Saturday, August 27, 2011
Jesus said that the one who hears his words and does them is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. Hearing without obedience however, is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. Adversity will prove the foundation.
"Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7: 24-27)
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Heart matters become health matters. Defilement is less about hand washing, as mentioned in the passage, as it is about the great damage inflicted from within a person. If what was said about our condition is true, we are in desperate need of heart surgery, something or Someone to stop the bleeding.
At the cross God successfully dealt with the cancer of sin by the shedding of the blood of his own Son. His work of complete inward cleansing produces a very different flow of thought and behavior, enabling us to "pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." (II Timothy 2:22)
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
"The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Matthew 6:22, 23)
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Monday, August 08, 2011
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Psalm 1 has only 6 short verses, but gives us all we need. In the small box at the bottom of the sign are printed guides for the journey. You are welcome to take one:
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The bad news is that we prove ourselves to be set on wandering and disobedience. As a result we hope to earn divine favor with external offerings rather than willing obedience. "I desire steadfast love (or mercy) and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
The good news is that pleasing God is possible! "God delights in truth in the inward being, and He teaches wisdom in the secret heart." (Psalm 51:6) He enables us to know Him and to be capable of loving Him "with all of our heart, soul and mind." (Matthew 22:37) "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)
We can have an ideal weather forecast. That very pleasant morning cloud and early dew can linger, and is intended to protect us and remain with us even in spite of turbulent conditions!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Imagine the emotions over the removal of just his physical ailment. How much more heartening the removal of his spiritual ailment! The physical is temporary, but the spiritual is permanent. That paralytic man received both cures that day. "Rise, pick up your bed and go home. Your sins are forgiven, for the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." (Matthew 9:1-8)
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
Friday, July 15, 2011
Who we are is more important than what we have or don't have. Proverbs instructs us: "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." The heart is our compass. It directs our thoughts, our words and our steps. Change the heart, change our direction. No small order, as left on its own, the heart proves itself deceitful. That is why David pleads in Psalm 25: "Guard my soul, and deliver me. To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust."
The created desperately needs the Creator to transform, restore and protect the soul. God's most amazing work is that which is done inwardly in the heart. Again in Psalm 25, "Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being."
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The Psalmist David was no stranger to discouragements and struggles. It was out of those very difficulties that God showed his strength and sufficiency. David's faith matured under the intense pressure. Worship in times of plenty is shallow in light of the worship that God generates in the anguished heart. Worship is praising God's sovereignty in the affairs of men regardless of the conditions. Pointing upwards in the end zone after the touchdown is easy. Private prayer after a devastating loss is a whole other matter.
Our problems pale in light of the persecution and political pressures of history. What was it about those Bible heroes that enabled them to thrive in their love for God amidst the most adverse circumstances? How about the apostles singing in the prison cell? What did Abraham see other than the difficult assignment before him when he was called to offer his son Isaac? How could Daniel be so confident in continuing his daily worship in spite of great political pressure? Years of unfair treatment didn't stop Jacob from consistency and a growing faith in the Lord. The list of heroes of the faith is long, much longer than our problems.
Instead of becoming the obstacle to communion with God, unwanted circumstances can become the gateway. Rather than inhibiting fellowship with Him, they prompt it. They give us reason to seek Someone greater than ourselves and our problems. Paul said that he welcomed infirmities, because when he was weak, the power of Christ rested upon him. God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. We know that He plans only that which is for our best. Our greatest achievements may come as we seek Him in the midst of all that overwhelms us.