Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Maker and Keeper

"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care." -- Psalm 95:6-7
After the purchase of a new car we receive the keys and a long process came to an end. The designer and the assembly line workers had finished their jobs. They were all part of making the vehicle. Now it's up to us to keep the car in good road worthy condition. They were the makers and my wife and I are the keepers.
The psalmist saw things in a very different light when he considered himself and the Lord. We have one Creator and Shepherd. As Paul put it in Acts 17:28, "For in him we live and move and have our being." or as we read in the Augsburg Confession, "God... the maker and preserver of all things" The Lord is both our maker and keeper.
Do you often find yourself thinking that once you left the womb you were on your own? Yes, the Lord calls us to a great deal of accountability, but remember, "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want" (Psalm 23:1)  If that is so, Why not worship and trust Him today, not only as your Maker, but your Keeper?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Our Strong Support

"When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." -- Psalm 94:18-19
In two weeks I will be having knee surgery. Until then I find myself leaning a lot. I lean when I get up from my desk, when I go up and down stairs and other times through the day. Leaning is fine when I have the right support. A strong support is a good thing.
The psalmist knew that in the midst of opposition and oppression he needed support. He learned to lean on the love of the Lord. With such a support he also found joy for his soul. His foot would refrain from slipping, and his anxiety would slip away. A strong support is a good thing.
Are you so independent that you don't need to lean? Or have you found the support of others undependable? Well, let the Lord's love and consolation be your support today and find joy for your soul as you lean on his strong support.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Our Mighty God

"The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the LORD on high is mighty." -- Psalm 93:3-4
Our family used to cross the Long Island Sound by ferry and continue to Cape Cod to visit relatives for the holidays. Our plans to return would occasionally change due to seasonal storms. The power of such wind and waves are quite sobering for any traveler. While a ship may rise and fall with the pounding, there is One greater in power that remains unmoved.
No matter where we may find ourselves in life, the waves of the ocean or the waves of distress and troublesome storms will often lift their voice. The Psalmist is secure in the fact that the Lord reigns and he is mighty. He could choose to be frightened in the face of turmoil or be at peace in the knowledge that the Lord is armed with strength. His choice is clear... Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the LORD on high is mighty!
How will you travel today? Will you be secure and at peace, or will the waves of life overwhelm you? When Peter kept his eyes on the Lord... He walked on the troubled waters (Matthew 14:29) Keep your eyes on the One who is mightier than the breakers of the sea and be at peace!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

It's all about HIM

"For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." -- Romans 11:36
Aristotle embraced the geocentric model, believing the earth to be the center of the universe. In 1543 Copernicus proposed a new paradigm placing the sun in the center. Over the years I have met some rather unusual individuals that dogmatically believe that they themselves are in fact the center of the universe. Could they all be wrong?
Paul has taken the Roman believers from the answer for mankind's lost condition to the divine elective plan for Israel. When all the detail and design is thoroughly revealed the reader can see that all the glory belongs to the Lord of creation. The whole universe comes together with beautiful symmetry when we acknowledge God as the true Center. Paul alone was right.
The best day is the one that begins with this truth: "For from him and through him and to him are all things." Every day continues to grow better and make more sense when, the Lord is given all the glory. Life is never about us... it's ALL about Him!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Zeal and Knowledge

"For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." -- Romans 10:2-4 
The pilot announced, "I have good news and bad news; the good news is, we're making great time and the bad news is, we're lost." Yes, it's an old worn out joke, but it readily applies in this case. Zeal and progress may be tremendous, but when the knowledge is lacking and the direction is wrong, all is lost.
Religion may seem to be just right, but if it isn't true to Scripture then people will suffer, both now and eternally. Paul wrote about his nation and the incredible zeal they had for God. Their relationship was solely built on a righteousness of their own without submitting to God's righteousness. For these "religious" people, there was no place for Christ, the end of the law.
Too many people are under the persuasion that they "know" all there is about the Bible and religion. Their zeal is unfounded and misdirected as a result. The reason to read the Scriptures is to find truth and find our way to God. While Paul wrote in verse 13, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”, he also wrote in verse 17, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."  Don't be in such a hurry that you lose your way. Stop and read the Word and be zealous for what is true.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Selfless Compassion

"I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race..." -- Romans 9:1-3
I attended an ordination service for a good friend some years ago. He was being ordained to the Gospel ministry with a focus on inner city mission work. His brother spoke of growing up near the city and making many visits as a family. One thing he remembered about my friend was the way he wept over the homeless and downtrodden of the city. To this day my friend has unceasing anguish in his heart for the city. He has selfless compassion.
Sincere ministry should be passionate. The passion comes from deep within and motivates us as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:14, "For Christ’s love compels us..." In the above passage he is also moved by the lost condition of his brothers and he has a passion for their salvation. His passion is so strong that he is willing to be cut off from Christ for the sake of his brothers. He had selfless compassion.
Jesus gave his life for the salvation of the lost, what are we willing to give? Do we love the Lord and the lost enough to be passionate about their salvation? May we pray for the passion of Paul as we look to the fields that are white unto harvest? Sincere ministry needs selfless compassion.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our Dwelling Place

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." -- Psalm 90:1-2 
While growing up our family lived in six different places. Since high school I have lived in nine different locations. Some of those living quarters are no longer standing and some have drastically changed. One might fairly ask, "Where is my dwelling place?"
Moses shared a similar experience. He moved all over the Middle East during his lifetime. He lived in the Pharaoh's court as well as in a tent. After the Exodus he moved more times than anyone could count. But, Moses was always secure and settled because the Lord was always his "dwelling place".
It doesn't matter how many times you've moved or how much change has been experienced, my friend. Your God who has been the same from before the mountains were born. From age to age and from place to place, you can be secure and settled in life, when the Lord is your "dwelling place".