Friday, October 31, 2014

Is. 29:13 They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away.


Is. 29:13  And so the    LORD says, “These people say they are mine.  They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away.  And their worship of me amounts to nothing more than human laws learned by rote.”

This verse speaks of a matter that is close to my heart.  So many people say that they are children of God, but their lives say otherwise.  They may grace our churches on a regular basis and even be leaders in the church.  They may be occassional church goers or they may never go to church.  They may call themselves Christian without any real understanding of what that really means from a Biblical perspective.  They may even deny basic Biblical teachings and the Bible itself as the written Word of God.

Many who gather for worship on a regular basis go through the motions of worship without ever really worshipping the Lord.  They may say the right things without their hearts being in it.  They may make a lot of noise and get emotionally wound up without being passionate about the Lord deep in their souls.  They may be good at preaching and teaching the Word without the Word ever really getting a hold of their hearts and changing them. 

The Lord declares that such people are not His children.  There is a difference between proclaiming truth and living truth.  Many grow up in the church and never leave the church who have never had a life-changing experience with the Lord.  They assimilate the truth of the Gospel without dealing with their sinful souls before God.   They may be very good people who are respected highly in the church, but they are lost.

We must carefully examine our souls and make sure that we have not fallen into the faith instead of embracing it.  We are not children of God unless we are convicted of our sins, confess them, and repent.  There are no backdoors into heaven.  Jesus is the only way.  He died to take away our sins, not to cover them up.  We try often to cover them up with our goodness, but it never will work.  Salvation is not ours just because we claim it to be so.  What we say does not get us into heaven.  Only Jesus can make our hearts righteous and holy before God. 

Do you know for certain that you are the child of God that you claim to be?  Have you opened up your heart to Jesus and let Him in to purify it and change you forever?  If you have, it will be obvious in the way you live and in the peace that governs your soul.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Isaiah 28:16 Jesus is our cornerstone.

Is. 28:16  Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says, “Look!  I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem.  It is firm, a tested and precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.  Whoever believes need never run away again.”

Notice that this is something that God has done.  No man can lay down a foundation that is trustworthy enough to build his life on.  Any attempts to do so will not stand the test of time.  One’s life will crumble and fall apart as it faces the many storms of life.  Jesus is the foundation stone that Isaiah spoke about.  He is firm, a foundation that never moves or crumbles.  We can put our trust in Him knowing that He will always be steadfast and true. 

Jesus has been tested.  Scripture tells us that He was tempted in all points just like we are and yet He did not sin.  He had many opportunities, but His love for God and connection to God was so strong that He never wavered in His rejection of sin’s opportunities.  I do wonder whether or not if we were to love the Lord more if we would not sin more.  Is our connection to God so real and strong that we are able to say no to sin?  It should be a challenge to us to do all that we can do to make our connection to the Lord as strong as we possibly can so we will have the willpower to resist temptations.  I know I have found that I am the weakest in resisting temptation when I am weakest in my prayer and devotional life.

Jesus is our precious cornerstone.  Everything in a building is built around it’s cornerstone.  If the cornerstone is bad, the structure of the building will be weak and eventually crumble.  Much care has to be given to make sure the cornerstone is what it should be.  The same thing holds true in our relationship with the Lord.  Our spiritual stability and longevity depends on how much we allow ourselves to be built on Christ.  He is crucial to our life with God and there can be no compromising our connection to Him.

It is safe to build your life on Christ.  In fact, as the old hymn put it, all other ground is sinking sand.  If you try to build your life on anything else, you will make a mess of your life.  Only in Christ are we able to handle whatever comes our way in life in a way that pleases God.

All who believe in Him find a safe haven in which to stand.  They no longer have need to run and hide.  They no longer have to chase after things to satisfy.  In Christ alone do we find what our souls need.  In His life we find peace and contentment.  In Him we find a life worth living for.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Is. 26:4 Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

Is. 26:4  Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.

Trust is not something we can do when it’s convenient or easy for us to do.  We must trust in the Lord always.  No matter how impossible or difficult it may seem to be, we must trust in the Lord.  We are prone to trust in our own judgment or the advice of others before we trust the Lord.  So much of the decisions we make in life do not flow from trusting in the Lord.  We may trust Him with the big things, but when it comes to the little things we are more apt to handle them ourselves. 

What we must understand is that trust is a way of life for the redeemed.  If we truly believe what we say we believe about God, we will trust Him in all things.  We say that God is trustworthy because He is absolute perfection in all things good and holy.  We say that He is all knowing and understanding.  We say that He is incapable of wrong judgments.  We say that He is all powerful, able to do supply whatever we may need.  We say that He is love and will always do what is best for us.  We say that He has a plan for our lives and is moment-by-moment working it out in our lives for our good.  We say these things and claim to believe them, but fail to turn to Him and trust Him for many things in our lives. 

We must be honest about ourselves and admit that we are not always the most reliable people to trust.  We don’t have a good handle on many things.  We are too emotionally attached to be objective in many things.  Our judgment is often clouded by our emotions.  We are short-sighted and do not see the bigger picture.  We like to think that we are so wise, but we are not.  We need the Lord’s perspective on things in order for us to make good decisions in life.

Dear friend, if you find yourself not trusting the Lord always, please reconsider what you are doing.  The Lord is our eternal Rock.  He alone can be trusted to never fail.  He alone is able to help you come out on top.  He alone is unwavering and true to His Word.  You can and must believe what He promises if you are going to live life in Christ.  You will overcome all things and have peace through them if you trust in the Lord to help you. 

Don’t waver in this.  Trust the Lord always in all things for He is our Rock and salvation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Is. 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Is. 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you! 

This is not a maybe promise!  God say He WILL keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him.  Perfect peace is the absolute knowledge that God is real in the heart.  It is knowing that we have held nothing back from Him, that we have confessed all of our sins.  It is knowing that God is in control and will never fail to be with us or let us down.  It is knowing that the desire of the heart is that God’s will be done and not our own.  It is knowing that God is able and putting all of our trust in Him.  It is knowing that God is eternally the same and can never change.

Perfect peace comes to those who trust in the Lord with all their heart, mind and soul.  It happens when we cease to doubt God, when we believe in His absolute goodness and holiness to the point where we know that He always acts on our behalf out of love and for our good.

Perfect peace comes to those who fix their thoughts on Him.  There is so much to occupy our minds with.  We are constantly being bombarded with things to think about.  Since the world is for now Satan’s playground, it stands to reason that much of what we are exposed to is evil.  It takes a disciplined mind to not focus on evil.  A mind fixed on the Lord consistently and regularly feeds on godly things.  There is much time spent in God’s Word and prayer.  There is time spent surrounded by godly people.  There is time spent seeing the world through God’s eyes.  We train our minds to think of the world as a place of pain and not pleasure.  A trained mind understands the lostness of the world and how precious it is to not be lost anymore. 

Perfect peace is being able to rest in the knowledge that all is well with our souls.  It is keeping our souls pure before God by confessing our sins and striving to live life by Christ’s righteousness in us.  It is a heart fully surrendered to the lordship of Christ over us.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Is. 9:6,7 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us........

Is. 9:6-7  For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

A great deal has been said and written about these titles for Jesus over the years.  Little can be added to it, but I do want us to linger for a moment and reflect again on them.  It is good for us to not only think about our Lord, but then to visualize ways in which we know these things are true in our lives.

He is our Wonderful Counselor.  He is all-knowing and full of compassion.  He does not leave us in the dark on how we ought to be living.  He is not insensitive to us and lovingly instructs and guides us in the ways we should go.  The Lord is the way and will never advise us to go a different way other than the way that leads us to heaven and a deeper walk with God.  Imagine the problems we would have if He were to hide the way from us and demand that we in our own wisdom find it.  Instead He makes himself known to us and instructs us how to know Him in His goodness, righteousness and holiness.

He is our Mighty God.  He is able.  There is no need of life we will ever have that He is not able to handle.  There is no sin that He is not able to forgive.  There is no battle He is not able to win.  There is no crisis of life that He is not able to see us through.  There is no limitation in His power, love, wisdom, grace, mercy, and ability to make us into a holy people, a people after His own heart.

He is our Everlasting Father.  There is no end to His fatherly love and care for us.  There is no end to His desire to do good for us.  There is no end to His protective care over us.  There is no end to His working in our lives to make us fit for heaven.

He is our Prince of Peace.  He is the crowning glory of peace.  He alone is able to give us peace that satisfies our souls.  He alone is able to give us the calm confidence we need to weather the storms of life.  There is no real peace apart from Him. 

There is so much more that could be said about our Lord.  I have not even scratched the surface of just how wonderful He is.  Linger for a moment at His feet and think  about these things.  Feast on the Mighty God we serve.  He is such a Wonderful Counselor as He leads us through our life journey.  He watches over us at all times and forever shall be our Father in heaven.  He is our Prince of Peace amidst the storms of life.  God has given us everything we need in life. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Is. 6:5 My destruction is sealed, for I am a sinful man and a member of a sinful race.....

Is. 6:5  Then I said, “My destruction is sealed, for I am a sinful man and a member of a sinful race.  Yet I have seen the King, the LORD Almighty!”

Oh, but that we all would have the same spirit that Isaiah had!  When was the last time you were so overwhelmed by your sinfulness that you were driven to cry out in mercy to God for He is holy? 

We just don’t see ourselves as we should in light of God’s holiness.  God makes himself known to us and we consider it no big deal.  We take for granted His love and favor.  We know He is holy, but we are not too fazed by it.  We know we sin, but it doesn’t bother us all that much.  We don’t have a big problem with all the evil around us.  We accept it as just a part of life and go on our merry way.  Is it any wonder that God seems so far away from us?

We need to have an awareness of our sinfulness.  We need to understand that God is holy and that sin affects our ability to have fellowship with God.  We need to recognize our need to repent and be made holy before God.  We will not see God move in us or in the church unless we first deal with sin.  We have become sin tolerant and it keeps us away from God’s heart.  In order for us to become a people after God’s own heart, we must first confess our sins and repent.  We must commit ourselves to lives of holiness and quit accommodating sin in our lives.

We may never see God in the same way that Isaiah saw Him, but we can know Him as Isaiah knew Him.  We can take our sinfulness seriously and seek the face of God.  We can focus on God’s holiness and see ourselves in light of it.  We must quit comparing ourselves with others and considering ourselves good in comparison.  In light of God’s holiness, no one is good or good enough.  We are all sinners and desperately need Christ in control of our hearts, for He is our holiness before God.

Dear friend, fall prostrate at Jesus’ feet today.  Admit your sin and confess them before God.  Ask Jesus to keep you aware of your sin and your need for Him.  Don’t play games with your soul.  Unless Jesus is your Lord, you will lose your battle with sin.  Surrender yourself to Him and He will wash away your sin and make your heart pure before God.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Is. 6:3-4 We need to be captivated by the presence and holiness of God.

Is. 6:3-4  In a great chorus they sang, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty!  The whole earth is filled with his glory!”  The glorious singing shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire sanctuary was filled with smoke.

One of the songs of heaven that the angels and heaven’s choir continuously sings is holiness unto to the Lord.  Scripture doesn’t tell us about any other songs being sung before God, but we are told that the holiness is declared in chorouses of praise.  It is such a glorious song that it shook the very foundation of the Temple.  Have you ever been in a worship service that was so overwhelmed by the presence of God that it shook to the core the place of worship?

Maybe a better question would be, “Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the presence of God that all you could do was declare His holiness in praise?  Branded deep in my soul is an experience I had as a little boy.  I grew up in a conservative Weslyan church where there was an elderly saint, Brother Shafer.  I can still see him today as if had happened yesterday.  Brother Shafer would so feel the presence of God in worship that he would stand up and start walking down the aisles of the church with his hands raised to heaven and say over and over again, “Glory, Glory, Glory!”  He would walk around the church and then sit back down and I would know even as a young lad that I was in the presence of God.

Rarely have I had such an experience since.  I have been where God has moved in our midst in a very precious and special way, but it is not the norm.  Now, I am not talking about those times in which we generate excitement within ourselves.  We can easily become excited without it being because God is in our midst.  When the Lord is in our midst, we know it deep within our souls.

I wonder if we were to live closer to the heart of God if maybe the Lord would visit us more often in worship.  Can we really say that we are living close to God?  We cannot be close to God without being holy in heart.  We must be students of the Word and have regular visits with God in our prayer closets.  We must be actively taking our faith out into the world and doing what we can do for the glory of Christ. 

We need to become captivated by the presence and holiness of God.  When we become holy in heart as He is holy, great things will happen in our lives and through our lives.  Holiness is the greatest need of the church today.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Is. 6:1 In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord......

Is. 6:1 In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.

If you were permitted to actually catch a glimpse of heaven, what would you expect to see? What would you expect to happen?  We are given very little actual insight into heaven in the Scriptures.  We are told that it is full of the glory of God and that there is continuous praise going on.  We are told that the angels are busy serving the Lord there.  We are given a picture of heaven being a place of indescribable beauty, untainted by sin in any form.  Heaven is so much more than what is revealed to us in the Scriptures

Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on a throne.  God is spirit, but He was recognizable to Isaiah.  Isaiah had his spiritual eyes open and could see Him in a way that only the truly righteous in heart can see Him.  If our hearts are right with God, we are able to see God on a much deeper level than what is normally known of God at first glance. 
God revealed himself in human form at various times in history, so it’s not too hard to see and recognize God if we are seeing Him through the lens of our humanity.  But, will we always need to see Him as we do now?  In heaven we will have different bodies, different eyes.  We will be able to see Him differently than we do now.  We will see Him as He actually is, absolute holiness wrapped up in glory.  We will see absolute perfection.  We will see nothing but holy love.  His presence will be such that it will fill all the space we are in.  We will see the glory of God without end.  We will see Him on His throne and we will be drawn to Him on bended knee. 

People who sit on thrones in this world are corrupted by sin.  They embrace their power and authority and feast on it.  They abuse their power for their own gain.  But it is not that way with God.  God on His throne is pure holiness.  Everything He does is good and right.  He always acts out of the context of perfection.

Isaiah was given a glimpse of God on His throne.  There was a reason why God allowed him to see what he did.  God had huge plans for Isaiah’s life.  God was going to send him out into his world as a special ambassador for Him.  Isaiah was going to become the voice of God for his day.  Isaiah’s vision of God was going to forever change him.

God became flesh and dwelt for a while amongst us.  He made himself known to us so that we can see Him and be changed by Him for His purposes.  God has special plans for you and wants you to look upon Jesus.  He wants to show you the way to God’s throne so that you might be saved and equipped to be His voice in your world.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away your sins.  Do you see Him?  Do you know His saving grace today?  He is waiting for you.  Turn to Him now.  Today is the day of your salvation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Is. 5:21 Destruction is certain for those who are heroes when it comes to drinking.....


Is. 5:21  Destruction is certain for those who are heroes when it comes to drinking, who boast about all the liquour they can hold.

I don’t know what your stand is on drinking and I do not want to make an issue of whether or not it is okay to do it.  What concerns me the most is our attitude about it.  Drinking has become acceptable across most of society and the church.  It doesn’t have the stigma it once did.  The advertising world has done an excellent job in making it so attractive and creating a desire in people to do it.

What most people do not want to think about is its affect on the body, mind and soul of man.  Some try to warn people of the downside of drinking, but it usually falls on deaf ears.  It is a proven medical fact that drinking takes a toll on the body.  Prolonged drinking causes the body to malfunction.  It affects the ability of the mind to think clearly and rationally.  It causes the soul to distance itself from God.

Alcohol consumption easily can become a god to man.  People begin to live for the next drink.  It consumes their thinking and becomes their chosen way of unwinding from the stresses of living.  It soon takes over a person’s life and creates a need for a drink in almost all social activities.  It gets to the point where a person cannot function for long without a pick-me-up drink. 

People have different tolerant levels for alcohol and few are able to recognize and stay within their tolerance level.  Drinking tends to dull the mind’s ability to know when the body has had enough.  Drinking more alcohol than the body can safely handle causes all kinds of destruction.  It destroys the body and mind and has an adverse affect on all who come in contact with the person who is drunk. 

The Word of God declares that anything that is done in excess is sin.  Many of the Proverbs speak about the dangers of alcoholic consumption.  The issue that we must consider is whether or not it is okay to take the risk of what drinking might do to us in light of what the Word says and medical science backs up.  Does God approve of our putting ourselves and others at risk when we drink?  It is an issue each of us must decide before God.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Is. 5:20 There is no confusion about what God says.

Is. 5:20  Destruction is certain for those who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark; that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.

There is no confusion with what God says.  People don’t always want to hear what God has to say and they may try to make it say what it doesn’t say, but it doesn’t change what is.  People have always tried to make evil good.  Sin is the most lucrative business on earth.  Sin is made out to be attractive and something to be desired.  Sin is used extensively to “get ahead” in the world.  It is the way the world operates.  Sinful behavior is the norm.  We are constantly bombared with sin.  It influences the way we think and live.  Sin is not seen by the world as something evil, it is seen as something good and useful.  God declares that evil is not good and those who say it is are bound for destruction.

People also declare that good is evil.  There is much oppositon to those who stand strong on what God declares to be true and good.   The world has very little tolerance for people who oppose what they do.  The world has always fought vigorously to try and silence God’s goodness.  They declare that good is bad.  They oppose those who declare sinful behavior to be sin.  They don’t want to be told that there is a godly standard to live by and to be held accountable for.  The world will do everything it can to deny the fact that they can’t do what they want to do.  In the world’s eyes, good is evil because it opposes what the world wants to do.  God declares that those who oppose good and call it evil are bound for destruction.

When God speaks of destruction, He is not talking about annilihation as some declare He is.  Destruction is spending eternity in hell.  It is alienation from God.  It is an inescapable sentence of being an outcast from God’s presence.  Destruction is an eternity without hope.  It is eternal torment and anguish of heart over blown opportunities to repent. 

God will not be mocked.  Truth will prevail.  Evil is evil and good is good.  It behooves us to educate ourselves about all that God declares is good so that we might live it.  Many things that we think are good are not; they are evil.  Ignorance is no excuse.  God has given us His Word to educate us.  We must be willing to listena and learn so that we can live lives that are pleasing and acceptable to God.  God does not confuse us.  He guides us into all truth and we had better pay attention.  Destruction is certain for all who do not walk in the light of God’s revealed truth.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Is. 1:18 If you are tired of being you, let the Lord help you.

Is. 1:18  “Come now, let us argue this out,” says the LORD.  “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.”

I don’t know your heart.  I don’t what you may have done or are now doing.  I don’t know if you have made a real mess of your life or not.  You may think that you have really done something that is so awful that there is no longer any hope for you.  You may think that even God won’t forgive you.  If this is you, listen to what God says in today’s verse.  There is nothing you have done or are now doing that is beyond the scope of God’s forgiveness.  He is able, and willing, to clean up your act.  He can take your worst and take it away from you.  He can wash your heart clean, cleaner than a freshly fallen snow.  Impossible?  No, God is able to help you. 

If you are tired of being you, let the Lord help you.  Enough is enough.  Only the Lord can help you with your sin problem.  He is able to take care of all of your sins.  All you have to do is be honest with yourself about it, confess what you have done before the Lord, ask Him to forgive you, and accept His forgiveness.  He will take it from there.  He will purify your soul and give you a new start in life.  But, when you do you cannot hold anything back.  You must give Him all of your sins and be willing to change so that you don’t continue in them.

Maybe you are reading this and you haven’t done anything drastically that has alienated you from God.  The truth of the matter is that sin of any kind keeps us away from God.  No matter how insignificant you may think your sin is, it is very significant to God.  God is holy and no one who has unconfessed sin in their heart can get close to God.  We must deal with sin before God.  If we confess our sin, the Lord is faithful and just and He will forgive us, but we must confess our sins before the Lord will take them away.

Dear friend, admit it.  You need to turn to the Lord today and confess sin.  Don’t put it off.  There is peace deep within the soul when our hearts are made pure by God.  You will never know His peace until you do. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Eccl. 12:13,14 Fear God and obey His commands......

Eccl. 12:13,14 Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

Solomon had spent a lot of time thinking about life and its meaning.  He had the opportunity and resources to look into just about everything that is common to man.  He looked for purpose and meaning in what man does in life, and came up empty time and time again.  He discovered that there is no lasting purpose or satisfaction in anything people did with their lives.

At the end of his search, Solomon turned his thoughts to the eternal.  He declared that what really life was all about was to fear God and obey Him.  He declared that it is the duty of every person to do it.  Much has been declared about what it means to fear God.

To fear God is to have a deep respect for who God is in His holiness and what He does for those who sin against Him.  It is having a healthy sense of God’s judgment.  It is living with the knowledge that God hates sin and will not tolerate it in His presence.  It is respecting the reality of hell as a place of eternal tormenting suffering for those who reject Christ and live in sin.  It is understanding that we are not able to draw near to God because of our sin.  A healthy fear of God drives us to Christ who alone can make us holy before God. 

We don’t like to think about it much, but God will judge us for everything we do.  Every hidden thing we have done, good or bad, will be exposed before Him.  God sees what no one else sees.  He knows all that we do and even why we do it.  We don’t like to think about it.  God knows everything we do or think about, good or bad.  No one always thinks about good things or always does good things.  All of us are guilty of sin.  No matter how hard we try, we can’t get away from God’s knowing eye.  Such knowledge should cause us to fear what awaits us when we face God.

Only those who are living in Christ will be able to stand before God.  Jesus is our holiness, our righteousness before God.   He is the only one who can keep us from being subject to the wrath of God.  God will bring wrath upon all in whom He finds sin.  When sin is exposed it will be dealt with.  Hell has been prepared for those in whom sin is found.  When God looks at the soul who is living in Christ, He sees not sin; He sees the righteousness of Christ.  He will never look beyond the righteousness of Christ.  Thus, for those who live in Christ, our sins are as if they never were.  Our only hope is to fear God and obey Him, which means we live in Christ and let Him be our Savior and Lord.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Eccl. 11:9 Young man, it's wonderful to be young!

Ecc. 11:9 Young man, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.

Being on this side of life’s cycle, I appreciate the truthfulness of this statement.  When you are young life is full of possibilities.  We dream a lot of what we want our lives to be like and often form plans to make it happen.  In our youth we feel indestructible and wiser than most.  In our youth, life is carefree with no thought of the consequences for our decisions or activities.  Life should be cherished and enjoyed, but there also needs to be an awareness that life doesn’t stop in our youth. 

As we grow older we begin to understand that there are consequences for our decisions.  We discover that we alone are responsible for our actions.  We learn the hard way that wrong decisions bring unwelcome results.  We learn that life isn’t always kind and forgiving.  We learn that we reap what we sow.

The most important lesson a person can ever learn in life is that we must give an account to God for everything we do.  Whether we want to believe it or not, everyone will stand before God and answer to Him for how we live.  Denying it will not change it.  God holds us responsible and accountable for our living, and even our thinking.  There is coming a day in which everyone will pass before God and answer to Him for how they have lived. 

You can learn the easy way or the hard way, but learn you will.  God is judge over all.  No one will get away with anything.  If we sow wild oats on earth, we will end up in hell.  If we live righteously before God on earth, we will end up in heaven.  God forces each of us to choose.  Every day we choose whether or not we will obey God.  Every day we are contributing to the decision God will make regarding our eternity.  We will get what we deserve.  You are choosing today whom you will serve. 

Enjoy life to the fullest; live life fully surrendered to the Lord.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Eccl. 10:10 Seek wisdom; it helps you succeed.

Eccl. 10:10 Since a dull ax requires great strength, sharpen the blade. That’s the value of seeking wisdom; it helps you succeed.

Wisdom helps us to succeed.  In fact, without wisdom we will not succeed.  Wisdom is the ability to take what we know and make good use of it in our lives so that we become better people.  It requires humility and the willingness to make changes in our behavior and thinking when it is necessary.  Wisdom is learning to work on our weaknesses and to shore up our strengths.  It is gained on the foundation of dedicated work.

Spirtiual wisdom doesn’t just happen because we have faith.  It comes to those who are fully surrendered to the Lord.  The Spirit of Christ gives wisdom to those who are serious about their walk with the Lord.  It requires from us a committed and consistent study of God’s Word.  It requires of us a commitment to worshiping the Lord. 

Wisdom is the acknowledgement that all that is good comes from God.  It is recognizing the work of God in all of life and in us.  It is not taking for granted the handiwork of God.  It is being grateful for the blessings of God.  It is not blaming God when things don’t go our way.  It is submitting to God’s authority over us with no strings attached.  It is not being satisfied with the status quo but always seeking to grow in grace and knowledge.  Wisdom is stressing those things that help build us up in faith and staying away from those things which tear us down.  Wisdom is resisting Satan whenever he endeavors to entice us away from God and into sin.

The key to successful living in Christ is to seek wisdom.  We need to have an insatiable desire for the Lord and for understanding on how to live holy lives.  Wisdom is the solid rock upon which faith is built.  Wisdom is found only in Jesus who is our Solid Rock.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Eccl. 8:11 When a crime is not punished, people feel safe to do wrong.

Eccl. 8:11 When a crime is not punished, people feel it is safe to do wrong.

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to always get themselves into trouble?  We often wonder why do they keep doing it.  The answer is simple; doing the crime is worth the time when the cost of doing the crime is not severe enough to make one want to stop it.  People do not fear punishment when it is not sufficient to deter crime.  When a person is basically slapped on the wrist for their wrongdoing, they will continue to do what seems right in their own eyes regardless if it is a crime or not.  I know that when growing up if I behaved wrongly, I was painfully disciplined for it.  I learned very early in life that the pain for the crime was not worth doing the crime.

We see the result every day of a soft attitude about crime.  Parents ignore what their children do, people don’t tell on those they know are doing wrong, pastors overlook sin in the church, people in the church overlook their pastor’s sin, people in authority are allowed to do whatever they want will little consequences, etc.  We reap what we sow and we should not be surprised at the result.  The heart is wicked to the core and people will do evil much more easily than they will do good.  When crime is not punished, people will feel safe to continue doing evil.

The Lord disciplines us so that we will learn what not to do in our walk with Him.  He knows that only a holy heart will be able to make it into heaven.  He loves us and does all He can do to help us to keep our hearts holy.  He quickly points out our sins and holds us accountable to Him for them.  He loves us and refuses to let us feel safe in continuing in our sin.  He knows that He who sins will be held accountable before God for them and He longs to spare us from our own folly. 

Do not get mad at God when He holds you accountable for sin and disciplines you.  He does it because He loves you and desires a relationship with you.  Instead, be thankful.  Thank the Lord that He is merciful as well as just.  Thank Him that He loves you and cares about your soul.  Thank Him for not leaving you alone to die in your sin.  Thank Him that He provides a way out of your sin.  Thank Him that He does not hold your sin against you once He forgives you.  Thank Him that He does not look beyond the righteousness of Christ in you and that your past sins are no more in His sight.  Thank Him that He is on your side and will always strive to help you to be holy before Him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eccl. 8:9 All the evil in the world, when will it all end?

Eccl. 8:9  I have thought deeply about all that goes on here in the world, where people have the power to hurt each other.

We live in a time in which news about what is going on in the world is everywhere you turn.  It’s on our computers, TVs, radios, newspapers, etc.  We may choose to ignore what is going on and pretend like it doesn’t exist, but it does.  Man’s sinful nature is plastered everywhere.  It is almost inconceivable how evil mankind can be.  If we stop and think about it, it overpowers the soul.

Where will it all end?  When will it all end?   Is there anything we can do to stop the madness?  How will this madness affect us personally if it continues?  Is there any hope for our children/grandchildren if it continues as it is going?  Is the way things are going in the world a sign that Jesus is coming soon?

Evil has always plagued the world.  We read history books and we read the Bible and we are made aware of how evil evil is.  No matter how much people say that man is inherently good, we know better.  No matter how much we like to think that life is better today than it has ever been, it isn’t.  No matter how much we try to bury the reality of evil, it is everywhere and will continue to plague man and only get worse.

The world is the present domain of Satan.  He is vigorously working to destroy Christianity.  He doesn’t like children of God and is determined to silence and destroy us.  God makes it very clear that Satan is going to have his way on earth until God puts an end to it.  Jesus is coming soon to take the church out of the world so that evil will manifest itself without restraint.  It is going to be a time in which God will rain down judgment on the earth until Satan is finally defeated and cast into hell for all of eternity. 

Jesus will take the church out of the world because He loves us and wants to spare us the horrors of unbridled evil in the world.  He loves us and gives us the means to be in the world but not victims of it.  He takes up residence in the heart of all who repent and surrender their lives to Him and protects us from being destroyed by evil.  We may have to live under the consequences of the world’s evil, but we are not victims of it.  In Christ we are the victors, the overcomers.  In Christ, we are guaranteed to live with Him for all of eternity in heaven. 

Do not let the news of the world overwhelm or overpower you.  Live faithfully in Christ and you will live in peace and have joy in your soul, no matter how bad things may get around you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Eccl. 8:1 How wonderful to be wise......

Eccl. 8: 1 How wonderful to be wise, to be able to analyze and interpret things. Wisdom lights up a person’s face, softening its hardness.

Wisdom does not just happen or come naturally.  It comes to those who live and learn.  It is observing and applying to life what we learn so that we are better people than we were before.  We learn from the mistakes others make and we learn from our own mistakes.  Wisdom is making changes in our thinking and living as we discover newer and better ways to live.  Wisdom comes to those who do not just “go with the flow” in life, but who deliberately strive to do those things which make them a better person.  Wisdom gives a person confidence and a positive approach to living. 

Wisest are those who are spiritually wise.  It is a wonderful thing when God’s children learn well how to live life in Christ.  Those who are spiritually wise are students of God’s Word.  They do not just read the Word for the sake of reading it, but they read it to learn about God and His ways.  They read it with a desire to learn new things so that they can live more godly lives.

Those who are spiritually wise do not neglect their prayer time.  They make it a point to spend time alone with God.  They pray not only to be heard, but they pray to worship.  They develop a mindset of praise and thanksgiving as they pray.  They meditate on the awesomeness of God.  They pray often just to have fellowship with God.   They learn to enjoy being in the presence of God.

The spiritually wise do not neglect Christian fellowship.  They learn to appreciate the faith of others and enjoy the fellowship of other believers.  They learn that other like-minded believers are the best people on earth to know and fellowship with.

The spiritually wise are actively serving the Lord.  They are those who have learned that it is far better to give than receive.  They grow to appreciate the opportunities the Lord gives them to do good amongst man.  They seek to serve the Lord because they love Him and desire to honor and glorify Him.  They have learned that there is no greater joy in life to be ambassadors for Christ in the world.

Those who are spiritually wise are easily recognizable in the world.  There is joy in their souls and it shows.  They are known for their righteousness and compassion.  They are gracious in how they deal with others.  They are quick to forgive and slow to judge.  They are a people after God’s own heart.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Eccl. 7:20 There is not a single person in all the earth who is always good and never sins.

Eccl. 7:20  There is not a single person in all the earth who is always good and never sins.

This is a statement that is true for all people for all time.  There is not one person who has ever lived, is now living, or shall ever live, who is so good he never sins.  This includes you and me.  No matter what others may think about you or what you may think about you, you are not as good as you may appear to be.  Everyone sins and that is just a fact of life.  It doesn’t matter who you may be in the eyes of the world or church, you are guilty of sin.  If you say you aren’t, you are calling God a liar because He says you are.

Because we are guilty of sin, we need help from God if we are going to avoid the consequences of our sin, which is hell.  God knew our plight and did what only He could do; He became human and lived a sinless life.  He then took upon himself all of our sin penalty on the cross of Calvary when He died in our place.  He who knew no sin became sin for us so we could have our sins forgiven by God.  Not only did Jesus make it possible for God to forgive us, He made the way for God to forget we had ever sinned!  When Jesus is our Savior, God does not look beyond the righteousness of Christ in us.  It is as if we had never sinned!

Yes, we still sin because we are in the flesh and in the world.  We are perfected in Christ be we are not perfect.  Our sinful nature still haunts and harasses us.  We are weak spiritually and will fail to measure up to God’s holy perfection.  But the Good News is that when we admit our sin and confess them to Christ, we are forgiven and our hearts are made whiter than snow before God. 

In order to not live in sin and end up in hell, we need to stay closely connected with Christ.  We must be washed clean by His righteousness.  We must stay under His righteousness and not wander away from Him.  He will protect us and keep us pure before God as long as we let Him be our Savior and Lord.  No one will ever be good enough to be with God without Him.  No one.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Eccl. 7:13 Notice the way God does things, then fall into line....

Eccl. 7:13 Notice the way God does things, then fall into line. Don’t fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked?

Are you paying attention to the way God does things?  Think about it.  God lovingly works to draw all men to Him.  He very clearly makes known the way to Him that we might walk in it.  He makes a holy path for us to follow and demands that we walk on it.  He aggressively sends forth workers into the harvest field of the world to reach the lost for Him.  He equips His children so that they can effectively be witnesses for Him in the world.  He warns all about the consequences of sin and the reality of hell.  He shows mercy and grace to all.  He forgives all who sincerely repent of their sins.

We are commanded to fall in line with what the Lord is doing.  We are to become like Him in His nature and actions.  We are not to fight His ways but conform to them.  We are not to question His ways.  The way in which we can do these things is to live in close communion to Him.  It is not easy and you will face much oppositon, but it is far better to struggle while following the Lord than it is to struggle because you are not following Him.

We must keep our souls in touch with God by spending quality time in His Word. There is no shortcut on this.  It takes determination and discipline to stay in the Word and to learn from it.  It takes time.  We must keep in touch with the Lord through prayer.  There is no substitute for prayer.  It is what we must do consistently and deliberately.  It is an attitude we must live by.  We must be a people of prayer.

When we feed our souls with the Word and spend time with the Lord in prayer, we must put feet to our faith and live it in the world.  We must be witnesses of our faith both in deed and action.  We must stop fighting against God and start living in cooperation with Him.  There is not many ways to live life and make it to heaven.  Jesus is the only way to God and we must walk in it.