Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Where Vultures Gather

June 21, 2019

I was reading in Luke 17 this morning when I came upon a strange verse:

“Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.” Luke 17:37

What in the world?! I asked the Lord what it meant. Then, I let my mind wander through the Scriptures trying to remember where else I had read about vultures. Praise the Lord for the “search” feature on my bible app! I found a similar verse in Matthew 24, in which the reference is to Jesus’ Second Coming.

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. Matthew 24:27-28

The reference to vultures, then, may be a reference to Armageddon, in which the birds of the world come for a great feast when the armies of the world come together to fight against the Lord.

14 They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. Revelation 16:16

Here is the result of that battle:

17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”

… 21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. Revelation 19:17-18, 21

As I continued to read around 16:16 for context, I noticed a similarity between verse 20 and this prophecy in Isaiah:

Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. Revelation 16:20

Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. Isaiah 40:4

It’s reference is to the declaration of John the Baptist about the coming Messiah, who was Jesus. In the Gospel of Mark, verse 3 of Isaiah 40 is used with verse 4 implied:

2 It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— 3 “a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Mark 1:2-3

John confirms this passage:

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” John 1:23

Matthew does, as well, in Matthew 3:3. Jesus Himself confirmed John the Baptist:

9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.” Matthew 11:9-10, 14

If Revelation 16:20 is a prophetic reference like Isaiah 40:3-4, then the entire chapter about the seven bowls of God’s wrath may be about the earth being made ready for His Coming.

The first bowl might actually be one of God’s final evangelistic appeals to the world.

2 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.

The second bowl I see as God’s mercy upon all the creatures of the sea. He took them on into heaven with Him in preparation for the new heaven and new earth.

3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.

The same can be said for the third bowl, except that now there is no potable water- really, no water at all! Another evangelistic appeal.

4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood.

The fourth bowl is big. It could be a sonar flare of such magnitude that it lasts for several days or even weeks. Not only would it become intensely hotter, all communications would go down due to the huge electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Or, it could be that something happens to our ozone layer, which keeps harmful ultraviolet radiation from the earth’s surface. Whatever the case, it’s gonna be hot!

8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

Oh, the stubbornness of mankind!

The fifth bowl is similar to the ninth plague of Egypt found in Exodus 10:21-23. If it is only upon the kingdom of the beast, then it is exactly like the ninth plague and is a bonified miracle with no “coincidental” natural phenomena.

10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

The sixth bowl dries up the great river Euphrates. This action could possibly be man-made by China as they prepare to march to Armageddon.

12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.

The seventh and last bowl of wrath is the greatest earthquake the earth has ever had, even during the Great Flood. Jerusalem, which is generally divided into three areas, splits apart into three areas. Are they the same areas? We are not told. We ARE told that the cities of the world are destroyed. 100 pound hailstones! The mountains and islands, which are submerged mountains, are leveled. World-wide chaos. More loss of life. More opportunities for the remnant to come to Christ.

17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.

If we were to keep reading in Revelation, we would read about the end of Satan’s throne and then his reign. Jesus wins, and so do we!

Exciting times ahead!

Addendum to 6-5-19

June 6, 2019

Addendum: Having our spiritual family before our natural family does NOT trump our responsibilities in taking care of and interacting with family. It DOES affect HOW we take care of them, in what order of importance they come, and how we interact with them. It does NOT include being at church every time the doors are open or dropping everything just because there’s a church function. What it DOES do is it runs everything through the filter of, “Jesus, how do You want me to handle this?” He will speak to us in one (or more) of four ways:

  1. Through prayer. Our continuous fellowship with Him is vital.
  2. Through the Bible. It is His written words to us.
  3. Through circumstances. Do you feel the tension? Pay attention to that tension. It may be the Holy Spirit!
  4. Through others, especially other believers.

Jesus wants us to take care of our natural families. We will let us know the best way to do that. Ask Him!

On Death and Dying

May 6, 2019

Robin and I love to read. One of our favorite authors is Lynn Austin. Her book, “Waves of Mercy,” is about the immigration of several families from the Netherlands in 1850 and their trials and tribulations, heartaches and triumphs.

The main character walks through  the leaving a love behind, the death of her parents to malaria within a year of arriving in the Michigan frontier, one son who lost his leg during the civil war, and another son who gave his life in that war. Her daughter, in a rebellious act immediately following the great Chicago fire, which also burned down her town of Sweden, Michigan, ran off with a scoundrel and didn’t hear from her for eight years. During all that time, we, the readers, walk through her struggle with God and her faith walk as she learned to trust Him in all things.

Here is an excerpt in which Geesje (the main character) comforts a young mother whose son was stillborn:

“How can I ever trust God again after He took my baby?” she [the young mother, Johanna] asked.

I squeezed her tightly and said, “No matter what, don’t ever stop trusting Him. I believe that God is as grieved over your baby’s death as we are. He created us and gave us life on this beautiful earth because He wanted us to live here for eternity. But death entered this world when Adam and Eve sinned. Now we feel pain and grief each time a loved one dies because we know it isn’t right. God knows it isn’t right, too. That’s why He sent His Son to die in our place, so that death would be destroyed and we would have eternal life. Keep your eyes on the cross, Johanna, and you’ll know that you can surely trust Him.”

Is that how you keep going, Geesje? By waiting for heaven?”

“In a way…” I said, stroking her hair. “But Jesus also taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to come now and for His will to be done now, here on earth, as it is in heaven. He has work for us to do, Johanna. A life to live  for Him now. When I felt the way you do right now, I asked God to let me know He was still beside me. To show me that He loved me and that His ways were good and right. Then I watched and waited for His replies… Slowly, little by little, He let me know in dozens of everyday ways that He was near me and that He loved me. He’ll do the same for you if you ask.” pages 249-250

The book was excellent, but it would have been worth reading just for this passage! What we must  remember is that Jesus has a kingdom BEYOND this world, to which He calls His children. As my pastor, Bryan, says, the best gift we can give our loved ones is the assurance that we are in heaven waiting on them. How do we do that? By trusting in Jesus and following Him all the way there!

We don’t get to skip the heartache, but we don’t grieve as the world grieves who have no hope. We know this:

Philippians 3:20 (NIV)
[20] But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, [21] who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Now, THAT makes it worth it all!

A Two-Way Street

January 6, 2019

The Bible is a conundrum, a riddle. It is its own witness, yet it claims that two witnesses are needed to verify truth. The reality is that the Bible can only be “proved true” if one believes that the God of the Bible is real, for He is the Witness that makes all the claims of the Bible true.

There is no way to intellectually argue a person into faith in God. A person must be open to the idea that he doesn’t have all the facts and is willing to be open to God revealing Himself to him. Then, God must do exactly that! The Christian faith is built on an event, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and an experience, when He introduces himself to a person. Christianity is a relationship with the Heavenly Father, through the Son (Jesus), by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is His Story on paper.

People who neglect the Bible ignore the fact that it was first spoken by God and then written down by the listener (the writer). Jesus IS the WORD and is the action and the power behind every spoken word of God. Therefore, the Bible is the living Word of God, as stated in itself in Hebrews 4:12.

To read the Bible for facts and history is good, and science is proving everyday the wonderful truths-with incredible accuracy-of God’s creation and involvement in our world. But, the greater reason to read the Bible is to interact with God. Since Jesus is our Savior, Intercessor, and Friend, and the Holy Spirit is our Counselor, Comforter, and Guide, we an speak to them interchangeably without any disrespect to any of them. They are 3-in-1.

Once a person comes to believe the validity and authority of the Bible, he can begin to trust its claims as truth. He realizes that anything that sets itself up in opposition to it is a lie and a deception of the enemy, Satan. He also realizes that no only does he have incomplete knowledge–of everything–but, also, that anything learned outside of God’s word, that which contradicts its truths, has been deviously engineered to hoodwink all who hear it.

Further, the more he doubts the world’s claims, the more dependent he becomes on the Lord and His Word for truth. Hence, the hunger and thirst of which the Bible speaks in Matthew 5:6. Now, through faith, he has sweet fellowship with our Lord and experiences all the benefits of a relationship with Him: Abounding love, inexpressible joy, peace that passes all understanding, grace beyond measure, and a hope in heaven where we will spend eternity with our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer, our Victor, our KING!

On a personal note, the daily walk and interaction with Him is enough for me. If there were no afterlife, following Christ is still beyond compare to any pleasures this world has to offer–even in the face of persecution and physical deprivation. His presence in my life IS Heaven!

The reality of the truth of the Bible is that God is knowable, and He wants us to know Him. The realness and closeness of our relationship with Him is what is attractive to people who are searching for truth, for family, and for something to believe in beyond themselves. Our relationship and fellowship with Him and, therefore, with each other (His Body) is what attracts searchers to Him. So, let’s start digging into His Word and discover HIM!

Here We Go a-Caroling

December 16, 2018

If you go caroling this season, I thought you might like to have some music by which to sing.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/bbo0entjkmf4r39/AAAJcZ3wydfclmKnSTfiDxHia?dl=0

This link included traditional carols from the Baptist Hymnal with full orchestration and four-part voices.

It also includes the music without the voices, as well as a split-track version for the seriously musical (and picky).

Enjoy spreading the Good News!

What Christmas Means To Me

December 14, 2018

Christmas is about Christ’s coming. Well, let me tell you about when He came to me.

When I was a young boy, a strange thing happened to me one Sunday morning. As I was sitting in church, I found myself enthralled in what the pastor was saying. There seemed to be a voice inside of me that was agreeing with what he said. I sat up and took notice!

I had grown up in church, so I knew many of the stories of the Bible. I had sung the songs of Christ’s birth, had made crafts depicting events from His life and ministry, and I had always heard of His death and resurrection, but that’s all they were–stories. They weren’t real to me. I’m not sure what the preacher said that morning, but I do know this: The Holy Spirit placed in me an awareness of my need for Jesus in my life. All of a sudden, those stories became real to me! He had spoken to me!!!

Later that week, I asked my mom what I needed to do to be saved. She instructed me to get alone with Him and ask Him into my life. So, I went to my bedroom and knelt down. I told Him I was a sinner (I wasn’t real clear what that meant; I just knew that it was between Him and me, and I wanted it out of the way); I asked Him to forgive me (which I found out later that He already had), and to come into my life and be my Lord. I assumed that He would be like another parent to me–which is absolutely correct!

A neat thing happened next: I saw out of the corner of my eye someone standing there smiling at me. When I turned to look, no one was there (I suppose I caught my guardian angel not being careful…). The sense of Jesus coming to live in my heart was warm and light. I have felt it all my life, although it is sometimes keener than at other times. He still speaks to me. In fact, He is always speaking to me! If I am not hearing from Him as I read the Bible, then I am not paying attention. He speaks to me when I drive (which can be quite convicting), He sings with me as I sing, and He sings over me as I sleep (He told me so in His Word). He is all the time whispering to me things like, “I love you with an everlasting love,” and, “Come to me and I will give you rest.” He also tells me, “Be strong and courageous; am I not with you always?” And the one I love to hear the most is, “My peace I give you.” Having Jesus in my life gives me a joy that nothing in this world can touch!

The day Christ came into my life is a microcosm of Him coming to earth. He came so that I could be reunited with the Father, which He achieved by dying on the cross in my place–and then rising again to give us victory over death! The price has been paid, and Forgiveness is offered to everyone; all a person has to do is receive it by placing his life into His capable hands.

So, Christ’s coming, both to earth and to my heart, is what Christmas means to me.

I Never Imagined…

December 11, 2018

The question has come up whether Jesus was complete when He entered Mary’s womb (which would make Mary a surrogate mother) or whether God joined with Mary’s chromosomes in order to fashion Jesus–just as every baby is fashioned. While both sides have good arguments, I would like to explore one that seems stronger than the other.

Let’s string some pearls:

Luke 1:31 “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the set time had fully come [in the fullness of time], God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

My son-in-law postulated that a woman’s egg was still sinless until it mated with the male counterpart, thus, David’s statement in Psalm 51, “Surely I as sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” David, along with all mankind (both male and female), was conceived in sin. In Mary’s case, her egg mated with the Holy Spirit, therefore begetting God in human form. The Greek meaning for the word, “conceive,” is…”to conceive.” But, in Isaiah 7:14, we find the Hebrew term, “conceive,” as meaning…”to conceive.” It does add one more thought, and that is of a mental conception, as in original thought. It was something original!

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Philippians 2:5-7 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Now, before someone cries, “Heresy!” let us remember that all things in the timeline happen outside the timeline, as well. For instance, Christ died for us both BEFORE time,

Revelation 13:8b …the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

and IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME. Likewise, Jesus was “brought forth” before time began, but also had a place in our history some 2000 years ago. Do I pretend to understand it? Absolutely NOT!I have faith in our LORD that His plan is perfect and complete, and it is well above my purview. I accept it on faith because of the passage in Hebrews.

  1. He shared in our humanity (2:14);
  2. He was made like us, fully human in every way (2:16);
  3. He Himself suffered when He was tempted (2:18).

Now Hebrews 4:15-16 comes fully into play:

  1. He EMPATHIZES with us (not just feeling pity for us, but actually feeling what we feel because He has experienced what we experience-yet, without sin-v15);
  2. We can approach God with confidence (v16);
  3. We will receive mercy and grace as needed (Jesus lives as our Intercessor – see 7:25 -and Advocate – see 1 John 2:1).

Is it necessary that Jesus have human chromosomes? It stands to reason so that He could share in humanity in every way: from pain to joy (each time He healed), from dismay to thrill (when the disciples finally understood), from fear to peace (in the garden), and from temptation to victory (at His desert experience and upon His death). The point is identification. God created all emotions, but God, through Jesus, identified with us on a level that we need. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence…

To me, the whole subject boils down to Gabriel’s statement, “You will conceive…” He didn’t say, “You will be implanted…”

An interesting passage, which takes on new meaning under these new parameters, is Proverbs 8:22-31:

Proverbs 8:22 “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
[23] I was appointed from eternity,
from the beginning, before the world began.
[24] When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
when there were no springs abounding with water;
[25] before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
[26] before he made the earth or its fields
or any of the dust of the world.
[27] I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
[28] when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
[29] when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
[30] Then I was the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
[31] rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.

Wisdom is usually a personification in Proverbs, but 1 Corinthians 1:30 tells us that Jesus became for us “wisdom from God. If He is the “wisdom” in this passage, He brings new meaning to the words used. As I looked up each word, I found that the setting can be taken as a ceremony where Jesus is anointed and appointed (the Hebrew meanings of “possessed me,” “set up,” “brought forth”) to be the sin sacrifice and then presented as an offering (a libation) to be poured out for us. In light of Revelation 13:8, “...the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world,” we see that God’s first act IN creation was presenting the Light of the World:

Genesis 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

In the words of my daughter, “That Light is Jesus Christ,” Who was presented to the physical universe in human form, was the Creator, and is the One who holds all things together:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was with God in the beginning.
[3] Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. [4] In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

Hebrews 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. [3] The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. [16] For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. [17] He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Did “the One and only Son (John 3:16)” who was “begotten by the Father (John 1:14),” indeed, mix with Mary’s chromosomes to fashion God in a human body? How? When? Good questions. Concerning the “when,” we must remember that everything outside of time has a place in the timeline. Christ died outside of time, but we also know that “in the fullness of time, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship (Galatians 4:4).” Paul calls Jesus “The firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15).”

So, was Jesus fully human? I believe He had to be in order to complete the task given Him. Is it worth withdrawing fellowship with those who don’t believe as I do? No. In fact, we should be focusing on the PURPOSE of the Incarnation i.e. the CROSS (that’s for another article). Do I understand the nuances of the Incarnation? No, but I do understand enough to know that it was something special and new:

Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

God was providing us a way back to Him through Jesus our Savior and He is using His natural design to do it. Now, THAT’S worth celebrating!

 

Why I May Never Say, “Merry Christmas,” Again (reprinted from FACT)

December 7, 2018

With today’s encapsulation of stories about schools banning certain Christmas songs and Christmas-related words and images, I couldn’t help but think about the protests in recent years over the shift from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays.” I get that for many these things are a lament about the increasing secularization of our culture and that for others these things are about stifling religious speech. But something bothers me about the fuss, and this week I may have finally put my finger on it. In fact, I may never say “Merry Christmas” again.

I don’t know the origin of the phrase “Merry Christmas,” but whatever it might have meant at one time, what’s important to me is what it means now. Webster’s dictionary entry suggests that the word merry now means “full of gaiety or high spirits.” The “archaic” meaning of merry according to Webster’s was “giving pleasure,” and perhaps that understanding better captures what I’m about to say. In either case, merry just doesn’t seem to be the right word to associate with Christmas.

Is merry the right word if the point of a Christmas greeting is to distinguish it from a greeting like “Happy Holidays” that, for many, is not so much a nefarious slam on the celebration of Christ’s birth as it is an acknowledgment that some may be celebrating a contemporaneous seasonable religious event and that others may just see Christmas as a break from the usual routine?

The answer for me came as I was reading the most complete telling of the facts surrounding Christ’s birth found in the New Testament, the story in Luke chapter 2. The word first associated with the birth of Christ is glory. We’re told that an angel appeared to shepherds tending their flocks near where Christ was born and “the glory of the Lord shone around them.” Then a host of angels joined the one angel, and they all began singing, “Glory to God in the highest.” After the shepherds found the Christ child, they left glorifying God.

Glory, not merry or merriment, seems to be the operative word when it comes to how the Scriptures would have us think of Christ’s birth. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking of the word glory and the meaning it is intended to convey relative to God.

This is a subject too deep and full of meaning for this one little commentary, but I’ll focus on this: Glory is often used in Scripture to describe God’s moral beauty and perfection and as a way of describing its visible manifestation when a bit of it breaks through into our earthly existence. Glory is perhaps the best we can do when we try to describe what shone around the shepherds.

I don’t fully understand what is meant by the glory of God, but Scripture gives us some idea. It tells us that sin is more than doing something wrong or not doing what is right but is to “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Scripture also tells us that the natural inclination of human beings is to “exchange the glory of the incorruptible God” for something less glorious and find value, worth, significance, meaning, and praise in that lesser thing.

In this regard I’m reminded of what C.S. Lewis said:

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

In conclusion, it seems to me that by “Merry Christmas,” Christians settle for an expression that does not do Christmas justice. The phrase expresses contentment with and wishes for seasonal merriment when glory is what Christmas really offers. It is offered to all those who believe that the baby born in the manger was God incarnate, coming to provide a way by which those who had fallen short of the glory that was originally ours to enjoy—a relationship with the God of Glory—could again enjoy that relationship, both now and for eternity.

Wishing one a merry Christmas is a bit like offering people mud pies for their Christmas dessert. Wishing them a glorious Christmas? Well, that is the offer of a holiday at the sea!1

Proverbs 31 10-31-18

October 31, 2018

Diligence moves beyond how we feel to what we know needs to be done. Are we convinced that Christ is worth serving?

Proverbs 31:11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

This verse speaks of diligence. The fact that her husband has full confidence in her says much about her:

  • She is consistent in keeping her house in order (v.27)
  • She is trustworthy with their finances (v.16, 18)
  • She keeps herself (v.22b, 25),
  • She does what she can to help out monetarily (v.24), just to name a few of the ways she contributes to the household.
  • There is more, though, and I think it is the foundation of her integrity:
  • [26] She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

    We all would do well to be diligent and consistent in our walk with Jesus. Doing FOR Jesus will get us just so far. We must do WITH Jesus or we miss the whole point of salvation: Relationship!

    If we think about it, God doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. So, why does He give us tasks and instructions? It is for us to do it with Him. This verse takes on new meaning under this way of thinking:

    Zechariah 4:6b ‘Not by might nor by power, but by [with] my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

    Let us be diligent today in walking in step with God. Let’s take His yoke upon us and work with Him as He takes the lion’s share of the load and responsibility. I promise you that we will find rest for our souls.

    Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    Proverbs 30 10-30-18

    October 30, 2018

    One way God speaks to us is through others, particularly members of His Body of fellow believers. Let’s listen!

    Proverbs 30:3 I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.

    The Writer is acknowledging the fact that no matter how hard and long a person studies, he will never have complete wisdom nor full knowledge. In fact, the more we know, the more we realize how much more there is to know. The same works with wisdom.

    Robin was sharing with some friends something she is learning, and I want to share it with you (adapted):

    Concerning each day:

    Psalm 16:11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever!

    John 15:10-11….remain in Me… so that your joy may be complete.

    Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made. We can rejoice and be glad in it. How? By remaining in Him and enjoying His presence and participation in each day He has made! I like to pray in the morning “I look forward to rejoicing WITH YOU in this day You have made! Here WE go….!”

    It is the next thing she shared that really got my attention:

    If we are being beat up by the “you should be ‘more’ thought bullies”, those aren’t from God. God doesn’t need us to be or do more for Him, He will take care of what and where and how each hour of each day should go. All God wants is for us to stay yoked to Him and enjoy Him. (Mt 11:28) If we are yoked to Him we cannot possibly go in a different direction than He does! Praying you “find rest for your souls” and can learn to replace the “thought bullies” with the truth and joy of His presence. The reason I share this is because God has been working on me in this area, as well. The questions I feel the Spirit is asking me (daily) are:

    1. Do I accept the fearful and wonderful way God made me (limitations and all)?

    2. Do I relax and enjoy the blessings of the life He has given me (and stop listening to the “thought bullies” saying I’m never enough)?

    3. Do I rejoice with Him in each day He has made, and heed the always specific instructions from His Spirit – and not try to do or be “more?”

    That might have been more than you wanted to know about me, but there it is anyway! Love y’all.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!