Friday, January 31, 2014

Getting a Good Night's Sleep

Ps. 4:8 I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.

Much has been made of insomnia. We now have pills to help us go to sleep at night. There seems to be no reason now why a person can't get a good night's rest if one doesn't have some kind of a medical condition that prevents it. However, I wonder about whether or not we are doing ourselves a great disservice by medicating ourselves to sleep. Now, don't get me wrong, there are situations in which taking a pill to help induce sleep is a good thing. But, what about those times in which it is not necessary?

I believe that sometimes our inability to sleep is our own fault. It may stem from the things we eat or drink before bed, living way too stressful lives, or lingering broken down relationships between God and man. Before we pop a pill, we need to carefully examine our lives to see if we need to do anything to help us go to sleep. We can change our eating and living habits and probably help ourselves out a lot. We can also take a spiritual inventory and discover things that prevent us from experiencing peace and thus rest.

A restless soul affects the rest of the body. When relationships break down, we can't easily dismiss them. If we have any real faith at all, we will be unable to shake them. We will be on edge until either the relationship is restored or we find peace with God over them. When we are on edge because we know we have sinned against God, it becomes a lot more difficult to sleep at night. When we are not resting in the Lord and trusting Him for what is going on in our lives, sleep comes harshly.

Are you living a productive life? Perhaps with too much idle time during the day you are napping a lot. Most of us would find sleeping at night then a lot more difficult. The Lord created us to live productive lives. We need a sense of accomplishment. We need to know that we are contributing positively to life, both spiritually and as a part of society.

There is nothing more satisfying than to lay down in peace, secure in God's love, and to sleep well. Those who can look back upon their day and rest in the assurance that they have done well in living for Christ that day will sleep well. There is nothing more effective to induce sleep than to be able to rest securely in our Savior's love and protective care.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dealing with Anger Issues

Ps. 4:4 Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

Many of us would just as soon not think about our anger issues. Some of us have short fuses and easily fly off the handle. We get angry at people who cross us, do stupid things, or say things that get under our skin. We get angry at unexpected turn of events that disrupt our peace and tranquility. We get angry at ourselves when we do not meet up to our expectations. We get angry a lot over people and things that really don’t deserve our wrath. Anger is an emotion that nearly everyone experiences from time to time.

There are times in which anger is a good thing. In a proper context anger motivates us to do something about things that we otherwise would not do. There are times in which sin and injustices must be addressed. There are times in which we have to take a stand for righteousness. Apart from righteous anger, anger is not good for the soul.

We really run into a problem when our anger controls us. When we react under the influence of anger, it’s rarely anything but a bad thing. We tend to say and do things out of anger that we later regret. We hurt people and things when we are out of control.

When anger controls us then the Holy Spirit is not controlling us and the Scriptures tell us that one of the ways that we can tell that we are under the control of the Spirit is self-control. When anger controls us we have a spiritual problem. We need to confess our sin problem and ask the Lord to take control of it. Jesus cannot be our Lord while we have an anger problem.

What angers you? Take a deep breath, walk away from the explosive situation, think about what is going on, let the Lord calm you down, and let it go. You do not need to have your way. Wise is he who is able to just be quiet when things don’t go his way. It is far better to just be wronged and hurt than it is to be angry and hurt others. In the long run, the only real loser when anger is in control of you is you. Give your angry heart over to the Lord and let Him defuse it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Lord watches over the path of the godly.

Ps. 1:6 For the LORD watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Dear child of God, you are not unnoticed. God is watching over you. He knows what is going on in your life. He knows how you are living. He knows how you feel and why you do what you do. He knows all about your struggles. He knows how others are treating you. He knows all about how Satan messes with your mind and faith. He knows about your faith victories and defeats. He wants you to know that you are noticed.

The Lord is watching over you. You are never out of His sight. You are never out of His protective care. You are never without His helping hand if you want it. You are never left in the dark so you will lose your way. Instead, He is always lighting your path so you will find your way home to Him. You are never outside His scope of love for you.

The Lord knows where the path of the wicked leads and He will do everything He can to keep you from traveling on it. The path of the wicked leads to destruction. It destroys any heart connection one may have with God. It destroys all hope that one may see God. It destroys whatever good one may do in life. It destroys the channel of God’s blessings on the soul. The path of the wicked leads straight to hell.

Dear child of God, the Lord is watching over you. Let this wonderful truth sink deep into your soul and bless you. You are never forgotten or forsaken. Take the hand of Jesus and let Him lead you home to glory. Your living is not in vain. Do not believe the lies of Satan that it’s simply not worth it. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus at all times and you will be alright.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Delight in doing everything the Lord wants.

Ps. 1:1, 2 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers. But they delight in doing everything the LORD wants; day and night they think about his law.

There is great joy in those who delight in doing everything the Lord wants. Many strive to live a godly life, but their heart is not in it. They try to do what is right before God more out of duty than anything else. They know what they should be doing and even why they should do it, but there is not any joy in doing it.

Delight in doing everything the Lord wants comes from living in close fellowship with Him. It comes from a heart that has absolute trust in God. It comes from lingering often in the Lord’s presence. Instead of standing around with sinners, they stand around with the Lord and His children. Delight comes from truly loving the Lord. It comes from a heart of gratitude for all that the Lord is and is doing in one’s life. It comes from a deep desire to please and honor the Lord in all things.

There is great joy in meditating on God’s Word morning and night. It doesn’t matter when you get alone with the Word as long as you are regularly doing it. Being in the Word and letting it saturate your soul and mind is nothing but good for you. Joy comes from those who let the Word become a part of the way they think and live. What better way is there to live than to begin and end your day with the Word on your mind? Joy floods the soul when the Word becomes a way of life and not just an instruction manual.

There is great joy in our salvation and it begins and ends with God’s Word. Blessed is he who diligently searches for the treasures hidden there.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The joys of those who do not follw the advice of the wicked.

Ps. 1:1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers.

If you are following the advice of the wicked, you are in trouble. The wicked are up to no good, always. It is what they do because that is all they know. The wicked in heart do not know the truth because their eyes are encased in darkness and they can’t see the light. Be careful who you turn to for advice.

If you are standing around with sinners, you are in trouble. It is never good to just be standing around. Idleness is the devil’s workshop. We need to be busy, working out our salvation. If you are just standing around, taking in the scenery, you are an easy target. Satan has the most trouble with those on the move. Don’t stand around, and certainly don’t do it with sinners. Hanging around doing nothing with sinners can only lead you away from God. You will be far more apt to listen to their plea for your companionship in their sin and do it.

If you join in with scoffers, you are in trouble. Scoffers are those who do not value the things of God. They reject what God says or stands for. They make light of eternity and spurn the truth. They not only make light of God, they look down on those who do stand up for truth. Scoffers are everywhere. They are in the political arena, sports, business world, and the church. They are often very persuasive, subtle, and convincing. Wise is he who stays alert and recognizes the scoffers around them. Have nothing to do with them, for they will lead you away from God.

Be aware of who you let into your life and influence you. Be diligent and protect your soul so that you don’t get sucked into a way of life that draws you away from God. Stand up against those who try to entice you into sin. There is great joy in those who do not let themselves become entangled with sin.

The joys of those who do not follw the advice of the wicked.

Ps. 1:1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers.

If you are following the advice of the wicked, you are in trouble. The wicked are up to no good, always. It is what they do because that is all they know. The wicked in heart do not know the truth because their eyes are encased in darkness and they can’t see the light. Be careful who you turn to for advice.

If you are standing around with sinners, you are in trouble. It is never good to just be standing around. Idleness is the devil’s workshop. We need to be busy, working out our salvation. If you are just standing around, taking in the scenery, you are an easy target. Satan has the most trouble with those on the move. Don’t stand around, and certainly don’t do it with sinners. Hanging around doing nothing with sinners can only lead you away from God. You will be far more apt to listen to their plea for your companionship in their sin and do it.

If you join in with scoffers, you are in trouble. Scoffers are those who do not value the things of God. They reject what God says or stands for. They make light of eternity and spurn the truth. They not only make light of God, they look down on those who do stand up for truth. Scoffers are everywhere. They are in the political arena, sports, business world, and the church. They are often very persuasive, subtle, and convincing. Wise is he who stays alert and recognizes the scoffers around them. Have nothing to do with them, for they will lead you away from God.

Be aware of who you let into your life and influence you. Be diligent and protect your soul so that you don’t get sucked into a way of life that draws you away from God. Stand up against those who try to entice you into sin. There is great joy in those who do not let themselves become entangled with sin.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

God speaks. Are we listening?

Job 33:14 But God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.

How often does God have to speak before we listen? Over and over again God speaks to us. He tells us of His love, mercy and grace. He tells us of the difference between life here and life in heaven. He tells us of the seriousness of sin and the horror of hell. He tells us of our need to be holy in character and influencers for Him in the world. He tells us we are sinners and need to be a people who are humble enough to confess our sins before Him. He speaks, but people do not recognize it or pay attention to it.

We don’t recognize God’s voice because we get so wrapped up in this life that we fail to consider our eternal lives. We become so preoccupied that we scarcely take the time to be still before Him. We neglect our Bibles and prayer closets where the Lord speaks. We fail to discipline ourselves to listen to His Word when it is taught and preached. We lack the discipline to shut out the voices of temptation. We fill our minds up with the voices of the world to the point where we don’t recognize the voice of God telling us not to. We spend more time entertaining ourselves with the world’s offerings than we do those things which edify our souls.

When God speaks to your soul, do you recognize His voice? If you are not hearing God speak to you, you need to rethink your priorities and put yourself in a position where you can hear Him speak. You need to be consistently in the Word so you can know what God is saying and how He wants you to live and think. You need to spend time in prayer with an open heart and ears to listen so that you can hear and recognize God’s voice. You need to be in the fellowship of the church so you can be trained to hear God speak as He speaks through His Word and people.

God does speak again and again. He wants us to hear Him. He has important things to say to us. Develop your spiritual senses so that you can hear Him speak to you. Don’t miss out on what God is saying; it is a matter of life or death for your soul.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Live blamelessly before God.

Job 31:7,8 If I have strayed from his pathway, or if my heart has lusted for what my eyes have seen, or if I am guilty of any other sin, then let someone else harvest the crops I have planted, and let all that I have planted be uprooted.

Job was a determined man. He was determined that he was not going to let sin rule his life. He was not going to open the door that would lead to sin. He was going to protect his soul at all times. To the best of his ability, Job was going to live a godly life.

Job was so sure of the purity of his heart that he was willing to give up everything in his life if he were to be found guilty of a life of sin. He was determined to be found to be blameless before God, to walk on His pathway. He didn't care if he was the only one on earth to walk with God; he was going to do it.

To live blamelessly before God does not mean that we will live perfect lives. It means that we have hearts bent on doing what is right before God and when we fail we confess our sins instead of ignoring them or harboring them in our hearts.

We would do well to have the same determined spirit in our souls. Our passion must always be to live blameless lives before God. However, we must realize that even though we live blamelessly before God, we can’t always live blamelessly before man (believers included). Because of our sinful nature we will come under fire by some who don’t know us well or understand the motives of our hearts. There will always be those who will find fault with us. Our goal is not to please man; it is always to please God. Stay true to the Lord, walk faithfully on the pathway to godliness, and determine in your heart that you will not let sin rule your life. If you do these things, all will be well with your soul.

Friday, January 24, 2014

I made a covenant with my eyes.....

Job 31:1 I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman.

Every believer should follow Job’s example. Everyone has someone or something that will lead them into sin if they are not careful. God made us uniquely different and only you know what your weaknesses really are. Fixation on those things that exploits our weaknesses is a very dangerous thing. It can only lead us into sin.

I encourage you to pause as you read this today and think about what your weaknesses are. If you are tempted by visual things, make a covenant with your eyes so that you don’t look at them. You can’t keep from seeing things that tempt you, but you can determine in your heart not to linger and dwell on them. If you are tempted by the things you read, make a covenant with your eyes that you will not pick up material that exploits your weaknesses and read them.

Our eyes are the gateway to the soul. What we allow our eyes to see affects our souls. The heart will dwell on what we see as long as we are looking at it. Every time we allow ourselves to dwell on what tempts us, we weaken our resolve, which only leads us into sin.

We are daily challenged by what filters through our eyes. We constantly fight the urge to justify what we look at. The sources we have available to us to look at are everywhere. Whether it’s in the public arena or in the privacy of our homes, we must take charge of our souls and not allow ourselves to linger with our eyes on those things which are sinful or lead us into sinful thoughts or actions.

Dear friend, the Lord knows what you are looking at and dwelling on. Do yourself a huge favor and make a covenant with your eyes to not play with fire and look at what tempts you. Renew your covenant daily before the Lord and your successes will far outweigh your failures. And when you do fall, confess your sin to the Lord and He will forgive you and help you to try harder the next time. There is no shame in failing, but there is great shame in not trying.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fear the Lord and forsake evil.

Job 28:28 And this is what he says to all humanity: The fear of the LORD is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.

The fear of the Lord involves reverence, respect, reconciliation, regard, and reason. We think about God and discover who He is. We examine His claims about himself and life and come to the conclusion that He is trustworthy in all that He says. We seek to be right with God knowing that if we aren’t, we are in grave danger. We accept God for who He is and bow down before Him as our Savior and King. We acknowledge that God is holy, the judge of all humanity, and that we are accountable to Him for our lives. Knowing these things are true makes a man wise for he knows that he cannot take God lightly or his relationship with Him.

He who forsakes evil gets it. The reason why we exist is to be a holy people before God. We are not here because of some random act of nature. We exist because in the beginning God created us to be who we are so we could have a relationship with Him. He made us uniquely different from all the rest of creation. We have souls which can connect to God on a personal level. We have the ability to become one with God in love and holiness of character. We are in essence like God; we are spiritual beings. In creating us, God gives us life that will never die. He gives us the ability and opportunity to choose whether we will live with Him or apart from Him.

Real understanding is to forsake evil and live connected to God. It is seeking to live holy lives. It is taking God at His word and never looking back. It is living as if our lives and eternity really do matter. It is living as if God in His holiness really matters. It is to fear God.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Living with a clear conscious.

Job 27:3-6 As long as I live, while I have breath from God, my lips will speak no evil, and my tongue will speak no lies. I will never concede that you are right until I die. I will defend my innocence. I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live.

Reread slowly these verses. Examine your own heart. If you cannot honestly say the same things, you need to let the Lord take control of you. We can control what comes out of our mouths. In fact, Jesus reminds us that what comes out of our mouths is what is in our hearts. If evil words or lying words come from us it is because they are in us. And if they are in us, we must ask the Lord to take them away from us. If we don’t, we will face God and have to answer to Him for it.

Are you confident enough in your righteousness that you can stand up to anyone and defend your innocence because you know before God that you are right? Now, there is a difference between a confidence rooted in self-deception and a confidence rooted in Christ. We can convince ourselves that we are better off before God than we really are. If we see ourselves in comparison to others and let that determine our righteousness, we will more than likely be led to believe we are okay. However, our standard of righteousness in not others; it is God’s Word. We must see ourselves as God sees us. If we are not living up to the standards of God, we are not innocent before Him.

The right thing to do is to humble ourselves and admit our sinfulness. There is no excuse for allowing sin to be a part of who we are. Don’t maintain you are right with God when you know you are not. Listen to the Spirit of Christ as He convicts you of sin. Then, and only then, can you say with confidence that your conscious is clear.

May we too be determined to live before God with a clear conscious as long as we live.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Stay on the path.

Job 24:13 Wicked people rebel against the light. They refuse to acknowledge its ways. They will not stay in its paths.

One of the ways in which you can determine the real status of someone’s heart before God is how well they stay the course of faith. Anyone who keeps wandering off the path of faith and into a sinful life pattern does not have saving faith. Everyone stumbles and falls, but the child of God stands a whole lot more than he falls. He is able to make progress in his struggles to overcome sin. He is able to grow in his understanding of spiritual things. He strives to live a godly life.

Those who rebel against the light are wicked in their heart. These are people who refuse to live in the light they are shown. They stay in the darkness of sin instead of coming to the light. These people love the darkness instead of the light. They turn off the light so that it doesn’t shine in their darkness.

In fact, the wicked in heart even refuse to acknowledge that there is light. They acknowledge that there are many paths to heaven instead of one way. They scorn those who claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They may even deny that Jesus is God. They do not acknowledge God’s Word as being absolute truth. They strive to undermine the Word. They stubbornly try to be good enough for heaven without heaven’s help.

Be careful who you hang out with. The wicked will lead you away from God if you aren’t paying attention to your soul. The path of the wicked is no good for you. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and do not deviate from His path. Diligently protect your soul, because Satan is a master at chipping away at faith. If you embrace sin in any way, it can be lethal to your soul.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

His mind concerning me remains unchanged.

Job 23:13-14 "Nevertheless, his mind concerning me remains unchanged, and who can turn him from his purposes? Whatever he wants to do, he does. So he will do for me all he has planned. He controls my destiny."

Job is speaking her of God’s sovereign plan and control over us. God knows the purpose of our lives and what it takes for us to fulfill it. He knows what we need to experience and learn in order to be who we need to serve Him best. He knows best how to build our character. He knows best how to instill within us godliness. Each of us is different and requires different experiences. Each of us has different roles to play in God’s kingdom and so the Lord has to deal with us accordingly. Some of us require great maturity of faith and some of us less maturity. The Lord knows what we don’t know and so we must yield to His lordship over us.

The Lord does not change His mind about us. He will always move us in the direction He desires us to go. We must be willing to be lead though. We can refuse to go where He is taking us. But if we allow Him to have His way with us, He will make sure that we will get to where He needs us to be so that we can do what He desires us to do.

No one can keep God from doing what He wants to do. God has a purpose for everything He does. We may not always understand it, but we aren't meant to. He sees the whole picture and knows what needs to be done in order for us to participants in His plan. All He asks of us is to trust Him as He leads us forward.

Are you letting the Lord lead you, or are you resisting Him? The plans the Lord has for you are good. You will never be happier or more content in life than you will be when you are allowing the Lord to fulfill His purposes for you. Don’t let anything or anyone keep you from following the Lord.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"For I have stayed in God's paths."

Job 23:11-12 "For I have stayed in God’s paths. I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands but have treasured his word in my heart."

Can you say this about you? Staying in God’s path is not an easy thing to do. There are so many opportunities we face every day to wander off His path. God is leading us down a path of righteousness and holiness that leads to heaven. We want to get there, but we often don’t want to follow the path that leads us there. We are drawn to those paths that lead us away from God. We like what we see in the world around us and often pursue it.

The path of God requires much of us. We must be totally committed to it. We must not only hear the Word, we must live it. We must be students of the Word so we can easily determine what God wants us to do. We must be students of prayer so we can discern the heart of God as He ministers to our hearts. We must be haters of evil and resist the urge to pursue it. We must learn self-control so that our eyes, ears, minds, mouths, and hands are not gateways to sin in our lives. We must desire the things of God to the point where we invest our lives in their pursuit.

The path to God is full of many obstacles along the way. We are under constant attack and pressured to wander off it. The only way we can stay the course is to take charge of our souls. We must work hard to keep ourselves on track. We must not make excuses for ourselves. We must always let the Lord do whatever He wants and needs to do in us to make us a holy people after His own heart. We must treasure God's Word in our hearts so that the Lord has something to work with.

It takes a lot of determination and effort to stay on God's path, but great is the reward for those who do it.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I know that my Redeemer stands and I will see Him face to face!

Job 19:25-27 But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God. I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!

Is this your testimony as well? Do you know that your Redeemer lives, that He has a plan to return to earth someday as her Lord and King? Do you know without any doubt whatsoever that when you die you will see God with your very own eyes?

Job’s testimony should be every believer’s testimony. Notice first of all that Job takes ownership of the Lord as his Redeemer. In order to really know that it is true, that God is alive, we must know that He lives in our hearts. We must know that our sins are washed away by the shed blood of Christ at Calvary. We must know it to be so with our heart and mind.

Job may not have known what all we know about how things are going to play out in the future, but he knew by faith that there was coming a day in which the Lord was going to stand on the earth. He was looking forward to the day in which God would come upon earth to be with man. Obviously, Jesus was the realization of Job’s faith. God became flesh and lived amongst us to become our Redeemer. We know by faith look forward to the day in which Jesus returns to once again take up residence on earth.

Job knew without any doubt whatsoever that death was the beginning of life’s story and not the end of it. He knew that death would usher in the day in which his faith would give way to sight. He knew by faith that he would live on eternally in the presence of his Redeemer. We too can have the same confidence that Job had. We too must know that we shall see the Lord face-to-face once we die. Such assurance enables us to deal with whatever circumstance we may be facing in life.

To know these things are true overwhelms the soul. No one can know these things except through Christ. The Spirit of Christ confirms them in our souls. He testifies these things are true through the Word and in the quietness of our souls before God. Such knowledge anchors the soul in the midst of the storms of life. It gives us reason to persevere and look forward to our day of redemption.

If you have any doubt whatsoever that these things are true, I ask that you return to Calvary. I ask that you linger there until you get affirmation from the living Christ that it is so. The Lord will wash away all your doubts if you linger there in His presence.

Job 23:10-12 But he knows where I am going. And when he has tested me like gold in a fire, he will pronounce me innocent. For I have stayed in God’s paths. I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands but have treasured his word in my heart.

Job was a man who knew his standing before God. He lived life in such a way that the sufferings he was going through did not cause him to doubt his righteousness. He didn’t understand why he was suffering, but he knew that all was well with his soul.

Job knew that God knew him and the righteousness of his heart. He knew that God knew that he was going to be with Him once he died. There was no shred of doubting on Job’s part. We too can know where we are going when we die. In fact, we must know it if we are going to overcome the many ups and downs of life.

Sometimes our faith is tested. We go through sufferings and tough times to find out just how real our faith really is. It is easy to maintain faith when all is going well. It is in the bad times that we discover how things really are in our souls.

Job knew that God was going to declare his soul innocent. He knew that God would not find fault with him. How could he be so sure? He stayed on God’s paths. He did not get side-tracked by life. He lived a righteous life all the time. He sought always to know God’s ways and lived them. Knowing God’s ways was a priority in Job’s life. Job determined in his heart that he would only do what he knew what God wanted him to do with his life.

Job treasured God’s Word in his heart. Because he owned them for himself, he was able to live them out on a daily basis. We too can live by God’s Word when we value it enough to hide it in our hearts so that we can be constantly directed and influenced by it. There is no short cut to godly living. We must always live by God’s Word. It is only then that we can have bold confidence in our standing before God both now and forever.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How well do you know your Redeemer?

Job 19:25-27 "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!"

The issue before us today is how well we know that our Redeemer lives. How do you know our Redeemer lives? Do you know it’s true because that is what you have been taught, or do you know it because you experience it daily in your life? There is a huge difference between what we know in our heads and what we know to be true in our hearts.

How well do you know your Redeemer? Are you on good terms with Him? Do you know Him well enough to know it when He speaks to you? Do you know Him well enough to know the will of His heart for you? Do you know Him well enough to trust Him with your very life? Do you know that He always loves you and has your best interests at heart? Do you know that He will NEVER leave or forsake you? Do you know that He loves you so much that He will never leave you alone and let you fall into sin without trying to stop you? Do you know Him well enough to stake your life on Him?

If you really know your Redeemer, you will know that you will see Him with your very own eyes. You will be so captivated by the reality of it that it will permeate every detail of your living. You will live in expectation of seeing Him and it will fill your heart with so much joy that you can scarce contain it. Think about it. Dear friend, there is coming a day in which you will see Jesus face to face. You will see Him in all His love, glory, majesty and holiness. Not only will you see Him, you will talk to Him and be with Him forever and ever!

Whatever you may be going through in this life, it pales in light of what is yet to come for you. You may have the worst life possible here on earth, but if you have Jesus, you will find that it is indeed worth every moment of your misery now. If you have Jesus, your reward will be greater than any life you may be able to know here on earth. You will see Jesus and He will set you free from all sin and entanglements of this life. He will clothe you in garments of pure holiness and love.

Don’t look around you and pine for what you see here on earth. Look above you and pine for the things you see in heaven where your Redeemer is today.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Remembered in heaven or on Earth?

Job 18:5-7 The truth remains that the light of the wicked will be snuffed out. The sparks of their fire will not glow. The light in them will grow dark. The lamp hanging above them will be quenched. The confident stride of the wicked will be short-lived. Their own schemes will be their downfall.

No matter how brightly the wicked may shine in this world, their light will be snuffed out. Their glory is short-lived. People come and go and when their legacy is built around themselves they quickly fade away.

No matter how effective or influential they may be, their wickedness will be their downfall. Whatever good they may seem to do on earth will not matter in heaven. The darkness of their hearts will rob them of any joy in their living. Even if they are remembered on earth, they will be forgotten in heaven.

We need to never forget this sobering truth. If you are counting on what you are doing with your life on earth for your joy and eternal security, you need to wake up now while you can. The Lord only knows those who are righteous in heart. He only remembers those who live by faith in Him. He rejects all whose glory is found on earth and not in heaven.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what others think of you, what you may accomplish in your life, or what you think of yourself. All that matters is whether or not Jesus is your Savior and Lord. And, Jesus cannot be your Savior and you live for the glory this world offers you. As a child of God, we must lose our self and live for Jesus’ glory and honor. It can be no other way if we are right with God.

You can lay up for yourself all kinds of treasures on earth, but if you do not know Jesus as your Savior, you will lose your soul to hell.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Stay out of the darkness.

Job 18:5-7 The truth remains that the light of the wicked will be snuffed out. The sparks of their fire will not glow. The light in them will grow dark. The lamp hanging above them will be quenched. The confident stride of the wicked will be short-lived. Their own schemes will be their downfall.

We need to understand this truth. God prevails over the wicked in heart. There is nothing but darkness and emptiness, which characterizes their lives. They have no hope beyond this life. Whatever they may know, experience, or do in this life will be their reward. In eternity they will be like everyone else who has denied or rejected Christ. They will spend eternity in eternal torment understanding that it is well-deserved and did not have to be that way.

There is hope for the wicked while there is still life, but once life comes to an end, there is no more hope. The longer one lingers in the darkness, the dimmer the light becomes. Linger long enough and the light simply will go out.

If you are counting on the pleasures of this life to satisfy your soul, you will regret it forever. If you think that your legacy on earth is going to ease your suffering in hell, think again. If you think that there is no God to fear or answer to, you will have a very rude awakening. If you think you know what you are doing and that your way of life is a better way, you will soon find out just how wrong you really are.

The truth of the matter is that there is only one way to live that will spare any of us from an eternity in hell. Our relationship with Christ before we die determines where we will live eternally. We cannot be in Christ and live in the darkness of evil. The evidence of our salvation is how we live. Words will not cut it. Saving faith results in godly living. Profession of faith without practice of faith means nothing.

Dear friend, stay out of the darkness of the wicked. It only leads you away from God and if you stay there it will destroy your soul.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Do not let life's struggles throw you.

Job 17:6-9 God has made a mockery of me among the people; they spit in my face. My eyes are dim with weeping, and I am but a shadow of my former self. The upright are astonished when they see me. The innocent are aroused against the ungodly. The righteous will move onward and forward, and those with pure hearts will become stronger and stronger.

Even in the midst of the suffering he was going through, Job expressed his faith in God. He knew God to be true to His Word. God does not abandon His children. God is good and His goodness doesn’t depend on our good circumstances.

The righteous do not buckle underneath or let themselves become entrapped by their circumstances. They face their circumstances with determination. They do not waver in their righteousness. Instead, they move onward and forward. They trust in God’s character. They do not waver in their confidence in God. They keep on moving towards God and not away from Him.

The righteous in heart do not sin against God by blaming God for their difficulties. Instead they lean on God and allow Him to make them stronger because of them. The more struggles they go through, the stronger they become. Faith is never made stronger through the comforts of life. In fact, life’s comforts will usually make one’s faith weaker.

Dear friend, do not let life’s struggles throw you. Trust in God when you go through them. Learn from them how faithful God is to you. Let the Lord grow you and make your faith stronger. Do not sit under your circumstances, rather keep on moving forward. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and you will soon find yourself not underneath your circumstances but on top of them.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Suffering with hope

Job 14:14-17 If mortals die, can they live again? This thought would give me hope, and through my struggle I would eagerly wait for release. You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork. For, then you would count my steps, instead of watching for my sins. My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover over my iniquity.

Job was overwhelmed by his troubles. He was miserable. His sufferings dominated his life. His friends were no help to him at all. In fact, they only made things worse for they were judging him for his struggles instead of comforting him through them.

The one thing that helped Job is hope. Job was able to endure his sufferings because he believed that there was much more to life than his present sufferings. He believed that even if he were to die in his sufferings, it would be worth it all because he would see God and be with Him.

We cannot predict or control our sufferings. They come without regard to who we are. They come in varied degrees. Some of us suffer a lot, some far less. No amount of self-will can make them go away. What matters is how we handle ourselves when they come.

As children of God we have hope. We understand that this life is not the end of the story. Our lives may fall apart and rot away, but we have hope. No matter what we may have to deal with in this life, we have eternal life with Christ on the other side of our lives. No amount of suffering can take our hope away from us. We have God’s guarantee that better days are ahead for us.

Dear friend, don’t give up; don’t buckle underneath the heavy load of suffering. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He is the author of our salvation and He is the finisher of it. He has in store for you a life that is beyond your ability to comprehend in its glory. The life that waits for you in heaven is pure, without sin and any of its side effects on life. This life is a joyous life without any suffering or pain. It is an eternal life of celebration of life in God.

Look up, dear friend, it is worth it all. Someday soon we shall see Jesus!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Your days are numbered.

Job 14:5  You have decided the length of our lives.  You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer. 

God is in control.  We will not live a day longer or less than God has determined we will live.  This truth should cause us to pause and think.

God does not tell us the date on our death certificate.  He withholds from us the details of when and how we will leave this life.  Graciously He spares us from the anxieties we would live with if we knew the details.  There could be no peace in daily living if all that was on our mind was when and how we would die.

Not knowing the details should inspire us to not waste our time on earth.   We are given just so much time on earth to be right with God and prepare for our deaths.  Our tomorrow may never come.  Each day and moment is a precious gift of God.  If we squander it, we will not see God except from afar. 

The issue before us today is our readiness to die.  Since we don’t know when that will be we must be prepared at all times for our death.  It is foolish to think that there is plenty of time left for us to get right with God.  It is foolish to think that we can determine when we will turn our lives around and live rightly before God. 

God knows when you will die, you don’t.  God knows whether or not you will even be able to choose to live for him later in life, you don’t.  God alone knows how many more opportunities you have to get it right.  Are you ready to die?

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Please be quiet! That's the smartest thing you could do."

Job 13:15  “Please be quiet!  That’s the smartest thing you could do.”

Sometimes just shutting up and being quiet is the best thing we can ever do.  There are times in which to say anything just makes matters worse.  Job’s friends simply didn’t understand this simple truth.  They insisted on telling Job what he was doing wrong to cause all his troubles.  They insisted that his physical problems were caused by his spiritual problems.

Sometimes we think we know so much when in reality we know so little.  We can easily show our ignorance by opening our mouths.  We often do more harm than good when we offer advice that is misguided.  Sometimes a troubled soul just needs a listening ear.  They need others to not try to fix them, just understand them.  Sometimes we need others to just be there to show support and concern, nothing else.

We can learn much by just being quiet.  When we are quiet we can listen with our heart instead of just with our minds.  We can gain understanding what troubled souls are feeling and thinking.  We can learn how to pray for them in their troubles and then perhaps offer godly advice when it is right to do so.

If you want to be a real help to those troubled in life, learn to be quiet.  Not everyone needs your wisdom nor welcomes it.  Ask the Lord to help you bridle your tongue.  Ask Him for wisdom to know when to be silent and pray and when to offer wisdom and guidance.  Ask Him to keep your heart humble enough so that you don’t have to be the savior of troubled souls.  And, ask Him to forgive you for those times you have done more harm than good by opening your mouth instead of just being quiet and waiting on Him on behalf of others.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Are you confident of your standing before God?

Job 12:4-5a  Yet my friends laugh at me.  I am a man who calls on God and receives an answer.  I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me.  People who are at ease mock those in trouble.

It is easy to do; in fact, most people do it.  We are quick to find fault with one another and slow to understand one another.  There is a tendency to blame one another for our difficulties instead of supporting each other as we go through them.

Not all troubles are caused by wrong living.  Troubles are a natural by-product of living in a fallen world.  Many times we face troubles that have nothing to do whatsoever with the condition of our hearts.  Bad things do happen to good people; it’s just a part of living.

The issue is not why troubles come; it’s how we handle our troubles that matter.  We can internalize our troubles, feel sorry for ourselves, and blame God for them.  Or, we can turn to God and seek His help through them.  Sometimes God will alter circumstances to get us out of trouble and sometimes He will send others alongside of us to help us.  If we trust God, He will show us the way to handle our problems and a way out of them.

I like Job’s confidence in his relationship with God.  He was accustomed to God answering his prayers.  Why?  He was a just and blameless man.  He lived so close to God that there was no doubt whatsoever in his mind that his troubles had nothing to do with how he lived.  Oh, but that we would have such confidence before God!  Oh, but that we could say that when we pray God answers our prayers!  Oh, but that we could say that we live just and blameless lives!

What needs to change in order for you to make such claims about your relationship with the Lord?  It is God’s desire that all of us live blameless lives before Him.  In order for that to happen, we must be willing to let Him change us in any way He chooses.  We must seek to please Him in every area of our lives.  We must always strive to do what is right before Him.

Others may not understand us; they may even mock us.  But living just and blameless lives before God is our highest calling and greatest need in life.  It is the way of the cross and no one will make it to heaven unless they walk it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

God's Examinations and Testings

Job 7:17-18  What are mere mortals, that you should make so much of us?  For you examine us every morning and test us every moment.

Have you ever asked the Lord this question?  I know I have.  It is a mystery to me why the Lord pays so much attention to us.  Knowing what I know about me, I would think He would have much better things to do than to bother watching over and helping me.  I would think that my struggles with sin would be my problem and not His.  But, I have found that what I think doesn’t really matter.  God is deeply involved with each of us.  He cares about us and one of the ways He shows it is by examining our souls.

Even though it may make us uncomfortable at times, we should welcome God’s examinations.  It is important for our souls’ sake to have our sins brought to light.  We need to regularly have an attitude check.  We need to have our misconceptions and wrong ideas gotten rid of.  We need to constantly be reminded how much we need the Lord.  We need to constantly be put back on the pathway of holiness.

The Lord shows He cares for us also by testing our faith.  How else are we going to be made strong in faith?  How else are we going to know how strong our faith really is?  It is in the testing times of life that faith grows.  We can grow in our understanding of faith without the testings, but we will never grow in faith without the testings.

We are the objects of God’s love.  He created us in love to love us and for us to love Him in return.  That is why we are here.  We don’t deserve God’s attention, but I am so thankful we have it.  Let us strive to never spurn or take for granted His love.  Let us strive to act like we are loved by Him and strive to act like we love Him.  Let us strive to live in such a way that when the Lord examines our hearts, we will not be found wanting with hearts full of sin.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kindness to a Suffering Friend

Job 6:14  One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you have accused me without the slightest fear of the Almighty.

Job’s friends were sitting with him in his misery.  They were there to try to help him get through this very rough time of his life.  But, they were doing more harm than good.  They had the idea that Job’s misery was caused by Job’s problems with God.   They were certain that God was punishing Job for sinning against Him.

Many of us have similar notions.  We see our trials and troubles of life as God’s punishment for our sins.  We believe that the more holy we are the less trouble we are going to have.  We strive to be as good as we can be so that we will avoid the disasters of life.

Job knew better.  He didn’t understand why things were as they were, but he knew it wasn’t because of sin.  He knew the integrity of his heart.  He knew that there were no issues going on between God and himself.  He knew because he made it a point to take care of his soul.  He pursued godliness in his heart.  He worked hard at keeping his heart right with God.

We need to be careful when we judge the heart of others.  We are often mistaken in our judgments.  It is not for us to accuse others of sin.  God alone has that right.  We can point out things that we see that are obviously sin, but that is as far as we dare go.  We have no authority or right to condemn others.  We must respect God and let Him take care of His own business.  He does not need our doing His work for Him, nor is it welcomed.

It is good for us to befriend each other in troublesome times.  It is good to come alongside each other as a helper.  It is good for us to show our compassion by doing that which is good.  Kindness to a suffering soul is the best medicine you can ever give.  Don’t add salt to a wounded soul.  If you don’t know how to help with kindness, don’t say anything.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?

Job 6:10  “At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One.”

We need to learn from Job.  In spite of his enormous physical and emotional pain, he did not deny God.  He trusted and believed God no matter the circumstances of his life.  He did not take the easy way out and blame God for his troubles.  It is easy to use God as a scapegoat.  It is much harder to hold on to God no matter what comes our way.  It is easier to let go of God than it is to hang on.  It is easier to not believe in what God has promised than it is to act out what He has promised in the storms of life.

We are most vulnerable when we are in pain and suffering through very difficult circumstances and Satan knows it.  He will try his hardest to get you to doubt or deny God’s Word during those times.  We don’t like suffering or pain. 

A hymn that I grew up with asks the question, “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?”  How can we be sure it will hold?  The answer lies in what we do in the calm seasons of life.  It is then that we must invest our lives in Christ.  It is then that we must pursue a deeper walk with Him.  We must be faithfully and diligently into the Word, studying it and praying over it with a desire for greater understanding of it.  We may sort of get by with giving the Word a nominal place in our lives when things are going well, but it really shows up when the storms come.  The same thing holds true with our prayer life.  The time to really develop a strong connection with God is when things are calm and going well.

Seek the Lord out and never be satisfied with anything less than an intimate walk with Him.  Don’t play games with your soul.  The closer you get to the Lord while things are calm, the better you will be able to cling to Him when things get rough.  You will discover that you won’t doubt in the dark what you know to be true in the light.  You will discover that your anchor will hold in the storms of life.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Don't blame God for the rough times of life.

Job 1:20-22  Job stood up and tore his robe in grief.  Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground before God.  He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die.  The LORD gave me everything I had, and the LORD has taken it away.  Praise the name of the LORD!  In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

If anyone had a reason to blame God for his misfortune, it was Job.  Job was a man who was determined to live a righteous life.  He was found to be blameless before both God and man.  And then, in a matter of hours, his whole life was turned upside down.  He lost everything that was meaningful to him except his wife.  His wealth was gone, all of his children were killed, all his crops and livestock were destroyed, and he was afflicted with an unbearable outbreak of boils all over his body.  What would you do in similar circumstances?  Would you in anger point a finger at God and want to know why?  I think most people would, but Job didn’t.

Job was overcome with grief, but he did not blame God.  He understood that he came into this world with nothing and would leave it with nothing.  He understood that the blessings of life are not ours to hoard, but to enjoy while we have them.  He understood that we don’t deserve God’s favor when we receive it.  It is God’s right to bless and withdraw His blessings.  Job did not know the whys of his sudden misery, but he was confident enough in God’s love and goodness that he could trust the Lord.  He would not respond negatively towards God, but positively.  He praised the Lord!  He turned to God and worshiped Him.  He would deal with his calamity later, but at the moment he turned to the Lord and praised Him.

Don’t blame God if you are going through tough times in your life.  Don’t turn away from God and think that He doesn’t love you or care about what you are dealing with.  Don’t let Satan confuse your thinking and cause you to think that God is against you.  Look around you; you are richly blessed. 

There are a multitude of people who will never know the blessings you have in life.  No matter how bad things may be for you, it is not as bad as it could be.  We too need to understand that we enter the world with nothing and will leave it with nothing.  Don’t hang on too tightly to stuff.  It can all be taken away from you in a moment of time.  Like Job, learn to praise the Lord at all times, for all things.  Don’t fall into sin by blaming God for your hard times.  Respond positively and not negatively to life’s circumstances by always worshiping God and being grateful to Him for your life and blessings.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

God knows us by name.

Job 1:8  Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job?  He is the finest man in all the earth---a man of complete integrity.  He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil.”

God knows us by name.  Of all the people on the earth at that time, God knew Job by name.  That is an amazing thing.  God has the ability to know each one of us by our names and He never gets our names mixed up. 

God had Job pegged.  He not only knew his name, He knew all about his heart.  God knew Job well enough that He could call him the finest man in all the earth.  This tells us that not only did God know Job’s heart; He knows the heart of everyone on earth.  God compared Job to all the people on earth and then made His judgment of him.  I think that is absolutely amazing. 

It is also amazing that God said the things He said about Job.  Job was living a pure and holy life.  He took his relationship with God seriously and God knew it.  We do not live godly lives without it being known and affirmed by God.

We notice as well that God is speaking about Job to Satan.  Satan was adamant about accusing Job of being less than God’s evaluation of him.  Satan was convinced that no one could be as good as God said he was.  Satan does not know the heart.  His belief is that no one is good enough to please God.  No one is worthy of God’s blessings.  No one is qualified to be God’s child. 

Dear friend, never believe what Satan says about you; believe what God says about you.  Don’t let Satan convince you that you are not who God says you are.  God says that if you accept Jesus as your personal Savior and you are letting Him be your Lord, you are forever His child and there is a place reserved in heaven for you.  There is absolutely nothing Satan can do to change that. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

What does God think of you?


Job 1:1  There was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz.  He was blameless, a man of complete integrity.  He feared God and stayed away from evil.

Wouldn’t you like to be like Job?  I know I would.  Here was a man whom God declared to be blameless, a man of complete integrity.  Job feared God and stayed away from evil.

What needs to happen in you in order for God to say of you that you are blameless and full of integrity?  A blameless soul is one who is living totally under the righteousness of Christ.  He trusts Christ alone for his salvation and strives to emulate the life of Christ.  He is one who does not resist the work of the Spirit in his life to change him. 

A person of integrity is consistently doing life God’s way.  He is one who trustworthy.  He does not waver when it comes to doing what is right before God.  He can always be counted on in times of need.

Two things must happen before it can be said of us that we are blameless and a person of integrity.  We must fear God and stay away from evil.  One of the things that we have for the most part gotten away from is to fear God.  We have lost our sense of respect and reverence for God.  We have forgotten how to regard Him as holy and just.  We have pasteurized God to the point where He is not much more than one of us.

Staying away from evil is not something most of us take seriously.  We may not participate in it like some do, but neither do we stay away from it.  We allow ourselves to be entertained by it.  We do not stop ourselves from being entertained by it like we should.  We let it enter into our minds and ultimately into our hearts instead of striving to stay away from it.

Let us  take heed today over our souls.  Let us strive to live blameless lives.  Let us endeavor to be known as a people of complete integrity.  Let us learn to fear God and strive to stay away from evil.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Preserve the holiness of the Sabbath.

Neh. 13:22  Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and to guard the gates in order to preserve the holiness of the Sabbath.

We are all guilty.  We do not do a very good job of preserving the holiness of the Lord’s Day.  We go to church, but it is only one of the many things we crowd into the day.  We go out to eat and no longer feel guilty about it.  We go to work and justify it claiming it is necessary for our jobs.  We go to sporting events to either watch or play.  We go shopping.  We mow our lawns and do our laundry.  We plant and harvest our crops.  We do all the things we would do any other day and convince ourselves that it is okay since we were in church.  I wonder what the Lord thinks of us.

Now, I understand that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.  We cannot legislate our activities.  What some of us feel the freedom to do may not be what others feel the freedom to do.  What I wonder about is whether or not what we do what we do has even been prayed over.  Have we given the Lord a chance to determine whether or not we should be doing what we do?  How can we know whether or not the Lord is okay with us if we don’t first take our activities to Him?

Nehemiah’s concern was to protect the holiness of the Sabbath.  He did not want to allow the people to do anything that would desecrate the Lord’s Day.  I believe that we should be equally as concerned about how we live on the Lord’s Day.  Do we honor the Lord’s Day by what we do?  Perhaps the world would take note and listen more carefully to what we are trying to tell them if we showed by our actions that we truly do love the Lord and strive to respect the day He has set aside for us to worship Him.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reflecting Back for Future Growth

Phil. 3:13-14  No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

As we look at this past year and think about where we have been, what we have done, our ups and downs, and our spiritual journeys, I want us to pause for a few moments and consider how we are different today than we were last year at this time.  Are you a better person today than you were a year ago at this time?  If so, in what ways?  Can you point to specific areas in your life that are better than they were a year ago? 

We need to continue to grow through our experiences.  We need to be able to see definite improvements in our faith walk.  We should be more consistent and diligent in our Bible readings.  We should be more comfortable and faithful in prayer.  We need to be doing a better job of living out our faith.  We need to be more comfortable in being identified as Christians in the world. 

As we face the New Year the one thing we all should be doing is to forget this past year and press forward into the new one.  If we are not any better off now than we were a year ago, forget it and resolve today to change.  Resolve to let the Spirit take control of your will so that you will be more disciplined in your faith.  Resolve to put forth your best effort to grow your faith.  Make a daily commitment to do something to strengthen and grow your faith.  Resolve not to give up the effort if you falter.  There is no excuse for not trying.  The reward for your efforts is that you will know our Lord in a deeper and more satisfying way than you ever thought possible.

If you are better today than you were a year ago, way to go!  Don’t slack off this New Year.  Continue to work hard at being the best you can be in Christ.  Let the Spirit have more and more control over you.  Stay the course of your life.  Keep putting forth your best effort to know the Lord and serve Him.  The strides you have made won’t mean much if you don’t build on them. 

Expect challenges to your faith this coming year; they are going to come.  He who faces them boldly under the lordship of Christ will live in victory.  With Jesus as Lord, this will be the best year of your life, no matter what circumstances of life await you.