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

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!

Blurred Vision

Yesterday morning, my wife and I had an interesting experience. As is always the case, one of the first things I do every morning is insert my contact lens in my right eye. I have an implant in my left eye which I use for up close vision and reading. Within seconds the sight in right eye was blurred. This led me to think I had dropped my contact on the table or floor in front of me. So the frantic search with a flashlight began. No contact. I then went to retrieve an old backup contact that I keep in my case. In so doing, the vision in my right eye became even more blurred. Guess what? I put the second contact on top of the one I thought I had lost. Well, part of the situation was “cleared up,” but my vision was still blurry. Thinking the contact was not positioned right on my eye, I went on about my morning thinking the situation would correct itself. I must add that since I had a detached retina in my left eye two years ago, I began to wonder if something was beginning to happen to my other eye.

Unbeknownst to me, Denise had by this time put in her contacts. After a moment she entered the dining room where I was working and declared that her vision was blurry, too! She left and then returned moments later asking, “Did you take a contact out of a case with two contacts?” Immediately the mystery of our impaired vision was solved! We both have the same color contact cases, so in my fumbling, bumbling early morning stagger, I had picked up her case and inserted her contact in my right eye. What a delight to be able to see clearly now that our vision has been corrected.

How will you see life in 2015? Through the “contact lens” of human viewpoint or divine viewpoint? Human viewpoint perceives life from a fleshly, selfish, worldly paradigm that convinces and/or assumes “I am right” (Proverbs 14:12). Divine viewpoint perceives life from a biblical, humble, Christlike paradigm that says, “God is always right” (Psalm 18:30). Human viewpoint comes when we fill our minds with worldly thinking, reading and entertainment (Romans 12:1-2). Divine viewpoint comes when we fill our minds with Truth (Philippians 4:8). Human viewpoint has “How does this make me feel, or what will make me happy” as its motivation. Divine viewpoint says, “How will this glorify God or make me grow in Christ or cause me to praise my God” as its goal (Psalm 150:6; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 3:18). Human viewpoint will leave you frustrated, empty, never satisfied and bored (Ecclesiastes 1:12-18). Divine viewpoint leads you to rest, fulfillment, contentment, and joy (Philippians 4:6-11; Hebrews 3:7-19). Human viewpoint comes from “following your heart” (Jeremiah 17:9); divine viewpoint is developed by a life saturated by the Word (Psalm 119). Human viewpoint lives for now; divine viewpoint lives for eternity (Philippians 1:21).

As you move into 2015, will your life be blurred with selfish human viewpoint or clear with Christ-exalted divine viewpoint? Which contact case will you use?

Father’s Words

Dad-Army

As a young boy being raised in the Cunningham home, there was one thing among many that was certain. When my earthly dad said something, he meant it. His words were powerful. They carried weight.

My Heavenly Father created words. They carry much more weight. As a matter of fact, God created all things out of nothing (ex nihilo) by His spoken word (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24). Who has the power to speak a word and create something out of nothing? Only Elohim, Creator God! And that is not all. God continually is speaking. As A.W. Tozer said in The Pursuit of God, “He is by His nature continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking Voice.” (Psalm 19:1-6)

The question to me and to you is, “Are we listening?” Through all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, there is so much noise, confusion, traffic, busyness, distractions, running-here-and-there, that it is so easy to miss hearing the voice of God. Tozer goes on to say, The Word of God is quick and powerful. In the beginning He spoke to nothing, and it became something. Chaos heard it and became order, darkness heard it and became light. “And God said-and it was so.” Do you need order in the midst of your chaos today? What is God saying to you through His Word? Are you listening?

Just as my dad spoke with authority, My Heavenly Father speaks with transcendent authority. His words always mean something and carry absolute weight. He is always speaking. Be sure to listen today for He is talking directly to you. (Proverbs 2:1-5; John 10:27-28; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 3:20, 22)

Eat All You Want Church

While driving through a nearby town, I read the following on a Bojangles Restaurant board, “Sunday Buffet, 11-2, Eat All You Want.”  This got me to thinking about what happens in churches across the country every Sunday from around 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or so. Every Sunday when you attend Sunday School and the morning and evening services, the following ought to be true:

1.  The teaching in SS and the preaching in the services should be a buffet that is well-prepared, presented and prayed over.

Therefore, the pastor needs to spend time alone with the Lord early in the mornings each day to know the heart of God and His Word.  He must pray through the passages that he’ll be preaching from in the coming days.  He needs to study the text, dig for the meaning, seek the Spirit of God to reveal the Truth, and come to the “table” ready to deliver the goods!

If Bojangles invites you to eat their food until you are full, they had better have the food prepared.  So should the pastor and teachers.

2.  The attenders should want nothing more than to leave having eaten all they could hold.

Now, since losing my weight, I do not have the capacity to eat like I used to.  There were years that buffet and happiness were synonymous in my book.   Sad to say, too many Christians have a greater capacity to eat temporal food than they do eternal manna.  Hence, it’s like the old hair gel commercial’s tag line, “A little dab will do you.”  We eat hardy at the world’s tables, but are satisfied with a light snack of God’s Word.  The reason I return to a restaurant is due to the good food.  When I heard a restaurant I love was opening in my town, I was excited!  We should be in the Word so much outside of church that when we attend, we eat until we are full and are looking forward to the next time!

Think on these truths:

Psalm 19:7-11

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;

8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold,

Yea, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,

And in keeping them there is great reward.

 

Psalm 119:97, 103

Oh, how I love Your law!

It is my meditation all the day.

How sweet are Your words to my taste,

Sweeter than honey to my mouth!

 

Jeremiah 15:16

Your words were found, and I ate them,

And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;

 

So, are you faithful member of the Eat All You Want Church?  I’ll pray, prepare, and present; you eat all you want!

Check Your Cell Bible

As we drove to church last night, I made a comment to my wife about the ominous weather system hanging over us.  The sky looked eerie and was accompanied with an interesting calm.  We had already been alerted to the potential of tornadic activity in our area which became a reality as our cell phones’ severe weather alerts sounded off.  As we heard the thunder and rain, many of us went into “checking our phone” mode.  Probably not too much is remembered about the missionary DVD presentation because of us watching the weather radar.  Eventually, to be safe, we moved everyone downstairs to a secure location.  The storm passed to the east of us, we continued our service there and then enjoyed a time of fellowship in the gym eating sandwiches, chips and ice cream.

Our reaction to yesterday’s severe weather reminds me of how we should live in the storms of life.  Think about all the “storms” brewing in the world today:

  • Israeli – Hamas conflict
  • The Russian – Ukraine conflict
  • Persecution of believers in Iraq and Syria
  • Strange weather situations like in the Los Angeles area on Sunday afternoon

So, what is the correlation? In the same way our cell phones had our attention, and in the same way we kept checking it for new alerts/messages, we should be looking at all the “storms” in the world as well as our own life constantly checking our Bibles. Scan  what God has to say about wars, sin, strife, conflict, sorrow, the weather, upheavals, death, etc.  You want to know how to respond in all the storms of life, search the Scriptures. You want to know the latest, check your Bible.  God’s Word is always relevant, fresh, and true.

By the way, your “Cell Bible” just vibrated!  You have a storm alert sent from Heaven!