Archive for the ‘Thankfulness’ Category

Judgment for Rebels (II Kings 9; I Timothy 6)”

October 28, 2013

“Joram said, “Make ready.”  And they made ready his chariot.  Then Joram king of Israel and Ahazaih king of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu, and met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite.” II Kings 9:21

It is true, there are some circumstances that are hard to judge.  For example, “When your children are arguing over a particular issue.  You, as a parent, are called into the circumstance and are expected (Based upon your position as a parent) to judge who is right and who is wrong.”

Sometimes it is clear before you who is right and who is wrong.  But at other times, both parties give convincing arguments why they are right and why their sibling is wrong.  In these moments you face a cross-road because you could possible wrongly judge one or both parties.

In such moments I have found myself declaring, “I am not God.”

In this moment I want to turn your attention to God.  In II Kings 9 we see God’s judgment in clear focus.  The Bible tells us the story of our God raising up a king who executes Judgment on rebels.

This king carries out God’s decreed judgment against the family of Ahab.  I remind you of this fact.  There is no doubt that these people are rebels who deserve the judgment of God.

But as we consider their rebellion we must also consider this fact, “We too are also rebels, Romans 3:10-19.”  So it stands to reason that God is going to execute judgment on each of us as well.

Think it through:

“God has raised up another King who had taken our judgment.”  

Jesus has come as God’s anointed King to take the judgment we deserve, I Peter 3:18.  Jesus has become our propitiation (I John 2:1-2).  Just like the rebels in II Kings 9 we deserve judgment.  But unlike the rebels in II Kings 9, we received mercy because of the coming of King Jesus.

Working it out:

Now that we have received mercy, we must share the message of our Kings mercy with the world,

Spend some time this day praising the King of the ages. Check out I Timothy 6:17-18 for a greater understanding of our King.

Lifted up and pulled down (Numbers 31; Psalm 75-76)

May 22, 2013

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites.  Afterward you shall be gathered to your people,”  Numbers 31:1-2

“But it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another,” Psalm 75:7

Years ago I had the honor of sharing Christ with Bobby and his wife.  That day, God opened both of their hearts to the gospel.  God brought this couple into the fellowship of our church and we severed with them until God called his wife home. Afterwards he moved to another state.  Bobby was a guy who did amazing things even though he had polio since childhood.   Bobby grew up in a poor family where he and his brother shared the same bed.  Bobby said to me, “Pastor, I used to often wonder how on the night that I contracted polio that I got it but my brother did not.”

Question, “Have you ever wondered the why of God’s choices?”  In Psalm 75 we are reminded that it is God who choses to lift up and pull down, because he is the judge.  The wicked are pulled down as they drink the cup of God’s wrath.  The redeemed are lifted up, only because Jesus drank that bitter cup for them. (II Cor. 5:21).

We must become a people who praise God for the blessing of being able to believe.  All of humanity is born under the wrath of God.  For those who respond to the gospel’s call, there is a great lifting through the power of the cross.  In this moment, there is the recognition that God lovingly calls all men to be lifted up because of Jesus being lifted up on the cross.

I can still remember my friend Bobby as he rejoiced in God’s blessing in his life.  His polio was a temporary problem. However his eternal state was one of a lifting up for the glory of the Lord.  May this same mindset fill you as you face this day in a pulled down world.  Child of God the best is yet to come!!!

The God who drew us out (Leviticus 23; Psalm 30)

April 19, 2013

“I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.”  Psalm 30:2

When I was a kid we would occasionally be taken by my Father to his parents home.  I can still remember the wonderful barn to play in and the gigantic rock cliffs to climb on.  My favorite thing was to draw water from my grandfather’s well.  I was always amazed at how fresh and cool the water was from the bucket that was drawn from the well.

Here in Psalm 30 David is using this same picture as he speaks about the life of anyone who has been drawn out of the well of Hell.  Better put: “Our God has delivered us from the path to hell.”

Look with me at Verses 2-4.  We were sinking into this well but we were saved (Healed).  We were stained but now we sparkle (Restored).  Because of this David leads his readers to praise the Lord (Vs: 5).

At this point we should truly be praising our Lord for delivering us from the path to hell. But there is more, Vs: 5-10: “Our God is directing us toward His commonwealth called heaven.”  Along the way we are to engage in several things: Suffer well, Vs: 5; Seek His will, Vs: 6; Share His word, Vs: 9; Stand and worship, Vs: 10.

Brothers and sisters these things should occupy our minds as we come to the house of worship.  Just as this Psalm was written for the dedication of the temple.  May God help you and I to get past the clutter, confusion, and chaos of our routines this Sunday.  May we get down to the business of truly worshipping the God who drew us out!!! This is truly more refreshing than the water that I drank from my grandfather’s well all those years ago.

Thanksgiving Pt. 4

November 24, 2011

“Who can discern his errors?  Declare me innocent from hidden faults.  Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!  Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” Psalm 19:12-13

On this Thanksgiving morning, followers of Christ arise with the blessed assurance that we have been forgiven of our sins. This truth was so clear in my readings in Leviticus 4-7 and Hebrews 2.  In these readings I found great reason to be thankful that in all of the sacrifices we find a picture of Christ sacrifice for our sins.  This day you and I have much to be thankful for.

One of those things, we have to be thankful for, is the blessing of being an American.

Today, is a day that is set aside for every American to be reflect upon the blessing of our heritage.  The Puritan’s certainly came to The America’s to gain a ray of religious freedom, (For this we are thankful), but a deeper study of our history reveal that these people also came with economic overtures as well. The people who came believed they could make a new way of life that included economic prosperity.

Here is what one Historian wrote about the day of Puritanism in America, “The Puritan Revolution in England made little impact on other parts of the country.  By now settlers were more interested in growing tobacco and opening new lands for cultivation than in the religious strife in England.  Their former Puritanism had lost vigor in the midst of economic prosperity.” (The Story Of Christianity, Gonzalez, Pg 221)

Today, on this day of thanksgiving our nation stands at the cross roads of her future.  She has already started down the wrong path and has been on this wrong path for many years.  The question I have is this, “How do we turn it around and get on the right road?”  Some would respond by saying, “We have to go back to our heritage.”

In one sense I would agree, “We need to go back to the days when our nation acknowledged God as the sole source of our success.”  However I would also suggest that we go even father back to the day when Christ came.  I would suggest that this nation needs to come to a place of repentance before God.  We need to come to a place where we submit to Jesus lordship in our lives.

Chapters 4-7 in the book of Leviticus reminds us that at best we are sinners.  At best we can offer sacrifices that could never remedy our sin problem.  However, I have good news,  2000 years ago, Jesus Christ gave us a remedy for our sin problem, “He made propitiation for the sins of the people,” Heb 2:18.

Jesus accomplished in one sacrifice what all the Old Testament sacrifices could not, “Complete forgiveness of sins.”  On this Thanksgiving day, I both pray for repentance and awakening in our nation.  On this Thanksgiving day, I offer thanksgiving to my Lord:

Lord, I thank you that I find total forgiveness in you.  I praise you for the power to overcome sin.  I worship you for winning the victory over death so that I can have eternal life.  You alone are worthy of praise this day.  

Thanksgiving Pt. 2

November 22, 2011

“The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” Exodus 36:5

Today, I arose to a new day that according to the word of God is filled with new mercy for this day.  I can honestly say, “I asked the Lord before getting out of bed, ‘What things can I praise you in this day?”

I remind you that we are spending this week in thanksgiving to our Lord. Each day we are choosing a particular thing or things that we can give thanks to the Lord. This morning as I worked my way through Exodus 36-40 I discovered two particular things we need to give thanks for, “A right heart and His presence.”

As Moses gave the command for the people to give for the building of the tabernacle we discover the people’s overwhelming response.  The people gave more than enough.  As I thought about this amazing event, I discovered that on two other occasion’s people gave in this same manner, II Chronicles 31:10; II Cor. 8:2-3.  In each case the people gave because their hearts were given totally to the Lord.  Now here is where the thanksgiving comes in.  I would never be a giver had God not created a new heart within me.  As I read the word, I am reminded of the selfishness in my heart.  I am so thankful that God has given me a giving heart.  He who have everything puts within our hearts the love for giving to others.

The second thing I discovered was the blessing of God’s presence coming down to reside in the tabernacle when it was completed. Chapter 40 ends with God’s presence coming down in the form of a cloud.  There is a line in chapter 40 that amazes me, “Throughout all their journeys…”  God was with Israel and Israel was blessed even in the midst of her often failure of heart.  This morning I want to give thanks to our Great God who dwells in our midst.  I am so thankful that Jesus Christ removed the veil between man and God so that we could worship in His presence.

This very day I want to challenge you to have a spirit of thankfulness for a new heart and for His presence in your life.  By the way, living with a giving heart is an indicator that His presence is in your life.  The opposite is also true.  If you are living with a cold and greedy heart, it is an indicator that God’s presence is not in charge of your life.

Maybe this day should also be about searching your heart and finding a place for repentance in your heart?  If you arose this day without anything to give thanks for, then surely you need self-examination and you need Christ exaltation.

By the way, soon and very soon we will see Him face to face.  “They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more.  They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”  Revelation 22:4-5.  

A Week Of Thanksgiving Pt 1

November 21, 2011

Behold I will raise up a prophet like you from among their brothers, and I will put my words in his moth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him,” Deut. 18:18.

Recently Sherry and I went through our storage closet looking for things that we could put in a yard sale.  I must say, “I was very thankful to discover that our lives, because of grace, are not filled with hoarding.”  But there is always room for growth in this area.  We also went through our bookshelves to find books that would be good to bless others with.  As I was looking through my library, the Lord reminded me through an old bulletin how I often fail to thank the Lord for all I have been blessed with.

So, I thought it wise and honorable to our Lord if we would spend this week of Thanksgiving doing the very thing we should be doing every week, which is “praising God for all of his blessings.”  So each day this week, we will discuss different things we can be thankful for.

This morning, we want to focus on being thankful for an audience with God the Father.  Brothers and sisters, what an awesome privilege we have in being able to come before the Lord in prayer, but also to live and fellowship with the Lord.

We see this fact in the life of Moses in Exodus 33-36.  Chapter 33 begins with God instruction to Moses in regard to leaving Mount Sina. Here we read heartbreaking words, “I will send and angel before you and drive out your enemy, but I will not go up among you lest I consume you along the way, for you are a stiff-necked people,” Ex. 33:3.  The fact is, Israel sin kept her from walking and talking in fellowship with God.

But thankfully there was one in their midst, Moses, in whom God was pleased.  Moses became this mediator between God and man.  Here is what the bible says about Moses relationship with God, “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” 33:11

In chapter 34 we find the people watching as Moses would enter the tent of meeting.  The glory of the Lord would come down in the cloud.  God would meet with Moses and the people would worship from afar.  Oh how sad it must have been that these people could not worship face to face before the Lord.  This is the pain of sin in our lives.

However, I have good news.  Because of Jesus, Hebrews 3, 9:16-22, we have access to the Father.  We have an audience with the Father because of the Son. This very day, I praise my Father for the work of His Son so that every believer might pray and talk with the Father.

In a world of loneliness that is very dark, you and I have a friendship with God that is filled with light.  We worship this day in anticipation for the day when we will see Him face to face.  The writer of Revelation describes this as follows, “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,” 21:3.

This day I encourage you to spend time:  Praising Him for the honor of an audience.  Praising Him for the honor of answered prayer.  Praising Him for the honor of an unending relationship with Him.

Thanksgiving Pt. 3

November 23, 0006

He entered once for all into the holy place, not by the means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption,” Hebrews 9:12.

As you know we are spending this thanksgiving week focusing on the things we can be thankful for.  This morning is no exception as we consider Leviticus chapters 1-3.  The book of Leviticus is often hard for the western believer to understand.  The book is filled with a sacrificial system that is easy for the Jew to understand, but for the Gentile it is not so easy.  However for those who take the time to read, study between the lines, and compare with the New Testament, there is overwhelming benefit.  In particular we have a great reason to be thankful that our God, as indicated in Hebrews 9, has made a way for us to be forgiven before God.

For example, we consider Leviticus one where God tells Moses to instruct the people how to make a burnt offering.  This offering was made when someone sinned and they wanted atonement for the sin.  Several things stand out: 1) The sacrifice was to be a male without blemish.  2) The person who offered the sacrifice must put their hand on the sacrifice identifying this sacrifice was in their place.  3) The priest was to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice before the Lord.  4) The Sacrifice was pleasing to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters what a great picture we have of the Sacrifice of Christ.  He was without blemish.  He came to identify with us in taking our place on the cross.  His blood was sprinkled to make atonement for our sins.  His sacrifice was the most pleasing sacrifice ever given to God.

The fact is, the burnt offering only make an atonement that covered man’s sin so that he could be in earthly fellowship with God.  Jesus sacrifice made eternal atonement for man’s sin.  I give thanks to God that I do not have to offer sacrifice each day for my sin.  Not only is my sin forgiven, it is forgotten because of the power of Christ atonement.

Brothers and sisters we have much to be thankful for on this day before Thanksgiving.  Yes, there will be many turkeys sacrificed tomorrow so that we can have an enjoyable meal.  But even greater, one Savior, Jesus Christ was sacrificed for the salvation of many.  Let us celebrate Christ above all things and all people this holiday season.