Sunday, July 24, 2016

Good Stewards

"This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy." -- 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Stewardship is an easy concept for our family to understand. We have lived in parsonages most of our time in church ministry. The houses belong to the church, but we live in them as if they were our very own. We always saw the blessing of such homes as a means to carry on ministry to others. We have had groups of wild teens, sensible seniors, hungry pastors and wandering missionaries as our guests. This house is not ours, it's the Lord's.
In the very same way each believer is given the stewardship of spiritual blessings. Such gifts are not to be owned, but to be used for ministry to others. The Lord gives us the privilege to be a blessing as trustworthy stewards. As you enter your church doors today, be a good steward of the mysteries of God my friend. Others will thank you and God will be glorified.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Summer in the City

"I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment." -- 1 Corinthians 1:10
In mid August, 1966, the number one rock & roll hit song was... "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful. Some of the lyrics were, "Hot town, summer in the city... All around, people looking half dead, Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head" This week, more than half the U.S. has suffered from a heat wave that set records and most people have been "hotter than a match head".

No matter what the cause, some people walk around every day, "hotter than a match head". For various reasons they can't get along with others. The Corinthians were at odds because they were divided over ministry philosophies. Some followed one man and his approach and others someone else. And they got hot enough with one another to bring about an urgent appeal from Paul.
You may have "heat stroke", "stress fracture" or just plain "opinionidous", but my friend, take a moment and ask the Lord for help. Paul's appeal cuts across the years to each one of us in our various ministries.  Don't be a hot head, but pray that you have "no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind."

Friday, July 22, 2016

Is the Lord there?

"The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.” -- Ezekiel 48:35
The details of this city were quite thorough and very specific. Each allotment was evenly dispersed and each tribe was given abundant provision. Our Lord is a God of order and that is quite vividly portrayed in these passages. But, after all the good order and finishing touches, the most important aspect is found in the name of this city. "The Lord Is There".
Your home may be so well kept that it would be a candidate for "Better Homes and Gardens". Your private life could be so well ordered that Dr. Phil would be proud. But the real question comes down to this my friend; is the Lord There?
"The greatest fact of the tabernacle was that Jehovah was there; a Presence was waiting within the veil. Similarly, the presence of God is the central fact of Christianity. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His presence." - A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Exit another way!

“When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: no one shall return by way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead." -- Ezekiel 46:9 
This passage covers more than just the process of worship movement. When God's people come before the Lord in worship and praise, they should never plan to leave the same way that they arrived. They should always go out as different people and move forward on the straightway.
As these directions are all part of a planned process, so should we plan before hand what to expect from and give to worship. Why enter the Lord's presence as if we were going to the local deli for a sandwich? Our thoughts and expectations should be grand and heavenly in nature. We would be far more blessed if we sought the transcendent and found ourselves high and lifted up in the days that follow worship.
Enter the sanctuary one way and exit another, my friend. Never settle for less than great and mighty works of God in your life. The Lord always has so much more for the hungry, yearning soul. "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." -- Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kingdom sacrifices

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten. On that day the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a young bull for a sin offering." -- Ezekiel 45:21-22
And now, for the question that has plagued so many, "Will there be sacrifices during the millennium, and if so, why? Yes, Virginia there is a Messiah and there will be sacrifices in the future kingdom. As to why... just as past sacrifices were looking forward to a perfect Lamb of God, Kingdom sacrifices look backward.
As the Passover will be observed and sin offerings made, it is important to remember that Israel failed to carry out God's ceremonial law for generations. During the Millennial rule of Christ all such worship expressions will be observed with a full appreciation for the sacrifice made by the Messiah.
For our walk with God my friend, these passages provide important lessons. Our worship is significant to the Lord and He desires to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. We will do well to always reflect on the great sacrifice of our Savior during worship and offer our own sacrifices of praise to fully honor the Lord. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Best Inheritance

“This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession." -- Ezekiel 44:28 
In a world that is deeply rooted in possessions and things, The Lord gives His temple ministers the greatest of all possessions... Himself. This takes us back to the blessing of God upon Abraham in Genesis 15:1 with the words, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."
Could it be that we have the wrong idea about what is valuable? Is it possible that wealth is not in riches, but in a relationship? Are we so busy with the toys of this world that we have missed out on the "pearl of great price" (Matthew 13:44)? Remember, the Creator is of far greater value than anything in all of His creation. 
Join the pursuit of David in Psalm 63:1-3 my friend... "O God, ... my soul thirsts for you... Because your love is better than life." Wealth is not about gold... it's all about God!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Holy Territory

"This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple." -- Ezekiel 43:12
After reflecting on the Most Holy Place yesterday, we should consider the environment where the Temple of God dwells. In the above passage we are told that the whole territory around the temple must be holy. For those of us who are living temples, this gives us much food for thought. 
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"  He also called us to separate ourselves from being yoked with unbelievers in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18,  with the concluding comment to perfect holiness out of reverence for God in 2 Corinthians 7:1. As living temples, we are called upon to live within holy territory.
You will never be able to separate yourself from being in "contact" with the world my friend. But, you can choose not to be in "contract" with the surrounding evil. Choose your friends and activities carefully, keeping in mind that 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"