Archive for September, 2014
“Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the LORD—and I must say only what the LORD says” (Numbers 24:13)
So it is for everyone who teaches the things of God. We cannot change the message; we must speak what God has said. No amount of money can change that. Any man who takes money to change what he teaches commits a great sin.
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (I Corinthians 3:3)
Christians must treat each other with love, respect, and pride. To fuss and fight is to show the world we are no different than they are. Be like Jesus.
You see them often in large, but very close, families. You hear them among the laughter, the excited conversations, and the greetings when they enter the room. Nicknames. Special names given by people who love them. Nicknames given to special people because they are loved. Everyone in my Dad’s extended family had nicknames. I can still remember as a child wondering when I would get mine. It was a rite of passage in that family. Getting your special nickname showed you belonged, that they accepted you, and that you belonged.
Some were obviously ironic: the really large man called “Tiny.” Some were obvious: lots of athletes are called “Hands,” or “Speedy.” Others clearly affectionate: “Jody Babe,” “Honey.” Mine was “Little Joe,” because I looked just like my Dad looked.
Nicknames are special names, names for people who are loved and belong, names given from people who love you.
Names like the one God wants to give you.
It is a promise from Jesus given to a group of Christians living in a town called Pergamum. And it is a promise to all those who overcome this world because of their faith in Jesus. God is going to give us a white stone with a new name written on it. A name known only to God. Our secret nickname given to us by someone who loves us.
A name that only believers in Jesus get to receive.
It thrills me to know that God has given me a new name because of my faith in Jesus.
You can get one too. The God that made you, that loves you, and that wants you to belong to him forever has a special name for you. All you have to do is believe in the One who has overcome this world. Believe in the One who died and now lives.
God made flesh.
Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. (Habakkuk 1:5)
God still does amazing things in our world. Unbelievable things. Just watch and see.
“When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”” (1 Kings 19:13)
The still small voice. Elijah was waiting for a word from God. It wasn’t in the mighty wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire. It came in a still, small voice. A whisper that said, “What are you doing here?”
We need that at times. We need to stop, look for God, and let him help us evaluate our life. We need for him to say, “What are you doing here?” and we need to answer honestly.
Elijah received a new purpose for his life, a new mission, and new reassurances of God’s assistance. We will too.
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. (Hebrews 11:31)
You are not too bad to become part of the family of God. It is a matter of faith, not a matter of your behavior. And faith will lead you to a different life. Life in Jesus.
“Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become an alien in a foreign land.”” (Exodus 2:22)
Gershom. I like that name. Alien in a foreign land.
You see, that describes me. I’m not really from here. I’m a citizen of heaven, a stranger and alien. I’m looking forward to the city that God is preparing me; until then, I’ll live as Gershom. An alien in a foreign land.
How about you?
So many storms come into our lives. Natural disasters, emotional storms, spiritual storms. God is present and it is often in times of storm and trouble that his message speaks the clearest. Listen for it.
“You’ll need to go in first.”
Those weren’t the words I wanted to hear. It was about 3:00 in the morning on a windy, rainy night. I was standing in front of our language institute in Córdoba, Argentina. A middle-of-the-night phone call had yanked me out of bed; now I was in the company of two police officers, looking at the open garage door.
“You’ll need to go in first,” one of the officers said, “Our regulations don’t allow us to enter the property until the owner is inside.”
It was a sad reality that people were more worried about what police officers might steal than they were about the crimes that might be prevented. That’s why the department had those regulations. But that wasn’t my concern that night.
Twice in the preceding months I’d had someone point a gun at me, demanding money. One of those times had been inside the very building we were looking at. Now these policemen wanted me to go in before they did!
Fortunately, it was a false alarm. Someone hadn’t close the door well, and the wind blew it open. But those were some tense moments.
In the Old Testament, when God’s people were about to enter the Promised Land, God repeated a promise over and over: I will go before you. I will fight your battles. I will drive out the people from the land where you are going to live.
I don’t want a God who stays behind while I go first. I don’t want a God who waits until I’m in trouble and then comes to my rescue. I want a God that goes ahead of me. I want a God that I can follow, one who will lead me the way I should go.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:1–4)
That’s the kind of God I want. That’s the kind of God I have. He doesn’t say, “You go first.” He says, “Come, follow me.”