Archive for June, 2015
“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.” (3 John 1:11)
Don’t imitate evil. Imitate good.
Don’t fight fire with fire. Don’t respond in kind. Don’t do it just because they did it first.
Imitate good. Imitate God.
Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jereboam, which he had caused Israel to commit. (II Kings 10:31)
Sin is a matter of the heart. But it is also a matter of attention and effort. Stay focused today.
For the first time, and quite possibly the last time, my wife and I are traveling to Israel. We will see many of the places where the great stories of the Bible took place. We will walk the roads of what is called the Holy Land.
What we won’t see in Israel is the temple in Jerusalem. We’ll see partial ruins of where it once stood, but the temple itself was destroyed in the first century and never rebuilt. All that remains is the Western Wall, what is called the Wailing Wall.
Yet it’s not entirely true to say that I won’t see God’s temple while on my trip to Israel. In fact, I’ll see that temple every morning when I look in the mirror, just as I do every day. The apostle Paul twice told the Christians in Corinth that God’s temple still stands today:
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
I am a temple of God because God lives in me. He comes to live in every person who is born again of water and Spirit.
While preaching to non-Christians in Athens, Paul told them:
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” (Acts 17:24)
There’s no building that is more of a temple than I am. God lives in people, not buildings built by human hands.
I’m excited to go to Israel, to see the historical sites there. I’m anxious to come to know better the lands that I read about in the Bible.
I’m also truly excited to have the privilege of being a temple of God. I, too, am “holy land.” The God who made the world and everything in it lives in me.
You can be holy as well. You can be a temple of God. Let him come live inside you.
“O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” (Psalms 144:3–4)
When I read verses like this, I like to remember the message of John 3:16 — God loved the world so much that he sent his Son to save us.
Or I remember Romans 5, how God reached out to us when we were his enemies.
And I echo the words of psalmist: what is man that you care for him?
Thank you, God, for caring.
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (Acts 1:14)
Prayer is powerful. Say your private prayers, but look for opportunities to pray frequently with other believers.
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” (Ezekiel 3:17)
We have a responsibility, those of us who have come to know God’s Word. We aren’t just supposed to learn for our own instruction; we are to help others know what God wants of them.
The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. (Numbers 21:7
We you sin, confess and seek the Lord’s help. When someone asked you for help, pray for them.
“This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’S house to be built.’” Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”” (Haggai 1:2–4)
God’s people had been in exile, living in a foreign land. Their country was in ruins. God’s temple had been destroyed.
Then he brought them home, brought them back to rebuild. But they said, “It’s not time to focus on God’s things; let’s work on our own houses.”
Put God as a priority, and everything else will fall into place. Don’t think, “For now I’ll focus on my job, then later I’ll think about God.”
Focus on God. Now is the time.
Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with your by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now.” (II Samuel 19:7)
Be a constant spiritual encourager. It keeps people focused and it keeps them from giving up and quitting.
I know how tempting it must have been for him. He was four years old and he loved watermelon. And there it sat – a big, round, sure to be juicy, watermelon. It was right on the edge of the cabinet. Everyone told him to leave it alone, that Mom and Dad would cut it up later. It was explained that it would be too hard for him to lift it, and that if he tried he would drop it and it might split open on the floor. Sure that he understood the danger, everyone went on about their business.
Until there was a loud thump, and there it was; watermelon on the floor, cracked right down the middle. Everyone turned around and saw what had happened. You could sense the various feelings among the adults: disappointment, frustration, surprise, and anger. But before anyone could do or say anything, that four year looked up and said…
“Well, I never saw that happening.”
Obviously he thought he could handle it, he just knew he would not drop it, and he must have thought that none of us knew what we were talking about. Right up until the moment it fell.
It was just a watermelon, so the damage was actually pretty minimal. And since the boy in question was my grandson Austin I thought it was actually funny. But it reminded me of how so many people go through life.
The devil sets up temptations in your life. You may know that you are not supposed to do something and people warn you of the consequences if you do. Maybe you do not believe them, or you do not really hear the warnings, or you do not believe bad consequences can happen to you.
Until everything crashes down. You just really did not see that happening. Until it did.
God sent Jesus to forgive our sins and to heal us from the consequences of our bad decisions. And that I do see happening.