Saturday, August 11, 2012

Forsaking the Fountain of Living Waters

"For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water."
Jeremiah 2:13

Jeremiah here refers to the Israelites' proclivity to idolatry. They rejected "The Fountain of Living Waters" right in front of them to dig for something they perceived to be better: anything but God. We today are no different. We forsake God for all sorts of idols that we believe will give us more pleasure than He Himself gives. Money, popularity,  possessions, ________ (fill in the blank). Our culture is rampant with false gods; broken cisterns that can never hold life-giving water.  Nothing brings full and lasting satisfaction like a relationship with Jesus Christ. When we drink from His "living water" we are never thirsty again (John 4:13-14). The water He gives is eternal. If we refuse it we lose much more than a refreshing drink. We lose our soul.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Lord Stands With You

"But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me,"
2 Timothy 4:17

At Paul's preliminary trial in Rome, no one defended him. No one appeared in court to stand up and support him. And yet Paul was never alone. The Lord was with him and strengthened him. The word "strengthened" is from the Greek word "endunamoo". In simple terms it means "to put power in" (like a car needs gas for power) and so to make strong, vigorous, to strengthen, or to be strengthened, enabled or empowered inwardly. The idea is to cause one to be able to function or do something. It can refer to physical strengthening, but more often endunamoo refers to spiritual or moral strengthening. Paul knew by experience the truth of Deuteronomy 31:6: "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Sometimes God removes our support system so that we will totally rely on Him. This is a good thing, for it shows us God's faithfulness and unsurpassed ability to enable or empower us inwardly in impossible situations. If you are feeling alone at this moment, know that if you have confessed that the Lord is your God you are not abandoned. He is standing with you and He will strengthen you. He will not fail you. He will not forsake you.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

No Compromise

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."
2 Timothy 4:3-4

Throughout the history of the Church there have been people who refuse to accept the authority of scripture. Paul warned that this would occur. We live in a time right now when the number of people who compromise the word of God is increasing, even among professing Christians. They look for teachers who will say the things they want to hear and support their personal views rather than God's views. It comes down to this: we either accept that the entire Bible is the inspired (the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Bible’s writers, which guaranteed that what they wrote was accurate and trustworthy), inerrant word of God, or we don't. We can't choose to believe some verses and reject others. If we insist on doing this we will never have a complete picture of who God is. Yes, God is a God of love. He is love (1 John 4:8). And He is also a God of judgment (Acts 17:30-31). In John 17:17 Jesus says, "Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth." God's word is truth. All of it.

"Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself but because it contradicts them." E. Paul Hovey

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Walking Directions

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; 
I will counsel you with My eye upon you."
Psalm 32:8

One day a woman was trying to find her way to my shop. She called me using her cell phone and asked for walking directions. I asked her location and when she gave it to me I realized she was only a half block away. I told her the way to go and assured her that I was watching for her, and that as soon as I saw her I would wave and lead her into the store. I wanted to keep her from going the wrong way. That incident reminds me of how the Lord directs us. It is the Lord's desire that we walk according to His will. He instructs us on how to do this through His word. He watches us and if we take a wrong turn He corrects us so that we stay on the right path. 
The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
Psalm 121:7-8

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Look Back, Look Around, Look Up

"I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands."
Psalm 143:5

When we are in the midst of a trial and peace seems far from us, it's a perfect time to stop what we're doing and mediate on the goodness of our Heavenly Father. Look back to days past when He has brought us victoriously through trouble. Remembering what He has already done for us gives us hope in our current situation. Look around, consider creation and the blessings that He gives us every day through the natural world. Think about how the Lord holds it altogether by His power and strength. How constant He is in bringing the sunrise every morning and the sunset every night. If He is so trustworthy with nature, won't He be so much more trustworthy with our lives today and in the future? Look up. Seek the Lord's face and praise Him. Praising Him when we are troubled is a sacrifice which He will never refuse and one that delights Him. When we focus our attention on Him instead of our circumstances, He responds with all we need for the time. "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). Look back and remember His faithfulness, look around and consider His power and strength, look up and receive His peace.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Giving an Account

"But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ 
will be put to shame."
1 Peter 3:14-16

There's not a lot of respect for Bible believing Christians in our culture, but maybe some of that disrespect we have brought upon ourselves. We can't expect people who don't know the love of Christ to understand our belief, much less accept it. Especially if we're speaking harshly to them. It's incumbent upon us according to scripture to defend our faith gently and with respect.  Before we believed we were enemies of the gospel. (Or have we forgotten that?) Now that we know the truth of Christ that has set us free, it's our responsibility to share it with others. We don't need to fear any intimidation they may try to use. We only need to pray and ask God to give us the words He has for us to share. Even the smallest amount of words we use can have a large impact if they are given to us by God and are delivered with love and kindness. It worked for Jesus. It will work for us.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


" I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ 
So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”"
Exodus 32:24

Moses had left Aaron in charge of the Israelites while he visited with God on the mountaintop. And now, tired of waiting for Moses to return, the people are grumbling and complaining and demanding that Aaron make them a god to go before them. And so Aaron tells them to gather up all their gold earrings and bring them to him. He takes what they give him and fashions it into a golden calf, and when the people call it their god Aaron plays along and proclaims a day of worship and celebration to the graven image. Later, when confronted with his sin by Moses, Aaron acts like he has no idea how it all happened. I have to say that whenever I read Exodus 32:24 I want to laugh out loud. Aaron seems so ridiculous. But really, is he any more ridiculous than I am when God confronts me with my sin and I try to shift the responsibility away from myself? No, I'm afraid not. I'm a lot more like Aaron than I care to admit. Can you relate?
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