Something Big Is On the Horizon!

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep tings of God. ” 1 Corinthians 2.9-10

There are certainly some beautiful sights down here on this earth. We just returned a few days ago from seeing the Grand Canyon. I have never seen such natural beauty in all my life. God really outdid himself when He formed the Grand Canyon.

But Paul’s words here is attempting to prepare us for what heaven will be like: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” Even though we use the most descriptive language possible, we cannot come close to what heaven will be like. There are times when we say things like, “This is a little taste of heaven”, but we really don’t know that. I have seen some pretty awesome houses that men have designed and built. But again I will say, nothing can compare with what we will experience when we get to heaven.

Paul goes on to say, “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:” The Holy Spirit’s job is to lead us into all truth. Jesus promised that when He was about to go away and leave His disciples. I think it is probably a good thing that God chooses NOT to reveal some of these things to us. The unknown remains a mystery and that should make each one of us all the more anxious to be there and see God’s handiwork. The Holy Spirit is able to know the heart of God – the deep things of God – and when He reveals some of the mystery to us, we are all the more anxious to be there with God and see what He has done for us. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. ” (John 14.1-3)

It is real – just believe it. Just my thoughts …

Never Lose Trust in the Lord!

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the name of the LORD, and whose hope the Lord is. 8For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17.7-8

Jeremiah speaks simple but powerful truth here. He tells us: “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the name of the LORD … ” This is such a simple truth, but it is a powerful truth that tells you and me that blessing and trust are tightly linked together. If I want God’s blessing, then I must trust Him completely and unconditionally. Trust is not something that we do passively. We must exercise our trust in God on a daily basis – and sometimes even moment by moment. With all of the uncertainties of life, the only thing that allows us to deal with today is absolute trust. God is already in our tomorrow so we KNOW we can trust Him for tomorrow as well.

The remainder of this verse says: “whose hope the Lord is.” Is God YOUR hope or is your hope placed in what you alone can do, or what someone else can do for you? You soon discover that either of those options is inadequate.

Verse 8 expands on the truth of verse 7: “he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river … ” A tree that is planted by the waters is certain to have all of its need for water supplied. A “blessed man” is certain to have all his spiritual needs supplied because his trust is in the only One who has the capacity to meet those needs without fail. Failure to trust in the name of the Lord only leads us to a life of uncertainty and disappointment. Just TRUST Him – He knows what is best for us! Just my thoughts …

You CAN Trust God!

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessings, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3.10

I love it when God puts His name on the line with one of His promises. I know that many believers are not convinced that they need to tithe or should tithe. But in this verse God says, “prove me now herewith … ” God is saying, “If you don’t believe what I am saying, PROVE ME …” That is a pretty bold statement. If a friend would say to you, “Prove me and see if what I am saying is true,” you would take that seriously, even if you chose not to prove him.

When God speaks of “the storehouse,” He is talking about the local church in the New Testament. I know believers who take their tithe and send it to other ministries to help them, but if I understand the Scriptures correctly, our tithe needs to go to our local church. If we want to give to these other ministries, it needs to be something above and beyond our tithe.

What is God NOT saying here? He is not saying that we can spend our money however we want, without regard for good stewardship or disciplined spending, and He will STILL supply our needs. Your responsibility and my responsibility is to give God our tithe right off the top of our paycheck, and then diligently pay any other debts that we may owe. There are some who expect the windows of heaven to open when they have not been responsible in other areas of spending. That is not what this verse. You can TRUST God and yes, you can PROVE Him. That is what He said. Just my thoughts …

Words MEAN Something!

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13.1

You know when you meet some people, the way they talk is so flowery and syrupy that you wonder, “Are they for real?” And then there are others who punctuate everything with a scripture verse because they want you to know they are “spiritual.” I think Paul puts his finger on the pulse of the way people talk with the first phrase of this verse: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels … ” Now I don’t know what an angel sounds like when he speaks, but all of us pretty well recognize the sound of men’s and women’s voices.

What is Paul saying? He tells us that there is more to living for God than just talking a good fight. Armchair generals are a dime a dozen. They can tell everybody else how to fight a battle but when it comes down to them, it is a different story. The next phrase brings things into focus a little better: “and have not charity … ” The word charity here means love – agape love – unconditional love – the kind that Jesus displayed while He was here on earth. If all I can do is speak about a person’s need but I am unable to come alongside them and help them by loving them through the crisis, I am not much use to the one who is struggling.

Paul describes them in very graphic terms: “I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Now there is a place for sounding brass and a tinkling symbol, but that place is NOT when I am standing alongside a brother or sister in Christ who needs me to reach out to them with loving kindness and do all I can to help them work through whatever they are facing. Words mean something. I want the words I say to be spoken with love and with compassion. And when others speak to me, I need to hear the same. Just my thoughts …

We ARE Blessed Indeed!

Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Romans 4.6-8

I encourage you to read the verses preceding this for context. Paul’s words here bring great comfort to every believer who will read them and believe them. Consider this: “the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” How many people do we know who still believe they need to do some kind of “works” in order to get to heaven? David, back in Old Testament times said that the man is blessed to whom God imputes righteousness WITHOUT works. The work that Christ did on Calvary is what God imputes or puts on our account.

David continues: “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” Forgiveness of sin is only possible when a perfect sacrifice has been offered. That was Christ. Sins can only be covered when the blood of that perfect sacrifice is applied to the mercy seat and God says, “That’s enough!” Christ’s blood has covered ALL my sin and ALL your sin … because we have received Him as personal savior.

Finally, verse 8: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Again, why would God NOT impute MY sin to my account? The blessed truth is that Christ did everything that His Father required to pay for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2.2). HIS payment for MY sin allows me to be a blessed man –why? Because God the Father imputed my sin to Christ and Christ did all that the Father demanded for sin to be covered. God the Father forgave me because His Son PAID for my sins. I am BLESSED indeed! And so are you! Just my thoughts …

How’s the Walk Going?

How’s the Walk Going?

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5.24-25

The purpose of crucifixion is to kill something. So when Paul speaks about crucifying the flesh, his thought is that we must treat the flesh as though it is dead. He mentions the affections and lusts of the flesh. I think everyone reading this would agree that our flesh has certain things that it loves (affections), and certain things about which it lusts. Before we came to Christ, all we ever did was satisfy our flesh – no matter what it wanted. But everything that the flesh wants is is diametrically opposed to what the Spirit wants for us.

I want you to take note of the certainty of Paul’s opening statement: “ … they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh … ” There is no “wiggle” room here. When we SAY we belong to Christ and yet we are still giving in to “the affections and lusts” of the flesh, that doesn’t mean we are not saved, but it does mean that we have not given every part of our lives over to God for His control. Paul elaborates on this in verse 25.

25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” That sounds pretty simple, but is it? Romans 8.2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” When we receive Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit moves into our lives to stay. There is nothing we can do to shake Him off. SO how do we walk in the Spirit? We begin each day with a fresh surrender of our total being to Him for Him to use and direct for that day. You say, “I did that once.” Yeah, I ate breakfast once but I will need it again tomorrow. What you did yesterday doesn’t count for today. Give up, Give in, and Go with God! Just my thoughts …

Do Our Walk and Our Talk Match?

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” Proverbs 20.7

In the world of politics many public servants are concerned about the legacy they will leave behind as a result of their time in a public office. But I wonder if we who are believers are concerned about the legacy we will leave behind as a result of being a part of the kingdom of God.

Solomon speaks here about “The just man … “ That is a reference to the lifestyle we choose to live. This reference is to a father and his children, but I believe we can make a broader application without doing injustice to this verse. Would you agree that none of us knows who is watching us and/or attempting to model the life that we are living? We don’t live on an island where we are the only person there. We live in the midst of a culture where “the just man” is the exception and not the rule.

What does it mean to walk in integrity? Reputation is what people THINK we are. Integrity is what we are in the dark when no one is watching. I want my life to be one of integrity. Does that mean I have not made mistakes? Absolutely not! Does that mean I will not make misstates in the future? Absolutely not! But what it does mean is that I want my attitude, my purpose, and my behavior each day to be above reproach.

“ … his children are blessed after him.” You and I know that when our children reach a certain age they want to begin making their own decisions, and that is as it should be. Solomon’s conclusion here is that when children have a father who is a man of integrity, and they choose to identify with his integrity, they will be blessed. As God’s children, we are called upon to know what our Heavenly Father says (as in read the Book), and then to live a life that God will choose to bless. Just my thoughts …

Where Doe YOUR Contentment Lie?

Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.” Proverbs 15.16

What is your great pursuit in this life? Is it the accumulation of “stuff”, or piling up a lot of money, or achieving a position of power so you can tell other people what to do? You may be saying to yourself, “None of those things has ever become my goal in life.” If such is the case, then I say Praise the Lord. But there IS something for which you have a deep longing.

Let me pose the question like this … is your daily pursuit in life “the fear of the LORD”? The man who penned these words certainly one who had “great treasure”. Anything Solomon wanted he got. So what is the point of this verse? When a man of Solomon’s caliber makes a dramatic statement like this, I am interested in his “why”. In verse 3 he said: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Perhaps we should determine what it is to fear the Lord. The phrase “fear the Lord” may conjure up a myriad of thoughts for you. To fear the Lord is to stand in awe of who He is. We just returned from a vacation that included 2 trips to see the Grand Canyon. It is impossible to wrap your head the inherent beauty of what God has created there. Not only do I stand in awe of that indescribable work of God’s had, but I stand in awe of the God who created it. Solomon declares: “Better is little with the fear of the Lord … ” If I am able to “fear the Lord,” then it doesn’t really matter what else I have or don’t have in this life.

I am sure the conclusion of this verse is a reflection of some of Solomon’s life experiences: “ … than great treasure and trouble therewith.” When one is able to accumulate “great treasure,” it won’t be long before someone wants you to give him or her some of your “great treasure.” I have seen enough winners of state lotteries to know that “easy come – easy go” is true. I want to be able to say with Solomon, “Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.” I want to be able to find my “contentment” in Him and Him alone. Nothing else in life really matters. Just my thoughts …

Build a Bridge – Not a Wall!

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6.1-2

There is not anyone reading this who has not or will not “be overtaken in a fault … ” So all of us need the counsel that Paul offers here to the Galatian believers. The struggles that each believer will go through in his walk with the Lord reminds each of us that we NEED each other. There are times when we are the spiritual one and we can help another believer, and then there are times when we are the one who needs to be restored so we reach out to another brother or sister in Christ for help. We need to help restore another in a spirit of meekness, and we need to seek the help of another in that same spirit.

Verse 2 fills in the empty spaces for us. Let’s take a look: “2Bear ye one another’s burdens … ” I don’t think we need to go around prying into other believer’s spiritual walk. But I do think that if sense someone needs an encouraging word or helping hand, we make ourselves available. How do we do that? (1) We can begin by asking if there is something we can pray with them about. If they say, “no” then we are finished at this time. If they say, “yes”, take time to write down their need, burden, or request and do what you promised to do – pray. (2) You may ask if they would like to meet some where to just talk. It can be over coffee, a meal, or just at a place not in the church. (3) Be sure to check back with them and see how they are doing. They will know that you are serious about helping bear their burdens.

Why would we go to all this trouble? Here’s the answer: “and so fulfill the law of Christ.” If Christ were here, that is what He would do. We represent Him down here on this earth. We are His eyes, His ears, His feet, and His hands. As Sam Shoemaker said, “Let’s wear (him) like a suit of clothes.” I just want to be available to others if they need someone. Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said on repeated occasions: “The greatest ability is availability”. Just my thoughts …

How Much Do We Really Know?

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” Proverbs 21.1

Isn’t it funny how we convince ourselves that WE know what is best for us, no matter what anyone else says, EVEN God? Solomon has some words of counsel for us regarding that. Let’s take a look: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes … ” Solomon should know. Even thought he was called a wise man (and he was), he made some serious blunders. He allowed some of his Gentile wives to turn his heart away from Jehovah God to the gods they worshiped in their country of origin.

Examine this phrase: “is right in his own eyes … ” When we are unwilling to seek the counsel of another, we are bound by our own limited knowledge. I jokingly have said in the past: “Those people who THINK they know everything are a real insult to those of us who DO.” Now remember that is a joke – I don’t think I know everything. But the point is this: each of us is limited by life experience. We haven’t EXPERIENCED everything and we never will. So again, we are bound by WHAT we have experienced.

Here is the truth: “but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” What does that mean? To ponder is “to think about something carefully.” God already knows EVERYTHING – the possible as well as the actual. He is constantly considering what is in our hearts. The quicker we learn to yield our hearts to Him in absolute surrender, the quicker we free ourselves of the limitations imposed by what we have experienced. Can we agree that what SEEMS right to us is a judgment call on the basis of what WE know, but when we allow God to not just know what is in our hearts but to put His truth in there, we are far better off than we would have been? Just my thoughts …