Archive for January, 2014
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.” (Malachi 4:1)
There will be a day of judgment. You can count on it.
“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” (John 21:24)
Eyewitness testimony is a powerful thing. Jesus had a group of followers, a special group of 12, who were called the apostles. One of them, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Jesus before Jesus’ death. The others saw Jesus after his resurrection and were witnesses to that amazing fact: the One that was crucified came to life again and lives forever!
These men suffered and were killed because of their testimony. But they never wavered nor contradicted themselves. They were faithful witnesses to the end.
And we know that what they said is the truth! Jesus is Lord, the risen Lord, who will one day come again.
It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring recieved the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. (Romans 4:13)
We can be righteous based on what we do and don’t do. Because none of us will get everything right. So believe in the one who did get everything right: Jesus. We become righteous by having faith in him.
“If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” (1 Samuel 2:25)
We live in a world of political correctness. Everyone wants to make sure that they aren’t offending anyone else. Yet who thinks about what happens when we offend God?
We shouldn’t offend people nor do wrong by them. But it’s much, much worse to offend God and sin against him.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. (Psalm 14:2)
God is still serching for seekers. He will see that they have the opportunity to know him. Maybe today he will use you to show a seeker the way home.
I have a brand new calendar on my desk. I am filling it in with appointments, notes, and reminders. I look forward to the things that will happen this year. As exciting as it was to get my new calendar in place, I found myself wondering what to do with last year’s calendar. There were so many wonderful memories on those pages. God did some amazing things last year. I saw appointments with people who ended up giving their lives to Jesus. I saw notes on hospital visits, Bible classes, and preaching assignments.
It was then that I realized I could spend the rest of the day enjoying the good things from the year before. I could end up spending several days/weeks/months living in the past. There were some good days last year. I could live in the past. Of course, then I would end up ten years from now still talking about what I had done a decade ago.
And I found that there were bad days on last year’s calendar. Some recorded, some not. There were missed opportunities, poor choices, and bad decisions. It would be possible to spend days/weeks/months lost in the regret, shame, and guilt of those days from the past that were not so good.
So I decided to throw away last year’s calendar. I would remember the good times with thankfulness, but I would start with a new calendar to record the wonderful things that would happen this year. And I would hope to learn from the past mistakes, but I would not let them keep me from doing better this year.
Then it dawned on me. My calendar was a representation of life as a Christian. If your past has shame, guilt, and regret – you need to know that God offers forgiveness and healing. He offers new life. He lets you start new. Your future is full of plans that God has prepared for you to do. Healing and forgiveness for past, purpose for you present, hope for your future.
““Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”” (Matthew 14:28–31)
It’s easy to be hard on Peter. But we have to remember that the other apostles didn’t even get out of the boat!
When did Peter sink? When he took his eyes off of Jesus. When he became more aware of the wind and the waves than he was of Jesus’ presence.
Focus on the Lord and work every day to get closer to him. You’ll find that you’ll do much more than if you merely sat in the boat.
Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. (James 5:7)
The Lord will return some day. And when he does, it will be worth the wait. Those who believe in him will live with him forever. Be patient. It is coming.
“Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.” (Ezra 4:4)
It’s much easier to tear down than to build. It’s easier to criticize than it is to praise. It’s easier to discourage than it is to encourage.
The enemies of God’s people tried to distract them from their work, from the work of rebuilding what had been destroyed. Today, even though we probably aren’t building a physical building, we will find many who want to discourage us. They don’t want to see us progress as a church. It may be because of jealousy or fear. It may be for many reasons.
But whatever their motives are, we can’t let others stop us from doing the work God has laid before us. Don’t be afraid nor discouraged. Keep doing the work of the Lord.
True words. The Bible is a real book about real life and real people. It does speak truth today.