More Musings

Recently, I’ve been staying more busy than usual with some big projects going on, however, the last few days, its seemed that the Lord is further from my mind… because I’m thinking on these other things instead. Because of this, last night, I determined not to work on those projects today, but rather spend that time [even though rather small] with the Lord. It’s been neat to see Him bless that today.

This morning I woke up with the song, “Glory, I’m saved, Glory, I’m saved, my sins are forgiven, my debts are all paid!” If that is true for you, is it possible to have a bad day? My worst day has to be better than an unsaved person’s best – I’m saved, I know where I’m going – the Lord has purchased me, and covered all my sins in His blood!

At church this evening, a sad story came up about a 2 year old boy who fell from the 11th story of an apartment near us. What a sad story, we for awhile discussed the shortness of our lives. Why do we not work harder to get others saved? I went into Wal-Mart tonight while in town for church to get oil and filters for my car, and was amazed to see God’s provision – the filters were on sale in a cart at the front of the store $1/each – and my style was in there. Little things, but it is neat to see God’s provision. Back on the topic of getting people saved, God worked in my life in that way, yet on my way in, I realized I had few tracts to share with people, yet didn’t go back to my car for more. We see [know people are] people dying around us, yet do so little to warn them of their destination.

The day started with “Glory, I’m saved,” and after church, a tract on the CD in my car ended with an excellent question. In response to all that Christ has done for me, saving me, giving me victory, blessing me with safety, health, and material blessings beyond the vast majority of those before me, “how then can I not bring them to Jesus, when He’s done so much for me?”

 

Side note: A culturally Jewish co-worker asked about my music today, and commented on what makes Christian music – is it that the people who do it are Christian? After a further discussion, he concluded that “you’re a Christian singer since you sing around here.” I asked, are you ever going to be a Christian singer?” He responded that he doesn’t sing.
Me: “Will you then be a Christian live-er?”
Him: “I’m Jewish.”
It was neat to share with him how in reading this morning in Zachariah, I read about how the Jews will one day mourn over “Him whom they have pierced.” They have already pierced Him – Jesus – and will yet mourn for Him. Whom else have they pierced that they might mourn over? Praise the Lord for allowing me to inherit some of the treasures of the Jews – I’m just a Gentile grafted in!

Let’s bring them to Jesus!!!

 

Posted in Musings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord is Good

Encouragement for the day:

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him. 

Nahum 1:7

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Simply Trusting

Simply trusting every day;
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by,
Trusting Him, whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
– Edgar Stites

Tonight on the way home from work, I was thinking about how it is a fact of life for all of us that things sometimes turn out otherwise from how we expect. As Christians, sometimes we pray about something, even for an extended period of time, consider multiple paths, and choose what we believe to be the best option, but find the door closed.

In times like these, often it is good to stop and ask questions, other times, it is best to keep going leaving the past behind and pressing forward so that we can be most useful to the cause of Christ. It is not uncommon to hear people who have trusted Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation express fear to trust Him with some other aspect of their lives.

At a young age, I listened to the testimony of a veteran missionary, Darlene Rose. She experienced many trials on the mission field, in large part due to being caught in the middle of World War II. For some time, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart asking me, would you go there if I sent you? At first, I didn’t respond, then later said ‘Lord, I’ll serve you, but please not there.’ Finally, about the age of 13, I went into a closet and said, Lord, I’ll go anywhere.

Since then, I’ve learned a little more about what happened there. I was afraid that my God would send me somewhere bad, somewhere which would have a negative effect on my happiness and comfort. Since then, I’ve begun to learn that my God loves me.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Can you imagine such love? Such is the love of our Savior for us, He came and died. Died on a cross. Died for you and I.

Can a God who loves me so much send a redeemed soul to a place that will be harmful to them? To answer this question, let’s first ask, what is harmful in God’s eyes? My God loves me so much that He cares more about my eternal state and my being conformed to His likeness than He does my comfort and happiness today. The seal of my birth into His family is the Holy Spirit living in me. One fruit of this is His joy, a joy which will not come and go with circumstances. This means that even in a situation such as Darlene Rose faced, I can continue to have joy. This means that even in such a situation I am not alone – God is with me.

Furthermore, I know that in all things in my life, as a born again believer, God will work His good. Whether or not I make good decisions, as I fulfill the qualifications in this passage [them that love the Lord, to them who are called according to His purpose – which qualifications will change how I live], God will bring good from them. I still have a free will, I will still reap consequences from my decisions whether good or bad, but the worst decisions I can make under those qualifications will still bring about good.

We know also that God uses difficulties, trials, in our lives to grow us. Tribulation brings patience, patience experience, and experience hope – a hope that helps us to better understand God’s love. So back to our question, will this loving God possibly send me to a place that is harmful to me? No, not in the long run. God sees beyond today, and in doing so works to develop in me the character above. He uses difficulties and pain now to make me more like Him in the future.

As I learn more about The Lord by going through difficulties, sufferings, and unexpected changes of plans in ways that are not pleasant, I come to more greatly understand who He is. He is the I AM, He is all we need, He is all I need.

Have you ever, as I did, [and perhaps still do and may in the future to new trials] been afraid of what God’s will might be for you? Have you been afraid to surrender to whatever He may have? Let our answer always be, “speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” Whatever God does for me is good. I know He loves me and cannot, will not, do anything that will have a net ill effect on me. This certainly does not mean I won’t have difficulties, rather, it likely means He will send me testing, He will chasten and chastise me, but it will be in love to accomplish His perfect will.

Today I say, Lord send me anywhere. Why? Because I trust my Savior. He will never send me somewhere that He will not go with me, He will never give me a temptation that I cannot bear, He will never lead me to a danger, but that it will mold me to me more like Jesus.

What is your answer today? Let us simply trust Him.

 

 

Note: Trials may come for a variety of reasons which I don’t claim to understand all of – who can know the will of God? However, we know it will be for His glory and for our good. Job would likely never have known God as he did at the end of the book if it were not for the trials he experienced.

Posted in Commentary, Exegetical, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jonah and Christ

Reading this morning of the prophet Jonah, I am again amazed at Jesus’ love for us. This will be very brief and unpolished due to the time [time to go to work…], but on my heart to write about.

Jesus said that Jonah was a sign to the generation alive during His time on earth about Christ’s 3 days and nights in the heart of the earth. In studying Jonah, It is interesting to see why he did not want to go to Nineveh. This was the capital of the very wicked and bloody nation Assyria. Jonah said he feared to go there because he knew God was merciful and might spare them if they repented. Jonah wanted to see Nineveh destroyed, likely because if they were not destroyed, they would instead destroy Israel.

To this end, Jonah was willing to suffer death in the sea, and God’s wrath for his disobedience. What does all this have to do with Jesus’ love for us? He was willing to come to earth and die for us, suffer God’s wrath for our sins, spend those 3 days and nights in the heart of the earth; but not for a people that loved Him. He died to save His enemies. We were yet without Him, we were enemies of God as we were servants of sin and therefore of the ruler of the darkness of this world.

Jesus did not flee this difficult mission. Rather, He came and gave everything in His love for us and obedience to His Father so that we could be saved. Praise the Lord for wonderful salvation! Let us go and share His message with all, whether they like us or not, whether they would love to see us destroyed as Assyria would have Israel, and Jonah, Assyria, or else they are close friends and relatives whom we love to a degree we would not offend them – but perhaps not enough to warn them of God’s impending judgment.

 

Posted in Commentary, Exegetical | Leave a comment

A Reed Shaken Mt. 11

7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. – Matthew 11:7-10 KJV

Tonight while out for a walk, this passage came to mind. Perhaps this won’t be an exegesis of the passage, but rather a few questions in relation to it and to us.

While walking past much tall grass waving in the wind here on vacation, the question came to mind, why am I down here? What is it I have come to see? In this case, it is to fellowship with friends and Christians, to hear good preaching, to see God working.

Why are you where you are? What have you come here for? Why are you going to church tomorrow? What is it you want to see?

I want to see God at church tomorrow.

Is that a strange thing to say? A reed shaken in a wind is nothing. All flesh is as grass and all the goodliness of man as the flower of grass. Grass burns up in the heat, and grass is mowed and trashed. If I go to church tomorrow to see perfect people, to hear perfect preaching, there will be disappointments. I want to see God at church tomorrow, God working in the people around me, God being genuinely praised in the singing, God being manifest in the preaching. Why are you going to church tomorrow? I want to see God.

This may be sounding repetitive by now, but intentionally so. Sometimes I/we need to look at our motives twice to see what we are really doing. Speaking of which, what do people see when they see us? Do they see a reed shaken in a wind? If we are just us, that is all they see. If God is in us, there is much more. If God is in us – and truly being lived out in our lives – then everywhere we go, we will be a light, a joy, we will bring peace – and we will be messengers of God.

Today you have a choice. Are you going to be a reed, filled with self, but in reality filled with nothing, or will you be a messenger, consumed with your Master? One is worthy of being burned, the other of fellowship with the Master.

Lord, make me a messenger.

Posted in Commentary | Leave a comment

Great men

Great men will never be the less respected for their humility, but the more.

– Matthew Henry’s complete commentary speaking of David’s humility in 2 Samuel 24


Note, Those know not what religion is whose chief care it is to make it cheap and easy to themselves, and who are best pleased with that which costs them least pains or money. What have we our substance for but to honour God with it? and how can it be better bestowed?

-more from the same commentary

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Message of “Contemporary Christianity”

Tonight while on a post-work run, I had an enjoyable conversation with an Orthodox Jewish family, then proceeded onward with the run. It seemed the Lord had been prompting me to speak with them in regards to their Messiah, my Lord Jesus. I did not, however, and continued running. After continuing another mile or two, the promptings grew, so I turned around and went [away from my car…] to find them. Sadly, I never did see them again, however, on the way, I met a band director for a suburban intercity school. After a short discussion during which she explained that she was saved, we came onto the to the topic of music in the church.

She believed that God can work His will through any situation, and that therefore, He could use any music as part of leading people to Him. After a relatively pleasant discussion, we parted. On the way home, thinking more on our conversation, it crossed my mind that the major problem with “contemporary Christian music” is the same as that of contemporary or modern Christianity itself. It is the mega church philosophy, perhaps a motto of the Laodicean church age. This motto being, “come into the church and enjoy the world with a good conscience.”

For me to obey what I believed God was directing in speaking to the Jewish family, I had to physically turn around 180 degrees from my path and go the other direction. Again and again throughout scripture, the message is clear, following God – whether under the old or new covenants – requires leaving the ways of the world behind. While I believe God may use any situation for His purposes, He allows us a free will and we know that He reveals Himself to those who diligently seek Him.

Probably the greatest problem with the contemporary church and contemporary Christian music is that it inherently holds the message that you can be saved from hell, but live for the world. This premise is unbiblical in all points, as God commands His people to repent from the ways of the world [see Acts 17:30, Rev. 3:19]. “What fellowship hath light with darkness?” We are called to live holy lives and as such must expect that we will probably look different from the world in our dress, sound different in our music, act differently in our lives, speak differently with our words, have some different hobbies, plan differently [have a more eternal mindset], and work differently. All should be done unto the Lord rather than primarily for our own enjoyment… but that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun. Rather we find joy in the ways of the Lord. One of the fruits of the Spirit is a joy which is impossible to have without the Holy Spirit.

I’m a bit off the premise in this meandering article, but the point being, consider the message of what you do, and what is around you. To whatever degree we claim that we can live like the world, or have the world’s music by changing only the words, we deceive our selves pretending that we can live a Christian live without the godliness or repentance. This is a message from the great deceiver who would have all join him in his eternal damnation. 2 Cor 11:13-15

Posted in Commentary | Leave a comment

A Light

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 119. Many people find it of interest because it is the longest chapter in the Bible. Interestingly, it focuses on the importance of God’s word with an 8 verse section for each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet [or Aleph Beit if you want to be literal…].

Tonight after work while relaxing [meaning finishing taking down a tree, cleaning up and burning the branches, splitting and stacking… before a second-to-none dinner prepared by my sister] some of these verses came to mind, along with the below song:

The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin;
The light of the world is Jesus;
Like sunshine at noonday His glory shone in,
The light of the world is Jesus.

Chorus: Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, but now I can see;
The light of the world is Jesus.

No darkness have we who in Jesus abide,
The light of the world is Jesus;
We walk in the light when we follow our Guide,
The light of the world is Jesus.

Ye dwellers in darkness with sin-blinded eyes,
The light of the world is Jesus;
Go, wash, at His bidding, and light will arise;
The light of the world is Jesus.
[https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/1018]

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. – Psalm 119:105 KJV

While the song is referring to how Jesus is our light, and the verse to God’s word, these two are distinct, yet to a degree inseparable [see John 1]. I’m not going to write a long essay here, but instead merely mention what I was thinking of. If the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord [Prov. 1:7], God’s word is a light [above], Jesus is the light of the world [1 Jn 1:6, Jn 8:12], then not knowing God, His word, and His Son Jesus Christ, co-equal God, is to be walking in darkness.

The key question here is, how much light do you have? How much do you want? If you don’t want to trip, then knowing the light ought to be important to you and you ought to be reading and studying God’s word – with the same consistency and urgency as you turn on a light in a dark room. I know few people who will walk through an unknown room in darkness such that they cannot see. If you are reading this, likely you already have some light. Probably the majority of people who read this know and have experienced what Jesus meant when He told Nicodemus “ye must be born again,” yet despite that, the majority of us fail to read and study God’s word as the light it is. Because of this, we will stumble through life, fail to produce fruit, be afraid of people bringing up scripture we can’t explain, and have limited confidence either in the word of God, in our ability to understand it.

Saturday at a graduation party, an acquaintance told me that our nation is in the mess it is in today [and whether you consider yourself conservative or progressive, you probably agree that it is a mess] because 90% of people are stupid.

I disagree.

The problem is that we don’t have wisdom. Our nation is devoid of wisdom because they have no fear of God, no respect for His word, His coming judgment, and are apathetic about what they do know. We would rather come home and do nothing, perhaps for some, watch TV, YouTube, get on social media and see what people that are doing something are doing [or else what those who are doing and thinking nothing are typing], or are simply too busy with life to notice what matters.

Turn on the light.

Get into the Bible, work hard, study it, get the light, and you will begin to be a positive influence where you are. If you don’t have light, you can’t lead others through the dark. To see any part of this world improve, we must have light.

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Some Photos…

One God and mediator

One God and mediator, Smith County, TN 2016

For what it’s worth, here are two simple photos I added verses to. The one with a sign wouldn’t be one I’d probably normally do, but it was for a friend who is familiar with the location. It’s neat how some pictures just seem to bring familiar verses to mind.

When I Consider, Lake Superior, 2007

When I Consider, Lake Superior MI, 2007

Posted in Musings | Leave a comment

Rightful Wrath

Tonight seemed like a good time for “candy.” By that I mean, a favorite passage in scripture. Turning to the book of Job to see again what a great and amazing God we serve,[these words ‘great’ and ‘amazing’ seem trite and empty in light of modern usage, but consider again what words can better describe our God!!] I looked at Elihu’s message.

Elihu was a proper young man. He waited for days to speak and those who had much more age than himself to give their opinions. He gave ear to the reasons given by some “very old” men who were renowned for their wisdom, and listened while they tried in vain to convince Job of the sin which had caused his trial. Further, he listened as Job, again in vain, tried to convince them that he had done nothing wrong.

After all this waiting, through 29 recorded chapters of speeches, Elihu opens his mouth and speaks for the next 5 chapters [33 – 38]. The other men had by this time ceased to answer Job because “he was righteous in his own eyes,” so finally Elihu had a turn.

Elihu’s passage opens with the Holy Spirit’s commentary on Elihu’s anger, explaining in no uncertain terms that Elihu was angry… with everyone. With Job because he justified himself rather than God, and with his friends because they condemned Job even though they found no answer.

This is where I paused, went back, and read again. Elihu was not reproved by the Lord at the end of the book, in fact, it was directly after Elihu spoke that God answered. Elihu was justly wrathful because of the wrong focus everyone had. Elihu accurately diagnosed Job’s malady. He was trying to justify himself rather than God.

Job was busy throughout his life living for God as an Old Testament saint would through good works, yet when one day his life fell apart, he stopped, looked inward, and tried to find what was wrong with him. He was righteous enough to not doubt God, yet he could see no reason why God would be ‘punishing’ him. His friends came and, knowing the knowledge of the time as they did, proposed that Job sinned. Again and again they argued that Job sinned, and he tried to show that he had not any more than others.

In all this, Job and his 3 friends were missing the forest for the trees. They were looking at what Job had done wrong, or not done wrong, but Elihu put the focus in the right place. He was angry with Job because he was trying take the blame finger away from himself when he should have been trying to bring glory to God. Have you ever done this? I find it quite easy to do. When life doesn’t go as we expect, we stop and take stock of the situation, often looking inward to see what we might have done wrong. This is what Job did. What he should have done instead was to look to see how he could continue to live in a way that would bring glory to God. It appears from other passages in the book that Job felt to a certain degree that his time of usefulness for God was over since his prosperity was gone. While this idea was common then, and continues to flow from the mouths of wealthy prosperity gospel teachers today, it is far from the truth. God allowed this trial in Job’s life in order to more fully achieve the purpose for which he was created – bringing glory to God and fellowshipping with Him.

With the first reason for Elihu’s anger, I find myself condemned with Job. His second reason for being angry was that Job’s 3 friends condemned Job, even though they did not find an answer. It seems that they saw a problem, and applied their experience to it with a kind of herd mentality. They had all lived a long time and all repeatedly saw that God judges the wicked. Therefore, when they saw what appeared to be supernatural intervention in a negative way, the immediate assumption was that Job was being judged for wickedness. This answer did not fit in this situation, yet they continued to try to make square Job fit in their round hole. It is a caution to us to not immediately assume causality from probability. In all probability they were right, but they had not thoroughly considered all the options and so ended up wrong. It is easy for us to see people who live in different ways and immediately peg them as a certain kind of person.

Case in point, I’ve been enjoying some studies on basic Bible interpretation recently, yet sadly, much of it is new to me. Based on that statement, you could assume that I am not [or have not] been much interested in Bible study in the past, however, that would be an untrue assumption. Rather, I’ve been to a certain degree lazy, and to another degree missing certain truths either through a lack of teachers teaching on these subjects, or else to a sad lack of understanding among a great many of our current teachers in some relatively elementary Biblical principles.

Job’s friends could not see how his situation was not judgment from the Lord, and he could not see the Lord for himself. Both are easy pits to fall into, but if fallen into, relatively easy to recover from. Elihu and God both seem to have prescribed the same solution. Look to God, study His creation, Who He is, and the history of His dealings with mankind. Elihu was justly wrathful. Job and his friends had their focus wrong. Would he have equal reason to be wroth with us today?

 

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment