Friday, June 9, 2023

Build for Eternity...

Today's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 7:30-8:17 / NT + Hebrews 1

"He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be hanged. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." - Hebrews 1:10-12
The foundation of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany was laid in 1248 and the work continued, with some interruptions, until completion in 1880. For four years the cathedral was the tallest building in the world and today it is visited by 20,000 people every day. Travelers from all over the world come to view a man made building that stands on a 762 year old foundation. Yet, how many come every day to worship the One who remains the same, whose years will never end?

As we begin our reading in the book of Hebrews, Jesus is presented as the eternal one, preeminent over all creation. When we choose a foundation to build upon, these words serve us well to remember the transitory nature of our world. 762 year old cathedrals, along with every other part of the earth and heavens will eventually wear out like a garment. But Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. The message is clear; don't build your life on the sands of this world, but build on the eternal foundation of Christ.

Are you all about building a cathedral my friend? Why spend so much time on what will ultimately be rolled up like a robe? Keep your eyes and heart on Jesus as your cornerstone. Follow his plan as you labor and build what will last... for all eternity.
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 8:18-9:26 / NT + Hebrews 2

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Walk with the Wise...

Today's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 7:1-29 / NT + Proverbs 13

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." - Proverbs 13:20
I have a rather large library. The books that I have chosen are selected with particular purpose. I prefer those volumes that have been written by Godly sages that have left a legacy of wisdom in their wake. Most of these works can be read over and over again with great gain every time they are read. When I walk with the wise, I grow wise.

Solomon was known as the wisest man of his time (1 Kings 4:30-34). Yet, he knew that wisdom was a quality to be nurtured. Everyone has a choice to grow wise by their choice of companions. That choice is found in the friends we make, the films we watch and especially the books that we read. Wisdom is a choice and it comes to those who walk with the wise.

Someone has well said, "You are what you read", and it is true. Wisdom will grow when we choose the Ancient Words of Scripture to read daily. That which we add to these words of wisdom will only deepen our understanding and insight. Choose your friends, films, and books wisely my friend, and walk with the wise.
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 7:30-8:17 / NT + Hebrews 1

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Lasting Rest...

Today's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 6 / NT + Psalms 54-55

"I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest - I would flee far away and stay in the desert; Selah... But I call to God, and the LORD saves me." - Psalm 55:6,7,16 
What an experience it is to lift off the runway on a rainy day and rise above the clouds into the sunshine. When everything seems so dreary and life seems to weigh you down, the gray clouds slip away and you seem to float on into a new day. How often would we "fly away and be at rest"?

David wrote this psalm during troubling times in his life. In the midst of great turmoil and rejection he desired the wings of a dove. Then, he would fly away and be at rest from all his problems. But as he continues to write, David settles upon the true rest that comes on the wings of prayer; "But I call to God, and the LORD saves me." True and lasting rest is only found in the LORD.

Whatever your situation my friend, there is no desert that will give you the rest you seek. Look east, west, north, or south, but in every direction you turn there will only be a dry and barren land. Rise up on the wings of prayer and find refreshing and lasting rest in the LORD.
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 7:1-29 / NT + Proverbs 13

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Be Fearless...

Today's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 5:14-31 / NT + Ephesians 6

"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." - Ephesians 6:19-20
Fear can be a crippling emotion. There are those who are afraid of dogs, snakes, spiders, crowds, darkness, heights and some are even afraid of peanut butter. Fear is no respecter of persons or things. The truth is if we don't overcome our fears, our fears will overcome us.

Paul, of all people, asked for prayer to be fearless. He was passionate for Christ and burned with desire to see others come to know his Savior. Yet, he sought prayer to "fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel". In light of mentioning this twice, one might conclude that Paul struggled with fear. Yet, for the sake of the gospel, he chose to overcome and be fearless.

You may be afraid of many things my friend, but never allow fear to hold you back from witnessing. Pray and enlist others to pray that you will be fearless, " you should".  Rememberif you don't overcome fear, your fear will overcome you. Be fearless and make the good news known to someone today.
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 6 / NT + Psalms 54-55

SPECIAL NOTE: On this day in history... God blessed the world with the most wonderful person I know! It's been far more than a joy and incredible thrill to be blessed with her as my sweet wife and mother of our sons. Today on her birthday I stand in the gates of the city and proclaim... I have found the woman of Proverbs 31... "An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels." Happy Birthday to my awesome BFF and wife... Jayne Elizabeth Van Sant!! 

Monday, June 5, 2023

A Serious Matter...

Today's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 5;1-13 / NT + Ephesians 5

"Therefore do not be partners with them." - Ephesians 5:7
A number of years ago I had a friend who went into business with an unbeliever. They were partners. Over time the decisions of the unbeliever led the business into a federal investigation and brought the business to the brink of bankruptcy. My friend almost lost his house, car and family security. Partnership is a very serious matter.

When Paul wrote about immorality and greed he expected a complete break from such a lifestyle. He pointed to the empty life and final outcome of those who remain in this path. Furthermore, he gave clear counsel for believers to separate from those who live in this way. Because Paul knew that partnership was a very serious matter.

It has been said that believers are to live in contact with the world, but never in contract with them. This passage is a strong support for such counsel. Choose your partners wisely my friend. Be involved with those who will lift you up and not tear you down. An immoral and greedy partner will eventually bring you into spiritual bankruptcy. Be very careful, because partnership is a very serious matter.
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 5:14-31 / NT + Ephesians 6

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Don't make Waves!

Today's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 4:5-31 / NT + Ephesians 4

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." - Ephesians 4:2-3
I've been in a large boat as the engine roared with incredible force to cut through stormy waters. I have also been in a small canoe when one stroke of an oar would propel us a great distance in quiet waters. Life is much like maneuvering a ship; the more peaceful the waters, the smoother the ride. 

Paul often addressed the subject of peace to believers. One might conclude that such a concern would be unnecessary for the children of God. Yet, the instructions were given in detail to be humble, gentle, patient, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. The Christian community should be a place where peaceful waters prevail, always providing a smooth ride.

Are you making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace? Do you treat others with humility, gentleness, patience and love? These are the ingredients that provide and sustain peaceful waters for a smooth ride. Stormy waters are never fun... so don't make waves!!
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 5:1-13 / NT + Ephesians 5

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Who's inside?

Today's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 4:4 / NT + Ephesians 3

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:14-19
Some years ago a missionary friend of mine let me take a close look at a bottle he brought home from Vietnam. The bottle was filled with wine and a coiled snake with a scorpion in its teeth. Yikes! I was more than happy to quickly return the unique conversation piece. The simple bottle took on a very distasteful aura from the fullness that was inside.

Paul prayed for the Ephesians to be "filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Such filling would come from the Father's riches, being strengthened with the Spirit's power and knowing the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.  As a result, the simple believer would take on a very tasteful aura from the fullness that was inside.

The day you came to Christ, the Spirit of God made his home in your heart. His desire has been to expel the snakes and scorpions of your past and fill you with his fullness. This process is a matter of daily growth. Will you pray Paul's prayer for yourself and other believers today? May it be the intentional effort of your life to have the very fullness of God inside?
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Jeremiah 4:5-31 / NT + Ephesians 4