GOD’S COMPLAINT…


Isaiah 1:3 – “The ox instinctively knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib; but Israel does not know or recognize Me (as Lord), My people do not consider or understand.”  Amplified.

I would recommend reading Psalms 103 as an addendum to this passage.  I have noticed through my years of Christian service that thoughtfulness about the things of the world and thoughtlessness about the things of God and Eternity is a very common problem among God’s people.  I have learned that “superficial thinking leads to superficial living.”

Notice the words of the verse: “The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib but…”  But?  There should be no but when it comes to the condition of God’s people, but God said, “But…”  How tragic that too frequently and once is too frequent, God’s people fail to recognize their Owner or Lord.   We sometimes fail to recognize His blessings and fail to express our gratitude.  I have no doubt that breaks God’s heart as much as ingratitude does ours.

Inconsiderateness is a hindrance to spiritual growth, development, and usefulness.  I say that because, in matters spiritual, it dishonors God.  Talking the talk without walking the walk makes us mechanical and that can never be a substitute for honest reflection of the heart and thankfulness of the soul. 

I can only imagine how changed our lives would be and how thrilled our heavenly Father would be if we would take time to meditate on His word until the fire begins to burn within our hearts.  I don’t know how many others have felt powerless at some point in their Christian testimony.  I don’t know how many others have been disturbed over the lack of fruit in their Christian experience and wanted more.  If we would seek to abide in Him and His word abide in us, seeking Him first, I am convinced we would see more demonstration of the power of God and God and more souls born into the Family of God.  I want that!

When I read the word of the passage, “My people do not consider…”  In that, I hear the cry and complaint of wounded love.  God desires deeply to have fellowship with us, transform us by the renewing of our minds, and empower us with His Spirit.  However, when we are slothful and negligent, He cannot, therefore we give Him cause to complain against us. 

I would like us to consider some of the things God’s People Fail to Consider and decide if they apply to us and what our response should be.  I will pause here and do that in the next devotional.

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

UNBELIEF DOES NOT NEGATE TRUTH…


Romans 3:3 – “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?”  NASB

I had a person tell me, “I don’t believe that, so it is not the truth.”  It does not matter what they were referring to, their premise was faulty and dangerous.  You can extrapolate that to any area of life and see the immense danger of that position.  I had a person tell me, “I don’t want to know about any underlying health conditions, because what I don’t know won’t hurt me.”  Well, it just might kill you.  Just because we do not believe something does not negate the truth.

There are things in life we refuse to believe or want to disbelieve.  In relationships, some refuse to believe that their spouse would cheat on them and adopt the position that if they don’t believe something is true it is not.  You may not believe that excessive drinking does spiritual, emotional, relational, psychological, financial, and physical problems.  Sadly, your disbelieve does not negate the damage done and the reality of the dangers.

I had a person tell me, “I don’t read the Bible because if I read it, I become responsible for what I know.”  I said, “Too late! You already know too much, so my suggestion is to study it and benefit from the truths contained therein.”  Later that person accepted Jesus and said, “Preacher, you were so right, and I was so wrong.  Thank you for speaking the truth to me.”

I find comfort in studying the life of Job, in the Bible, and how he faithfully held on to his belief that God is God and faithful.  He was devastated in life.  He lost his children, his possessions, and his health.  His wife told him to curse God and die.  His friends told him that he was suffering because of sin.  He could have abandoned his confidence, but he refused, and in the end, God’s faithfulness was displayed, and Job received a double portion.

God’s faithfulness is not dependent on my believing. He is faithful it is Who He Is!  A person may believe that God does not exist, but His existence is not negated because they do not believe.  He is!  God is watching over His word to perform it and no word of God is ever left unfulfilled.  I love the declaration in Ecclesiastes 3:14, “I know that everything God does will remain forever, and there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it…”  Hallelujah!

There was a time when men believed the earth was flat, but that did not make it flat.  When Pythagoras declared that the earth was round around 500 BC, he was considered a heretic.  It was around 350 BC that Aristotle declared that the Earth was a sphere over the next few hundred years, Aristarchus and Eratosthenes measured the size of the earth.  Their assertions and the disbelief of the naysayers did not make it reality or fallacy, it was because God made it that way!   The truth is the truth whether anyone believes it or not.  A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.

When it comes to our relationship with God and our eternity and salvation, we must believe in order to receive the Grace of God through the work of Jesus on the Cross. However, it is more than just believing that Jesus died on the Cross and rose again.  It requires us acknowledging our rebellion against God and ‘missing the mark’ SIN! 

1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Romans 10:9-12 – “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 

Disbelieving a thing does not negate the truth.  The truth is always the truth regardless of whether anyone believes it or not.  The Laws of nature reveal that powerfully.  I encourage you to look around and see the design of God’s Creation and realize, He Is and since He is, we can come to Him for Salvation and have an Eternal Hope.

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

KEPT IN OUR WALK…


1 Samuel 2:9 – “He keeps the feet of His godly ones…”  NASB

The prayer of Hannah is one that we could consider statement by statement and be enriched beyond our wildest dreams.  It is filled with spiritual insight that few ever attain.  It was prayed out of her desperation and desire to have a child.  It was the cry of a soul that knew God more deeply than most.  It was a recognition of Who He is., What He does, and surrender to Him.

The declaration, “He keeps the feet of His godly ones” is particularly important.  Throughout the Bible ‘feet’ are a reference to life, work, labor, and duty.  Hannah recognized that God watches over the lives of His children and guides them into the right places. 

She recognized the Sovereignty and Almightiness of God.  She recognized His Immeasurability.  She recognized that it is God that sustains life.  He is the creator, the giver, and the sustainer of life.  He has the power to make elevate or bring low.  His power is uncontestable and only the fool would deny Him or challenge Him.  He is the Almighty God, who is the Living God, the Creator of heaven and earth. 

The Psalmist spoke prophetically in Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”  In Psalm 119:105 we hear the amazing words, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  In Psalm 27;23-24 we discover, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when He delights in his way; though he fall he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.”  Hallelujah!

The prophet Jeremiah declared a comforting reality, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29:11).  In Proverbs 3 we read, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean to your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” 

I treasure the promise of Psalm 91 and the myriad of other passages in the Bible that assure us that God ‘keeps’ those who are His.  He never slumbers or sleeps and is continuously watching over His word to perform it.  He sees the good and the bad and He is deeply interested in leading us to victory.  Jesus declared the powerfully comforting truth in Luke 12:32, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” 

The prophet Isaiah offers a most comforting reminder of God’s keeping power.  He, speaking for God, through the Spirit said, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb?”  The answer follows, “Surely they may forget, yet I (God) will not forget you.  I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”  Wow!  The palms of His hands.  What does that bring to mind?  Surely it is the crucifixion of Jesus.  Through the Cross, we have been inscribed on the palms of God’s hands and He will never forget the sacrifice His only begotten Son paid for our redemption. 

I live every day knowing that I am kept!  Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:12, “…I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”  You do not have to wonder if He cares, the Cross is the assurance.  You do not have to wonder if He can, the Resurrection is the assurance.  You do not have to allow the devil to bring doubt and fear, because Jesus promised that “Whosoever will” could come and if we have come in repentance and received His pardon, we can live in the assurance that He keeps us.  When the devil identifies a failure in you, remind him of the Cross. 

God bless you and may you walk in perfect peace, free of guilt, shame, or condemnation.  God loves you enough that Jesus died for you!  You can live with the confidence that He will guide your steps in every situation.  You simply need to listen and obey.

May God be will you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

WE ARE WHERE GOD LIVES…


Acts 7:48-50 – “However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: 49’Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of My feet; What kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord; ‘Or what place is there for My repose? 50’Was it not My hand which made all these things?’”  NASB

I want to present a thought based on the declaration of these verses and say the Church Building is not where God lives. He lives in our hearts.  We are God’s building as Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 3:9 and in 1 Peter 2:5 we are informed that we are living stones, formed into a living spiritual house   We are the focus of the Father, not the shed where the sheep gather.

Why is that worthy of addressing?  Because we sometimes forget that we are the letters of God that people read.  We forget that we are the building, the church that Jesus is building.  We are the representatives of God and are to be the vessels through which He manifests Himself to the world. 

I remember visiting Rome and going to the Vatican for a tour.  It was impressive but I came away with a sense of sadness because I saw the ornate and the lavish provisions of inside and outside in the surrounding community abject poverty.  In touring some of the cathedrals and churches in Rome I saw the incredible investment in making those facilities as ornate and beautiful as possible.  I saw ceilings overlaid in gold and many other features costing hundreds of thousands if not millions.  The guide said, “We have to make this as elaborate as possible because this is where God lives.”  I wept.

The usual contact people have with God, is a believer.  I believe in making the local place of worship nice because it is dedicated to God.  However, the more I study Scripture the more I realize that God is not into things, buildings, and shrines, He is into people. 

The reality of this is seen in the reminder that Heaven is God’s throne, and earth is His footstool.  He is the Creator of All Things and it all belongs to Him.  In building churches and refurbishing worship centers through the years, I found it impossible to avoid being reminded of Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his deed.”

An arresting passage is found in 1 John 4:12, “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”  When I read that I almost always recall the parable of the Good Samaritan and the message of Jesus on caring for others and thereby bringing them into contact with God.  The religious characters in Jesus’ story, by implication, were too focused on performance and ceremony to care for a needy person.  The Samaritan, not a member of the visible religious sects demonstrated the heart of God.  Jesus asked, “Who was the victim’s neighbor?”  They unanimously acknowledged it was the one who showed mercy.  Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.” 

You can have the most elaborate, technologically modern, and ornate worship center anyone has ever seen, and it will not touch a heart like you can. If God lives in you, you have the love of God in your heart and you can bring that person into contact with God.  That inanimate building cannot.  God is not dwelling in buildings made by the hands of man He is dwelling in human hearts.  You are the world’s contact with God, so be light shining into darkness and become a vessel through which people can see God through you.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

GOD SEES YOU IN A WAY YOU DO NOT SEE YOURSELF…


Judges 6:12 – “And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.”  NASB

In my over fifty years of Christian ministry I have encouraged people to become who and what God says they are not what they see themselves as being.  I am convinced that although we may have a sense in our hearts of what God wants for our lives, we often have difficulty seeing ourselves as that person.

In this Bible account, Gideon was an average man working in the family business and probably not expecting a visit from an angel of God.  The angel showed up and sat under a tree as Gideon was threshing wheat.  It would seem that the angel looked no different than other men and caused no particular stir in the heart or mind of Gideon.  Gideon was attempting to save the wheat from the marauding Midianites.  Had the angel appeared unusual, he would have been alerted to a potential threat and responded differently.  Instead, it seems that he kept working.

The angel made the declaration of our text.  He called Gideon a valiant warrior and informed him that God was with him.  The declaration that God was with him was not unusual for the Israelites but when the angel called him a valiant warrior that got Gideon’s attention.  However, Gideon appears to be challenging the declaration, “God is with you.” He offers what could be called a protest saying, “Yeah, right, God is with us.  If God is with us, then why are we having the problems we are having?”  He argued, “If God is with us, then where are the miracles and the demonstration of His power and deliverance?”  He even argued, “God has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 

It was here that the angel of God said, “Son, you are the deliverer of Israel. You are the valiant warrior God has chosen to bring about his deliverance.”  Gideon revealed his inability to see what God saw and in a measure his lack of faith and confidence in God.  He felt abandoned and certainly did not feel like a warrior, after all, he was having to hide to thresh the wheat. 

It was through a series of miracles and events that Gideon finally began to believe that he could be who God said he was and do what God said he could do.  Had Gideon continued looking at himself as he saw himself, he would never have become the deliverer of Israel.  Had David saw himself as a mere shepherd he would never have dared to face Goliath.  Had Joseph saw himself as a prisoner rather than believing that God would fulfill His promised he would have died a slave in Egypt.  Had, Peter continued in his despair of denying Jesus he would never have become the mighty apostle he became.

God says we are “overcomers” through Jesus.  He says, that we are “more than conquerors” through the victory of Jesus.  He says that we have “authority” over the “power of the devil.”  He says that we can “do all things” through Christ and that we are the “righteousness of God” in Jesus.  Therefore, we either begin to see ourselves as victors or we become victims.  As victims, we never dare to dream and never achieve the purposes of God for our lives.  As victors, we dare to dream and embrace the Word of God that We Can!

I suggest that God sees us differently than we see ourselves.   We see our flaws and deficiencies and He sees the finished product.  We see where we are in ourselves, He sees where we are in Jesus.  I contend that if Jesus’ victory was complete and he has truly defeated the devil and stripped him of power and authority in the earth then there is a realm we have not known awaiting us.  If Jesus has all authority and has given us that authority, then we are more than we think we are, in Him.  So, I ask, “Why Not Now?”  Why not have the victory He promised and be the people He says we are, More than Conquerors and Overcomers? 

God sees us through the finished work of Jesus, but we see ourselves in our own strength and ability struggling to become.  It is time that we shift from trying to becoming to being because it is not through our strength but His that we live and move and have being.  WE ARE OVERCOMERS!

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

INTENSIFIED HATRED OF THE LIGHT…


John 3:16-21 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”  NASB

I write enough about political things and politics in other blogs I do not want to make this about the political.  However, I am sure you have noticed the intensified angst toward the Bible, Christianity, and things moral as described in the Bible.  I see no such assault by the people in positions of power elected or unelected against Islam.  I am appreciative when any politician defends the Bible and our right to worship according to the dictates of our hearts. 

In this text passage, most focus on 3:16 and never quote or note the other verses of this paragraph.  I acknowledge that Salvation is the beginning place and am eternally grateful that the Father would allow His Only Begotten Son to come, live, and die for mankind. 

In 3:17 we find a very interesting reality or declaration by the apostle from the Father’s heart.  He begins the verse or sentence with “For” which is a call for us to take note of what the previous sentence declared and the benefit of that verse.  God sent His Son to bring life rather than judgment.  That is not to say, God will not judge the world but the reason for Jesus coming as a sinless sacrifice was not judgment but reconciliation and restoration. 

John gives the qualifier for encountering the Judgment of God in 3:18. He tells us that the person who believes and by implication receives Jesus as their Savior is not subject to that judgment because of God’s grace.  However, on the other side of that coin is the reality that the person who does not believe or rejects Jesus is “already judged” and in that judgment found guilty bearing their own sin which has no justification.

Then in 3:19-21 we have a powerful description of what that Judgment is and how it is displayed in the earth.  “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world…”  We could stop there and either rejoice or weep because it clearly describes the ministry and purpose of Jesus.  Light, (Jesus) has come into the world and wherever light is displayed it exposes or reveals everything it is shined upon.  If there are flaws, they are exposed.  If there is danger, it is exposed.  Light reveals and that is what Jesus did, He not only revealed the Father and God’s incredible Love but sin and its ugly destruction.

The apostle then informed us that the light was rejected by men and religion because unregenerate man prefers darkness and the shadows to light and full exposure.  They feel safe in the shadows because nobody knows the full extent of their deficiencies.  Their deeds are not fully revealed, but in the light, everybody sees and knows.

Then he reminds us that the root cause of this preference is the wrongness of the heart and actions.  He expands that in 3:20, telling us that the person who does evil ‘hates’ the light, refuses to come to the light fearing exposure.  I have seen people weep at the altar because their sin had been exposed. They were not weeping in repentance but from the shame and discomfort of their exposure.  They got caught and that was devastating, because it meant they could no longer live in pretense.

Then in 3:21, he brings us the incredibly good news that the person whose heart is right and practices the truth.  Not just occasionally does a good deed now and then, but their lifestyle is following the precepts and principles of God’s Truth, that person seeks the light.  Why?  Not to call attention to himself but to bring attention to God who is working in him.

The intense hatred for God’s Word, Christianity, and the Truth by many in today’s world is evidence of the condition of the heart.  It matters not what they profess, the fruit of their lives and their deeds betray them and expose them.  It is not enough to say, “I believe in Jesus.”  We must not only believe but receive Him in repentance and reception of His forgiveness.  When we do that, we will desire the Light rather than the Darkness.  The question could be, “Do You Love the Light?”

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Jesus!

HEARING or HEARING ABOUT…


Joshua 24:31 – “And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, and had known all the deeds of the LORD which He had done for Israel.”  NASB

In my life, I have learned that hearing or seeing something first-hand is a far superior motivator than hearing about.  We have all heard accounts that inspire us for a time, but if we do not experience it for ourselves that inspiration wanes.  On the other hand, if we experience it for ourselves, we are much more likely to hold on to that experience for a long time, if not permanently. 

I heard about the joy of having your own children and that was inspirational but not lasting.  However, when my sons were born, the euphoria I experienced and the joy of watching them grow up and become men is something that no one can take from me.  It is personal, not theoretical.  It is not something I have heard about it is something I have experienced.

I have observed people trying to maintain the experience of their parents or grandparents spiritually.  It is never successful although some have so devotedly attempted, they became miserable trying to maintain what they heard about but never experienced. 

When I was in Bible College, I heard many stories of incredible miracles and exploits throughout church history as well as reading them in the Bible.  They were inspirational and created a desire in my heart to experience them myself.  I would become motivated by an account of someone else and for a few days, weeks, or even months I would desire earnestly the presence of God to experience that miracle or move of God.  Sadly, because I did not experience it over time it would dissipate, and I would feel an emptiness inside that could find no satisfaction.

On one weekend I accompanied the Sign Language Choir to Palestine, Texas, and was enjoying the service that Sunday afternoon at one of the local churches.  A lady from my home church turned to me and asked how my mother was.  That was a bit disconcerting because I knew she was referring to something that I knew nothing about.  I found out that my mother was in the hospital and had had an injury that was quite serious.

I immediately informed some of my friends in the choir that I was leaving to go to the hospital in Crockett, Texas, and asked them to pray and when they got back to school have others pray.  When I arrived at the hospital the appearance of my mother was devastating, and she was paralyzed from the waist down.  I felt totally helpless and knew that my prayers we not extending past my fear.

I stayed there on Monday and then traveled back to school on Tuesday only to discover that I was sick with a cold or the flu and ran a fever of 102 for two days.  On Thursday, I managed to get to chapel and the Evangelist conducting our school revival gave a testimony and prefaced it with, “I don’t know why I’m telling this, but somebody here needs to hear it.”  His testimony was about his daughter having a life-threatening illness and his time praying for days.  He was in the sanctuary of the church and sitting at the piano.  He said, “I cannot play the piano but realized that with my right hand I was playing the tune to ‘There’s a wall of fire around me, there is nothing now to fear’.”  At that moment, he felt faith leap in his heart and knew that his daughter had been healed.

I had a sense of assurance in my heart that God had healed my mother.  There were about 14 other students that came to me after the service and said, “I believe God has healed your mother.”  I went back home the next weekend and on Saturday went into the hospital room and shared with mother and the family what I had sensed from God.  I didn’t ask her to do anything differently.  The next afternoon, after church I went back, and her countenance was completely different.  She looked at me and said, “Last night I heard in my heart the Lord say, do this.”  She sat up in the bed, got up, and walked across the room and back.  She then got back in bed and informed me that she felt she was to wait for the doctor to come in on Monday and take new X-rays to confirm the healing.

I experienced or witnessed, first-hand God’s miraculous power, and from that day to this I have had an unshakable confidence that He Heals today, just like the Bible says.  I have confidence that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, just like the Bible says.  I do not base that on what I have heard or read, but what I have heard, read, and experienced.  I know that I know, that I know. That was one of several miracles I have experienced personally.

May the LORD help you to experience His person, power, and presence for yourself and give you unshakable confidence in Him.

Blessings as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him.