Friday, July 27, 2012

Are you living life shorthanded?


2 Chronicles 16:11-12 - The events of Asa's reign, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.  In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians.

The economic predictions for the near and long term future are ominous.  Decisions confront us:  long-term care, Social Security, when should I retire or should I?  If we listen to the world, the future looks bleak if not, at best, challenging.  We must make decisions because we all live in the “real world.”

Asa was a King of Israel; even though he was King, he lived in the real world.  No doubt he could afford the best health care of his day, but he had a severe foot disease.  His problem, the writer of Chronicles reveals, is this—he only sought help of the physicians, not the help of the Lord.

Yes, we face many challenges as we all grow older but who brought us this far?  The Lord did.  In Psalm 139:16 is says in part ”all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”   Yes, the Lord runs the ship; He rules with physicians and everyone else but we, in the end, all answer to Him.

Afraid of the future; concerned about tomorrow?  Work with the people who God has sovereignly put into your life, physicians included.  Entrust it all to the Lord for He cares for you.  (“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Spiritually Lazy Saint

 I'd like to share the following which is the July 10, 2012 devotional from Oswald Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest."
"Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" . . . —Hebrews 10:24-25
 We are all capable of being spiritually lazy saints. We want to stay off the rough roads of life, and our primary objective is to secure a peaceful retreat from the world. The ideas put forth in these verses from Hebrews 10 are those of stirring up one another and of keeping ourselves together. Both of these require initiative— our willingness to take the first step toward Christ-realization, not the initiative toward self-realization. To live a distant, withdrawn, and secluded life is diametrically opposed to spirituality as Jesus Christ taught it.
 The true test of our spirituality occurs when we come up against injustice, degradation, ingratitude, and turmoil, all of which have the tendency to make us spiritually lazy. While being tested, we want to use prayer and Bible reading for the purpose of finding a quiet retreat. We use God only for the sake of getting peace and joy. We seek only our enjoyment of Jesus Christ, not a true realization of Him. This is the first step in the wrong direction. All these things we are seeking are simply effects, and yet we try to make them causes.
“Yes, I think it is right,” Peter said, “. . . to stir you up by reminding you . . .” (2 Peter 1:13). It is a most disturbing thing to be hit squarely in the stomach by someone being used of God to stir us up— someone who is full of spiritual activity. Simple active work and spiritual activity are not the same thing. Active work can actually be the counterfeit of spiritual activity. The real danger in spiritual laziness is that we do not want to be stirred up— all we want to hear about is a spiritual retirement from the world. Yet Jesus Christ never encourages the idea of retirement— He says, “Go and tell My brethren . . .” (Matthew 28:10).

Saturday, July 07, 2012

July 4, 2012 – Is there not a God in America?

The Living Bible version of 2 Kings 1:1-10 says: 

1 After King Ahab's death, the nation of Moab declared its independence from Israel. 2 One day Israel's new king, Ahaziah, fell through the latticework of an upper room at his palace in Samaria, and he was seriously injured. So he sent messengers to the temple of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether he would recover. 3 But the angel of the LORD told Elijah, who was from Tishbe, "Go and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, 'Why are you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether the king will get well? Is there no God in Israel? 4 Now, therefore, this is what the LORD says: You will never leave the bed on which you are lying, but you will surely die.'" So Elijah went to deliver the message. 5 When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, "Why have you returned so soon?" 6 They replied, "A man came up to us and said, 'Go back to the king and give him this message from the LORD: Why are you sending men to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether you will get well? Is there no God in Israel? Now, since you have done this, you will never leave the bed on which you are lying, but you will surely die.'" 7 "Who was this man?" the king demanded. "What did he look like?" 8 They replied, "He was a hairy man, and he wore a leather belt around his waist.""It was Elijah from Tishbe!" the king exclaimed. 9 Then he sent an army captain with fifty soldiers to arrest him. They found him sitting on top of a hill. The captain said to him, "Man of God, the king has commanded you to come along with us." 10 But Elijah replied to the captain, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your fifty men!" Then fire fell from heaven and killed them all.

Debates carry on in America; is this a Christian nation?  Opinions abound but I know this, American was founded by men influenced by Christian thought.  Only men influenced by Christian thought (beliefs) could write this in the Declaration of Independence.  It reads in part…”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable (incapable of being transferred, denied or taken away) Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

Truth that is “self-evident”?  Where did this idea come from?  Who revealed this truth?  What kind of radical idea is this “all men are created equal” stuff?

In God’s Word, Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28 (NIV): There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  This is where this idea came from.  America’s founders wrote down this “idea” and yes, we have not carried it out in perfection.  As a nation, we are a work in progress or a work heading towards destruction.  Which one is it?

Hindus have a “caste system;” you are born into a certain caste or social group.  You can leave your “caste” by marrying “up”.  If you do, it will cost you something.  In the Hindu faith or system, all men are not created equal. The lowest caste is the “untouchables”.   The Hindus could not have written the Declaration of Independence.

The Muslim faith does not believe in equality.  Women are considered property; at best they are second class citizens.  Education of women is not encouraged.  Infidels (non-believers) are to be killed or subdued by violence.  Social life is highly restrained.  No equality; no “life”; no liberty; and no “pursuit of happiness” here.  They didn’t write the Declaration of Independence either.

Why does America run from its Christian roots?  Only men of the Christian faith could have written the Declaration of Independence.  Yet we, like King Ahaziah, are asking the Baal-Zebubs of the world, “What is our future?”  The New Living Bible says in 2 Kings 1:2-5:  After Ahab's death, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2 Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, "Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury." 3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?' 4 Therefore this is what the LORD says: 'You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!' "So Elijah went. 5 When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, "Why have you come back?"

What’s wrong with America?  We have forgotten the God who created us, sustains us, and saves us.  It’s from Him that we derive our “unalienable rights”.  We are too proud to humble ourselves and return to Him but we will ask every “non-existent mini-god” for advice as we slide down the slippery slope to oblivion.

We have run everywhere else and we may die in our plush beds in our over-stuffed houses, just like King Ahaziah.  Even if some of us were stricken dead, would we listen? 

Return to the True God, Jesus; He came to serve not be served.  We no longer need be afraid of God.  Jesus has come.  God is with us.  We can serve Him without fear anywhere in the world; that’s true freedom and liberty.