Friday, December 31, 2010

 "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!" -- Psalm 150:6
Life is a very precious gift. I have stood by the bedside of more than a few friends that struggled to breathe in their last hours and finally stopped as they entered eternity. To breath is often taken for granted until your breath slips away. What should we do with this wonderful, but passing thing called breath?
Paul tells us in Acts 17:25, "... he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything." To live and breathe is a gift from our Creator and redeemer. Paul goes on to say in Acts 17:27, ".... that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him." We are given the means to live and breathe for one purpose... to seek the Lord and give him praise. This is what we should do with this thing called breath.
The last words of the book of the Psalms call us to our great purpose... Praise the Lord! Do you have breath my friend? Then give praise to the Lord. All other possessions and privileges are of no value without breath. Since breath is such a significant ability, may we use it to its fullest capacity to give praise to the one who has given it? Take a breath and Praise the Lord!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" -- Revelation 22:20
On October 20, 1944 Gen. Douglas MacArthur fulfilled a promise to the Filipino people. Upon leaving two and a half years earlier he vowed "I Shall Return" and that time had come. He was confident that he could deliver a victory in 1942 and in 1944 he accomplished his goal. While the months passed slowly for the Filipino people, victory was only a matter of time.
The years have slipped into decades that have moved into centuries and the Lord has not yet returned. But he said, "Surely I am coming soon" and we may be sure that he will keep his promise. These words are full of hope and confidence that the end of the story will be victorious. They are spoken by the Lord himself and John responded with expectation, "Amen, Come, Lord Jesus!" Yes, he's coming back in triumph and it's only a matter of time.
Are you discouraged at times when the battle is long and drawn out? Does time seem to pass ever so slowly? Does the light at the end of the tunnel never get any closer? Be patient my friend, for the words of Jesus are golden. He is coming soon, so stay the course and don't ever give up. Wait on the Lord and be assured... it's only a matter of time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:4
A few weeks ago a dear lady of our church went home to be with Jesus. She suffered great pain for many months and finally slipped into the Lord's presence. We held a memorial service for her two weeks before Christmas. In the midst of celebration we experienced the sadness of loss. Will the day ever come when joy will be unmixed with sorrow?
The passage before us today gives us the hope that a new day is coming. This day will know no more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain. All such thieves of joy will be long gone. The Lord will make all things new and this promise is trustworthy and true. There is a time yet before us that will bring joy unmixed with sorrow.
A poet once wrote "Hope springs eternal in the human breast..." (Alexander Pope) Such words are only words until hope is rooted in a promise that is trustworthy and true. Don't give up in the midst of sorrow my friend. There is hope. A new day is coming for all God's children and a joy unspeakable will accompany it... unmixed with sorrow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." -- Revelation 20:13-15 (ESV)
Have you ever shown up at a restaurant or motel and found that your reservation was not listed? I stood behind a rather disgruntled fellow some years ago that was suffering from such an experience. After all the yelling and accusations, nothing had changed and the gentleman was out on the street. There's no place when there's no name.
The day is coming when some people will arrive at the Great White Throne only to find that their name is not listed in the book of life. They can argue and yell all they want, but when that day comes it will be too late. The time for anyone to make a reservation for eternity is in this life alone. If the decision is put off, there will be no place since there's no name.
Is your name written in the Book of Life my friend? Are the names of your family, friends and neighbors also written? There will be no fear of death for those who have made their reservations by placing their faith in Christ. Jesus said in Luke 10:20, "Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." When your name is written, there's a place for you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." -- Revelation 19:10
From time to time I need to express public appreciation to those who have performed some ministry within our church. I am very careful to include all who have participated and not include others who were not involved. It's important to carefully honor only those who are worthy of recognition.
There are appointed Angels who are active in the work of God, as well as other significant servants of the Lord. These are important personalities in the unfolding ministry of Jesus, but they are not, nor will they ever be God. There is only one who is worthy of our worship, and that one alone is the Lord. Only He is to be honored with our worshipful love and devotion.
There are many opportunities to honor and worship someone other than God. Be careful to avoid this temptation my friend. Our worship is to be solely given to the Lord "...with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37). Even the Angels are only fellow servants, so worship God and Him alone.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"... For in a single hour your judgment has come... For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste... For in a single hour she has been laid waste." -- Revelation 18:10, 17, 19
A recent article mentioned the increase of heart attacks during the holiday season. The stress and demanding activities of the season bring poor health to a climax. After years of careless eating and unhealthy living, in a single hour everything falls apart.
The world carries on in the same way. Careless and ungodly living will continue, year in and year out, but a day will come when "in a single hour" everything will fall apart. As the passage mentions; judgment will come, wealth will be laid waste and the city itself will be laid waist.
In light of this coming day my friend, "... what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness...!" (2 Peter 3:11) There's no better time to start living right and serving the Lord than today. Perhaps this is the reason a voice from heaven says in verse four, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins..." As the New Year approaches, let's make every "single hour" count for the Lord.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them." -- Luke 2:8-20 (ESV)
May you find peace in the Prince of Peace, praise God for his indescribable gift and make known the good news of great joy that there is a Savior... and his name is Jesus! May you treasure all these things in your heart as you celebrate Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

"And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” -- Revelation 17:12-14
Power and dominion has come to so many leaders over the years. But as we step aside and glance across the ages long past, such leaders have all slipped away into history. Some have achieved great victories and others have been international celebrities, but they have all been overcome by the passage of time. Who is the leader that will rise above all the rest?
The Lord of lords and King of kings is his name. As these latter day kings will receive authority for one hour, so all great leaders have limits. Their greatest limitation is when they choose to oppose the Lord himself. There is no power that will ever overcome the Lamb, and all armies that war against the Lord will be conquered. He alone is the leader that will always rise above the rest!
Don't ever be settled and secure in the leadership of earthly kings and princes my friend. In the same light don't fear the power of those that oppose the ways of the Lord. We serve the King of kings and Lord of lords and he will always conquer. Don't be overcome by the evil of our day, rest in the Lord and be confident, for He alone will rise above all the rest.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

“And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!” – Revelation 16:5-6
"You deserve a break today"... "7 steps to Get the Body You Deserve"... "You Deserve a Love like This" ... "Get the network you deserve". We find these phrases and many more like them spread throughout contemporary advertisements. The questions are; what is it that we really deserve? And do we really want what we deserve?
If we stand before a Holy God, without any payment or cleansing of sin, what do we deserve? When this gracious and loving Creator has given his Son as our sacrifice for sin and we choose to reject the offer, what do we deserve? When we ridicule and abuse the children of God for their life of faith, what do we deserve? And do we really want what we deserve?
Do you wish that this passage didn't exist at all my friend? Are you quick to write it off as an image of something other than what it says? Don't be caught away with those that say we "deserve" wealth, health and success. As sinners, depraved and selfishly rebellious against God, we can only deserve a swift and harsh judgment. But, in mercy and grace the Lord offers us a salvation and an abundant life that we could never deserve. Don't wait, or ask for what you deserve my friend. Seek the face of God for what you don't deserve.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished." -- Revelation 15:1
After four long years of Civil War the signing of the surrender documents occurred at Appomattox Court House on the afternoon of April 9, 1865. 620,000 American lives were lost and more than 412,200 were wounded, with the last shot fired in June of that year. With a surrender established and peace achieved, the war was finally finished.
As that war came to an end with definite goals achieved, so will the out-poured wrath of God accomplish his justice and glory. No matter how tragic and horrific the pages of this prophetic book are, an end will come. As sure as the wrath of God is reserved for the Day of Judgment, it will accomplish its purpose and then it will be finished.
As God's wrath will eventually be completed, so his saving work has already been completed. Jesus spoke these words on the cross in John 19:30 “It is finished” as he concluded the great work of redemption. The question for you my friend is; which "finish" will you choose? Will you accept the finished work of Christ or the finished work of God's wrath? Make the right choice before it's too late.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” -- Revelation 14:11

December is quite a busy month for so many people. The first Christmas season that I was in retail sales I worked six days a week and no less than twelve hours a day. Each day brought more work and less energy. As the old saying goes, "There's no rest for the weary", and the weary desperately yearn for rest.
With that thought, consider these lyrics, "God rest ye merry, gentlemen / Let nothing you dismay / Remember, Christ, our Savior / Was born on Christmas day / To save us all from Satan's power". Rest is a wonderful promise of Christmas. Jesus extended the invitation to all who would respond with the words, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) But for those who reject the Christ of Christmas to serve another... forever and ever, there will be no rest.
However busy you may be this week my friend, are you at rest? Have you found rest for your soul that carries you through the most challenging day with peace? Are those that you care for at rest today and will they be at rest in eternity? What a promise is given in verse thirteen, "Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors". There IS rest for the weary... in the Christ of Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them... and by the signs that it is allowed to work... And it was allowed to give breath..." -- Revelation 13:7, 14, 15
The meter reader came to our house the other day and he waited at the door until I secured our dog. He looked to me for his safety from my ferocious beast. (I am being quite satirical about my kind hearted hound) While it is possible for our canine to bite a stranger, I would be held responsible for allowing her to carry out the deed. Someone has to be in charge.
As we view the unbearable days of the tribulation we are overwhelmed by the evil that is poured out by the two beasts. The anti-Christ and false prophet are a dastardly duo who bring incredible carnage upon mankind. In truth, as part of the overall judgment of God upon a lost and rebellious earth, he allows them to carry out their work. They are only as powerful as they are allowed. God is in charge.
In the day of injustice and ungodly conduct is there anyone in control? Yes, there is, and He rules the world. God doesn't create evil, but he allows it to run its course as we move closer to the end of this age. (Romans 1:18-32) Therefore, don't give in to the evil that surrounds you my friend. Turn to the One who is in control and seek his redemptive and  protective care. Only God is truly in charge.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” -- Revelation 12:12
I have ministered to our church young people for more years than any old guy should. The way these marvelous characters react to life is a wonder to behold. At any given teen event the time comes to call it a day. We always give notice when the time to leave approaches. Upon such an announcement our wise and cooperative youth group will suddenly disappear. They are determined to get the most fun out of the time that is short.
Everyone tries to make the most of limited opportunity. The devil is no different in his great battle with God and his servants. We need to be very much prepared for a most formidable foe such as Satan. While he comes down to earth in great wrath in the days of tribulation, his efforts are even now increased as that time approaches. He is determined to do the most damage in the time that is short.
May your testimony be known by the fact that you loved not your life, even unto death my friend. You have conquered by the blood of the Lamb and victory is yours. But do you live with all out effort and attention on the hour? Satan is busier than ever as the days slip away, are you? Be determined to do the most for Jesus in the time that is short.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

“If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth. For pressing milk produces curds,  pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.” – Proverbs 30:32-33
Speed limits; they exist for a variety of reasons, but one of the most significant is safety. We can drive at excessive speeds and arrive safely today, but eventually such driving will catch up to us. Some people make light of traffic laws until they or a loved one ends up in the hospital or worse. There are some things that you just need to stop before you get hurt.
The words of wisdom that we read above are written for many reasons, but one of the most significant is safety. One should be careful when they make light of the spiritual dangers that come with ignoring Biblical wisdom. Time may slip by without ramifications, but eventually "pressing anger produces strife." There are some things that you just need to stop before you get hurt.
How cautious do you live your life my friend? Are you careful to follow the Biblical wisdom that sets protective perimeters on your conduct? Or do you take sinful activity lightly and fail to recognize its damaging effect? Well, "If you have been foolish"... you just need to stop before you get hurt.

Friday, December 17, 2010

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;” – Psalm 146:3-6
How often do we believe that the next leader, president down to mayor, will change everything in our world? If they are good leaders, we put all our hope in them to bring prosperity. Yet, such people slip away over the years and life goes on as it was before. Where can we turn for real hope?
The psalmist knew the real truth about human leadership. He was quite aware that "this too shall pass". No man can bring salvation, and his power to change the world is limited at best. His plans perish along with him as he slips into the grave and is replaced by another.  But blessed is the one whose help is the Lord, for he finds hope in the one "who keeps faith forever"!
Salvation belongs to the Lord alone and only he can change the world. Why not put your trust in the one who has both power and faithfulness to bless his people? The sooner we take our eyes off people and focus on God, the sooner we will be at peace in the midst of the storm. We will always find hope in the Lord.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth." -- Revelation 11:9-10
It's the time of year when crowds gather in shopping malls across the country to shop until they drop. Decorations and lights are hung inside and out with great skill. Every effort is made to celebrate and show one another the true holiday spirit. Having fun and giving to others is absolutely basic to Christmas... the season when people are merry and exchange presents.
In light of that I have always found this passage to be quite a curiosity. In the same way we see people rejoicing over the death of God's prophets by giving to others. Apparently holiday celebration can occur for most any reason. I believe this begs the question: do people really understand the true meaning of Christmas and as a result give of themselves to others? Or does the season just provide an opportunity to be merry and exchange presents?
The spirit of giving is not intrinsic to Christmas alone. People celebrate and give at the drop of a hat. But when we reflect on the good news of Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a Savior who came to redeem the souls of lost people. We can exchange presents anytime for any reason, but at Christmas we ought to give of ourselves in love, because "while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8) God loved us from a manger to the cross.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” -- Revelation 10:4
News reporters insist that the public needs to know everything about the story. No matter how graphic or unbearable, these news hounds are bound to publish every detail. There are times that I really don't want to know or I'm just not ready to receive the information. Some things we don't need to know.
Prophecy is a lot like news reporting, except prophets are reporting the future. They record all that is revealed to them for the Lord's ultimate purpose. Prophetic writings are intended to alert people to ultimate accountability and the need for repentance and faith. These writings are not for the curious. Therefore, God directs the prophet to write what will accomplish his goal and no more. Some things we don't need to know.
Are you a prophecy hound? Do you read and study the prophetic books with a keen interest? What is the heart of that pursuit my friend? Are you seeking to satisfy your curiosity, or are you open to the change that God desires for your life? All that you need to know for spiritual growth is recorded. Apply what is revealed and leave the rest alone. Some things we don't need to know.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind." -- Revelation 9:15
Y2K; the date was a time consuming fear factor that engrossed more people than one could imagine. The expectations of disaster were overwhelming and the countdown was a much focused pastime. Nothing could change the fact that January 1, 2000 was going to take place at a very specific hour, day, month and year. While catastrophe didn't arrive, the day did come with exact precision. Time waits for no man.
In the same way a day set apart for divine judgment is coming. Disaster will follow it with certainty as determined by God's righteous purpose. This day is on the calendar just as Y2K was and it won't be changed or set aside. This passage makes it clear that this moment of retribution isn't a moment in the past or one to be spiritualized. It is on the Lord's schedule and the best response is to seek the Lord while he may be found. Time waits for no man.
Since "God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9), there is hope for those who know the Lord. Is such a hope yours today my friend? Is it the hope of your family, friends and neighbors? If this isn't true of you and yours "Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2). Remember... Time waits for no man.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” -- Revelation 8:13
I'm always amazed at the interest shown for catastrophe movies. My wife and I were viewing some wild catastrophic film some months ago and we were sitting with three ladies in their eighties. Age and other variables are irrelevant when it comes to this subject. We are all curious about the possible doom of our world. Will such a day ever come?
In light of my observations I am further puzzled when the Scriptural accounts of God's ultimate judgment upon the earth is explained away. Why do people believe that a day of accountability to our Creator, Lord and King will never come? This passage begs to differ with those who believe that retribution is a thing of which legends are made. Without a doubt, the day is coming.
No one wants to read about God's wrath during the Christmas season. But doesn't the eventual worldwide condemnation make the gift of Jesus much more precious? Before God's wrath is poured out, his love floods the earth from a manger to the cross. Yes, the day of doom is coming, but today is a day of "good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11) Spread the good news today... for another Day IS coming.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor." -- Proverbs 29:23
George Steinbrenner was recently given the snub for a Baseball Hall of Fame nomination. I have no idea why he was passed over, but at first blush he seemed to be a shoe-in with seven World Series titles and eleven pennants for the Yankee ball club. Sometimes the obvious doesn't come to pass because there is a greater principle under the surface.
Solomon brings to surface one of the most significant principles in life. Pride will bring a person down when a lowly spirit will bring honor. The world totally opposes this wisdom and encourages pride driven pursuits in most careers. At first this attitude seems to succeed, but over time the humble leader is honored the most. Sometimes the obvious just doesn't come to pass.
How many times must you read this principle before it sinks in my friend? Does pride drive you in your work, ministry and family? Are you convinced that if you don't promote yourself, no one will? Have you considered this great truth: "“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you..." (1 Peter 5:5-6)? Sometimes the obvious just needs to be put aside for a greater principle.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations." -- Psalm 145:13
Relevance; we constantly hear the term used to encourage our efforts in communicating to a newer generation. The cry goes out for new words and techniques because the younger people will never understand or consider old truth. Unless it's new and different it won't help the cause. The question comes to mind; is there anything that hasn't changed that retains any value? 
Solomon noted that there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) The years pass from one generation to the next and history repeats itself over and over again. Technology improves our lives, but daily needs and struggles continue without change. In a very real way we need help from someone that has stood the test of time and remains unchanged. David found just such a one in the Lord, whose kingdom is everlasting and whose dominion endures throughout all generations.
Build your life on things that never change my friend, and you will be relevant to every generation. In the face of unchanging struggles and storms of life, you need someone who "upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down". (verse 14) In this great truth we find relevance in the unchangeable person of our God and King.

Friday, December 10, 2010

"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” -- Revelation 7:9-10
History has been marked by the bigotry of men; one nation rising up against another simply because of prejudice. People belittle others, all because they are a different culture. In many parts of the world every effort to establish peaceful reconciliation has miserably failed. When will people of different backgrounds come together on common ground?
As we step back and gaze at the throne of heaven we are amazed at the multitude of diversity. Every nation, tribe, people and language is represented as they worship the Lamb. No matter the color or culture, they are all clothed in white robes, rejoicing in their salvation. The long sought after common ground has been found!
We who are believers in Jesus have a vastly diverse family. One day we will worship in heaven together, but how well do we live together on earth? Did a racial slur recently come from your lips my friend?  Have you forgotten that you are related to many from that people group by blood? Yes, you stand with them on common ground... the blood of the Lamb.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” -- Revelation 6:15-17
Intrigue, conspiracy, espionage and secrets of every kind; such is our world past and present. Leaders get nervous over Wikileaks threats and fear the spreading of comments made behind closed doors. Hiding from each other protects us from accountability for wrong.
Adam and Eve hid when the Lord came walking in the Garden. When the Lamb comes in judgment in the last days, men and women will still be hiding. We far too often fear God a day late and a dollar short. Rather than fearing God and walking with him, we end up fearing God and running from him. We hide to be protected from ultimate accountability for sin.
Why do you avoid the Lord by skipping devotions, church and Bible studies? Are you hiding from God my friend? The day is coming when all who have run from God and his grace will try to hide from him and his wrath. But there will be no hiding and no protection from ultimate accountability. Walk with the Lord today, so you won't need to run from him then.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"... and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” -- Revelation 5:4-5
People grieve and weep over many things. They express sorrow over the serious loss of a loved one all the way to a sad ending in a movie. Tears are shed over broken relationships as well as lost pets. Yet, is there not a greater cause and cure for tears?
John was moved to tears "because no one was found worthy to open the scroll". He was saddened by the missing holy character needed to open the seals. Sin and all its damaging influence caused John to grieve to the point of weeping. But at the same time hope was announced, found in the Lion of Judah, the Root of David who has conquered. Jesus alone is the cure for all tears.
Let me ask you something my friend. When was the last time you wept over sin? Have you been grieved to tears when sin has damaged your relationship with the Lord? Or when evil has destroyed someone you love? And in turn, have you found relief when focused on the Lord Jesus, the Lion of Judah who has conquered? Sin is always the greatest cause for tears and Jesus is always the only cure.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” -- Revelation 4:11
We live at at time when our entire society is being reworked to be political correct. Our world revolves around mankind, giving him honor and glory for everything that exists. Every great accomplishment in life is attributed to the wisdom and skill of humanity. To put it simply, "It's all about man". 
As we read todays passage the message is very different. God, and God alone created all things. No matter where we turn, everything that is exists by the will of God. His plan and purpose is behind every star that shines and every breeze that brushes across the meadow. To put is simply, "It's all about God".
How do you greet each event in life my friend? Are you focused on yourself and how you can impact your world for your honor? Or are you overwhelmed with the works of great men and women and seek to be like them? Remember that the Lord alone is worthy to receive glory and honor and power, for "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). To put is simply, "It's all about God".

Monday, December 6, 2010

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!” – Psalm 141:3-4
Why do public speakers use a teleprompter? Of all the possibilities, one important reason is to protect from saying the wrong thing. No matter how sure the speaker may be of their knowledge and ability to say what they should, they are bound to "misspeak". They have learned the danger of being overconfident.
David prayed with great humility and full knowledge of his own heart. He needed the Lord to "set a guard over his mouth" so he wouldn't "misspeak". David was well aware that his heart was "deceitful above all things, and desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9) and he needed the Lord's help to stay on track. He had learned the danger of being overconfident.
Have you ever said it wrong my friend? Were you ever led down the wrong path by so called friends? Was your heart deceived or just confused? The Lord is ready to Guard your mouth and direct your steps if you will only call on Him. Be careful to remember the danger of being overconfident.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men, who have planned to trip up my feet." -- Psalm 140:4
911. We all know the number and have trained our children and yes, even our dogs to dial that number in the case of danger. Communities have written extensive contracts with law enforcement agencies for quick response to emergency calls. Many new phones are automatically set on speed dial for 911. We know what to do when danger lurks.
There was no 911 in David's time. There were no pay phones or cell phones and no law enforcement agencies. David learned to call on the Lord for protection early in life. He knew where to go when he needed to be guarded and preserved from violent men. Yes, he knew how to use the sling quite well and he grew to be a very skilled soldier, but he always sought the Lord for protection. David knew what to do when danger lurked.
What do you depend on in the face of danger my friend? Do you have a dog, an alarm system or your trusty cell phone on your hip? While all this is a good preparation, how quickly do you call on the Lord when trouble comes? Consider David's 911, "Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!." - Psalm 9:11. The Lord is on his throne and he guards his people, preserving them from violent men. Remember what to do when danger lurks.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God." -- Revelation 3:1-2
Have you ever purchased something because of the name on the product? Were you then disappointed by the lack of quality, surprised that the name didn't carry the same dependability that you once knew? It is sad but true that many great companies have lived long, just on their legend. Their reputation said one thing, but the reality was very different.
Jesus spoke to the Church of Sardis as the one who knew the heart. He knew their works, but he also knew their spiritual quality. They couldn't sell him on their name, because he knew the truth of who they really were down deep. They had a reputation of being alive, but they were dead.
As believers, Jesus called this church to "wake up" and strengthen what remained. How about you my friend? Have you slipped into the daze that lives on your past achievements while asleep at the present spiritual wheel? Remember... a reputation is only as good as its living reality.

Friday, December 3, 2010

"But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel... Only hold fast what you have until I come." -- Revelation 2:20, 25 (ESV)
Some things change at a very slow rate and age is one of them. We would never accept certain conduct when we were younger, but now we just adjust. There was a time that we would go into action in the face of injustice, but now we put up with it rather than fight. We may not agree, but we tolerate.
The church of Thyatira was commended for her "love and faith and service and patient endurance", and that her latter works exceeded the first. It's good to stay the course over time, but what wrongs do we slowly come to accept? We may work hard, but are we as willing to pay the price for righteousness in our later days as when we were young? Have we reached the point of toleration?
Have you suffered from a slow drift my friend? Has the crisp conviction of youth yielded to the soft acceptance of age? Why fight City Hall you say, and then leave the battle to the younger brethren. Remember, Jesus IS coming and he expects us to "hold fast" and not give in to toleration!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place..." -- Revelation 1:1 (ESV)
When my sons were born I knew the day would soon arrive for them to launch out on their own. The years have passed so very quickly and that day has come. While I am talking about 27 and 23 years respectively, they were not long at all. Great expectations overwhelmed me.
When the word "soon" is read there are skeptics that believe these events should have already come to pass. There are also those who seek to spiritualize the passage and suggest it already happened over time in the hearts of believers. But the word is quite simple in its meaning and filled with great expectations.
As the years pass for you my friend, are you filled with hope? Does the revelation of Jesus Christ make the time pass quickly? Are you living with your heart and mind focused on the future? Soon and very soon, we're going to see the King. So live your life with great expectations.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased." -- Psalm 138:3 (ESV)
The days of cell phones have made it easier to get through to the person you're calling. Yet, there are still times that you're left with pesky "voice-mails" and you hope against hope that they will call you back. Wouldn't it be nice if every time you made a call someone answered?
It's a joy to know the Lord and have an invitation to call upon his name anytime we desire. It's even a greater thrill to know that when we call, he always answers. No matter where we are or what the weather, our calls go through and our strength of soul is increased. We can be sure that when we call... the Lord answers.
With such a privilege to call on the Lord anytime, how often do you call? Do you prefer to fight the battle in your own strength even when your soul grows weary? Do you think that the Lord is too busy to respond to your need? Are you afraid that you'll get "Divine Voice-Mail"? You can be sure my friend, when you call on Jesus... he always answers.