Friday, July 28, 2017

WORKS, MIRACLES, JUDGMENTS



I Chron. 16:12  “Think of the wonderful works he has done, the miracles, and the judgments he handed down.”

There are three things that should be on our minds: the wonderful works of God, the miracles of God, and the judgments of God.  When we think about these things, our hearts are turned to God and we can then stay in fellowship with Him.

Everything God does is wonderful.  Think about it.  Can you name anything that God has done that is not wonderful?  We observe life in the past and we discover that no matter what God allowed to happen, there was a wonderful purpose and plan for it.  Life as we now know it would not be possible if it were not for those who lived the lives they did in the past.  Everything of the past has worked together to make the present possible.  And life lived now is part of what the future holds for those who follow us.  God is working out His plan of redemption.  He is preparing the way for all who would be saved to be saved for heaven.  O, the wonder of it all!  Everything God does is wonderful!

We should never take for granted or fail to remember the many miracles of God.  They are everywhere for us to behold.  From birth to death, life is a miraculous experience.  Within life we have the opportunity to know God!  We have the opportunity to be used of God.  We have the opportunity to witness God at work in us: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

We should never forget that God is a god of judgment as well as mercy and grace.  God has a deep passionate hatred for sin.  He has judged those who have lived in it in the past severely.  He judges those today who are living in it.  And He shall judge all who follow us severely for lives lived in sin.  All sin will be exposed and judged on Judgment Day.  No one will get away with anything.  We dare not forget that God is holy and will never tolerate sin in His presence.

Think about these things: God’s works, His miracles, and His judgments.  Let your thoughts turn to the Lord.  Let your heart reach out to Him and embrace Him for He alone is worthy of your heart’s passions.  Let your heart swell up in praise and thanksgiving as you consider this great God we serve.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

WHAT DO YOU THINK?



I Chron. 15:29   But as the Ark of the Lord’s covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window.  When she saw King David dancing and leaping for joy, she was filled with contempt for him.

What did Michal see?  She saw her husband totally immersed in worship.  David was not concerned about his position or how others would think of him.  David was the king of Israel, but foremost, he was a man who loved the Lord and he was filled with joy.  David let his hair down and joined in spontaneous worship of the Lord.

We are not told, but it seems like Michal did not share in David’s faith.  She was the daughter of Saul, and Saul was not exactly remembered as a man of great faith.  She probably was not antagonistic towards faith, but neither was she enthusiastic about it.  It seems like she was more concerned about image than anything else.  “What will others think now?” 

Sometimes our spouses don’t share in our faith.  They don’t understand our enthusiasm for the Lord.  They may even resent it.  What do we do?   Do we let them determine how we will worship the Lord?  Do we let them influence us to the point where we don’t even worship Him?

If we are honest, we are probably more like Michal than we are David.  We are uncomfortable with anyone who worships the Lord differently than we do.  We shy away from those whom we deem to be “on the edge” or who don’t fit into our understanding of the faith.  We look down on those who are not afraid to show their enthusiasm as they worship God. 

The church is big enough to hold all expressions of worship.  Who are we to say that worship cannot happen in any way other than our way?  Who are we to look down on how others worship the Lord?  Who are we to try to stifle the worship of others?  Let us rejoice with those who rejoice, regardless of how they may rejoice.  Great is the Lord and worthy is He to be praised, no matter how the soul is moved to praise Him.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

RESPECT HOLINESS



I Chron. 13:9-10  But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark.  Then the LORD’s anger blazed out against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark.  So Uzzah died there in the presence of God.

Each time I read this passage, I am struck by the how God dealt with Uzzah.  King David was leading a procession to bring the Ark into Jerusalem.  They were doing their best to honor God, but they were not doing things in the way God had instructed the Israelites to do it.  The responsibility for carrying the Ark was reserved for the Levites.  David’s heart was in the right place, but he failed to do things the right way.

God sent a clear message to David and his people.  God was holy and He would be treated as holy or there was a price to pay.  The Ark was God’s dwelling place.  It was where God had declared He would be amongst His people.  The intent of David’s heart was to bring the presence of God back to His people. 

However, in order for God to dwell amongst His people, He must be regarded as holy.  We must respect and honor Him as holy.  Most people do not do that very well today.  If we were to regard God as holy, we would have a much greater concern about sin.  We would strive harder to not sin.  We would address sin wherever we found it amongst His children.  We would be far more diligent in our efforts to live godly lives.  We would be far more focused on God than we are the other things in our lives.

The greatest need that we have today is to reclaim our passion for holy living.  We cannot manufacture holiness by the things we do.  It is only found in a dedicated and determined life lived in Christ.  If you find yourself to be less than holy in your conduct, conversations and thoughts, return to the Lord your God.  Bow before Him with humility and brokenness.  Ask Him to forgive you for your lack of holiness.  Renew your commitment to Christ.  Rededicate yourself to loving the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul.  Without holiness, no one shall see God or be with Him.

Monday, July 24, 2017

WHAT HAVE YOU NEGLECTED?



I Chron. 13:3  “It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it during the reign of Saul.”

Saul was a man who started out well.  He was humble and considered himself unqualified to serve as king over Israel.  However, he was weak in character and could not handle the position or the fame it brought him.  He became a proud and arrogant man.  He failed to listen to godly advice and took it upon himself to do whatever he wanted to do, whether it was right before God or not.  He also was plagued by jealousy and was prone to express it in fits of anger.  Saul failed to lead his people into a fellowship with God because he was out of fellowship with God.  There was a draught in the spiritual life of the nation during his reign because there was an obvious neglect on Saul’s part to keep his heart right with God.

The thing I wonder about is, “What have we neglected?”  It is easy to get so involved in life that we begin to neglect the things of God.  It can start so subtly and even unknowingly.  We fail to maintain the disciplines we need to stay close to God and before you know it, we progress into total neglect of those disciplines.  We must realize that we need to keep on doing those things we need to do in order to keep our relationship with God fresh.

It may begin with not taking time for our personal devotions because of the busyness of our lives.  We start off small, missing a day here and there, and then gradually finding excuses to miss more days until we begin to get the idea that it’s not necessary at all.  We begin to miss a few church services because we are too tired or busy.  Gradually we just go occasionally, as our schedules allow it.  Before you know it, it is more normal for us to stay away from church than it is to go.  Faith becomes more of a head thing than a heart thing for us. 

We dare not let up on those things which feed our souls.  We are prone to wander from a disciplined life, so we have to work hard to stay on track.  “What makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation that was announced by the Lord Jesus himself?” (Heb. 2:3 NLT)  Indeed, we shall not escape.  We shall not escape a life without God nor the consequences of lives filled with sin. 

Neglecting our salvation is a grave sin we dare not let creep into our lives.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES



I Chron. 12:32  From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives.  All these men understood the temper of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.

     How in touch with the times we live in are you?  Are you aware of what is happening behind the scenes of what you see and hear in the public arena?  Now, I know that it is hard to really know what is, and is not, the truth these days, but I suspect that most of us do not have a clue as to what is going on around us or in the world. 

      We are seeing right before our eyes the world getting ready for Christ's return.  We are in a huge spiritual war that threatens to overrun us and forever change life as we know it.  There are those in power who are working behind the scenes to move us into a one-world society and church.  If they are allowed to pursue their goals, they will at some point achieve them.  We live in very perilous times and it behooves us to be aware and be about the Lord's business while we can.

     It's so easy to not get involved in anything.  It's easy to go into our shells and let the world go by.  It's easy, but it's not what God wants us to do.  We are mandated to go into the world and make disciples.  We are to be the difference-makers in society.  We are to have a profound impact on the world we live in, but very few of us are willing to even make a difference in our churches and homes, let alone the world. 

     Don't be lulled into sleep thinking that nothing bad is going to happen to us or the world.  God told us clearly that things are going to deteriate and the world is going to determine how we live in the future; it's closer than you may want to admit or think about.  Now is the day of salvation and we must seize the opportunities we have now to make a difference for Christ in the world.  Tomorrow may be too late.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

WHAT CHARACTERIZES YOU?



I Chron. 4:9-10  There was a man named Jabez who was more distinguished than any of his brothers.  His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful.  He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh that you would bless me and extend my lands!  Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain.”  And God granted him his request.

The thought I want to dwell on today is that Jabez was found to be more distinguished than any of his brothers.  He was different.  He stood out.  What was there about Jabez that made him different?  We can only speculate, but for me it was probably more spiritual than physical.  Here was a man who knew how to pray.  He knew how to pray because he prayed.  He sought the Lord on his knees.  He endeavored to live for the Lord in a way that pleased Him.  He sought the Lord’s favor on his living.  He sought the Lord’s presence in all he did.  He sought the Lord’s protection over his life.

What sets you apart from others?  What makes you noticeable amongst your family and friends?  Do people take note because of your looks, position in life, wealth, influence, or fame?  Are you noticeable because you are gifted?  As much as these things are sought after, they are meaningless.  The only thing that God notices is the heart.  He judges the heart and not the noticeable things of life.  If our heart is pleasing and acceptable to God, others will see it and take note.  We cannot hide from others the Lord when He controls us.

What do you want others to see when they see you?  You may never be noticed because of the things the world notices, but the world should notice Christ in you.

May we be more distinguished than all the rest because we live in Christ and Christ lives in us.  May others see Christ in us before they see anything else in us.  May they know we are His and He is ours.  He must increase and we must decrease.

Friday, July 21, 2017

JABEZ'S PRAYER



I Chron. 4:10  He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and extend my lands!  Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!”  And God granted him his request.

While I believe that we need to be careful about how we latch onto prayers and promises that are directed to a specific people in a specific time and place, I do believe that there are things we can glean from them that can certainly benefit us in our walk with the Lord.

It is good to desire blessings from the Lord so that we can better serve Him and reach more people for Him.  I shy away from asking the Lord to bless me for my sake so that my life will be easier, more comfortable, or more pleasurable to me.  I don’t hesitate in asking the Lord to bless me if it means more people are touched by my life.

I want the Lord to be with me in all that I do.  When we live on our own and neglect to ask the Lord to be with us, we are opening the door to all kinds of trouble and pain in our lives.  I want to know that the Lord is with me.  If He is with me, I can face anything and do anything through Him because He enables me to do it.

I don’t like trouble or pain.  They are a part of life, but I don’t like them.  I especially don’t want to be the cause of it.  We need to ask the Lord to help us to not be a pain in the neck to others.  Some trouble and pain we bring on ourselves because of wrong choices we make.  We need to constantly be on guard against them by bathing in prayer the daily choices we make. 

May our heart’s prayer be like Jabez’s.  Let us pray not for personal gain, but that our gain may be used to be a blessing to others.  Let us pray that the Lord will keep us away from trouble caused by our own bad choices and the ensuing pain it causes us and others.  Let us pray that the Lord will be with us always in all we do.
When we pray like this, the Lord will grant us our requests.