Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Genesis 3:10

"The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground."

Confronted by God's absolute awareness of all things, Cain was in shock. What he wanted to accomplish in solitude was in fact enacted coram Deo "before God." All things are! (Hebrews 4:13) As his parents, Adam and Eve, discovered as well, there is no successful hiding from the living God. Humanity has been attempting it down to the present day, to no avail. And the blood of victims has been crying to Him who hears, without ceasing.
In particular I am thinking of more than fifty million victims, since the early 1970's, deliberately-taken lives, whose blood continually cries out to God. What America has done in secret will be made known in judgment. God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7). Should the Freedom of Choice Act become law, nullifying all restrictions on abortion in America, this land will be storing up wrath for itself in terrible ways. The righteous Judge of all the earth will do right. He will act on behalf of the innocents.

"Father, it is only by Your great mercy and compassion, for the
sake of the remnant, that You have stayed Your hand thus far.
Our nation is so ripe for judgment, and Your church is so ripe
for Your woodshed. Forgive for Your children's dissatisfaction
with You, and what You provide. Forgive our greed. Call us
back to simplicity, to knowing You are enough.
Grieve our hearts over the killing, the ongoing killing... may we
never "get over" it.
In the Lord Jesus' Name,

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Proverb 23:7a

" (a man) thinks within himself, so he is."

A.W. Tozer had it right when he said, “What comes to mind when you think of God is the most important thing about you.”

There is no more serious business in all this life than to think of God aright. For, to the extent that our concept of who He is varies from the truth, we are guilty of idolatry.

To think unworthy thoughts of God is to impugn His righteous character, besmirch His holy Name, and call into question His flawless faithfulness. It comes as no surprise when a lost and spiritually-blind world doubts the goodness of their Creator, but it is unutterably grievous to the LORD when His own blood-bought children do so. And how do unworthy thoughts manifest themselves?

Most often in our speech, since our mouth speaks from that which fills our heart (Luke 6:45). Unworthy thoughts produce unclean speech (Ephesians 4:29; 5:4). In the former we lose our joy of worship, in the latter our testimony among men.

Philippians 4:8 is vital, if we are to be restored in thought and speech. May the Holy Spirit increase our desire and determination to think on our God worthily.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ephesians 5:16

"making the most of your time, because the days are evil."

It's eerie to feel days slipping away, to be keenly aware of time's passing... knowing all the while the seconds can't be slowed, the minutes called back, nor the hours retrieved.
What to do? Listen. "Incline your ear, and come to Me. Listen, that you may live."

Jeremiah 32:17

" 'Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.' "

Interesting is the irony that, in this age when each one does what is right in his own eyes, the Lord providentially incorporates each one's most minute maneuverings into His sovereign design.
Without outward coercion, without violation of individual integrity, and without the slightest miscarriage of justice nor love, the living God fulfills His every purpose, proceeding precisely as He has declared in His Word to do, all in perfect consistency of character.
Only One who sees the end from the beginning, before Whom all things are open and laid bare, could there exist such supreme coordination of immeasurable complexities!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Psalm 103:1--5

"Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle."

Of the distinctives that mark the believer's life which can cause a watching world to sit up and take notice, attitude and perspective surely rank near the top. And of the passages of Scripture used by the Lord to warm our hearts, and elicit our adoring worship, this is among the choicest. It is a self-sermon, preached by David to his own soul, in which he exhorts himself to hold nothing back in praising the LORD. And notice a key shift he makes in this process of praise: he moves from the general to the specific-- from general adoration of His holy character, David contemplates specific gracious acts the LORD has accomplished on his soul's behalf. By so doing, intensity is added to his praise, his perspective is transformed more deeply than had he stayed general in his praise, and his attitude becomes worshipful in the process.

As we meditate on specifics represented by each of these phrases, we too will experience such change, to the praise of His Name!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Psalm 9:10

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You."

From the very first tempting of Eve by the serpent, with his seemingly innocent question, "Indeed, has God said....?" (Gen. 3:1), doubting God's goodness has permeated mankind's spirit. Sin's effects, such as misery, disease, death, and destruction have caused some to reject His existence, while others question His character in causing/allowing such to occur. Such blame makes it plain they do not know Him.

To others, however, He has revealed Himself through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, renewing their mind as He quickens their spirit, giving the ability to know Him, spiritually. From that moment of salvation onward, the unrelenting goal of the believer is to know Him, ever more intimately.

For, to know Him is to love Him. To know Him is to speak of Him artlessly, without thought of others' scornful response. To know Him dearly is to find Him more precious than any other relationship. And, yes, to know Him is to trust Him, finding Him flawlessly faithful, wonderfully worthy of waiting upon for wisely-timed responses.

"Remind me, too, Father, of this verse in times of feeling forsaken... for You have promised here to never forsake Your seeking ones. Sometimes I'm not even aware I'm pursuing You, but Your blessed Holy Spirit quietly urges me into Your presence, to find grace to help in time of need. How deeply I know You is Your gracious doing; how little I trust is my own. Thank You for not being through with me, yet.
In the Name of Your risen, sovereign Son, I pray,

Sunday, November 2, 2008

John 11:43---46

"Lazarus, Come out!" It was a command from the sovereign Son of God, and compliance was instantaneous. There in the inky blackness of the sealed tomb, Lazarus' pulse was restored, his awareness returned, and suddenly light invaded his space as trembling hands loosened his wrappings! As he emerged alive from that place of death, some rejoiced. Some rejected. But no one remained the same. The Lord of life did not leave that option open, and He still doesn't today.

He either is who He said He is, or He isn't. His claim to being the one and only avenue of access to the heavenly Father (John 14:6) is either true, or it isn't. He leaves no room for a third choice, for to not decide is a decision in itself: it is a thinly-disguised rejection, which bears the same consequences as outright denial.

Does it matter? Is it all that important? Many say "no" today. God says, "he who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." (I John 5:12).

Will we take Him seriously?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

II Chronicles 20:6

"And he said,'O LORD, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not Ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You.'"

Notice God's place in the universe, His position over all authorities, and His power that cannot ultimately be thwarted.

As gifted as king Jehoshaphat was administratively and politically, it was his personal godliness and spiritual leadership that most inspired and encouraged his people. Here we find him verbally reminding all Judah (v. 13) of the greatness and sufficiency of the living God. He begins by focusing on the LORD's sovereign place in the universe. In stark contrast to the deities worshiped by the sons of Ammon and Moab (v. 10), Jehoshaphat affirms that there is only one God who is preimminent in the heavens: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In the immediacy of the situation (v. 11), where armies have amassed against him, Jehoshaphat next speaks of God's superiority of position over all the nations' kingdoms on earth. The families need to know that God is not indifferent to their vulnerability. He knows they are outnumbered, and feel helpless (v. 12). The king wisely directs their attention to Him Who is their Hope.

Finally, Jehoshaphat speaks of the power and might that are God's, against which no one can stand. Citing the ways the LORD showed Himself so strong on Israel's behalf in driving out the hostile nations before Abraham in his journeying, the king compells his hearers to faith God's power to act on their behalf again.

Father, when situations become overwhelming, bring this scene to mind afresh. Use it to shift our focus from the seen to the unseen, from creatures to You, the Creator. Bid us muse anew on the truth that You are GOD, supreme in place, position, and power, sovereign over all that is.
In the Lord Jesus' Name,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Romans 11:33

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!"

Interesting is the irony that, in this age when each one does what is right in his own eyes, the Lord providentially incorporates each one's most minute maneuverings into His sovereign design.
Without outward coercion, without violation of individual integrity, and without the slightest miscarriage of justice or love, the living God fulfills His every promise, proceeding to do precisely as He has declared in His Word all that He has said He will do.
Only One who sees the end from the beginning, before Whom all things are open and laid bare, could there exist such supreme coordination of immeasurable complexities.

Praise to Your Name, Father, that You are as great in Your minuteness are You are in Your magnitude! Nothing escapes Your notice, absolutely nothing. To think upon Your omniscience always brings me to my knees, instantly aware of my finitude, my short-sightedness, seeing so little of life's gigantic panorama. Call me afresh to seek Your face moment-by-moment, knowing Your perspective is my greatest need for living wisely.
In Your Son's Name, I plea,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Haggai 2:8

"'The silver is mine, and the gold is mine," declares the Lord of hosts.'

The statements, the promises, the declarations of Scripture present the absolute truth by which we know the mind of God. And in the process of revealing His heart, the Lord also counters the lies of the enemy, the devil. America has embraced the lie that silver and gold is hers, with so many making and spending as much as possible by whatever means in order to please him- or herself to the fullest. Greed is applauded as praiseworthy ambition, seen as absolutely essential for successful business dealings. Self reigns supreme, garnering more and more silver, more and more gold, little realizing that life does not consist of possessions (Luke 12:15).

Exceedingly grievous to the Holy Spirit is the fact that this spirit of greed is also found within the body of Christ, His church. The spirit of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), who motivated them to lie to the Holy Spirit still works in some assemblies today. Oh, for more churches of the Macedonian sort (II Cor. 8), who, though financially struggling (v.2), gave liberally to the work of their own accord (v.3); stemming from having first given themselves to the Lord (v.5). They understood that giving went beyond the silver and gold, straight to the yielded heart. May we, as well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Isaiah 64:4

"For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him."

Implied within the commands, exhortations, and promises found throughout the Word to wait upon the Lord is the truth that His ways & thoughts are not like our ways & thoughts (Isaiah 55:8,9). This includes His clock, as well.

As everything about our God is perfect, so is His timing. And when we ask for His will to be done, we are praying for His schedule as well as His direction! For, the "when" of His will is every bit as needed as the "where" and "what." How, then, do we keep our impatience in check when His answer is "wait?"
Several thoughts come to mind:

*Read & re-read biblical accounts of times when God acted in behalf of waiting saints. Elijah praying down fire from heaven is only one among many Old Testament instances, while the church praying fervently for Peter's release in Acts 12:5 ff. is an excellent New Testament account.

*Reflect upon the times the Lord has shown Himself strong on your behalf previously. This self-encouragement is enhanced by keeping a spiritual diary, recording ways He has faithfully kept His word, without fail.

*Rehearse the truth, aloud if necessary. Praying the Word back to the Father, pointedly emphasizing the promises He has made related to waiting, fixes our focus where it belongs: on Him, rather than circumstances.

You are the one and only true and living God, Father. There is no God but You. All else and others are created beings, powerful but finite, many mightier than man, yet immeasurably inferior to You their Creator. You, uniquely in Your triune Godhead, are preeminent in the universe, absolutely sovereign, utterly unlimited in Your wisdom and understanding. Acknowledging Your omniscience, increase our willingness to wait upon You, learning how to wait upon You during those times when it pleases You to teach us afresh Your transcendent timing.
In the Name of the Lord Jesus we pray,

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

II Chronicles 20:6

"and He said, 'O LORD, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You.'"

Whether faced with military foes as was Jehoshaphat, or militant woes in the form of spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies as are believers today, prayer must ever and always be our first response and our God's sovereignty our first reflection.

Scripture is replete with passage after passage which speak of God's sovereign supremacy, and we must memorize and meditate upon them, filling our thoughts with them, encouraged, uplifted, rehearsing the truth that His eternal purposes can never be thwarted.

I recall Psalm 103:19, "The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all."

Daniel 4:35 also comes to mind, "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, 'What have You done?'"

Oh Father,
In these times when politics and economies are viewed as so very powerful, wreaking havoc in the lives of so many, call Your children to a fresh awareness of Your sovereign might, Your limitless awareness, Your absolute control over the affairs of men. Nothing is hidden from Your sight, but all things are open and laid bare before Your eyes. Be pleased to have Your perfect will accomplished in this wicked land for the sake of the remnant. Whether to the praise of Your justice or the praise of Your grace, Your Name be praised! May the Name of the Lord Jesus be given great glory as You see fit. Teach us how to rest in Your sovereignty, confident in Your providential care, regardless of circumstances and externals. May such distinctive peace prove a winsome lure for lost souls hungering for spiritual relief.
In Your Son's Name,

Friday, September 19, 2008

Isaiah 49:15, 16

"Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me."

These verses are God's response to Israel's cry that He had forgotten her. In spite of the myriad of promises He had made to the contrary, and proved by countless acts of might and provision (such as all that was involved in the Exodus), Israel would still insist He had forgotten her, that she was no longer "the apple of His eye." Amazing. Or is it...?

Have we not been promised, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," (Hebrews 13:5)? Did our Lord not promise "I am with you always, even to the end of the age," (Matthew 28:20)?

Yet, how often we, too, yield to feelings of abandonment, listening to the lie of the enemy of our soul as he whispers that we've been left adrift to fend for ourselves in this maze of decisions called life. The cry can rise up in our spirit, like Israel's, "He has forgotten."

"Father, You never give a promise for nothing, and Your promised presence is such a needed one, especially in the night times when loneliness and fear intensify. Forgive for times we interpret your silence as indifference. Rather let us see such times as faith-stretching. Grant grace to faith You in Your unseen Presence, and love You for it. Use Your precious and magnificent promises to increase our anticipation for the time when we'll see You face to face, in all Your glory. Be pleased to fill the waiting with Yourself!
In the Name of Your Son, the Lord Jesus, I pray,

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Psalm 5:3

"In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch."

Again Your blessed Spirit speaks these words to my heart, familiar as they are, reviving my desire to seek Your face before all others. It's the eagerness that brings tears to my spirit, for far too often do I think of a thousand others more eagerly than You.

Then the questions come: where has gone my eagerness for You? Why have my watching and seeking lost the eager yearning that once thrilled the mornings with You?

I needn't look long nor far. Sin is ever and always the answer. I plea and trust Your spiritual surgery, Father, as You so precisely wield the knife of discipline. Your chastening is never excessive, though severe. And the peaceful fruit of righteousness is worth it all (Hebrews 12:11).

Praise to Your faithful Name for Your restoring work! Be pleased to receive great glory through the eager watching of Your children, as they order their praying to You, morning by morning, in grateful adoration!
Through the Name of Your dear Son, our only Savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Micah 4:5

"Though all the peoples walk each in the name of his god, as for us, we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever."

Everyone, without exception, serves a god. Technically there are no atheists, for even the one who says he/she does not believe there is a god worships (attributes ultimate worth to) someone or something, even if it's him- or herself. Consequently, everyone daily decides, not whether to worship a god or not, but which being will receive his/her worship: the living God of all that is, or a substitute.
We as believers must constantly be on guard lest even one of the multitudes of worldly substitute deities subtly slips onto the throne of our hearts, displacing the name of the LORD our God. The enemy of our soul would have us assume it cannot happen. Yet the One who knows the true depths of our deceitful heart warns, "Therefore, let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall."

Friday, August 22, 2008


Recently I came across an outline related to repentance that proved helpful.
Repentance: A Three-Fold Process of Change
1. Our MIND Changes
Agreeing with God about the truth. As long as we offer excuses, we
have not yet repented. We must come to the point of echoing David's
cry in Psalm 51:3,4.

2. Our HEART Changes
We must have a broken heart before the Father, grieving over what
our sin has done to Him. David expressed this truth in Psalm 51:17.

3. Our WILL & ACTIONS Change
Repentance requires a turning away from sin, a change of lifestyle,
the ridding of any idol from the heart, tearing down any stronghold,
and removing ourselves from tempting situations.
When we begin to live life as God intends, we have repented.
Philippians 2:13.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Danger of Drifting

It was a Monday morning years ago, and I was enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of fellowshipping with about 20 other pastors in a room provided at a local bank for this weekly meeting. With all the seriousness and load of Sunday behind us for yet another week, Monday morning was a choice time for rest and enjoyment of fellow ministers' company.
Still, it wasn't all punch and cookies, especially during the time of prayer requests and the intercession that followed. This particular session started typically, with mention made of financial need, upcoming revival services, and concerns for various ministries in the community. And then, after a minute or so of silence, one man started quietly, "The Lord has been convicting me recently about a sensitive issue in my life." He continued, "He has shown me that I love to preach about Him more than I love Him."
No one said a thing, nor moved an inch. It was one of those moments when the convicting impact of a truth is so stout that there's nothing to be said. Each of us knew it to be so in his heart, as well, and asked the Lord to increase our love for Him.

Idolatry is a sin so subtle. The leaving of our first Love begins with gentle drifting, leading to replacing Him with look-alikes that our deceived hearts don't even perceive as substitutes. Eventually, we embrace them, and, unless we repent, must endure His rod of chastening, (Heb. 12:11).

Father, may Your blessed Holy Spirit grant daily diligence in refusing to even begin to stray from Your presence and fellowship. Increase our fear of sinning against You, and strengthen our resolve to repent when we do. Reveal the idols we've allowed to receive the worship You alone deserve, and grant the grace needed to tear them from our hearts.
In the Lord Jesus' Name,

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Can't Imagine

With the ever-deepening decadence of these days
I must trust the truth that You are in control.
From what little I see my spirit is dismayed, as
Your Word is maligned, Your people mocked,
Your Name held in contempt.
I cannot begin to imagine what You see in Your
absolute awareness; to even try prompts
amazement at Your patience,
praise for Your grace,
and gratitude for Your mercy.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Malachi 3:6


Amid the flow of seamless days, incessantly melding one into another, change is everywhere, save with You.

Time is replete with comings and goings, living and dying, continuous movement on the way to eternity, ceaseless ebb and flow, but not You.

All that is seen is temporal, while the unseen is eternal; praise to Your immutable Name that you transcend that which is viewed, that which is mutable.

For, what would happen if You could actually change...?

What would come of all the wonderful promises You've made in Your Word--- they could no longer be claimed nor trusted.

How could your children depend upon Your Word at all--- for, if You could change, so could Your Word, and we would never know which parts to believe and which parts to reject or ignore.

Our praying would lose all confidence, hope, & joyful certainty--- for it would no longer be grounded in Your constancy of character, if You could change.

Would we speak eagerly to others of their need to be saved if the Savior was not trustworthy? If the essence of His character could vascillate in the slightest?

And how would we know for sure that our King will return to gather His own to Himself, Father, if Your Name and Word were not expressions of Your unchangable nature?

Praise to Your faithful Name, Father, that You cannot change and remain who You are. Grant grace that we may think of You as You truly are, and serve You in a manner worthy of Your immutable Name.

In the Lord Jesus' Name, I pray,

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Corinthians 10:13

"(a) No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and (b) God is faithful, (c) who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (d) will provide the way of escape also, so that (e) you will be able to endure it."

Each statement in this verse counters a lie of the world system, instigated by the father of lies.
(a) Satan would have each of us feel that my temptation is uniquely mine, distinctly difficult, common to no one else. The more isolated and alone, the more abandoned he can convince me I am, the more I will look inward rather than upward.
(b) Any time we sin, the enemy uses it to question God's faithfulness. He relishes casting aspersions on the Lord's character by planting seeds of doubt and blame in our hearts as to His goodness.
(c) He whispers that we are not capable of resisting, because God will allow more than we can endure. No, in Christ we can do all things!
(d) The devil would convince us there is no escape, no alternative. We must sin. Our flesh gleefully agrees. The Holy Spirit says, "No, keep asking, keep seeking, and you will find the way of escape."
(e) Satan would have us believe we cannot endure his temptations. Yet the One who is Truth declares that we can. He who cannot lie, whose promises have never failed, whose provision is all-sufficient, is true to His Word.
Thus, when the Christian sins, it is not from any lack of power or provision on the part of the living God. It is not an evidence of any character deficiency on His part in the slightest. Rather, the responsibility is upon the believer to cooperate with, and yield to the resident Holy Spirit within, depending upon His power for the defeating of the evil one.
May we grow ever more discerning in seeing through the enemy's lies, learning to counter them with the truth of Scripture!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Luke 10:38-42

"But the Lord answered and said to her,'Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her,' " (Luke 10:42).
As the ultimate hostess, Martha was going to make sure everything was perfect for the Lord during His visit to her home. And her sister, Mary, had been in the kitchen as well, for Martha remarks that she "left me" (v. 40). Mary wasn't shirking the necessary preparations of a good hostess, but when the Master arrived all else became secondary. The Lord commended her priority of love-- His presence and teaching had first place in her heart.
Many today consider worry a virtue, a sign of concientious concern that is commendable. In point of fact it is veiled unbelief, replacing prayer, and used by the enemy to keep us staring at circumstances instead of gazing at God.

Father, cause me to yearn again for the place Mary chose... seated at the Savior's feet, eagerly listening, willing to not only hear, but obey with a grateful heart. Forgive for times I succumb to the tyranny of the urgent, when the truly important slips away. Teach me again to invest my time, not merely spend it. I, too, would choose the good part, and thank You for Your gracious Word.
In the Lord Jesus' blessed Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Our Enemy & His Lies

"Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." --- the Lord Jesus, speaking of Satan (John 8:44)
From the time of his expulsion from the heavenlies, taking a third of the angels with him, Satan has sought to steal God's worship, and hinder mankind's knowledge of Him. Adroitly employing the three tools listed in I John 2:16, the father of lies continually deceives humanity into thinking heaven can be attained (earned or deserved) on the basis of good deeds. This is "the lie" that is at the heart of every world religion, and many of the cults, where man is reaching up to God, rather than God reaching down to man in grace.
And the Bible was given in order to counter Satan's lies. The teachings of Scripture, by their very declarations, expose the spirit of the world system that is the devil's domain. It requires little imagination, then, to grasp why the enemy of our soul hates the Word with an unceasing resolve.
Those whose lives are dedicated to translating the Word into languages which have not had the Bible in that tongue previously are shiny targets for intense spiritual warfare, as a result of Satan's hatred for the Word. May we intercede for them faithfully.

"Father, protect them even in this hour. Grant them perseverance in the difficult times, when faced with much opposition. May their families be encouraged, also, sensing Your nearness in the lonely times. Be pleased to sovereignly superintend the translating of Your blessed Word for Your perfect plans and purposes. In the Lord Jesus' Name, Amen."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No Third Option

Had the privilege of standing in my home church's pulpit recently, and declare the truth of God's Word. At one point I rehearsed again a life principle that I've shared through the years every chance I get:

when it comes to authority related to spiritual truths, everyone is staking his/her eternal destiny on one of two bases--- revelation or speculation.

In other words, when considering such questions as, "What happened before I was born?", and, "What will occur after I die?", and, "Is there a heaven, and, if so, how can I go there when I die?", there are only two options upon which we all depend for our answers: a supernaturally-revealed answer we accept, or our best guess.

A classic example is creation vs. evolution to explain the origin of the physical universe. Although perhaps the evolutionist would hotly contend that he is not speculating, in point of fact he was not there to witness the beginning. The creationist insists that, although he, too, wasn't present the moment it all occurred, his basis of authority is the supernatural revealing of the origin of our universe by the One Who was: the unchanging, living God Who created it all ex nihilo, from nothing. How revealed? By His breathed-out Word, the Scriptures.

Thus, the evolutionist places faith in implications (speculation) drawn from observable evidence, whereas the creationist places faith in the trustworthy Word of the One Who, transcending time and space, reveals that He is the Creator of it all.

Monday, May 26, 2008

For My Pastor

"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment," (James 3:1).

Thank You, Father, for calling up from years gone by needed memories of the incessant press that is the pastorate, used now by Your blessed Spirit to deepen my pleading for the one who stands to declare Your truth weekly.

With all the voices that vie for his attention, strengthen his resolve to hear and heed Yours first, always. Cause him to ever obey Your command of Isaiah 55:3, "Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live;" May his strong, bold voice declare in public what Your still, small voice has whispered in private. Even as was the habit of his Master (Mk. 1:35) may You have his ear each day before anyone else does.

With days so brief and eternity in the balance, be pleased to grant him wisdom and great discernment, Father. Our enemy is so subtle as he skillfully substitutes the urgent for the truly important, deceiving us into acting as if the seen is eternal. Guard him from such pitfalls, I plea. May he redeem his time, numbering his days so that he may present to You a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).

Teach him to rest, both physically, and in You, Father. May he continue to be usable spiritually, as well as physically. I still vividly recall reading of young Robert Murray M'Cheyne, the 29-yr.-old Scottish minister, who, as he lay dying, said, "God gave me a horse and a message; I have killed the horse, I can no longer deliver the message."

And I would plea Your Holy Spirit's filling and anointing work upon him, Father. May the Lord Jesus be his all-in-all, his great Love, his choicest Friend about whom he cannot help but speak. Too, be his winsomeness in presenting the Savior. May there be a Spirit-produced magnetism about his life and countenance that draws folk to You.

Remind him of Your provided armor, Father, that he may stand firm.
Speak to his heart about hiding Your Word in his heart, that he may wield the sword of Your Word with great effect. Cause his life to count for Your kingdom, according to Your perfect will. May the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart be pleasing and acceptable in Your sight.
In the Name of Your sovereign Son, I pray,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's true!

"...If it were not so, I would have told you..." (John 14:2b)

With the cross only hours away, the Lord Jesus focused more and more quality time on His men, rather than the multitudes. Having told them of His leaving (13:33), He speaks peace to their troubled hearts (14:1), and reveals His plans to prepare a place for them to be with Him.
And in the process of promising heavenly dwellings, He adds a wonderful assurance: "if it were not so, I would have told you."
There must have been something in the disciples' expressions that prompted the Master to include this emphatic word of encouragement. And He knew what it was: fear of the unknown.
Why this lack of trust, especially in the light of the Lord's past faithfulness?
Primarily because we think God is like us. Although He has told us it is not so (Isaiah 55:8, 9), we still insist upon picturing Him in our image. People have lied to us, people have made promises they couldn't keep, as well as made fantastic claims concerning the future that did not come to pass.
How subtlely our enemy takes such disappointments and transfers them onto our perspective of the Lord. How much, then, like those disciples in the upper room, do we need to hear again our Master's assurance---- "if it were not so, I would have told you."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Brief Thought

There is coolness for my soul in the stillness of Your voice. The night's heat is replete with turmoil, yet time with You restores the peace my weary spirit cherishes.

No wonder the world, my flesh, and the one who hates my soul so oppose quiet times of meeting with You. For it is here, unlike any other place for any other purpose, that Your power is perfected in weakness; that Your presence is expressed with memorable impact, so that who You are is all that matters, and what You provide is enough.

Thinking It Through

Isn't it a shame that so many of God's children are ashamed of Him in His sovereignty? Speak of His love, and the reception is warm and welcoming; preach on His power, and there is grateful awe; mention His mercy, and praise is raised to the heavens!

Yet present God in His absolute sovereignty, in His eternal determination of the destinations of men, His kingly right to exercise justice in the damnation of many as well as grace in the salvation of some, and the response can be quite different..... and telling.

Upon my referring to Romans 9:13 during the course of a conversation concerning God's sovereignty, the angry reply was, "I don't think that ought to be in there!" (Stunned as I was, I couldn't decide which was more grievous: the impugning of God's character, or the implying that Scripture was fallible).

Yet, the more I've mused upon it, I've come to believe they are inseparably linked--- questioning the trustworthiness of the Scriptures is to cast doubt upon the integrity of the sovereign God who inspired them.

And that really is a shame...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


The stability of a believer's life, especially in times of adversity, is immeasurably strengthened by settling forever two key issues:

(a) All Scripture, every bit of it, is God's flawless Word; and,

(b) God is absolutely sovereign, period.

So many concerns used by the enemy to cause so many Christians such consternation would melt into resolution if/when God's sovereignty is unquestioned and His Word is trusted as true.

To the extent either of these positions is compromised is exactly how much access Satan is given for sowing seeds of unbelief--- questioning God's goodness, doubting His power, mocking His promises, and staying man-centered. While these qualities characterize a believer's life, the blessed Holy Spirit is quenched and grieved, and the Savior's Name is reproached.

Father, it is a deep mystery why You are allowing the wheat of your elect and the tares of the lost who look saved to dwell together in this age. As the days darken, may the children of light shine unashamedly. As the cost to claim Your cause increases, let it be paid gladly. For, anything You would ever ask of Your children pales in comparison to what You have given in Your Son, the Lord Jesus!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Putting On the Armor

May my rebellious thoughts be taken captive now, Father, to Your obedience, brought into submission by the blessed Holy Spirit, centered upon the Savior, protected by the helmet of salvation. The enemy of my soul is a master of distraction, caring nothing for what he uses, so long as he keeps my thoughts away from You. Thank You for the sword of Your Word, by which I can be neither ignorant of his schemes, nor defeated by his designs. Teach me to wield it with great effect, Father, bringing verses to mind when most needed. Cover my heart with the breastplate of righteousness, too, that it may be shielded in holiness. For, it is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick (Jer. 17:9). You know my need to be protected by Your truth in the tenderest areas of my life; thus, I would ask that my loins be girded with Truth. And be pleased to restore a sensitivity to those around me, Father, by having my feet shod with the preparation of the gospel, so that wherever I travel today, I may be usable for sharing a word of good news concerning the Savior.
In His Name I ask,

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

O Father

I would plea for prayer. Far too often I rush into Your presence, and then find myself talking at You instead of with You. Forgive such arrogance. I would sit at Your feet now, as Mary did (Lk. 10:39, 42), listening to You, learning You, loving being loved by You. In such stillness You satisfy the waiting heart with Your sufficiency. Yes, in the quiet I sense afresh what too often I let slip away: You are my soul's deepest satisfaction.
I would come closer, Father, for I have drifted from You. It's both a comfort and conviction that You never change. For, if our fellowship is broken, it is on my side. If our communion is disrupted, it's my doing. If sin is in the camp, it is mine. And I am keenly aware I can hide nothing from Your holy gaze (Hebrews 4:13). There really is no such thing as secret sin, in the light of Your knowledge. So, I plea Your restoring, Your healing work, whereby repentance is granted, fellowship regained, joy returned, and Your Name glorified.
Thank You, Father. Be pleased now to anoint this day with Your Holy Spirit's unction, having Your perfect will in the lives of Your children as You see fit.
In the Name of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray,

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Focus Fear Can't Stand

"'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'" (Isaiah 41:10)

What strong commands of encouragement from our God! He who knows our distracted hearts better than anyone, and the nameless fears that rob us of rest and joy, bids us fix our focus where peace of mind and spirit are restored: upon Himself and His provision.

*His Presence "I am with you" When the downcast disciples were so demoralized because their Master had told them He was leaving them, going where they could not follow, they were experiencing the sense of abandonment. Few feelings are more devastating. Little wonder that the Lord comforted them time and again with words of His return to receive them to Himself, that they would be where He was. Someone has well said that heaven is not so much a place as it is a Person. And wherever we sense His presence, His nearness transforms that place into a heavenly one.

*His Person "I am your God" In times we are afraid, we tend to look in every direction except the right one: inward, leading to self-absorption; downward, leading to despair; at the circumstances, increasing our anxiety; at other's situations, prompting comparison, leading to self-pity, anger, or envy; at imagined solutions, leading to inaction, procrastination, and unbelief. All such idols are illusions, tools of the enemy to keep us from giving our full attention to the living God. "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) When that is obeyed, fear cannot abide.

*His Power "I will strengthen you.... help you.... uphold you...." For the one who knows His presence and Person, there is no need to persuade or convince concerning His power. Jeremiah was one such individual. He knew his God in presence as well as character, and states confidently, "Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You, " (Jer. 32:17).

Forgive, Father, for how often I take my eyes from You, distracted by the lusts that the enemy of my soul tantalizingly places before me. Forgive, too, for the directions to which I look for help & wisdom when I should look to You, the only true and living God. You know the rest my agitated heart so desperately desires, and the fear that haunts my nights. Restore, Father, the determination to seek You, You alone, Your will, Your way, beyond any and all other.
In the Lord Jesus' Name,

Friday, March 28, 2008

An Awakening, Father, Please

Oh, the burden You've placed on the hearts of so many, Father, for our land, our leaders! I cannot begin to imagine what You see in Your omniscience, knowing the depth of America's spiritual decline, all the while smugly thinking, 'all is well.'
Only You could possibly know how ripe we are for judgment, how deserving of Your holy wrath, spared only by Your amazing faithfulness to the remnant and to the promises in Your blessed Word. Praise to Your unchanging Name! For if Your nature were mutable we would be instantly consumed.

I plea for an awakening, Father, a work of spiritual vitality that can be explained in no other way than that You did it... for the restoring of believers who have drifted, who have left their first love, as well as for the quickening of lost souls from spiritual death.
The sweeping work You've done in the past, in lands such as Wales, Ireland, and yes, even here in America, be pleased to do again! For You Who created the heavens and the earth by Your outstretched hand, nothing is too difficult! Nothing is impossible!
Call us to prayer.
Call us to repentance.
Cause the fire to fall in a spiritual outpouring of power!
Call the country back to Yourself.
Bid us return to our roots as a nation whose God is the LORD.
Turn the hearts of the fathers to their children.
Do a purifying work by Your Holy Spirit's sweeping across our land!

In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ I plea, Father,


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Evening Gratitude

As the time for sleep approaches, Father, I would think upon Your faithfulness through my days, and thank You. Only in eternity will I fully see the constancy of Your care, the protection You so precisely provided, and Your timing of all my circumstances within Your sovereign providence.

I get misty-eyed recalling the numerous moments when I neared tragedy and death, seeing in my memory how unmistakably You intervened. They each rise up in my recollections, bearing silent testimony to the ways You've shown Yourself strong on my behalf. Whether car crashes, near-drownings, or falling unconscious in the hallway, You've made Your loving protection so very plain.

Thank You for bringing them to mind. May Your blessed Spirit use these remembrances to:

deepen my desire to walk in a manner worthy of Your calling;

speak more freely of Your gracious nature to those who do not know You;

refuse the urge to complain or murmur in adversity;

meet each morning with declarations of Your goodness;

close each day with greater gratitude for your grace.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ephesians: All of Grace (1:18, 19)

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might"

* After telling the Ephesians that he never ceased praying for them (v.17), Paul breaks out in prayer for them! What a natural sequence this was for him--- moving from a discussion of prayer straight into intercession. May our praying likewise come as naturally!

*Here Paul specifically asks for three aspects of spiritual awareness: he asked the Father that they would come to understand (1) the hope of His calling; (2) the rich inheritance He gives His own; and, (3) the enormity of His power resident within each one of His children.

*First, the calling. Unlike our everyday use and assumption regarding hope, in the Scriptural use of the term there is a certainty involved. We say we hope something will happen (or not happen), and feel assured by past experience which way it will turn out. But we lack the element of certainty. The Bible, however, speaks of the Christian's hope as a settled, immutable issue, having no possibility of failure. Why? The omnipotent and sovereign God of the universe has declared it to be so!
Therefore, we can know that we know we are His. Some would label such confidence arrogance--- the Lord knows it to be grateful belief, taking Him at His infallible Word.

*Secondly, the inheritance. The Lord Jesus said, "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also," (John 14:2,3). Though it is possible to be 'so heavenly-minded as to be of no earthly good', Christians are to think much of our heavenly inheritance. The Lord who has prepared a place for His own would have us meditate longingly upon the time when we will be where He is.

*Thirdly, the power. Paul states the principle autobiographically in II Corinthians 12:9,10 -- the Lord's power is most plainly seen through usable, weakened, and tried vessels. As a thoroughly normal human, Paul took no masochistic delight in the physical adversities to which he was subjected. What caused him the gratitude, endurance, and even rejoicing through the torturous times was the evident power God displayed. Pain increased Paul's dependence on the mighty One. When he could find comfort in no one else, he found Him faithful.

Father, forgive for the ways we chafe against the very tools You use to conform us into the image of Your Son. Increase our trust in Your infinite wisdom, believing You for the loving God that You are.
In Your Son's Name,