Friday, March 30, 2007

Lent: Friday, March 30, 2007

Today just a quick quote from Christian Quotation of the Day. You can read more of there quotes by clicking here

In our praying, we should speak to God about Himself—that is praise; or about His gifts—that is thanksgiving; or about other people—that is intercession; or about our sins—that is confession and penitence; or about our needs—that is petition. Prayer has five fingers, like a hand, and each in turn must be pointed to God, that our prayer may be full and complete.

F. W. Kates (b.1920)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lent: Thursday, March 29, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 26:1-16

We see Jeremiah take one of the biggest risks anyone can take, be they a prophet, a preacher, a teacher, a lawyer, a janitor, a trucker driver or any profession. He takes a stand against his culture. He stands before them and says that unless they repent, they will face the Lord's judgment. Its hard to the only one crying for righteous. Its hard to be the only one willing to make a stand. Sometimes we feel alone, don't we?

Two things. If the Lord has called us to that stand, then it will work out. We will be alright. We will have the courage and the gumption to stand in the temple and proclaim His truth via our words and lives, if He has called. Second, we are not alone. We are never God's last hope. We are never the last ones that care for His will. Sometimes we can feel like the entire world has turned its back on God, but that is not true. We may not see what all He is doing, but He is working and moving in ways that we cannot understand. If we have been called to be Jeremiah, be faithful, and don't lose hope!

New Testament Lesson

Romans 11:1-12

We see Paul quote the actual story I was thinking about in the Old Testament passage today. Elijah thinks he is the only one left, but God tells him that He has 7000 He has reserved for Himself. This is a group chosen by His grace. That is something we must remember is that in the end, it comes down to His grace and to His mercy, for none of us are worthy of anything. We are saved, not by works, lest no one can boast, but by grace.

Never forget grace. Never think more of yourself than you ought. It is by grace only grace that we stand before God, and it is by grace, only grace, that we can know Him as a our Lord.

Gospel Lesson

John 10:19-42

They asked Jesus to say plainly to them He was the Messiah. He says, my works speak for themselves, but unless you believe, you will not see. Faith comes before sight. We must believe in the works of God before we can see the works of God. Faith come before sight, and faith gives sight. Before faith, you do not see the works of God as plainly, but after faith, you see the works of God everywhere.

That is why the Word says that we walk by faith not by sight. Not because we are not to see where we are going, but we are to walk with the better sight. For the sight of faith is much better, more trustworthy, more reliable than the sight of our eyes. The sight of our eyes only see what is there, the sight of faith sees what can, what God is doing, and what God is going to do.

To walk by faith, not by sight, is not dangerous, in fact it is the safest thing we can. For, when we do that, we walk close to God. And there is not better place to be than walking close to God.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 25:8-17

This is one of the more interesting passages in the Bible. Here, the Lord calls Nebuchadrezzar His servant. Now, Nebuchadrezzar was not in reality a servant of God. He did not follow God, he did not obey God's law, he did not worship God. He was the king of a sinful and pagan nation, they opposed God and worshiped many false gods. The the Lord calls him His servant. Why?

Because God is going to use him. God is going to use Nebuchadrezzar for a grand purpose. Now, that purpose is to punish His people for disobeying Him. But, to punish them, God will used this pagan king that did not know or worship God.

Two things: One, God is the one pulling the strings. He will accomplish His will and humans cannot stop Him. He will do what He wants to do. We can either work with His will and plan or we can kick against the goads. Two, God can and will use anyone. If He can use someone as evil as Nebuchadrezzar, can't He use you and me?

New Testament Lesson

Romans 10:1-13

There is that great article of salvation: Romans 10:9. If you confess with your lips and believe in your heart, you shall be saved. Its not rocket science. It is simple to understand; it is just hard to do. We must humble ourselves to the point where we can believe, where we can be used, where we can confess. It is not the world's most complicated procedure. But, sometimes it is the simple things that trip us up.

Belief and confession. We must start there. That, that is what God desires of us.

Gospel Lesson

John 9:18-41

There is that great scene in this passage where the Pharisees are harassing the man born blind about if he things that Jesus was this or that. And, finally the man says, I don't know all these things, all I know was that I was blind, and now I see. And He did it.

I don't know all the mysteries in the world. I can't explain everything that is to be explained. I can't fathom certain things, my mind cannot wrap around them. All I know is that I was once blind, but now I see. I was once dead, but now I'm alive. I was once hopeless, now I have the greatest hope.

I don't know everything; but I do know this, Jesus is life.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Lent: Monday, March 26, 2007

Today, just a Gospel Lesson

Gospel Lesson

John 9:1-17

One of my favorite quotes is by Max Lucado. He talks about this miracle and says that it is his favorite in all the Bible. He says that if Jesus can use spit and dirt to perform a miracle, He can use me too. I love that notion. Jesus takes the simple things, the small things, the things that might not be noticed by the powerful, and He uses them to do great things for the kingdom.

The question is not can God use you, the question is will you allow God to use you. He used spit and dirt. He can use us too.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lent: Friday, March 23, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 23:1-8

In Jeremiah, there is much talk about judgment and punishment for Israel's sin. But, even in the midst of the worst judgment, there is the hope of redemption. There is hope of salvation and restoration and grace. Nothing is beyond God's grace. No person is beyond redemption, no one is beyond salvation.

Israel would be punished for the things they had done. But, God would not forget the promises He had made to them. There would be a remnant that would be brought back, that would be saved. That to me, is the great hope of the Bible. There is always that opportunity for salvation. Always, always always. Remember, even in the darkest moments, God is working out a way to bring you back to Himself. If only we will respond.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 8:28-39

We see that Old Testament truth proved out in this passage. All things work to the good of those that love God. Does that mean that all things are good? No, but it means that even in the worst moment, God can bring something God out of it. There is no situation so bad that God can't bring something good out of it. God is always at work, in everything.

I give the illustration within sermons that within tragedy, I realize how much my family meant to me. So, does God cause tragedies to happen so I would love my wife more? Of course not! But, God can bring something good out of it for me. Even the worst moment, God can do some good. Even in the darkest hour God can bring something good out of it. All things can work out for God's glory.

The power of God, to me, is not that He keeps bad things from happening, but that He can bring something good out of even the worst situation.

Gospel Lesson

John 6:52-59

He is the bread of life. Nothing else is. He told the people that in the past, they ate manna. Now, they must eat the bread from heaven. They must not rely upon the things done in the past, but they, each one of them, must feast upon Him, and come to life in Him. Today, may we come to life; that life that comes only from Jesus.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lent: Thursday, March 22, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 22:13-23

We see in this passage two types of kings. The first has all the "stuff" of a king. Big house, servants, all things that you would associate with a king. But, this king doesn't pay his workers right. He doesn't treat them fairly. He is only interested in what he wants and does not do right by others. People respect him only because of what he has, not who he is.

The second person acts like one should. He is righteous and just. He treats his workers and servants well. People respect him not because of what he has, but who he is.

Do we seek to be respected, do we seek to impress others based off of what we have? Or do we seek it based off of who we are?

New Testament Lesson

Romans 8:12-27

One of the things that as a pastor is the hardest to hear is when someone is in the midst of a trial or tragedy to hear them say, "I can't pray." But, guess what. There will come a time in all of our lives, if we live long enough when we will have that experience. There will come a time when words will fail us. When we will look to heaven and not know what to say. When we just can't do it.

That is why I love this passage. It reminds us in the times when we don't know what to pray or can't even pray, the spirit intercedes on our behalf. Our prayers are not words; they are our hearts lifted up to God. Today, does your heart seek God? Today, does your inward most being seek God? Then, you are beginning to pray. Allow the spirit to continue to intercede on your behalf, and teach you to pray.

Gospel Lesson

John 6:41-51

We see here in this passage the teaching of Jesus, that He is the bread of life. Bread satisfies, bread gives life. Only Jesus will give you the life that you need. We read this passage in Bible Study last night, and I want to share with you another passage that draws in on this passage, from Isaiah 55

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.

Jesus is the bread of life that satisfies. Nothing else will. Do not labor, do not spend your money on that which will not. He is the bread of life. He is life itself.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 18:1-11

This is that great passage about the potter and clay. Just as the potter molds the clay into the vessel that he wants it to be, so does God mold us into the vessel that He wants us to be. Sometimes the clay is too hard to be molded. Then the potter has to work on it, kneed it, break it, even, for it to be molded into something useful.

Likewise, there are times when we are too hard, when our heart are too hard, when we may already have our minds made up. It is in those times God has to break us to mold us. We must remember that we exist not just for ourselves, but for God. We are here for His purpose and His plan, and we must allow the Holy Spirit to be at work on us, pulling us, prodding us, molding us, making us into His image. Making us into a useful vessel, making us into something God can use.

And, He will use us. We just have to allow ourselves to be molded.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 8:1-11

There is that great reminder for us today, there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. If you are in Him today, there is no condemnation. The things of the past have been forgiven. You are allowed to walk in new life. You are allowed to leave behind those burdens of past wrongs. You are all allowed to lay down that past baggage.

Why? Because if Jesus doesn't hold it against you, you should not hold it against yourself. Today, if you are in Christ, you have been forgiven. You are called to walk in that freedom and grace. God doesn't beat you up, you should not beat yourself up either. Today, if you are in Christ, you are not condemned.

However, if you are not in Christ, if you are not His, if you have not accepted Him, you will stand condemned one day. Won't you accept His freedom and grace today? Won't you know what it means to be forgiven and free today?

Gospel Lesson

John 6:27-40

Jesus is the bread of life. Nothing else will satisfy. Not your job. Not your hobbies. Not you money. Not your car. Not your teams. Not your hunting. Not your shopping. Not you vacations. Not even your family. He is the bread of life. Without Him, you will always be wanting, always be empty, never be what you can be. Only He can satisfy. Only He is life.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 17:19-27

We see here the Lord commanding the people to keep the Sabbath day holy. It is a really big deal to God. So big, He put it in the 10 Commandments. Why? Why should we take such care to keep the Sabbath day holy? A couple of reasons. The first is also the simplest. He told us to do it. That's a pretty good reason. If the Lord says to do something, you should do it.

Second, it reminds us that He created everything. The Sabbath was the day that the Lord rested from creation, and our rest on that days reminds us that the Lord made everything, both seen and unseen. Also, within this, we need the rest of the Sabbath. We need a time to take our minds off of work, off the things of this world, off the demands upon our time and allow ourselves to rest.

But, primary is worship. We are called to worship the Lord our God on this Sabbath day. He is Holy, He is Mighty, and He is strong. Sundays were given us as Christians to worship. To Worship God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Do you take time on Sunday to come to His house? To reflect upon His grace? To worship His name? Friends, not only has He commanded it, but it is something that is our very best interest as well.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 7:13-25

We see Paul remind us in this passage that sin and temptation are always close at hand. And, if someone like Paul knew the reality of sin, if he understand how easy it is to fall into sin and temptation, if someone as strong as Paul knew that sin was not a plaything, but something to be taken very seriously; how much must we be careful of sin.

For, while many of us may be strong in our faith, out doubt many of us are as strong as Paul. And, if Paul would say these things about sin, how much more must you and be concerned about sin and its ability to destroy our lives.

Gospel Lesson

John 6:16-27

We see Jesus telling the people that they were following Him not because He was the way to life, but because they thought they could get what they wanted out of Him. We serve Jesus to do what He wants. We should be interested in doing His will, not in Him doing ours. Remember we are here to serve Him. He is not here to serve us.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Lent: Monday, March 19, 2007

Just a quick thought for the day. Our daughter Sarah is sick today, please remember her in your prayers.

The primary object of prayer is to know God better; we and our needs should come second.
... Florence Allshorn

This is a quotation from the great website Christian Quote of the Day. You can see more quotes by clicking here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Lent: Friday, March 16, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 11:1-8, 14-20

The Lord reminds the people that He has warned them what will happen if the break the covenant. They are without excuse. They were told time after time after time if they break the covenant, they will be punished. They are told that their keeping of the land is tied to their keeping of the covenant. These two are linked. They were taken into exile because they did not do the things that they promised they would do.

Friends, our covenant with God means something. Our promises to God mean something. We had better keep them; we had better do for God what we promised we would do for God. Likewise, we should never enter into a promise with God without knowing what we are doing. God takes these things seriously, and will hold us to our word. Are we prepared to do for God what we promised we would for God. He expects nothing less.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 6:1-11

We must die to our sins. That means we must be willing to have the Holy Spirit search us and try us and see where we may be far from God or far from God's plan and then. . . be willing to change! Be willing to leave behind these things. If you are a Christian, you must not stay in your sin. You must be content in your sin. For, Christ died for our sin. He suffered and died for our sins. Do we not take that cross seriously? Do we not look up what He has done and say, for His sake, I must lay these things down.

There is life in Jesus. But fist, we must die to our sin. Are you living for Him? Are you, through His grace, putting to death those things that keep you from Him? His grace is sufficient for all our lives, even this. Are we walking in it?

Gospel Lesson

John 8:33-47

These people were saying they were righteous because of their ancestry. They were saying that they were the children of Abraham, and they came from good stock. They assumed that would be enough. Jesus said, no, you too must die to your sin, and live for God.

It doesn't matter how righteous or unrighteous your family was. It doesn't matter how faithful or unfaithful your family was. All that matters is are you doing what you should? Are you living as you should? Are you alive in the love of Christ, right now? Are you growing in new life? Do you have His joy, peace, mercy, and hope.

Through Jesus, we can live and know life. Through Him, we can know peace. Through Him, life can be as it should.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Life, Baby!

There is New Life in Clermont, FL. If you are in this area, go and hear some awesome preaching! A great friend of mine is the senior pastor there. If you are ever in the big town of Clermont, go and check it out. Only one problem, they are a PCA church, but we won't hold that against them.

Lent: Thursday, March 15, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 10:11-24

We see the Lord telling the people that they will be punished because they have worshiped false gods, they have had idols and placed them before God. And, sometimes we think, well, what does that have to do with me. I don't have a golden calf on top of my TV, what do I have to worry about with idolatry.

Well, maybe you don't have a false idol in your house, but how many of us this morning attend a church that had worship last night, and we did not go? How many of us will not be in church this Sunday for whatever reason? How many of us are too busy to pray? How many of us are too busy to read the Word? How many of us place everything else in all of creation ahead of God?

Maybe we don't worship golden calves, but if we place other things ahead of God, then we are doing the same thing.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 5:12-21

Paul tells us again that salvation comes not through the law, but through the grace of God. Our hope, our salvation come through Him, and come through what He has done for us. Just as through Adam, all of us are born into sin, so through Christ, all that born again can have the hope of salvation and life.

The concept of original sin is one that we don't hear much about, but particularly for those of us that are influenced by John Wesley, ti is a very important concept. He considered it one of three key doctrines of the church. They were, original sin, justification (conversion) by faith, and holiness of heart and life (seeking through God's grace to live more for Him each day). For original sin is passed down from generation to generation. Augustine put it this way (a paraphrase of him), you do not teach a child to do wrong, you teach a child to do right. We all know how to do things that are wrong, we must be taught to do what is right.

And, ultimately, we can only do right through the grace of God, given to us by the work of Christ. Thought Adam, we are all born into sin, through Christ, we can be reborn into life.

Gospel Lesson

John 8:21-32

If you continue in Him, you are His. If you come to Him, and cling to Him, you are His. It is not just enough to think that Jesus was a swell fellow. It is not just enough to think He had some neat things to say. It is not just enough to think highly of Him. You must cling to Him. You must continue in Him and His grace. You must walk with Him. You must make Him your own.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We're back! Hopefully now that everyone is healthy we'll be back to our normal routine and that means blogging will be back on schedule again. Today, just a quick thought, but tomorrow we'll return to our usual format.
God buries his workmen, but carries on his work.

John Wesley
What matters most in life is not what we want, but rather what God wants us to do. We are most miserable when we seek only ourselves, only our wants, only our wishes, only what we want to do. When we live being obedient to God, we will find life. When we live obedient to ourselves we will find death. God will carry on His work, and He will use us, if we allow.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Lent: Thursday, March 8, 2007

Today is just a short thought. Our son Thomas is in the hospital today, so the devotional will be back in all of its full glory when we return home!

I observed, "Love is the fulfilling of the law, the end of the commandment." It is not only "the first and great" command, but all the commandments in one. "Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise," they are all comprised in this one word, love.

John Wesley

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Lent: Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 3:6-18

In spite of Israel's great sin, we see the Lord asking her to return. Make no mistake about it, the Lord sees our sin. Nothing we do goes unseen. He sees where we stray, He sees where we wander, He sees where we turn from Him. And, these things break His heart. These sins drive a wedge between us and God.

And, God will be the righteous judge of our sins one day. One day, we will stand before Him in judgement. But, today, on this day, He offers the chance to return. He offers the chance to repent. In spite of all that we have done, the Lord wants to forgive. In spite of all our failings, He wants to forgive. In spite of all the ways that we have turned our back on Him and chosen our way, He wants to forgive.

Today, will you return to Him; will you accept that forgiveness?

New Testament Lesson

Romans 1:28-2:11

We see this warning to Christians today. We we stand in judgement of others, we had better be careful. For, we do the same things. We are guilt of sin as well. We are guilty of failings as well. It is not just the "lost folk" that sin, but it is everyone. And, to the Christian, this is troubling, for we know better. Those that are lost, they only know sin. Those of us that saved, we know better. We know right from wrong, we know what is a sin.

And, yet we still sin. We still do wrong. We still choose the wrong thing. We know not to, and yet we still do. Thankfully, God gives us grace and forgiveness. Should we not give the same grace and forgiveness to others? Those of us that have had much forgiven, should we not forgive others in the same way?

Gospel Lesson

John 5:1-18

We see the religious leaders condemn Jesus because He had broken the letter of the man made law, but not the spirit of the true law. They were focusing on the wrong thing. They were majoring in the minors. They were allowing the little things to cloud their vision so that they could not see what God was really doing.

We need to make sure that we are focusing on what really mattes. We need to make sure we are in God's word so that we can see what He is doing. We don't need to allow little things to take us off of what God is trying to do. We need make sure we are not like the religious leaders and that we miss what God is trying to do.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Lent: Monday, March 5, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Jeremiah 1:11-19

Jeremiah may be one of the greatest heroes in the Bible to me, for the Lord called him to something, and it was not something that was great, it was something that was not going to be accepted, it was something that was going to cause him pain and hurt. God called him to prophesy to the people, but He told him, they will not listen, they will not respond, they will not change their way. But, you preach to them anyway.

As a preacher, just the thought of that mission would be too much to bear, and it would be for Jeremiah, but for this. The Lord said that He would stand with him. The Lord said He would empower him and would give him the strength. So, we must remember that even when we don't know what God is doing, even when it might not make sense, even when we don't know why He has called us to something, we must remember that if He has called us, He will give us the strength to complete the mission He has called us to.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 1:1-15

Paul says that he longs to come to the Roman church and strengthen them. Part of what we are to do is that we are to do all that we can to strengthen each other. We are all the church, we are one body, we have one mission, we have one goal. In that, we must remember that we are on the same team, and we must work together. We must do all that we can to strengthen each other.

Some of us are strong, some are weak. Some of us have been in the faith a long time, some a short time. But, regardless of these, we each need each other. We must work together, and strengthen those that are tired and weary, for our Lord has commanded us and as Christians, we need to serve one another.

Gospel Lesson

John 4:27-42

In our lives, we need someone to preach and share with us what the Lord has done for them. We all need someone like the Samaritan woman to come to us and share with us. But, we must also be like the people of that village. It is not just enough for us to hear from others, we must see for ourselves.

You have heard the gospel form others. Do you know it and live it yourself? It is not just enough to hear. You must know it, and believe it on your own.

Friday, March 2, 2007

They Get it from their mom

Really, really, really good looking kids. Click here or just look below.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Lent: Thursday, March 1, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Deuteronomy 9:23-10:5

We see here the story of the second giving of the 10 Commandments. While God did punish the first generation, He allowed their children to enter into the Promised Land. God's punishment will come at the times when we deserve it, but He also has grace. And, He punishes ultimately to return us to the right path.

God's plan for His people was to bring them to the land. They had a slight detour based offer their sin and rejection, but He did bring them there. He will bring forth His plan and His will. We must make sure thought that we are living in the way that He desires so that we don't have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 4:1-10

We see this lesson reminded to us again in Hebrews, where because of the hardness of their hearts, the people did not enter into rest. Their children did, but they did not. And, rest is what Christ offers us. He says that His yoke is easy, His burden is light. He offers rest to those of us that are weary from the world, weary from sin, weary from the things that beat us down. He offers rest. We just have to turn to Him and take His yoke. And, rest will be ours.

If we reject, however, we will never find that rest. Only in Him can we rest easy.

Gospel Lesson

John 3:16-21

This is that passage that we all know so well. For God so loved the world. But, I like the verses that come, this is judgement, that men liked darkness more than light. We we choose our sin, we choose our judgement. When Christ came, He showed light, but people choose their darkness instead. God does not long or desire to judge us or condemn us. But, our sins will leave us condemned. For, if we love dark more than light, if we love sin more than grace, then we have made our own bed. And, as the old saying goes, you have to sleep in the bed you've made.