Friday, October 30, 2009

REMEMBRANCE

When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites—the land he swore to your forefathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey—you are to observe this ceremony in this month: For seven days eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to the Lord. Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders.  On that day tell your son, 'I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.' This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year.
Exodus 13:5 - 10
 
What was the point of the annual observances?  What was the point of the ritual?
 
REMEMBRANCE
 
What has the Lord delivered you from?  What has He delivered you to?
 
How are you honoring Him and remembering that deliverance?
 
Shalom.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Repetition

"Repetition," it has been said, "is the mother of learning."  Actually, what was said was: repetitio est mater studiorum (Latin: repetition is the mother of learning).  At any rate, the truth is that the best way to remember is to make repetitions of the learned material, even in slightly different and/or enhanced ways.
 
See if you can spot what God is trying to communicate through the following texts:
 
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
Judges 17:6 
 
In those days Israel had no king.
Judges 18:1
 
In those days Israel had no king.
Judges 19:1
 
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
Judges 21:25
 
That's right.  Where there is no law, people gravitate to following their own desires.  Left unchecked, this can lead to a very bad situation.  Consider Proverbs 29:18:
 
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
 
Notice the subtlety of the message of this proverb.  While it is true that when people do not follow the Word (and therefore the will) of God, they seek their own desires, it is equally true that those who do follow the Word (and therefore the will) of God are blessed because of it.
 
How many times does Jesus have to teach His people this simple lesson:
 
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4 - 5
 
Brethren... remain in Him.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Walk... or Run?

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Sonship = Heirship

Last Sunday we looked at OUR CHANGE IN POSITION and ended on this note:
 
So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Galatians 4:7
 
I am still praying through and pondering the ramifications and implications of this verse.  We are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6) and, as if that weren't enough, we have been made heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
 
We closed the service by challenging folks to read through the whole New Testament to discover the promises made to the believer in Jesus Christ and those things that belong to His co-heirs.  It only takes 15 hours, at a "normal reading pace" to read the entire New Testament.  What a solid investment that would be for every believer.
 
If you are an heir... why not find out what belongs to you?
 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Change of Seasons

Solomon was one of the wisest men in all of history.  Jesus even acknowledged God's blessing of wisdom on King Solomon (Luke 11:31).  He was a man of great talent, great ambition, and was greatly tempted.  Read what he wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1 - 8
 
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 
 
Notice that there is a time and a place for all things.  Certainly every moment is the right time to offer thanks to the Lord for His greatness.  And yet when it comes to some of the more troubling things in life, you will also notice that they have their times too.
 
But take heart!  How does one of the richest and wisest men to live conclude?  What are his thoughts on the chief end of man?
 
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
 
Blessings to you as you follow the Lord's leading... whatever your season.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

BOOK REVIEW "God's Eye View"

Do you think your perception of a circumstance would change if you knew the whole picture? Tommy Tenney challenges his readers to worship their way to God's side and rest in Him in his book God's Eye View.

Probably the hardest hitting section of this book is found in the 8th chapter where the author, speaking of God's provision of a ram in stead of Issac on the mountain, writes:

Abraham's problem and God's solution were coming up the same mountain, but the problem couldn't be see the solution until it paid the price to reach the top.... Only God could see both sides of the mountain. (p. 147)

I have been blessed to have read so many thought provoking and challenging books that I can recommend to those who are serious about deepening their relationship with Christ. God's Eye View is another one of those books.

(Even if you do not read God's Eye View let me encourage you trust the One who sees both sides of the mountain you are climbing.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Where are all the children?

I love my kids.  Every parent who loves their child(ren) knows the horror of thinking, even for a moment, that they went missing.  I can say from first hand experience that this is one of the most horrific times in a parent's life.
 
WHERE IS MY CHILD?
 
What follows the realization that you do not know where they are is a deep sense of shame and what I can only call adrenaline fueled panic.  Fortunately for most of us, this feeling lasts only a minute and we find our kid(s) playing or wondering or whatever they where doing the moment before we lost track.
 
Next week at Bethany Baptist Church we will be looking at our change in position... from slave to son.  Until then, consider the following:
 
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:16 - 20
 
Jesus knows where you are... even if you feel like you are all alone.
 
 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Untitled

He who works his land will have abundant food,
but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.
 
A faithful man will be richly blessed,
but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
 
Proverbs 28:19-20
 
There is a difference between those who amass wealth because they are good businessmen and those who cheat the system for a buck.  There is a difference between a person who will waste his resources chasing fantasies and the person who invests for his or her future.
 
This is one of the principles of Sowing and Reaping:  You reap in a different season than you sow.
 
Plain and simple.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

HIStory

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law.
 
Proverbs 29:18
 
I am amazed from time to time as I read what is going on in other countries.  Chavez is ruining Venezuela... there are some in the Middle East that are trying to eradicate others... and not to be outdone
 
I am so thankful that God has left us a revelation... a written account of History from an eternal perspective with Jesus as the central figure towering over human affairs. 
 
When it gets hard... when it seems like the world is spiraling out of control... take heart.  Jesus wins!
 
And those found in Him win too.
 
Shalom.
 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who are you?

"Be yourself, everyone else is taken."
           
-- Author unknown (to me anyway)

 

I came across this quote months ago and it has really been weighing on me.  Where would the world be today if some of the great thinkers of the past had not been who they were?

 

Einstein…

 

Hemmingway…

 

Curie…

 

America's founding fathers…

 

The truth is that everyone has a sense of what they want others to do and be.  But in the end, we must all submit to the leading of the Lord in our lives and not make apologies for it.

 

To put it another way:

 

I have a very, very clear vision for my children.  There are things I would like them to achieve.  But I can not allow my vision… my idea of what the Johnson kids should be and do to cloud the vision Jesus has for them.  

 

Trust me… His vision is better.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Tongue

Do you see a man who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 29:20
 
Young (and old alike) folk need to listen very closely to this.  It is safe to say that most of us have been caught off guard by a question or felt compelled to react in some rash way to thus and such an issue.... but listen to what Proverbs is telling us.
 
Rest on it.
 
Think it through.
 
You certainly do not want to be like... 
 
An angry man stirs up dissension,
and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
Proverbs 29:22
 
The point is... if you see yourself getting backed into a corner or entering a setting that is likely going to make you react in a negative way... watch out.
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Healthy Baby

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My youngest daughter is getting chunky... that is a good thing. Doctors (generally) say that babies should drink whole milk. Apparently, the high fat content is good for her developing brain and the chunkiness shouldn't be too big a deal due to her high metabolism. (babies have a higher metabolism adults do)

This is nothing new. We have been down this road three times before. It dawned on me this morning though that while a higher fat diet is essential for a baby... it can be fatal (or at least problematic) in adults. So what's the difference? The Apostle Peter writes:

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation...
1 Peter 2:2-3

A baby's body is designed to digest milk. In fact, a newborn can not ate anything else. Today we have baby formula, which is a great attempt at trying to duplicate breast-milk.

So how long should my baby drink ONLY milk?

Consider the words of the author to the Hebrews:

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:12-14

Izzy just cut her first set of teeth and she is sporting them well. (Imagine Sunny from A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS... only darker.) Even though she has some serious toothage she can not handle a steak. Which is good. Did you know that she would actually be malnourished if she ate what you and I ate? It's true. Her body is not designed for it, it has yet to mature to the point be needing other foods.

Likewise, you and I would be in serious trouble if we ONLY ate what babies eat.

So what's the point?

Paul, in writing to a once disobedient church in Corinth, says:

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
1 Corinthians 3:1-2

Let me say this as frankly as I can:

If you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus... you MUST move past the simple milk of the Word.

I have met Christians that have been babes in Christ for years (even decades!). There are also folks out there that are not content with staying babes and mature rather quickly.

The point is not to compare one another... the point is to grow. And rest assured that Gos is pleased when we mature in Christ.

Remember that all Scripture is profitable... even the milk.

Shalom.


(Sent from a mobile device... sorry about the spelling.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

As water reflects a face,
so a man's heart reflects the man.
Proverbs 27:19
 
Someone once said, "You spill what you are filled with."  One of the things Christians are called upon to do is to die daily to our desires.  That is not hard... apart from the Lord's work in the heart... it is impossible.
 
Here is a simple question every believer should ask of him or her self: Do I reflect the character of Christ more and more in my life?
 
If the answer is "No.", then you may want to spend some time at the feet of Jesus learning what it means to "be conformed to His image" (Romans 8:28 - 30)
 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rest

Man has to suffer. When he has no real afflictions, he invents some.
-- Jose Marti --

 

 I came across this quote the other day.

 

There are some folks that NEED trouble in there lives.  They have no peace... not because Christ is not willing to grant it, but they are not willing to recieve it.

 

No news to to is not good news for them.

 

Jesus has triumphed over death, hell, and Satan.  He ever lives to make intercession for us.

 

If you find that you are restless, find your rest in Him.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Soft hearts

Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord,
but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
 
Proverbs 28:14
 
You know... the more I walk with Jesus... the more I find this to be true.
 
Friends, when you harden your heart to the things of the Lord, you are asking for trouble.
 
Jesus never said the path was easy... but it is rewarding.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Quality -vs- Quantity

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
 
Proverbs 17:1
 
The next time you are put into a position of quality -vs- quantity... remember this verse.
 
I can sympathise with both of these:
 
  1. When Daniela and I got married, we did not have much.  By the grace of God we were not lacking much, but we certainly did not have a house full of feasting.  Life was simple and we were content.
  2. I have also been in homes where there was abundance... but no joy.
One of the things Scripture does It brings things into perspective.
 
So you have to ask yourself... would I rather have it all without joy or less with greater joy.
 
Think on these things.
 
(Sent from a mobile device... sorry about the spelling.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Audience with a ruler...

Many seek an audience with a ruler,
but it is from the Lord that man gets justice.
Proverbs 29:26
 
I have, on several occasions, wanted to take my case to the manager of such and such store.  When I receive bad service (or no service) or purchase a defective product, I want justice.  I want the RIGHT THING to be done.
 
Let me share with you a deeply personal story that I trust will help communicate what Proverbs 29:26 is saying.
 
As most people who know me know, my wife is from Venezuela.  She and I met in Miami, FL.  Shortly after we were married, we filed for her citizenship.  I do not know what the requirements and policies are now, but for us it was a very lengthy and costly endure.  (As a side note, it really is humbling when you consider what some people do to earn the citizenship many take for granted.)
 
During one of our visits to INS (they have since changed their name I think), we were asked to wait in the waiting room.  Waiting in a waiting room is fine and proper... but we waited... and waited... and waited.  After an hour of waiting I asked if there was a problem.  I was told, "Please have a seat sir, you will be seen when it is your turn."  We arrived at 10:00 am and saw dozens of people come in after us, get seen before us, and leave; all the while we waited in the drab waiting room.  We waited a total of 6 hours in that waiting room before the clerk responded to my hourly pleas to find out if something had happened to our file. 
 
As it turns out, our case file (literally a file folder) fell behind a piece of furniture and the person we needed to see did not even know we were there.  We were upset to say the least.  What should have taken two hours total turned into an all day adventure.  I won't even get into the whole "passport photo" ordeal that followed.  Need I say I wanted to speak to this person's boss?  What would you have done in my place?
 
Well... we saw the agent, had our interview and proceeded to the next phase of the naturalization process.  We didn't talk to the clerk's boss... nor did we make a stink about the whole thing.  We were not Christians at the time.  I thought that the "highest court in the land" for this issue was the INS office.  You know what... I was wrong.
 
As I mature in my faith, as I come to know Christ in a fuller way, I am so thankful that the Savior of my soul is also the Lord God of creation.  Friends, it is in Christ that we are fulfilled and it is He who works out justice on this planet. Romans 12:19 says very pointedly:
 
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
 
Friends, take heart that the Lord Jesus has it all under control and He will exact justice... if not now... when the final curtain is drawn.  It is my prayer that we all find our rest in Him.
 
Shalom.