Wednesday, December 17, 2008
- He has a spirit of the holy gods
- Wisdom like the wisdom of Gods
- Extraordinary spirit
- Interpretation of dreams
- Explanations of enigmas (something hard to understand or explain)
- Solving of difficult problems
What brings about the observation that Daniel has "an extraordinary spirit?" It has to be the calmness and quietness of his heart that reflects in his actions and reactions to people. His faith runs so deep that he is quietly rooted and grounded in love that overwhelms the people that he encounters.
How often do people reflect about us and says, "they have an extraordinary spirit?" Or are we just like everyone else - ordinary?
Friday, December 05, 2008
The body can acquire a "life of its own" - tendencies to behave without regard to our concious intentions. In our fallen world this life is prepossessed by evil, so that we do not have to think to do what is wrong, but we must think and plan and practice - and receive grace - if we are to succeed in doing what is right.
Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Paul's words to the Corinthians, "We have the mind of Christ." (1 Cor. 2:16).
Paul says to Colassae, "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things on the earth." (Col 3:2).
The "setting your mind" is one of the most critical elements to a godly walk. We have to make an active determination to think about the things in heaven. It is the key to walking with the Lord Jesus Christ in holiness.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
The sidewalk in the front of the church was poured on Wednesday. This sidewalk runs from the east end of our facilities to the worship center and our new front entrance.
There is still more work to be done, but we are beginning to see a real change in the front of the church.
The Facility Study Committee met with Paul Sanchez, our architect who is in charge of our building project on Wednesday night. We had a good meeting and learned that everything is going according to schedule for our new buildings. As you notice this morning, the new sidewalks in the front of the church have been poured. They are also new lights surrounding the worship center to light up the front and side parking lots. We were given the following schedule for the coming days.
· They are still deciding at this time whether to put down the asphalt in the front parking lot now or at the end of the project
· Construction on the foundations of two of new buildings will start in the middle of December.
· They will move the modular building over the Christmas holidays
· They will start work on the third foundation as soon as the modular building is moved.
· Foundations should be poured during the early part of January
· Completion date for the project is the end of March
- Paul tells the church at Colassae to do two things: (1) Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart; (2) Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you. (Colossians 3:15-17).
- In these same three verses are three calls to be thankful: (1) Be thankful (v. 15); (2) singing with thanksgiving in your hearts to God (v. 16); (3) giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
- The ability to be truly thankful comes when we decide to let peace of Christ control our hearts and when we let the word of Christ richly dwell within our lives. Thanksgiving is not dependent on circumstances, people, or situations. Most people have trouble being thankful in all things because they do not trust Jesus to take care of them. They forget his words of promise because they have chosen to not let them richly dwell within their lives.
- You will know you are obedient to Christ, when thanksgiving is in your words, songs, and actions.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Communalism: You have two cows. You keep one and give one to your neighbor.
Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them both and--from time to time--provides you with sour milk.
Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes them and sells you the milk.
Liberalism: You have two cows. The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, and then pours it down the drain.
Socialism: You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point that you must sell them both in order to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow which was a gift from your government.
Free-Market Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
Centralized, Multi-National-Corporation-Based, Government-Subsidized, Democratic Socialism: You have two cows. You sell one, force the other to produce the milk of four cows and when it dies you write off the depreciation, hire a lobbyist, and garner a government bail-out and tax-breaks in order to purchase two new cows. Repeat.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
- God spoke to Abraham when he was 75 years old and he left Haran and when to Shechem. Lord told him, I will give your descendants this land.
- There was a famine in the land and Abraham went to Egypt. This is where he told Sarai to say that he was her sister.
- The next story is the strife between Lot’s herdsmen and Abraham’s herdsmen. It led to Lot going to Sodom and Abraham settled in Canaan.
- Then you have the story of the war of the kings, Abraham and his men have to move quickly to rescue Lot and his family.
- Then you have Abraham meeting with Melchizedek king of Salem and offered a tithe to him from the battle.
But when you come to Genesis 15 something very important takes place. Our Lord says to Abraham, "Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward will be very great." Abraham responds to the Lord with the statement, "I am childless". The Lord has him to go outside and look into the heavens and says to him, "so shall your descendants be."
Then you have an amazing statement in Genesis 15:6 "Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." This verse is very critical in Paul's writing in Romans 4 and Galatians 3. James also uses it in James 2.
After all that Abraham has done, it is now by faith that he starts his walk with the Lord. Genesis 15 begins his walk of faith that leads to Genesis 22 where he offers Isaac as a sacrifice. It seems to me that Abraham conversion and walk of faith truly starts in Genesis 15:6.
Galatians 3:7 says "be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham." For us to start the walk with the Lord we have to come to the place that "we believe in the Lord" just as Abraham did that night he looked into the stars and realized that what God promised would take place.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I am not yet 45 years old but already I have taken the nation by storm.
I am known for my avid love of the outdoors.
I hunt, fish, hike, and camp whenever I possibly can.
I have made my mark in politics as an unlikely Republican reformer.
Of course, I have had to take on the Republican Party establishment.
Not that the Democrats are too fond of me either.
I have a large, happy, but rather rambunctious family.
I have been governor of my large northern state for less than two years.
Nevertheless, I was the surprise pick to be the vice presidential candidate in a crucial national election.
Have you ever heard of me?
Surely you have. I am Teddy Roosevelt.
When our lives are characterized by a love of God’s word there will be evidence that the love is real. The evidence that the "love of God's word" is real is we have “great peace.” There is no fear impacting our lives. We live quietly, rest quiestly and walk quiety because of the great peace. The reason for this life is that love for God’s word brings careful walking, diligence, paying close attention to the testimonies of God, and seeking God with all your heart.
There is a second blessing in our life and that is we will not stumble. In fact nothing in life will cause us to stumble. When you pay close attention to your walk, then you never have to worry about tripping in life. We will walk surefooted through life because we have confidence from God's word.
Love of God’s word means we live in peace and nothing catches us off guard. If you want that kind of life, check your attitude towards God’s Word. Remember "great peace" means you really do love God's word.
Monday, September 01, 2008
In April of this year, Sarah Palin gave birth to her fifth child, Trig, who was born premature with Down Syndrome. Recent statistics show that in the U.S., approximately 90% of Down Syndrome diagnoses end with the mother choosing abortion. Palin on her family's reaction to the diagnosis, in her own words:
"We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed." (April 18, 2008, Anchorage Daily News)
"We've both [Palin and husband Todd] been very vocal about being pro-life. We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential." (May 3, 2008, Associated Press)
"I'm looking at him [Trig] right now, and I see perfection. Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?" (May 3, 2008, Associated Press)
It is exciting to me to see someone who truly holds the same convictions that I have about life. In our day when so many of those in politics gauged truth by polls it is a breath of fresh air to see someone who holds to the truths of God’s Word.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Eliphaz accuses him of taking advantage of people, walking over them, hurting the widows and the orphans. Job is suffering now because he has hurt so many people in his life. How can a friend turn so vehemently against you?
It is a revealing of the character of Eliphaz that he suddenly spews out such hurtful words against Job. When Job had power and money, Eliphaz was a good friend and considered Job a good man. Now with it all gone, Eliphaz views Job through eyes of disdain and accuses him of all sorts of evil. The problem is Eliphaz is a fair weathered friend. They are the kind that is with you as long as you provide something for them. It could be money, prestige, or good times. But as soon as that is gone, they will be the first to attack you.
What is our response to such friends? Trust the Lord’s goodness and walk in His ways. Our lives are not to be controlled by friends such as Eliphaz, but by the good pleasure of our Lord. Job will say in 23:11-12 “My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” No matter how much it hurts, we just keeping walking with the Lord and praying for our friends!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
In fact, Nehemiah was able to perceive that Shemaiah was a liar. Nehemiah response to this little incident was to pray (6:13). He trusted God to take care of him.
Fact of life – Evil men were trying to destroy the ministry of Nehemiah. They were trying to do it through intimidation and fear. If they could get Nehemiah to over react to the threat, they could destroy his reputation and therefore the work on the wall. It was a subtle attempt to stop the good work. It was an incident that no one would know about but Nehemiah. But if Nehemiah had responded wrong, everyone would know.
Nehemiah was wise and able to see clearly because he was a man of faith. And a man of faith never lives a life of fear, but of trust in the Lord. Nehemiah continues his good work and the people follow with him.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
How often are we influenced by another person's lack of discipline or rebellion to give us an excuse for our lack of restraint? It is so easy to blame others for our unfaithfulness to the Lord. Trouble is - our Lord is not amused - he will humble you because your unfaithfulness - it is your fault, not the lack of discipline in someone else's life.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
I just finished reading this book this week. It is a fascinating book on lessons learned from people who live in Sardinian, Okinawa, Loma Linda, California (Seventh Day Adventist), and Costa Rica. Each of these areas have a high number of people who have lived to be 100 years of age.
They studied each group and came up with a list of lifestyle choices that seemed to make life better for these people.
1. Move naturally - be active without thinking
- Balance is critical as you get older - work on strengthening your balance.
- Go easy on the knees - you will need them
- 30 minutes of exercise - five days a week
- Walk, walk, walk, walk . . .
- Plant a garden
2. Stop eating when you are 80% full
- Eat food with low caloric density (fruits and vegetables)
- Make snacking a hassle
- Eat slowly
3. Plant Slant
- Beans, whole grains, & garden vegetables
- Eat meat, but very small portions
- Nuts - each day, but small amounts
4. Purpose Now
- You need a personal mission statement
- You need a people to share life with each day
- Learn something new - never stop using your mind
5. Down Shift - take time to relieve stress
- Life is short, don't run so fast you miss it
- Reduce the noise (turn off electronics - TV, radio, IPod, etc.
- Be 15 minutes early to all events - less stress
6. Belong - Spiritual community
- People who are faithful to their church are happier and healthier
- Social network is critical to good life
7. Loved one First
- Family life is critical to happiness
- Smaller house makes families closer - large houses people tend to go to their own space
- Ritual in family - have a consistency to times together
These are the key points that the book makes for life to be long and good.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
- The survey finds U.S. adults believe overwhelmingly (92%) in God, and 58% say they pray at least once a day. But the study's authors say there's a "stunning" lack of alignment between people's beliefs or practices and their professed faiths.
- 78% overall say there are "absolute standards of right and wrong," but only 29% rely on their religion to delineate these standards.
- The majority (52%) turn to "practical experience and common sense," with 9% relying on philosophy and reason, and 5% on scientific information.
- 74% say "there is a heaven, where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded," but far fewer (59%) say there's a "hell, where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished."
- 70%, including a majority of all major Christian and non-Christian religious groups except Mormons, say "many religions can lead to eternal life."
- 68% say "there's more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion."
- 44% want to preserve their religion's traditional beliefs and practices.
- But most Catholics (67%), Jews (65%), mainline Christians (56%) and Muslims (51%) say their religion should either "adjust to new circumstances" or "adopt modern beliefs and practices."
- 50% say "homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society," but the most consistently traditional religious groups say society should discourage it — 76% of Jehovah's Witnesses, 68% of Mormons, 61% of Muslims and 64% of evangelicals.
- 51% have a certain belief in a personal God, but 27% are less certain of this, 14% call God "an impersonal force," and 5% reject any kind of God.
- 14% of all surveyed, including 28% of evangelicals, say religion is the "main influence in their political thinking."
Sunday, June 22, 2008
In their panic they moved by the way of Arabah. It was in Arabah that Moses preached the sermons to the people in the book of Deuteronomy. All the great truths of God were delivered to the people in Arabah.
They come to the plains of Jericho and at this point the Babylonians catch up with them and capture the king of Judah and finish off his army. The plains of Jericho is where it all started. Joshua 4:13 says, "they crossed for battle before the Lord to the desert plains of Jericho." Now it is the place where is all comes to an end. What an appropriate finish for the nation of Israel. The fall of the nation takes place at the beginning point of the nation.
Moses had said to the people, "So keep and do them (the promises of God), for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’" (Deut 4:13).
On this day, the thought is simply, "what a foolish and weak people." The nation is now destroyed and its people are now in exile. The fall happend where it started!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
As Josiah became a young man leading the nation, he order the temple to be repaired. In the midst of the repair, they found the "book of the law." It was read to Josiah and it broke his heart. The nation had been living in rebellion for many years and were guilty of horrible sins against the Lord God. The Word of God had been lost and forgotten! Josiah understood the consequences of such actions. Instead of hopelessness, he humbled himself just like his dad and he sought the Lord God.
The word from God to Josiah speaks volumes about this young man. God said of Josiah that his heart was tender and that he was a humble man. He was broken over the rebellion of the people. Josiah was a good man who truly loved the Lord. He did the one important action that is critical to life, no matter the circumstances. He humbly sought the Lord in prayer.
The Lord's response to Josiah was "I have truly heard you." James says, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures." What the church needs today is for humbled people to truly seek the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their strength. In Josiah's day, it had been a long time since someone was truly broken over the sin in the land!
Monday, June 16, 2008
The second mistake is that he lost complete perspective of who he was in the Lord. He was a prophet of God. The Lord had entrusted him with words to speak. When Balaam blessed people, they were blessed. And when he cursed people, they were cursed. Balaam knew the power of God and that he could not go against the Lord. But somewhere the love of money becomes the draw that makes him forget that He belongs to the Lord. The craving for the world overrode his desire to be pleasing to the Father.
The third mistake that he makes is that he is hoping God would change His mind. This is a mistake that I believe most of us make. We know God's word, but maybe for this moment God will allow this to happen for me. He will change His nature and His purpose so that I can have my desires fulfilled. Balaam over and over is looking for God to change his mind so that he can have the money.
The man of God loses his wisdom because of his greed. Peter says that when the donkey rebuked Balaam, the donkey was restraining the insanity of the prophet. We become foolish and crazy when we are dictated by our desires! That is why the continue call to all God's people is "Seek first his kingdom and his righeousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
John 15:24 says, "If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well." The works of Jesus exposed their hearts and cause them to act according to their hearts. They appeared religious, but the works of Jesus revealed the deep hatred that they had hidden well from others.
Light always reveals the hidden secrets of the heart. No one is hidden from the eyes of our Lord. He knows our hearts. The Lord will walk us along paths that will evenutally reveal the motives of our hearts.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Balaam says to the messengers, "let me pray about this." He comes back and says, "God says no and I will not come." That should have been the end of the story. But it is not. But Balak sends another group to see Balaam. Why are the coming back? Did they sense that Balaam would come if the offer was right?
The King sends a second group to Balaam. This group has more men, more distinguished, and there is more money. In fact the offer is open to whatever Balaam desires! We now starts the tragic fall of Balaam. He says he needs to ask God (sounds good).
What has changed from the last time? There is more money on the table this time. Balaam knows God's response, but yet he comes back in prayer. WHY? He wants the money! He wants to get closer to this situation, because he will do well financially if circumstances were to change. We know from 2 Peter that Balaam's weakness was the love of money.
There are times that we do not need to pray about something, we just need to be obedient to the word of God.
God's answer to Balaam was to go, that is what Balaam wanted. Balaam's heart was not for the Lord but for the money.
1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. Just another sad story about a man whose greed brought him to a tragic finish.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Ahab one day looks out and suddenly has a desire for Naboth's vineyard. Life was not going well for the King and he was depressed. When we become tired by life we become susceptible to temptation. Ahab nows wants Naboth's garden. It will make him feel better about himself.
So Ahab tries to negotiate for the vineyard. Naboth says "No!". The reason was that Naboth was following the Word of God. Leviticus 25:23 - ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me." There are something in life that we cannot have. No amount of money or power gives us the right to them. Ahab eventually allows his desires to overwhelm doing what is right.
This is a pivotal turning point to the complete and total downfall of the King of Israel. Elijah will come soon and speak a final word of judgment from God.
It took just one tired and frustrated day to lead to the final fall of a king! Beware that you are most susceptible to evil on days when you are the most tired by life.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Hiel the Bethelite started an ambitious project - rebuilding the city of Jericho. What started out as an ambitious project suddenly turned into a double tragedy. When Hiel started work on the foundation of the city, his son Abiram died. When he started work on the city gate, his son Segub died. The oldest son and the youngest son both died at the start of the project.
What is going on? You will have to go back a few years when Jericho fell, Joshua spoke a curse against the city.
Joshua 6:26 - Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates.”
550 years later, this has not been forgotten by our Lord. Our Lord knows all that is going on and does not forgot any of the promises of His word. No detail of life slips by our Lord. Therefore our response should be to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness! The Lord will take care of the small details of life.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Man of God who meets with King Jeroboam - the prophet was given specific orders from God to speak to the king and he does. The king becomes very angry and order his guard to seize him. Immediately the King's hand dries up and he cannot use his hand. The king pleads with the prophet to intercede for him. The prophet (man of God) entreats the Lord and the king's hand is restored. In appreciation the King invites him to come to his home. But the prophet turns it down because God told him "You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return by the way which you came." The prophet leaves.
At this point it is a good story about a faithful prophet speaking to a bad king. But the story does not end well. The prophet is intercepted by another prophet and invited to his home to eat and drink and he accepts. Suddenly the faithful prophet is now a disobedient prophet and before long is dead on the side of the road because of his unfaithfulness to God's command.
Great care must always be taken after times of faithful obedience. We are not allowed moments of rest from obedience to our Lord. We cannot act faithfully with one and then disobedience with others. Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8 - "be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." May God give us grace to be faithful all day long!
Daily Readings - John 5
Jesus speaks about the resurrection of the dead in this chapter. He makes some very simple statements about the final resurrection.
- An hour is coming - He uses this phrase twice (5:25; 5:28)
- Jesus uses hour in John 17:1 - Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son. . .
- "Hour" is even more specific than "day".
- In that hour - all the dead will hear the voice of God
- All who hear will live - resurrection of all the dead
- Dead - all in the tomb (v.28) - will hear his voice
- All who hear - will come forth - both good and evil (v. 29)
- No one is excluded from the resurrection - all are resurrected on the same day - one resurrection.
- Two places to go - resurrection of life and a resurrection of Judgment.
One of the first confessions of Southern Baptist says of the resurrection - The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God-the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.
Simple truth from scripture but one with profound eternal implication - Question always arises - Do you believe in Jesus Christ? - all who believe will be raised on the last day to eternal life.
Friday, May 30, 2008
1 Kings 11:4 - For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
This is such a sad verse in the Bible! The older man who has accomplished much, is not finishing well in life. The women in his life have turned him from the Father in heaven who has so richly blessed him. Solomon loved his wives more than he did God!
The next very sad verse is 1 Kings 11:6 - Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done.
A man filled with such wisdom, becomes foolish at the end of his life. His foolishness leads to doing evil before God. There is a great warning here to all of us - that we exercise great care in our lives and that we allow nothing to hinder our love of the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!