Purpose Statement

My holy ambition is to bring glory to God through the study of His Word. I am passionate about the observation, interpretation and application of God's Word in our lives.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Do Unto Others

This evening I sat at a local fast food restaurant when a man walked in who looked like he might have been homeless.  First he came in to use the restroom and left. He returned a few minutes later. He walked up to the counter and asked for the cheapest item on the menu.  The cashier was very courteous to him as she answered his question. He pulled out some change from his pocket and held it out to her.  She took it and told him she'd be right back. She walked over and discussed the issue with the manager.  He reached over and prepared a meal that would have been over $5.00--much more change than he presented. The cashier brought him the meal in a sack. He thanked her profusely, waved and nodded at the manager and left. I walked out at the same time and watched as he hopped on an older bike and rode off literally towards the sunset.  I lost view of him quickly. It was clear that this was no sham.

I thought to myself as I got into my car what a blessing it was to watch a biblical command play out before me. Luke 6: 31 states: "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you."  Whether the employees were knowingly fulfilling the biblical command or not, the result was the same. I and others around were encouraged and a hungry and perhaps homeless man had a nice hot meal. Hopefully the employees rest much easier tonight when their heads hit the pillow. Sometimes it is the little things, those that seem so insignificant, that matter the most, isn't it?  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Exceeding Abundantly Beyond

This afternoon I helped a friend put together a very abundant gift from her and her husband to a couple who was leaving town for a days.  I was overwhelmed by everything included to make a long weekend a most enjoyable and memorable one.  In fact, the gifts fit nicely into three different size baskets.  As I watched my friend pack the goodies, I was reminded of Paul's words in Ephesians.  These physical gifts were lovely, and exceedingly abundantly beyond what was necessary. It was a loving act from one couple to another full of pleasant surprises.  The gift was jam-packed with things that brought great pleasure  What a teeny weeny microscopic picture of what Paul means when he speaks of God being able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that they we ask or think. 

Ephesians 3: 20 and 21 read: "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."  The power Paul refers to is that of the Holy Spirit. John MacArthur writes: "When the conditions of verses 16 to 19 are met, God's power working in and through believers is unlimited and far beyond their comprehension."  A life fully surrendered to the knowing Jesus Christ in His fullness (which we can never do) will be overflowing with an abundance of God's power. My Associate Pastor signs his emails; "Because Jesus is better".  I agree totally. Jesus is better. In fact, Jesus is best. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Words, Words and More Words

On Wednesday afternoons I help work in my church library and bookstore. It's a small church and thus a small library. In fact, it's a room about 10 feet by 10 feet. Today I continued to inventory what was on the shelves.  There was one author of books for juveniles that had written 51 different volumes. I was amazed at his verbosity.  I scanned the room and saw hundreds of books scattered throughout the shelves.  I pondered briefly how many words were contained in all the books in the room. There has to be thousands of them.  It got me to thinking about the power of words.  God has given us a very powerful tool in language. 

Both the written and spoken word have vast impact upon people's lives. Proverbs 18: 20a says:  "Death and life are in the power of the tongue". James 3: 8 to 12 states about the tongue: "But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh."

There are millions of books about human life. There is only one book that contain the words of eternal life. It's the Bible.  It was written not by men but God who superintended its writing.  That the Bible was inspired by God is a concept that's very difficult for the world to accept. People's  rejection doesn't mean it isn't true.  The Bible alone has the power to convict, comfort, console, and change lives forever. Hebrews 4:12 states:  "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."  Dr. Ryrie states in his note on this verse that: "It has the power to reach to the inmost parts of one's personality and to judge the innermost hearts."  The Word of God is mighty just like its author.  They world is full of millions and millions of words. But there is only One Word of God.  Read it sometime. It just might change your life--your eternal life that is.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Sin Which So Easily Entangles Us

I spent the day helping decorate my church for Christmas. (I almost wrote "the holidays" but just couldn't do it.  There is something sacred about the term CHRISTmas). One of my many "grunt" jobs was to untangle two 8 to 10 foot long garlands and "de-light" them. No I wasn't trying to make inanimate objects happy.   I was trying to undo miniature lights which were intertwined in the garland. I sat there for nearly 45 minutes separating the lights from the garland which so tightly held them.  As I worked I pondered the verse in Hebrews 12: 1: "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." 

Those lights reminded me of the sin that so EASILY entangles us.  Given the past few months of my life I could affirm the truth of how easy it is for sin to entangle us.  Oh how we must guard our hearts.  Proverbs 4: 23 commands us to: "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."
How easily our hearts turn to broken cisterns and idols of its own making. We forsake the Lord and worship the creature instead of the Creator. Sometimes that worship takes the form of worshipping ourselves. We want our own puny, pitiful glory forsaking Him whose glory is eternal, magnificent and certainly worthy of every human being's worship and praise. 

When I finally finished untangling all those lights, I realized what a wonderful object lesson the Lord had just taught me. I had a "visual" as some people say. I better grasped just how deadly it is to our walk with the Lord.  I was also reminded of a passage I committed to memory this week. James 1: 13 to 16: 13 "Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren."  This week my pastor shared with me a list of what kinds of "death" occurs as a result of sin.  Some of the consequences I've experienced lately.  It's been very difficult but gratefully with death comes the potential of resurrection.  It is simply best to guard your heart with all diligence and avoid the sin that so easily entangles. As for me it may be awhile before I attempt untangling another light-filled garland. It's hard and laborious work. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gentle and Humble in Heart

The past few months have been very difficult ones for me.  Perhaps I'll write more about that in time. For now let it suffice that the Lord's promise in Matthew 11: 28-30 is very precious to me. It reads: "Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am humble and gentle in spirit.  And you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  Unfortunately this Jesus was not the "Jesus" of my childhood, adolescence or early adulthood.  I struggle to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ and trust what God's Word says and not my prior experiences, feelings, or own thoughts. Please pray for me as I endeavor to break down some deeply strong holds my flesh and the enemy has in my life.  God has been faithful, so very faithful these past few months.  When I am faithless, He is still faithful.  For that I am very thankful.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Biblical Accountability

If you don't have any form of biblical accountability in your life, find some. If you have people willing to get deeply involved with you and bring the Word of God to bear in your life be grateful.  Modern Christians have too often bought into the American way of independence and self sufficiency.  Such is nonsense from a biblical frame of reference. I've lost count of the "one another" commands in Scripture and frankly since the time change I'm too tired to google it right now.  One of my few readers with a smart phone do that for me will you? 

In the meantime be serious to serve one another, love another, pray for one another, encourage one another, bear with one another, admonish one another, be kind to one another and perhaps submit to one another. I think you get the idea.  We can't survive alone. I tried and the results were disastrous.  Be devoted to one another in Christian love. To do that you have to make yourself available and vulnerable.  To those who came along side me throughout my life and especially in these recent months may God bless you. I mean it in the truest sense of the phrase.  It's not just a platitude. I thank God for you. 

Grateful for Hymns

As I write I'm listening to a CD of great hymns of the Christian faith. Currently "How Great Thou Art" is playing. Have you ever noticed how powerful music is in our lives?  It really does matter with what we fill our heads and hearts. I listen to hymns almost all the time I'm awake currently. I need the encouragement and it's a good way to help ensure my mind is focused in the right direction.  There is wonderfully edifying music that is more contemporary but the hymns that have survived scores of years are very valuable.  The theology is often rich and profound and a means of God's grace in our lives to draw us closer to Him. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jesus is King

As an ex-Mormon I've had many people ask me about voting for Governor Romney who is a current member of the LDS church. My answer essentially was that the government was never intended by God to save us. Only Jesus Christ can do that. Electing a president is a serious matter and believers should take it as such. But we don't have to live in panic if "our man" didn't get elected.

I copied a friend's post on Facebook today. "No matter who is president, Jesus is King."  Romans 13: 1 tells us that "there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God."  God holds the future. Proverbs 21:1 states: " The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord He turns it wherever He wishes."  We need only to read the story of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel Chapter Four to realize that. God willed that the he eat grass like a beast for seven years which is exactly what happened.  Then God lifted his curse and King Nebuchadnezzar lifted his eyes toward heaven and his reason returned. He blessed the Almighty God and praised and honored the One who lives forever. 

Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is upon His shoulders that one day all government will rest.  Until then, we can know that the future is unfolding just as God decrees. May we all sleep peacefully tonight knowing that He truly does have the whole world in His hands.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Biblical Hope versus False Hope

I've been reading about biblical hope lately. It's tragic to lose hope. For now that's all I want to say about that.  Dr. Ernie Baker delineates the difference between biblical hope which leads to bountiful blessings. Living by improper hope brings diminishing benefits. As a person who has recently seen improper hope (i.e. placing hope in idols of various kinds) bring the harvest of devastation and destitution, I can readily agree to Dr. Baker's assessment.  Biblical hope is a full reliance on the trustworthiness of God.  God has repeatedly proven Himself trustworthy throughout the annals of history.  Dr. Baker mentions the Crossing of the Red Sea and Daniel in the lion's den. I recently memorized Daniel 4: 34-35 which tells us that God's purpose comes to pass regardless of anyone or anything.  His will is done in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can ward off His hand and no one can say to Him what have You done.

Improper hope often is placed in the gifts and not the Giver.  I've realized this idolatry in my life.  To seek the gift outside of proper reverence for the Giver is pure folly.  I've trusted in a false peace, other people, money, power and all manner of other broken cisterns.  As Dr. Baker stated "false hopes = false religions." I don't doubt I am a believer in Jesus but it doesn't mean my heart isn't the very idol factory that John Calvin describes as the human heart. As hard as the past months have been, and they have been very hard, I am grateful that the Lord saw fit to expose my false hopes and send them crashing. As I rebuild my "new normal" I must choose to dwell on God's promises, His ways and look to the eternal hope with its future reward. I pray that whoever reads this will avoid the sins I've committed and choose the true and lasting hope of God Himself.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Norah's Ark Update

Okay I finished the cross stitch. It didn't turn out as originally planned but I came with a bit of a different twist since the elephants, the sheep and Noah were much too hard for this beginner to tackle. That's true even if the package said it was for beginners. Just was Noah was safely carried in the Nile River in an Ark built for him to live, so is Christ the Ark for everyone who comes to faith.  II Corinthians 1: 20: "For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us."  Because we are in Christ the promises of God are all yes to believers. 

John Gill says of this passage:
These promises are all "in" Christ; with and in whom could they be but in him, since he only existed when they were made, which was from everlasting? with and in whom should they be of right, but in him with whom the covenant, which contains these promises, were made, and who undertook the accomplishment of them? where could they be safe and secure but in him, in whose hands are the persons, grace, and glory of his people? not in Adam, nor in angels, nor in themselves, only in him. Moreover, these promises are "in him yea",