Friday, January 27, 2023

Foundations...

Today's Readings: OT -  2 Kings 13 / NT - Psalm 10-12

""When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them." - Psalm 11:3-4
When I attended college, I lived in a college owned apartment for a year. It was old and scheduled to be demolished. When you stood across the street, you could see the two ends of the building sag down like the leaning tower of Pisa. Yet, we never lived in fear because we were assured that the building was safe. The foundation was weak, but the word of the college was sure.

David knew that although the foundations in life may be destroyed, the LORD is on his throne. The enemies may be many, but the LORD watches over the righteous. He sits on his throne observing our every step, ready to redeem and strong to save. Life may shift and sag like a leaning tower, but the throne of God remains sure and secure.

Are your foundations cracking and shifting beneath you? Do you feel unsettled in the constant changes of life? Then turn to the throne in heaven and be encouraged with this invitation...  "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) Your foundations may be weak, but the foundations of heaven are strong.

 Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Chronicles 24 / NT - Luke 21

Thursday, January 26, 2023

All are alive...

Today's Readings: OT -  2 Kings 11:21-12:21 / NT - Luke 20

"But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” - Luke 20:37-38
While speaking at a funeral service for a deceased deacon, the preacher wanted to emphasize the departure of the soul from the body. He said, "Only the shell remains, but the nut is gone". He meant one thing, but said something else as well. Life after death is a timeless truth found throughout the Bible. It is stated overtly by Jesus and subtly by Moses, but either way, to God... all are alive.

There will be a resurrection and Jesus spoke of this coming event regularly. Some have said that this doctrine is strictly found in the New Testament. But what we find in this passage is a clear reference by Jesus to the Old Testament belief in this truth. Moses meant one thing, but he said something else as well. We believe in the God of the living, and to him... all are alive.

There are two thoughts to consider today. Every soul will exist eternally. The question is; will you live eternally in heaven with Jesus, or will you live eternally in hell alone? The choice is yours to make, but only in this life. The second thought concerns your loved one who knew the Lord and has stepped into eternity ahead of you. You may be assured and comforted in the words of Paul in Philippians 1:23, "I desire to depart and be with Christ". Yes, they are with the Lord, because to him... all are alive. 

 Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Kings 13 / NT - Psalm 10-12

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

People need the Lord...

Today's Readings: OT -  2 Kings 11:1-20 / NT - Luke 19

"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it"  -  Luke 19:41 
In 1998 I moved from Williamsport, PA, a city of 31,000 to a bedroom community of New York City, which was the home of over 8 million people. There were over 20 million people living in the Metropolitan region. The adjustment to so many people in one small area was quite a challenge. Each time I crossed the bridge and looked at the city, I saw buildings that housed the masses. I saw traffic congestion and streets crowded with a vast multitude. But then, I came to a traffic light and I saw the faces and I was reminded that the city was people... and people need the Lord.

Watch the Lord as he approaches the city of Jerusalem. While others were rejoicing and praising the Lord, Jesus saw the city, and he wept over it. Think about the Lord of Glory, the Creator of the universe, the Ruler of nations, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords weeping over a city. In a city of rebellious and hard-hearted people who would hang him on a cross, Jesus saw lost people. If we will look at the city through the eyes of Jesus, we will see people and we too should weep because... people need the Lord.

Whether your city is small or large, it's filled with people. They are not there to make your life miserable; they are people in need,  just like you. Pray that you might see the city through the eyes of compassion and love them like Jesus.     --  Here's a song by Mike Otto to consider today:

"LOOKING THROUGH YOUR EYES"

"Let me see this world, dear Lord,
as though I were looking through your eyes.
A world of men who don't want you, Lord,
but a world for which you died.
Let me kneel with you in the garden.
Blur my eyes with tears of agony.

For if once, I could see this world the way you see,
I just know I'd serve you more faithfully".

Let me see this world, dear Lord,
through Your eyes when men mock your Holy Name.
When they beat You and spat upon You, Lord,
Let me love them as You loved them just the same.
Let me stand high above my petty problems,
And grieve for men, hell-bound eternally:

For if once I could see this world the way You see
I just know I'd serve you more faithfully.

 Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Kings 11:21-12:21 / NT - Luke 20

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

You're Invited!

Today's Readings: OT -  2 Kings 10:18-36 / NT - Luke 18

"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up... Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”... Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”" - Luke 18:1, 39, 42 
Have you ever been turned away by a restaurant hostess because you didn't have a reservation? It can be embarrassing when you made plans and expected to be seated. It's even more embarrassing when someone without reservations harasses the hostess to be seated. People are unsettled and just want the trouble makers to leave. But what if you know the owner and he has invited you to his restaurant? Dinner is served!

At the outset of this chapter Jesus taught the disciples to pray and not give up. Toward the end of the passage we find just such a man who prayed and would not give up. Yet, people felt unsettled and they just wanted the trouble maker to be quiet. The blind man still showed persistent faith and he was blessed with healing. He bypassed the hostess and came to the owner and dinner was served! 

Jesus taught us to pray without ceasing and as we do, he welcomes our faith. Remember, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (vs. 27) Don't be turned away by those who have weak faith and doubting hearts. Since you know the owner and you have been invited, just ask... and dinner is served!

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Kings 11:1-20 / NT - Luke 19

Monday, January 23, 2023

"Ten" ...

Today's Readings: OT -  2 Kings 10:1-17 / NT - Luke 17

"One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”" - Luke 17:15-18
It's January 23 and you're still waiting for thank-you notes from a vast number who were blessed with your Christmas gifts. Oh well, maybe they will arrive next week, after all, you just got a thank-you note yesterday for the wedding gift you gave last May. What's so hard about saying thank you for the many blessings we receive in life? On a scale of one to ten, very few ever get a "ten".

Jesus was disappointed when only one out of ten returned to give praise to God for their healing. Furthermore, the one who returned wasn't even taught in the Scriptures; he was a Samaritan! It doesn't take a wealth of Bible knowledge to know how to say thanks to God for his goodness. As the years have passed, the Church has fine- tuned worship and praise services. Certainly more than one out of ten will return to give thanks to God, but sadly... very few ever get a "ten".

Did God blessed you last week with his goodness? Did you receive his provision for your daily needs? Were your prayers answered for healing, for a job or money to pay a bill? Were you in church yesterday with your thank-you note? The question is... were you number "ten" ... and will you be every Sunday?    

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Kings 10:18-36 / NT - Luke 18

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Neverland...

Today's Readings: OT -  2 Kings 9 / NT - Psalm 8-9

"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." - Psalm 9:9-10
In 1904, the play Peter Pan debuted and in 1911 the children's book Peter and Wendy was published. The stories tell of a girl named Wendy and her brothers flying off with Peter Pan to a land of fun and adventure. Author, J. M. Barrie, wrote of a fictional island named "Neverland" where children could fly away from the harsh realities of  life. Such stories pique the imagination in a world of constant change and abounding troubles. Could there ever be a real place to fly called Neverland?

David often wrote about troubles, dangers and injustice. His life was filled with oppression as he cried out, "O LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death" (vs. 13) Still, David always had reason to hope in the darkest time because he found refuge in the Lord. He learned that the Lord NEVER forsakes those who seek him. The Lord said it in Deuteronomy 31:6 and again in Hebrews 13:5... “NEVER will I leave you; NEVER will I forsake you.” David found a real place to fly called Neverland.

Do you feel trapped in a world of stress, pressure and unending difficulties? Where do you go to find relief? Have you found someone who will always be there for you, whatever the circumstances? If not, let me take your hand and we'll fly away to "a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." We'll fly away to the Lord, who NEVER forsakes those who seek him, because he said he will NEVER leave you, he will NEVER forsake you. Yes my friend, there really is place called Neverland.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Kings 10:1-17 / NT - Luke 17

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Who will you serve?

Today's Readings: OT -  2 Kings 8:16-29 / NT - Luke 16

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”  - Luke 16:13
Sometime after Bob Dylan came to Christ he wrote "Gotta Serve Somebody" and won a Grammy in 1980 as a result. The chorus is as follows:

  "But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody."

Dylan seemed to understand the timeless truth that we will serve someone throughout our lives. Furthermore, he saw the matter in one basic concept: "...it may be the devil or it may be the Lord". But whichever one you choose, you only have one heart to give.

Jesus made it clear: you have to choose. You can't serve more than one master at a time. In addition, when you serve one, your attitude toward the other is embittered. If you choose to serve money and temporal gain, you will despise God and eternal values. This sheds great light on our drift from the Lord when we prioritize our wealth because...  you only have one heart to give.

Who will you serve today? Who will receive your undying devotion? Will you choose the Lord and serve him with all your heart, soul and mind? Or will you serve the devil for the love of money? Remember...  you only have one heart to give.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Kings 9 / NT - Psalm 8-9