Monday, February 22, 2010

Whiter Than Snow

Psalm 51: 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

We began a new sermon series this past Sunday: The Greatness of Grace. It is a verse by verse look at the Book of Galatians. In 1:5, in reference to God, it reads, "to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." I discussed the fact that we do not praise God nearly enough, and the example I used was snow. There was a forecast for another big snow storm last night and all day today. I mentioned how all we want to do now is complain about it, but we never take the time to praise God for the snow. The reason I gave for praising God for the snow was the fact that not only does the melted snow help fill our lakes (if you want to have the enjoyment of fishing in a full lake you have to go through the difficulties of the snow - another topic for another post another day!), but more importantly, it reminds us of the Blood of Christ which washes us whiter than snow.

So, after spending a lot of time and effort removing the snow at my house this morning (it was too heavy for my snow blower so I had to do most of it by hand), I did not feel much like praising God for the snow today. But as I sat down at my desk for my daily Bible devotion, guess what I was scheduled to read today? Yep, Psalm 51:7. What a reminder that God already had in place for me today!

Reminds me of the old hymn that sings: "O, the blood of Jesus. It washes white as snow." Praise God this morning for the snow, and for the blood of Jesus!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Much Do You Think About God

Psalm 139:17-18 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! (18) If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

As we continue to look at the 139th Psalm, David is moved by the truth that God thinks of him all the time. If we were to try to count the number of times that we are on God's mind, we could not number them. Even when we sleep, God is still concerned with us, as we recognize in the morning when we wake up and His presence is still with us.

It was A.W. Tozier who rightly said in his work The Knowledge of the Holy, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."

What comes into your mind when you think about God? How much do you think about God? He is always thinking about you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Preciousness of the Unborn Life

Psalm 139:13-14 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. (14) I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Here we read another one of David's great psalms. Many feel that David may have written this one just after God gave Israel another victory over the Philistines (and David's fame was spreading throughout the land - 1 Chron. 14:17), and the decision of David to bring back the Ark of the Covenant out of the house of Abinadab. Now, we know that when they brought the Ark of God out of Abinadab's house they did so on a new cart which caused much problems (we will get into much of this in the coming posts). But it is interesting to me to think that this Psalm was written between these two contrasting events in the life of David. I want to spend some time with you studying some of the more interesting truths in the Psalm this week.

In the verses I mentioned today, we see God's care for the unborn child. When David used the phrase "covered" in verse 13, it speaks to being interwoven into your mother's womb, or God putting you together while in gestation.

We live in a world that does not see the value of the unborn child. In 2005, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred. (This info comes from - I don't know much about the group or anything else on the site, but this is good info).

Why have we gotten to the place in our country where the killing of unborn babies is not considered murder? There are many reasons, but one of the greatest, in my opinion, is the acceptance of Darwinism and Evolution. We should not be amazed that people act like animals when we teach teach them that is where they came from. This country has forgotten what David said in verse 14 - I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Who Are We Fighting?

1 Samuel 23:27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land.

Here today we read of one of the many instances where Saul was chasing after David. Something interesting happens in today's portion of Scripture that stood out to me. In essence, David and Saul were supposed to be on the "same team." Yet, Saul is always chasing after David to kill him. And this time, while he was spending so much time chasing after David, the real enemy came and began to invade the land. The same land that he was supposed to be protecting.

Unfortunately, we have not learned from the mistake of Saul. We spend so much time fighting the wrong person (spouse, church member, other Bible believing pastor in town, etc.), that the real enemy has invaded our homes and our churches and recking havoc today.

Remember, you may not be watching for Satan - but he is watching you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Contrasting Opinions

1 Samuel 14:6 And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

1 Samuel 14:52 And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.
1 Samuel 15:4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.

Here, we have two contrasting men with two contrasting opinions. On one hand, we have Jonathan. He realizes that the victory is not in the size of the man, or the numbers of warriors, but in God.

On the other hand, we see Saul. Every time Saul saw someone who was a strong man, he took him for his army. Eventually, he amasses a large army.

It may seem to make more sense for us to get the largest and strongest army possible to fight our battles - but God does not receive the glory in those battles. When we begin to have the same outlook that Jonathan had, we will then begin to see God do great and wondrous things in our midst.

Remember, less of us always means more of God.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Life Well Lived

1 Samuel 12:1-5 And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. (2) And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. (3) Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you. (4) And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man's hand. (5) And he said unto them, The LORD is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, He is witness.

As I read this and thought about the life of Samuel, I wondered in my heart, "Will I be able to say the same thing when my life is near it's end?" I am afraid that there are fewer and fewer preachers who could stand before their people with confidence today and ask the same question to their congregation.

So many men view their church work these days as a business, and not a ministry. While many preachers will get up and chastize the people for only considering what they can get out of a church and not what they can give to it, these same preachers are just as guilty of it themselves. And all this does is put a black eye on all of Christianity.

These kind of pastors always have one ear to the ground listening for the next church opening that has a larger congregation and a bigger salary; these kind of missionaries only choose and go to the "large church" to try and guarantee their support; and these kind of evangelist are more concerned with the love offering and notoriety than they are helping people.

Praise God not all men are this way, and God has allowed me to be friends with so many pastors, missionaries, and evangelist who have a genuine love for the Lord and seek to glorify God in all that they do.

Let each and every one of us, whether we are in full-time ministry or not, live our life in such a way that one day we can stand like Samuel and ask the same question he did and not be ashamed of the answer that comes back.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vision Correction

1 Samuel 9:2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.

1 Samuel 16:11-13 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. (12) And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. (13) Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

In our text today, we see the choosing of two kings: first Saul, then David. As I read these two choices, what stood out to me was not only how different Saul and David were, but how differently each were viewed. Everyone looked at Saul early on and thought, "He will be such a wonderful king, look at how tall and strong he looks." And when it was time to choose the next king, Jesse never even thought to bring out David because he was so young and smaller than the others.

Yet, we know that it was David who was the superior king than Saul. Why? 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

This reminds me of the fact that last Monday I had to go to the eye doctor. After my exam, I was told that I had a slight astigmatism and would need a new prescription. I went to the doctor because I recognized that my eye sight was getting worse. (Must be a sign of old age!) Unfortunately, we often fail to realize as Christians when our "spiritual eyes" start to become unfocused. Every now and then, God needs to give us a visual correction.

Israel needed a visual correction in choosing the next king. Saul was head and shoulders over everyone else, but we see where that choice led them. If Israel wanted to go a different direction, then they needed to make a different choice. Reminds me that it was Albert Einstein who said that, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

If we want to change our spiritual direction and to begin to do more for Christ, we may need to ask God to give us a spiritual vision correction today.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Can you tell?

Have you ever uttered the phrase, "Can you tell?" Usually it is after a bad haircut, spaghetti sauce stain on your favorite tie, or after you have touched up the paint in your wife's kitchen with a different shade of white than what was on the walls. (Though, in the spirit of honesty, I must admit that I hate painting and my wife has done all the painting since we have moved into our home over a year ago.)

Nevertheless, that question is what came to my mind as I read this morning: Judges 16:20 - And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

Here, Deliah has finally "worn down" Samson to the point were he tells her that the source of his strength was his Nazarite vow and that a razor has never touched his hair. And you know the rest of the story of how she cuts his hair once he falls asleep. As he awakens, he does not even realize that the presence and the power of the LORD has left him.

As I was conducting our men's Bible study today, this instance on Samson's life reminded me of the state of men, and fatherhood in particular, today in America. A group of men who once had the power and blessing of God upon their life have now fallen weak to the compromise of the world. Father's today have lost their spiritual power and fortitude. And the worse part of it that just like Samson, most do not realize it until it is too late.

May God raise up men who will step up and be the spiritual leader that God has called them to be. "Can you tell?" Yes, we can.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Review: Start Somewhere

Excerpt from the book: Start Somewhere:

This book is the story of an ordinary man's weight loss. But it isn't a diet book. It isn't an exercise book. It's not a book for anyone who wants to look like a bodybuilder. It's a book for the everyday person who is tired of the quick-fix promises, the schemes, and the failures. It's for the person who is ready to throw in the towel and look for a different kind of fitness - spiritual fitness - brought about by God-inspired workouts that produce lasting results and offer the best guarantee against relapse.

I began reading this book thinking it would be more of a, "This is how I lost over 200lbs." kind of book. But it wasn't. In his book, Calvin Nowell shares m,any personal thoughts and struggles as he made his weight-loss journey. The insight he shares is something that can help anyone who is dealing with a sin issue in their life - not just those looking to lose weight. This book does what many weight-loss books don't: deals with the mental and spiritual aspect of the issue. This is why I feel this book would be a help to many people.

While the book may feel a little redundant at times, it is well worth the read if you are ready to tackle the mental/spiritual issues of your sin/trouble before diving into the "how to" of it.

Tyndal House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Book review: Free* Book

Excerpt from book:

You might not be as free as you think you are. Even worse, you may have been duped into believing that a "balanced" life is the key to happiness (it isn't) or that a relationship with God is about layering on rules and restrictions (nope). Imagine living free from the burdens of your past mistakes and others' expectations. Imagine waking up excited and full of hope. You can have the sort of joy you thought only kids could have. The day of freedom is here.

Not sure where to begin than to state the obvious - this book is written for the purpose of shock. And it is shocking - just how shockingly easy it to misrepresent the Word of God and true Biblical freedom. When you have to make your point by using foul language on the opening page, not once, but twice - you prove your point. And to me, that point is that I want to use my new found freedom for a license to sin.

One great example of this is the author quoting Galatians 5:1. He does a good job telling the reader the first part (Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free) but forgets to quote the rest of the verse (and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage). We may have been free, but it is not to continue to sin, even if it brings us joy.

This is just one of the many instances where Scripture is contorted to fit this twisted view of spiritual freedom. And because of this, I cannot recommend this book to anyone - though I do realize I was not the targeted audience for this book.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson book review bloggers program.

One of the Results of Settling

(Joshua 22:27) But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the LORD before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the LORD.

There is an interesting thought here to consider. It is at this point where Joshua allows the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half of the tribe of Manasseh to return to the other side of the Jordan to where their possession was. They had decided back earlier that they did not want to take their possession across the Jordan, but settled to be "close enough." They were allowed to do so, but only if the men of war went with the rest of Israel to help them posses the land.

Once they return, they build an altar, and this greatly upsets the rest of Israel. As they confront them on why they built it, our text above is the answer that they gave. And this got me to thinking: wouldn't they had been better off not settling, but going completely over to the Promise Land with the rest Israel?

But now that they have settled for less than the best, they are now worried about their children and what will happen to them in the next generation. If they were really concerned with the next generation, than they should have taken their whole family with them and crossed to the other side. But they chose to settle for less than the best, and now they are worried about their children.

Every time we settle in our Christian walk, it is always the next generation that suffers. We need to sow spiritual seed today so that we might see some spiritual fruit be produced in the next generation.