Lead On

www.bible.com/72/psa.143.10.hcsb

A simple plea of the Psalmist today for the Lord to rescue him. The Psalmist says he wishes to learn the ways of God and be led by the Spirit onto easy ground, because he’s been in some tough places. The Psalmist wants to live for the Lord, but life has really gotten in the way and he Psalmist pleads for rescue so that he can live for the Lord. Sound familiar?

I don’t know what you are going through today, but I’m sure you can empathize with the writer here. I could live for the Lord if He would just lighten the burden a little, give me a little breathing room. Some days are like that. I am too busy just trying to get through it that I forget that I have a loving God who is watching out for me. Sometimes it feels like He abandons us altogether. It feels like it. It’s like the parent who lets go of the bike so that his child can ride on his own. He is never far, but He lets you try it for a while. We never get tougher if we are always coddled. We need seasons in the crucible so that the dross can be burned away. We don’t like them, but they are designed to focus our attention on Him. God is seasoning us with stress and conflict, so that we will learn not to depend on our own wisdom, but His leading.

We know we need that. We just don’t like the process it takes to get there. No one does. No one enjoys boot camp, but it is a necessary process to take soft civvies and turn them into soldiers. We need the training if we are going to be effective servants. We know this is true, even though we cry out in the midst of it. But know that God is the way through it. Let Him lead.

God bless you today. Remember the struggle is not forever. You will get through this.

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Who Then Can Be Saved?

www.bible.com/72/mat.19.26.hcsb

Jesus’s answer to the question is our verse today. The rich young ruler has just been turned away. He seemed to have everything together. Not only had he kept the Law and was blameless, he was also blessed, bearing wealth and possessions. He was what they in those days (and today) a successful man. He was young, wealthy, and good. He was a catch. Jesus considered him, and told him that his path heaven to heaven was blocked by the very things he considered blessed. Jesus told the young man to sell his possessions and follow the Christ. Note that Jesus doesn’t tell every wealthy person this, but every wealthy person whose wealth is a problem could benefit from his counsel.

The disciples are shocked, because the young man has done everything right. They all wished they could be like him. So they are astonished. If such a man isn’t ready for heaven, how could anyone?

Jesus corrects their thinking. With man, salvation is impossible. You cannot earn by your own ability a ticket to heaven. But with God, even salvation is attainable. The key difference, is God involved in your salvation? Or are you trying to earn it on your own?

There’s no need to make this verse try to say more that what this context suggests. It galls me that verses like this are taken out of context and plastered on a Facebook or an Instagram without reference to its origin and a person will think it applies to anything they wish. Taken on its own, this statement is actually false, because not all things are possible with God. There are things like “can God make a rock so big that he can’t move it?” That is a logical fallacy. If God could make a rock, He would have the power to move it. God cannot make a square circle, or a married bachelor. Not all things are actually possible. But whatever is possible to do, God can do it.

But God is also limited in this: He can not commit evil. That is something we can do that God cannot do, because it violates His nature. He cannot lie. He cannot lust. He cannot technically murder (because He has the power to create life, and resurrect, He has the authority to take life, and only extends that authority to us in capital cases). God cannot sin. With God all things are possible, but only the things it is possible for God to do.

Thank you all for reading today. I hope this has been a blessing for you. God bless you and have a great day!

What’s New?

www.bible.com/72/isa.43.19.hcsb

Are you in the winter doldrums? Stuck in the gray and the depressing that is constant winter storm and overcast clouds? Yeah, winter can be a pretty depressing time of year. You’ll get no argument from me. That’s why I keep a calendar of beaches from around the world to remind me that the sun is shining, somewhere.

The verse today is also such a reminder. When God have this message to Isaiah, Israel was in a funk. They had faced down Assyrian invasion and were getting beaten up by their neighbors. God has warned them continually to change their ways or they would be destroyed as a nation. It seemed pretty dark for a while. But then comes a promise of brighter days ahead. “I am about to do something new.” He was referring of course to the coming of His Son, something new indeed, for Jesus is absolutely unique. He is the only begotten Son of God, and there will not be another. In fact, the person of Jesus would be the first unique creation since the beginning, that combination of the eternal Second Person of God in unity with a created human being. God made flesh. This is something new.

And this was hope for a people besieged by darkness. This One would be light to them, and show them the Way to joy again. But the promise isn’t just to Israelites, but to you today. Jesus Christ is still the light to those trapped in darkness, especially the darkness of the soul.

I encourage you today to pray for light, both to clear the clouds away and to receive the light of the Son. Brighten your day with joy. Allow yourself to feel joy today. Let God in.

Sounds easy too easy, doesn’t it. It does. If you are waiting until you deserve it, you’ll never get it. No one deserves this kind of peace that God offers. You don’t. I don’t either. Instead, He doesn’t deal with us according to our worth. He deals with us according to His love. Yes, despite everything you’ve done, He still loves you. And He doesn’t just love us from afar, He sent His Son. He sent His Son into our world to demonstrate His love for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may have everlasting life.” That’s what He offers you today, life! See what new thing He is bringing to you. Life, not death.

I want to encourage you today. Talk to Him. Shout at Him. Tell Him what is in your heart. Let it out so you can let Him in.

God bless you today.

Something to Look Forward To

www.bible.com/72/php.1.6.hcsb

Ever get excited about something coming up on your calendar? I know I do. I get excited about vacations coming up, or finally finishing classes or assignments. Just to know that when a certain date comes, the stress will be over and I will be free. Well, the Christian life is like that too.

One day, it will all be over, literally. One day there will be nothing else to do, no one else to witness to, no one left to argue with, because on that day, Christ Jesus will be coming back. We have the best day to look forward to, don’t we?

But if you noticed in this verse, there is something else. On that day, we will be finished, but not in the sense that we are threatened. We will be finished in the sense that God will be done working on us. At that point, we will be completed, mature, ready for what comes next. We may not know the particulars, but we know that God is getting us ready for something more than this life. It’s as if we are in labor to bring our souls to life in new bodies; that our whole life has been 90 years of birth pangs in order to bring a new life into the next world. That’s a funny thought, isn’t it?

Our original genetic material began long before we were born, when our mother was in utero in her own mother, and all the eggs she would ever produce in her lifetime we’re formed. Our father’s contribution was created only a few days before we were conceived, to introduce us to 9 months of development. Our mother then went into labor to bring us into the world. Those nine months determined a lot about the kind of person we would be when we were born. So too these 90 years will determine a lot about the kind of eternity we will be found in. Something to think about.

God bless!

A Day to Rejoice

www.bible.com/72/psa.2.11.hcsb

Want to send this out to everyone today I hope you have had a great day of worship and refreshment in the Lord’s house with the Lord’s people. If not, why not try to find a place before the day’s over.

We serve a wonderful and powerful God. He alone deserves our time, our worship and our awe. And I am getting old enough that few things awe me anymore. I’ve seen spectacle and amazing. Now I just feel jaded. It’s a “been there, done that” kind of feeling. That’s one reason I keep turning back to God, because He never fails to amaze me. Taking five minutes just to understand how awesome this universe is, from galactic clusters to quanta. Every day can be filled with wonder at a God who is infinitely creative.

So let us serve Him, with praise and worship, awe and wonder, for He alone is worthy of our praise.

God bless you today.

Let Us Be Clear

www.bible.com/72/2pe.3.9.hcsb

We are waiting. We are waiting for the Lord to fulfill His promises to us to come back and redeem His people and take them with Him to Heaven. Christians have been waiting 2000 years. In fact will be 2000 years in 2030 since Jesus rose and ascended in AD 30, or later depending on how you figure it.

So there are voices that declare that Jesus’ return has been predicted pretty consistently and no one has got it right yet. Others, like the Preterists, say Jesus fulfilled His promises in AD 70, but many of them can’t agree on that either. So what are we waiting for? Funny thing no one ever mentions is that Jesus also comes for each of us at a time of His choosing, the day that no one of us expects, the day we die.

In John 14 Jesus says He is going away to prepare a place for us, but that He will come back (personally) to receive us when we die. Whether Jesus came in AD 70 or will in AD 2070, He comes back for each of us, so that no one loses out on His coming.

So the delay above has just as much to do with the apparent delay of Jesus’ Coming as it does the day of our death. Why does God allow bad things to happen? Because in His love, He gives time for repentance. He give time for the gospel message to work in the heart and for change to occur.

Just a few days ago, I talked with a woman whose husband lay dying. He had not until that moment put his faith in Jesus, and asked me to pray with her that he husband would now, at death’s door, finally give His life to Jesus. That was a difficult prayer. Because I knew that this man had countless opportunities to believe in Jesus, and that God had delayed until this very day to give him a chance for grace. The man died that day. He never woke up. Jesus came. Was he ready?

I write this so that you don’t have to be that guy. Don’t be the guy that stands at the threshold of glory, and is allowed to see all the wonder of Heaven, but never allowed in, because in a lifetime of opportunity, you never said “yes!” Jesus will come back, and for most, it is sooner than they think.

God bless you today. Don’t delay.

Where’s Jesus?

www.bible.com/72/col.3.1.hcsb

Love this verse today! What a refreshing peace it brings. Why? Because it answers the question, where’s Jesus?

Two men come up to the door. They knock. The door opens. The question: Have you found Jesus yet? The answer: I didn’t know He was lost. Modern evangelism often acts like a great game of where’s Waldo. The object of the game is to find Jesus and then surrender to Him like He’s the one that found you. It’s a little confusing. Have you found Jesus yet? Has Jesus found you?

So when I read this verse, I find out where Jesus has been hiding. And no wonder so many haven’t found Him. He’s hiding in a place we can’t go on our own. That’s not fair. He is seated at the right hand of God! We can’t find Him if He doesn’t play fair. But then He doesn’t play fair, does He? “He doesn’t punish us as our sins deserve.” He gives us grace and more grace, undeserved favor where we have not earned it.

That also means that if we seek Him, He tells us where He is. He calls us to direct our attention to heaven. He tells us to direct our prayers and worship to heaven, to the throne of grace. Jesus doesn’t hide from us so that we have to labor to find Him. He tells us exactly where He is. It’s not, “Have you found Jesus yet?” but “Since you know where He is, what will you do with Him?”

God bless you today!