In Numbers 29 we see the faithfulness of God’s man to deliver all God directed him to deliver to the people (I praise God for one greater than Moses who guides us to do the will of the Father).

In Psalm 73 we see the faithfulness of God to walk with his people as they struggle with understanding.  In particular, in Psalm 73 the Psalmist is struggling to understand the path of the wicked.  At first the Psalmist cannot understand why the wicked seem to live lives of leisure without the slightest hint of judgment.  This lead the Psalmist down a path of confusion, “When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.”  

Brothers and sisters, I have had those moments when I have complained and I have been like an unbeliever as I walked through difficult circumstances.  But oh for the grace of God.  Here the Psalmist reminds us of how God in his sovereign grace walks us through such times of difficulty.  He illustrates this time as God holding our hand.

As God holds our hand we are reminded of several truths:

1.  God is our sovereign judge, Vs: 18-20

2.  We are a sinful people, Vs: 21-22

3.  God is a gracious Savior, Vs: 23-24

Brothers and sisters we must be spiritually aware of these things as we face all of life’s issues.  The Psalmist closes the Psalm by reminded us that God alone delivers (Vs:25), God alone must become our desire (Vs: 26), and God alone deserves the praise (Vs: 28).

Oh that I would see correctly and that I would surrender my life totally to walking with Jesus holding my hand.  And by the way, He is the one leading, not I.

The Fight Between God’s Will and Our Will (Numbers 22)

May 13, 2013

“But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as his adversary.  Now he was ridding on a donkey and his two servants were with him,” Numbers 22:22

Recently someone came with a very serious question, “Pastor, how do I know God’s will?”  This is a question that has been in the minds of many people throughout the ages of the church.  Certainly there are those who really are seeking God’s will.  Still others are simply making excuses for not carrying out God’s will.  Question, “Where are you in regard to doing God’s will?”

Before us is a classic passage that teaches us much about the will of God.  Here we find God’s people wandering in the wilderness.  We see the enemies of God’s people wanting to destroy them.  One in particular is in focus. The king of Moab, “Balak.”  His desire is for a prophet, “Balaam,” to pronounce a curse on these people.  The scene, chapters 22-25 give us a clear picture of those who fight the will of God.  Notice a couple of things:

1.  A troubled king, Vs: 1-6

The king both turns to and trusts in a pagan prophet.  How often do we find ourselves looking to the wrong places and the wrong people when we need answers?

2.  A troubled prophet, Vs: 7-41

At first it seems as if this prophet is a man of God.  When he is offered money, he turns it down, Vs: 7-21.  However, his selfish desires are revealed as he pursues his own gain.  But we see the Angel of God standing in his way.  Only because of the grace of God is this man not destroyed.

How often do we seek to further our selfish plans with a disguising statement, “I am seeking the will of God.” Be assured God will stand against you, if you stand against him.

The best way is to simply come before the true prophet and king, Jesus Christ.  Once before him, proclaim, ‘Do whatever your will has predetermined for me to do.”  And then walk in obedience, fighting the flesh, submitting to the Spirit.  Then you will know and do the will of God.