Thursday, February 23, 2012

II Sam. 22:29

II Sam. 22:29 O LORD, you are my light; yes, LORD, you light up my darkness.

Two issues we must address today. First, can you honestly say that the Lord is your light, and secondly, does he light up your darkness? What do we mean when we say that the Lord is our light? The Lord is your light when you no longer walk in darkness. Without Christ, we are influenced and controlled by sin. Sin is what drives us. We think sinful thoughts and do sinful things. In the dark we have no hope or help. We are stuck where we are at. We can do nothing to change our situation. We will never be good enough to get ourselves out of the darkness. In fact, we like it there and have no desire or intention of leaving. In the darkness we live for the moment and don’t even consider that maybe there is a heaven or hell.

When we are in the light, everything that is true of us in the darkness changes 180 degrees. In the light we desire to live for and please the Lord. We want our sins exposed so that we can confess them and get rid of them. We strive to not let anything hinder us in our relationship with God. We focus our eyes on eternal things and consider the things of this world as rubbish. In the light, we know that all of our goodness and godliness comes from the Lord and not us. We see our way clearly to the Lord. We invest our time and energy pursuing Him through his Word, prayer, Christian fellowship, and service.

When we are in the light, it lights up our darkness. It dispels our darkness. It is an environment in which we live that enables us to grow in grace and our knowledge of the Lord. The more light that shines on our souls, the more victory we enjoy over sin.

Are you living in the light of God’s presence today, or does darkness cast a shadow over your soul? If you are struggling with sin in your life, the only way you are going to overcome it is to enter into the life and live in the light. You can’t have it both ways. Shut the door on darkness and let the Light shine in.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Judges 6:12 Believe and Trust

Judges 6:12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!”

Gideon was a nobody, both in the eyes of society and in his own eyes. Like most people, Gideon didn’t see himself as anybody other than a common, everyday, hardworking, and loyal part of his family. He was a farmer and he was okay with that.

However, the Lord saw something in Gideon that he didn’t see. The Lord knew what he was capable of doing. The Lord had a job for Gideon to do that did not fit into his experience, a job that would require more out of Gideon than anyone would think possible, including himself.

When God called Gideon into his service, he spoke to Gideon’s potential. He knew what Gideon could do. Don’t ever second guess what the Lord calls you to do. He knows what he is doing when he gives you a job to do. He doesn’t ever ask us to do something beyond our ability. No one else may believe in us and we may not believe in ourselves, but we can do all things through Christ our Savior. If you simply cannot believe that you are up to the task, trust in Him who calls you into service.

In the early stages of my ministry life, I was told that I would never make it, that I would not be a pastor. However, I knew what God had called me to be and do. Forty years later, I am still preaching and teaching. The Lord saw in me what that pastor did not see. The Lord knew what I could do and because I believed in him and not man, I did it.

Dear friend, there is no calling of God that is beyond our doing. Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of serving because of your fears and doubts. Don’t listen to those who say you can’t do it. Don’t deprive others of the blessings that you can bring to their lives. Don’t make the Lord use someone else do your job because of your lack of faith in him. Don’t miss out on the blessings that come from fulfilling God’s will for your life.

The Lord never asks us to do something beyond our ability. Don’t ever forget it or doubt it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Our house.... we will serve the Lord.

Josh. 24:15c “……..But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua made a very bold statement. This was not done lightly. He understood what he was going on record to do. He declared before the whole nation of Israel that he was going to be the spiritual leader of his home. He wanted everyone to know that he was not going to be one person in public and another one at home. He understood the importance of being consistent in his walk with God.

It is easy to be one thing in public and another thing at home. At home, we are seen for who we really are. Our family sees us in our weaknesses more than our strengths. They are not fooled by how we appear in public.

It takes a lot of guts to go on record and take responsibility for the spiritual life of our home. Not only will people be watching us, but our families will also. In order to pull it off, we must first take personal responsibility for our own relationship with the Lord. We must seek the Lord passionately. We must grow in our love for Him to the point where he is the number one priority of our lives. We must desire Him to the point where everything else in life falls in line behind him.

It is easy to hide who we are behind what others see of us. But, we can’t hide from ourselves or our families. We are exposed, warts and all. It would be interesting to take a survey of the families of spiritual leaders and seek to find out how consistent they are in their walk with the Lord. Would they be declared righteous? Why is it that so many children of pastors and other church leaders wander away from faith and the church? Do they see enough of what others don’t to turn them away?

What about you? Are you living well enough at home to encourage and inspire your family to live for the Lord? We can’t control the decisions that our loved ones make for the Lord, but we certainly can influence their decisions by the way we live with them. Do you love the Lord and your family enough to take responsibility for the spiritual environment of your home? Are you a godly example to be followed, or are you an example to be spurned?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Joshua 1:9

Josh. 1:9 ‘I command you---be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

How strong and courageous are you? Do you face life boldly and with confidence, or are you afraid and discouraged? Isn’t it interesting that God commanded the Israelites to be strong and courageous as they prepared to go into battle? He expected them to not be a bunch of wimps, but to be mighty warriors. He expected them to not be hesitant as they faced their enemies. He expected them to fight with purpose and zeal.
We ought to be strong and courageous as we live out our lives for the Lord. We ought to live like we were soldiers in war instead of spoiled citizens living in comfort. A soldier is always on alert, ready to face his enemy in a life or death struggle. He is aware of the dangers of battle and refuses to give in to his fears. He is well-trained and prepared to face whatever he may face.
Most of us live like we are spoiled citizens of the Kingdom. We like our comforts. We don’t want to live like we were soldiers. We try to ignore the fact that we are at war with Satan. We would rather cozy up to the darkness that surrounds us than be lights that shine in it. We would rather run, hide, or cave in when confronted by Satan than stand up and fight.
The Lord wants you to be strong and courageous today. He wants you to not cower in fear or let Satan discourage you. The Lord wants you to live like you know he is with you each step of the way. He wants you to have some guts and resist Satan. The Lord has already won the war you are in! The little skirmishes we face are but a futile attempt by Satan to keep us from claiming the victory that is ours in Christ. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Let us act like it today.

Friday, February 3, 2012

God's Secret Things

Deut. 29:29 There are secret things that belong to the LORD our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our descendants forever, so that we may obey these words of the law.

There is something very important in today’s verse for us to know: God never tells it all. There are things about God, life, and the future that we will never know. No matter how hard you may try or how well connected to the Lord you may be, there is a mystery about God we will never unravel this side of heaven.

It is good for us to give frequent thought to the mystery of God. We need to consider how incomprehensible the mind of God is and how powerful he is. The Bible tells us that God conceived in his mind all that exists and he put everything in its place by the mere utterance of his word. He not only put it all together, he holds it all together. Everything He has created has its place and purpose in creation, no matter how small or large it is. We don’t see it all, and never will. No matter how hard we try, there is always more to discover and see. We may not understand why some things exist, but God created them for his purposes and they are necessary.

There are secret things about the future that only God knows. We have no ability at all to see into the future and declare what is going to happen and when. The Lord has told us some things that are going to happen, but when and how it’s all going to come together, we have no clue.

There are secret things about who God is that we will never know in the flesh. We know that He is perfect in every way, but we are not able to understand that perfection due to our sinful nature. When we get to heaven and see the Lord face-to-face, we will bow before him in awe and worship him in ways we can’t even imagine of doing now, because then we will understand just how worthy he truly is to be worshipped. When we see Him, we won’t want to know what we don’t know now about him because just to be with him will be enough for us.

It is okay to not know all things. It is a good thing we don’t the secret things of God. If we knew the things we don’t know, we would lose our desire to know Him better. We also would not be able to handle what we don’t know. Let us marvel in what God has chosen to let us know, and let us marvel in that which we don’t know. Let the mystery of God inspire us on to even greater faith and worship.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Resisting Satan

     I had quite a time of it last night.  My wife had a flat tire on her way home.  She was all alone and it was after dark.  She called me and I had to borrow my daughter's car to go help her.  A wonderful state trooper was there when I got there to make sure she was safe.  I changed the tire and we came home, only to discover that I had dropped my cell phone somewhere.  I drove back to where my wife had her flat and found it in the grass.  I got home about 11:30.
      I was up shortly after 5:30 to have my devotions.  When I went to get on my computer this AM, it would not co-operate.  After about a half hour, I finally managed to get online.  Needless to say, I was feeling like I was under attack.  Maybe you know the feeling as well.
      The Lord reminded me of Peter's observation that Satan is like a roaring lion roaming around seeking whom he may devour.  Peter reminds us to stand up to him and not back down.  It is normal behavior for Satan and it should not catch us by surprise.  I have discovered that he really gets agressive when we are experiencing the blessings of the Lord.  He takes offence at our enjoyment of life in Christ and wants to make us as miserable as he can.
       James tells us to resist him and he will flee from us.  Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God so we can withstand the fiery arrows of Satan's attacks.
       In Hebrews we are admonished to keep our eyes focused on Christ, the author and finisher of our salvation.  I have found indeed that as long as I am fixing my thoughts on Christ, keep my armor on and intack, and resist Satan, he will indeed flee from me.