In a Split-Second!

Missle Cruiser

That’s all it takes for news anyplace in the world to reach the world along with its far-reaching impact due to the internet.  It impacts the minds, hearts, and emotions of millions . . . in a split-second!

Even the worn-out announcement “Breaking News” still grabs the inquisitive minds of so many!

Early this morning as I sat by the fireplace reading Jeremiah 14-16, I repeatedly saw phrases like this: Then the Lord said to me . . . The Lord said . . . Therefore thus says the LORD.

Compare for a moment earthly, internet news and the words of God.

  • The news you hear in the world turns old in moments; God’s Word is never stale, it’s eternal and life giving (Psalm 33:11; 119:25, 89, 92-93; 1 Peter 1:25).
  • The news you hear in the world is often tainted by man’s viewpoint; God’s Word is always pure, perfect and true (Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17).
  • The news you hear in the world is always a symptom of a greater problem; God’s Word always correctly diagnosis the case and prescribes the correct remedy (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  • The news you hear in the world can quickly become irrelevant; God’s Word is always relevant and fresh for every situation of life (Psalm 119:89-96).

As I pondered God’s direct communication to and through Jeremiah to Israel and their subsequent response, I thought of my response to God’s Word as I read its pages.

Which affects me more; which grips my heart the most; which grabs my inquisitive mind?  News on the internet or the truths of God’s Word?

Spend some time meditating on Psalm 119:97-104.  In a split-second it can change your life, and it’s always for good.

97 Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
102 I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

Ready to Face the World

Bible Reading

As we proceeded around the small group circle last night in Prayer Meeting, one person after another shared a passage of Scripture from their Wednesday morning time with the Lord.  What stood out to me was how many of them followed up the reading of that passage by saying, “And later on in the day, I had an issue come up that my morning scripture reading addressed.”  Or, “Later on in the day, I was engaged in conversation with someone who needed what the Lord gave me from His Word this morning.”  Or, “I was fearful over a situation today but thinking on Truth stabilized me.”

Read these words carefully:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16).

Yesterday morning, my time in the Word covered so many examples of God giving clear direction to His people (i.e. Micaiah in 1 Kings 22; Elijah, 2 Kings 1; Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 20; Joseph, Matt. 2).  What an encouragement these passages were to my heart as I sat at the lunch table with other leaders from our church discussing future ministry and needing God’s guidance.

There are many reasons to daily read and meditate on the Word of God, but suffice it to say that you and I need God’s Word to teach, rebuke, correct and instruct so that we are prepared for today.

What did God say to you from His Word this morning?  Watch for how He will use it later on in your day.

The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130).

From a pastor’s heart,

dale

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!

 

large_why-memorize-scripture

“I’m too old to memorize Scripture!”

I’ve heard that statement over-and-over again throughout the years.

Recently, a gentleman in our church has his restful afternoon interrupted by great discomfort in his chest and arm.  He ended up having his heart shocked in the ambulance and at the ICU, his defibrillator replaced with a pacemaker, and a few days stay in the hospital.

While standing by his bedside, he said, “Preacher, I’ve been memorizing some Scripture.  While I was in the ambulance, I had perfect peace because one passage that I have learned came to my mind.”  He then quoted Psalm 107:1, O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.

This morning while talking to his wife on the phone, she relayed to me something her husband said a few month ago.  “There are familiar verses of the Bible I know, but I need some new verses.”  Hence, he has set out to accomplish his goal.

His goal enriched his soul in a traumatic moment as the comforting, powerful Word of God came to his mind.

What passage are you working on?

Are you making excuses?

How has God’s Word enriched your soul today?

Oh, by the way, this man is 78 years old.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.  (Joshua 1:8)

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11)

On the Same Page Together

02-08-17-on-the-same-page-1

Yesterday I received my daily email from All-Pro Dad, and the post for Wednesday was entitled, 4 Areas You and Your Wife Need to Be on the Same Page

The four areas are:

  1. Touching throughout the day.
  2. Spending money wisely.
  3. Making big decisions together.
  4. Having an Open-Heart policy.

BONUS: Closing the day in prayer

These four things are spot-on, but what caught my attention was the title of the article and the bonus.  They describe the real need of every marriage.

The page that every marriage should work from each day is a page from God’s Word.

The bonus in every marriage, every day is prayer!

You see, God, the Creator of marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18-25), is also the Author of God’s Word.  Therefore, for a husband and wife to be blessed and have an honorable marriage, they will work off the same page . . . the page(s) of God’s Word.

Since God is righteous (Psalm 145:17), then all His ways, counsel, direction, and wisdom is right.  You want to know what’s right for your marriage, then both of you work off the same page, God’s Word!

Husband and wives should read the Word together, share with each other what God teaches you each day-by-day from the Word, faithfully attend a Bible teaching and preaching church, be exposed to biblical preaching via podcasts or radio, attend camps and conferences where you can learn the Word together, and live your lives in accordance to God’s right path (Joshua 1:8-9; Psalm 1:1-6; 19:7-14).

Proverbs 14:11 reminds us, There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  Since marriage is the union of two selfish individuals whose way seems always best to themselves, it is most wise to walk in the counsel of God’s righteous Word.

The power and place of God’s Word is on display in Psalm 119.  Here’s an action plan. How about each day, you and your spouse read one eight-verse section from Psalm 119.  Take turns reading each verse out loud and stopping after each verse to listen to God and share with each other how that verse applies to your life and marriage.  Then jot down in a journal your thoughts, biblical plans, and the righteous path God has revealed to you as you read, discuss and meditate on the Word.

Finally, enjoy the BONUS—pray together.  Don’t just wait until the end of the day.  Find yourselves praying for and with each other throughout the day and night.  The absolute best place to go with your spouse is to the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Now, that’s really working off the same page!!

Map My Run

 

wp-1469016835279.jpg
Tweetsie Trail (Great place to run)

Map My Run is a handy app on my phone that logs all my workouts.  It records my distance, duration time, average pace, split-pace times, calories burned and elevation gain.  These details are very important as I reach out for my goals in preparation for the next race or just to keep in shape.

Map My Run reminds me of a very functional tool for your daily spiritual growth—a journal.  Just as the Map My Run app helps me track my physical fitness, I believe a hand written journal or one online is a good means to help you in your daily relationship with Christ; to run the race of the Christian life as we set our affection on things above and not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2) to stay spiritually fit.  So consider the following questions:

  • How do you track your growth in Christ?
  • As you read the Word each day, where do you record what God said to you?
  • When you attend church, how do you document what God is up to in your life during the service whether in singing, prayer, small group Sunday School or the preaching?
  • What has the Lord been teaching you in the school of trials and temptation?
  • How have you seen God answer prayer today?
  • What spiritual goals have you attained by the grace of God?
  • What sins have your overcome?
  • What victories have been won by faith and God’s grace?

We are prone to soon forget the blessings of God, the impact of His Word, and the lessons He brings, but not so if we record them in a journal and then scan over them each week.  Our Shepherd is leading us today (Psalm 23).  Let’s track His steps and His lessons in our lives.  The Christian life is not a sprint but a marathon.  Let’s run well in His Word, burning off the calories of sin, the flesh and the world, and keep a good pace through all the elevations of life as we run for the prize.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

How’s Your Passion?

wp-1463711171520.jpg

Recently, I was asked this question by a dear friend.  We hadn’t seen each other for a couple of years, and after getting caught up, he asked, “How’s Your Passion?”  Passion for what?  Coffee?  UK Wildcats? Running?  Hiking?  Cars? Food?

Having known this person for many years, I knew what he meant.  He wanted to know how my passion for Christ was going?  He went on to say that recently two seminary students had ask him how they could keep their own passion going.  His answer, “You have to get up every day, early in the morning, and meet with God.”  His passion for Christ is on display every day and is so vital to him that he has even prepared a special place in his home to meet with God.  There you will find the fireplace, his chair, table, lamp, books, music, quiet and whatever else is necessary for him to pray, study and sit at Jesus feet.

Passion for Christ cannot be found doing ministry.  Passion for Christ cannot be gained from someone else.  Passion for Christ cannot be purchased at Lifeway Christian Bookstore. Passion for Christ comes by meeting daily with Him, alone, letting His Word read you, seeking His face, listening to His voice, and pouring out your heart to Him in prayer and worship.

Psalm 63 shows us another man, David, who was passionate about seeking God.

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

Pastor Steven Cole puts it, “David expresses longing for God’s presence, praise, joy, fellowship with God, and confidence in God’s salvation. The psalm shows us that David’s priority was to seek the Lord. Seeking after God should be our most important priority.”

So, let me ask you like my friend did me, “How’s your passion?”

Wildflowers and the Word

While traveling up the mountain toward the Blue Ridge Parkway for a day of hiking, all of sudden the driver of our vehicle stops in the road and puts the car in reverse.  What has caught Rick’s attention?  A bear?  Some deer? A waterfall?  Then he says, “That hillside is full of yellow trillium.”  I looked and all I saw were trees, weeds, and undergrowth.   I strained my eyes to see this early bloom, but to an avail.  And then he said, “See, right there in front of us beneath that tree is a whole bunch.”  Finally, my eyes settled in on what caught his eye passing by at 35- 40 mph.

Rick graduated from Clemson many years ago with a degree in forestry.  His love of the outdoors and all that God has created is readily seen if you spend any time with him in the mountains.  He has, by his own admission, spent many hours poring over wildflower books.  So a hike through the mountains with Rick is sure to be an education in forestry and flowers!

While heading on toward the trail with a few more wildflower recognitions, several analogies came to mind.

  1. Rick was able to quickly recognize these flowers because he has given dedicated time to the study of wildflowers. He knew what to look for, when to look for it, and where to look for these beautiful yellow flowers.  Are you able to readily see where God is at work because of your hours studying the Word of God?  Can you recognize His character being revealed through various daily situations of life?  Do you see answers to prayer?  Are opportunities to praise the Lord eagerly spoken?
  2. Rick has a passion for wildflowers that he is quick to share. How about you?  Is your passion for Christ such that there are no forced gospel opportunities?  It just comes natural for you to talk about the greatest passion of your life, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. As I mentioned earlier, Rick, without any fanfare, loves to teach about wildflowers. Have you studied the Word in such a way that discipleship is a passion for you?  Do you love to teach your children eternal truths?

I tried to “rejoice with those who rejoice” when Rick showed us those wildflowers. They were special to him. But the real rejoicing was being with a man who is more fervent for the Word of God, knowing Christ and seeing souls come to understand the Creator more than for what He has created.

So, the day on the trail was a day of beautiful wildflower sightings as well as sharing together in the blessings of being born again in Christ!

The Making of a Man: Who You Listen To

Who is the person you listen to more than anyone else?  Bob Kesling (UT Radio Voice)?  Brad Nessler (ESPN)? Shepard Smith (FoxNews)? Your children?  Your wife?  Your boss?  Your co-workers?  Men, the voice you listen to more than anyone else is . . . your own; your own heart.  Throughout a day, no matter what anyone says to you, you always respond to it from your heart.  See, right now, you are already responding to what I have written!  This begs us as men to consider two truths.

You must not listen to your heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Just taking this passage at face value, what does it say about your heart?  Do you want to listen to that which is deceitful, full of lies, and desperately wicked?  Do you want to listen to a heart that you cannot fathom, understand, or explain?  Then, why do you listen to yourself?  I listen to myself because I like myself.  I am selfish.  I think I have it all figured out.  See there, I am deceived.  So that leads me to the next principle that is so needed.

You must speak the truth to your heart.

Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.   Instead of listening to myself, I must speak the truth to myself.  There are so many wonderful, life-changing, “keeping me on the right track,” truths from God’s Word that need to be uppermost in my mind and heart.  Here a few right out of Ephesians 1 and based upon my position in Christ:

  • Since Christ is the eternal expression of God’s greatest blessing, I am blessed forever in Christ with all spiritual blessings (3).
  • Since Christ is the Father’s eternally Chosen One, I am chosen in Christ; His forever (4).
  • Since Christ is the accepted and beloved Son of God, I am accepted in the beloved (6).
  • Since Christ is the full payment for my sin, I am redeemed through His blood (7).
  • Since Christ is the access into God’s grace, I am graced forever (7).
  • Since Christ took the wrath of God for my sin, I am reconciled to God (10).

Men, to overcome the deceitfulness of our hearts, we must constantly speak the truth to our hearts.  Stop listening to yourself and start preaching the Truth to yourself today—that’s what we need to hear!

To the People in the Pew: The Snowy Word

Quiet. Peaceful. Snow falling. The country view out my front window. Another fresh blanket covering the ground.  As I watched the beauty of God’s creation, the Lord brought Isaiah 55:10-11 to my mind:

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,

And do not return there,

But water the earth,

And make it bring forth and bud,

That it may give seed to the sower

And bread to the eater,

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

There are several analogies of the snow and the Word of God:

  1. Snow quiets the earth, and the Word quiets our soul, our heart, our mind, our life.
  2. Snow falls quietly, and God speaks the Word quietly to our heart.
  3. Snow blankets the earth, and the Word blankets our heart when we are troubled, discouraged, or in need of wisdom.
  4. Snow makes the ugly beautiful, and the Word regenerates making beautiful what sin makes ugly.
  5. Snow slows us down, and the Word does the same or stops us in our tracks.
  6. Snow alters our life, and the Word will alter our life always for the better.
  7. Snow comes from the heavens, and the Word is settled and comes from above.
  8. Snow is avoided; sadly, the Word is avoided by so many.
  9. Snow has a future effect upon the earth preparing the ground for spring; the Word has a present and future effect preparing us for service, trials, witnessing, the Bema, and making us more Christ-like..
  10. Snow is unique as is demonstrated by each flake, and the Word is forever unique as there is no other word like God’s Word.

I’m sure there are many other analogies, but simply put, the next time the snow falls, if you are a believer, begin to think on the tremendous, awesome Word of God and let it drive you to its pages!!  Let it accomplish and prosper in your life what God so ordains!

Friday’s Findings

What a week this has been!  Winter raised its frigid head and blew in a storm of gnarly winds, bone-chilling temps, yet layered the ground with a pristine blanket of snow.  Quite, frankly, its just been another typical week in the life of a child of God.  And as always, it must be said, “God is good all the time; all the time God is good.”  So, here’s a few blog posts to end the week that you might find edifying, challenging, and humorous.  Looking for the Lord Jesus Christ to return today!  Will He find you and me watching and faithful? I heard Dr. Charles Wagner say many years ago in a sermon, “The imminent return of Christ should have immediate effects upon my life!”

Why Don’t Choir Members Smile

Three Reasons Why Bible Reading Can Feel Like a Chore

Fifteen Ways to Honor Your Wife

Our Home Heating Unit Is Broken and We Think It’s Funny

Only Just For Fun