to Archived Meditations
4:12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do
this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
my wife and I flew to Houston and back. Because we changed planes in
Chicago, we were on four different planes flying from Cedar Rapids, Iowa
to Houston, Texas and back home again. On all four planes we heard the
captain tell the cabin crew, “Prepare the cabin for take off.” Then
we were checked to make sure our luggage was properly stowed and that
our seat belts were fastened. We were also given instructions as to what
to do if the plane crashed. Just before landing, on all four planes, we
heard the captain tell the cabin crew, “Prepare the cabin for landing.”
Again, the cabin was checked for baggage and seat belt violations.
is somewhat like a plane ride. On a plane, every precaution is taken to
prepare for a crash that will likely never occur. Some safety experts
tell passengers to plan for survival the moment they get on the plane.
In other words, a person isn‘t prepared to fly until they have
prepared for a possible crash. If preparation for a possible crash is so
important, how much more important is preparation for the end of the
journey of life which is a statistical certainty? Nearly one hundred
percent of all people born into this world die. Enoch in Genesis 5:22
and Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11 did not die and some will be spared death at
the Lord’s return for the church as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
Everyone else either has died or will die. Obviously, we are not really
ready to live until we are prepared to die.
the book of Amos, the children of Israel had rebelled and they were
being told that they needed to prepare to meet God. Likely, in the
context, they were going to meet Him in battle. But we who are alive
today don’t need to meet God as an adversary. When the planes were
about to land, they prepared the cabins for landing. Each landing was
smooth and safe. I think the end of the journey of life can be like
that. We can prepare in an orderly way for the landing if we have
earlier prepared for the flight. The only proper preparation for the
flight of life is complete trust in the work, worth and word of the Lord
Jesus Christ who “died for us (Romans 5:8).”
we were designed and created is the only reasonable explanation of our
existence as far as I am concerned. Obviously, if we were designed and
created we need to listen to our maker and He warns us to prepare to
meet Him. I made preparation on November 24, 1963. That day I found out
that while I was waiting for God to do something to save me, Christ had
already died to do just that nearly two thousand years ago. I rested on
the fact that Christ had died for my sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). Since my
seat belt has never been unfastened since that day in 1963, all I need
to do is tidy of up the area around my seats in the cabin when the Lord
decides that it is time for my plane to land. I have every confidence
that the landing will be smooth and safe.
of August 7, 2005
though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the
multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve
the children of men.
week, my wife and I were present during the tragic illness and death of
a family’s five-year-old child. We saw doctors and nurses crushed as
they realized that the best technology available could not save the
child. We saw parents praying and crying out to God that the child might
be spared. We saw sorrow and I began to think about the value of sorrow.
helps us understand the value that God places on us. Jeremiah writes in
Lamentations 1:12, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold,
and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto
me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”
While Jeremiah was likely thinking of those who were passing by the
destruction of Jerusalem and its sorrow and while he might have been
thinking of his own sorrow, most of us who read the passage are reminded
of the Man of Sorrows Who was acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3)--our
Lord. We are reminded that reproach broke His heart (Psalm 69:20) and
that He bore our sins in His own body on the cross (1 Pete 2:24). The
sorrow of the cross helps us appreciate the depth of the love of God in
sending His Son to die for us.
helps us to learn to trust God for time as well as for eternity.
Jeremiah says in this passage that he had seen affliction. He says that
God had shut out his prayer (verse 8). He seems to think that God had
marked him for destruction and yet he begins to think of the miracle of
waking up every morning and realizes that he would not wake up if it
were not for the compassions of God that “fail not and are new every
morning (verses 22 and 23).” Jeremiah had been unfairly treated by his
own people because he was preaching a message from God that they did not
want to hear. He told them not to fight the army that God had sent
against them but to surrender. Of course that was treason as far as the
natives of Jerusalem were concerned and since they didn’t like the
message, they didn’t like the messenger. So Jeremiah suffered and it
seemed that God had forsaken him when in fact He had not. In stead He
was trusting him to be faithful and now Jeremiah was being reassured
that God was faithful as well.
in the middle of great sorrow we fail to realize that God is reminding
those around us of a very unpopular message. The message that we have
sinned and that God judges sin is considered harsh and cruel today.
However, it is not cruel to help people avoid heart disease, cancer and
stroke and it is not cruel to remind people of the eternal consequences
of sin so they can be saved. God does not willingly afflict us but
sometimes that is how He gets our attention. Sometimes those who are
afflicted are doing the speaking but they are not the ones to whom God
is speaking. God used Jeremiah and God used Christ to speak to people
who had rebelled because it is not His will that any should perish (2
has a way of turning sorrow into joy (John 16:20) and when He does, the
sorrow makes the joy so much more enjoyable. He does that for a woman
with birth pains when a healthy baby is delivered (John 16:21). He did
that for His disciples when they saw the Lord after He was raised from
the dead (John 20:20). He does that for us when we realize that the
sorrows and trials of life are being used to save those who are
perishing. Our friends greatest joy would be to see the death of their
five-year-old son be the means that God uses to bring the assurance of
salvation to their unsaved friends and relatives.
of August 14, 2005
27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast
thou forsaken me?
we have really bad days. We think that no one cares and that no one
understands and that we are all alone. That may be true where friends
and relatives are concerned, but there is One who understands. He is
touched by the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). That means
that when we hurt, He hurts. He is the One who wept and groaned at the
tomb of His friend Lazarus (John 11:33, 35, 38). He is the One who was
forsaken by His God and knows what it means to have a really bad day. He
knows what it means to be alone.
do you suppose the Lord cried out using the words of Psalm 22:1? Was it
because He did not know the answer? Or was it because He wanted us to
know about his aloneness? He had been forsaken by His friends, Peter had
denied that He knew Him and Judas had been willing to sell Him for 30
pieces of silver. And now His own Father had turned His back upon Him.
Darkness had reigned from high noon until 3 in the afternoon and during
that time He experienced an aloneness that we cannot comprehend. We who
are sinners by nature have been separated from God by sin but we enjoy
His sustaining graces every day. He provides our breath and our beating
hearts and the earth provides for us through the energy of the sun and
the refreshing rain that is sent on the just and the unjust (Matthew
5:45). Total aloneness is something that Christ suffered and those who
die without Christ will experience for eternity.
have said that it was dark because God who is holy cannot look upon sin
and Christ was being made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). But we also
hear people say that God can see a black ant on a black night on a black
rock. I tend to think that God who is all powerful can see in the dark.
I think He could see Christ and everything that was happening to Him. I
think it was dark because God did not want us to see what was taking
place during the horror of the darkness caused by separation from God.
we who believe in the Lord think we have it bad? Sometimes we do but the
Lord who was forsaken by God says that He will never leave us or forsake
His people (Hebrews 13:5). Likely this is promising us the necessities
of life but I have no problem applying it to all practical as well as
spiritual needs. The Lord tells us to cast all our care upon Him for He
careth (1 Peter 5:7). He does not leave us without a comforter (or
helper or one who comes along side, John 16:7). And He dwells in our
hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:17). Some invite the Lord into their
hearts. I never did that and never intend to. When I trusted Him, He
sealed me (Ephesians 1:13) and came to dwell in my heart by faith--it
would have been impossible to keep Him out. He invited me to come to Him
(Matthew 11:28) and I needed to accept His invitation rather than
extending a new one to Him.
may be having it bad but if we are trusting in the Lord, we really have
it good. We have a Savior who was forsaken for three hours so we would
not have to be forsaken eternally. He saves us, He cares for us, and He
has sealed us never to leave us. This is the One who makes life worth
living and who takes the “sting“ out of dying (1 Corinthians 15:56).
Those who know Him will never be alone.
of August 21, 2005
3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that
we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all
ages, world without end. Amen.
is able to exceed our expectations. Paul may be referring to things that
the Lord wants to do in us and through us, but he may also be talking
about things that the Lord can do for us with the same power that works
in us. The point is that sometimes when the Lord says no to a prayer
request, He may be doing something that we do not expect that will
accomplish something better than we expected.
the children of Israel complained and sinned against God in Numbers 21,
the Lord sent poisonous snakes to bite them. The people prayed to have
the snakes removed. The Lord had a better plan. He told them to put a
brazen serpent on a pole and those who looked to the brazen serpent
would live. Of course, the brazen serpent speaks of Satan and of sin
being judged by the death of Christ according to the Lord in John 3:14
and 15. The look speaks of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If the prayer
of the people had been answered, all those who had been bitten would
have died. The Lord’s solution, which did not make sense naturally,
saved those who had been bitten, those who were being bitten and those
who would be bitten. The Lord’s plan was better. The Lord was able to
exceed their expectations.
Lazarus, the Lord’s friend, got sick in John 11, the Lord waited to go
to him until after Lazarus died. He certainly didn’t seem to be acting
like a friend by waiting when Lazarus needed Him. Martha, Mary and the
Jews all had confidence that the Lord could have kept Lazarus from
dying. None of them expected Him to do something better by raising
Lazarus from the dead. The Lord certainly exceeded their expectations.
disciples of the Lord, all expected the Lord to set up His kingdom and
of course they were going to be important people in His administration.
They weren’t too happy when He was crucified. They were left sorrowing
and confused. They didn’t expect His resurrection even though He had
told them that it would happen (John 2:19-22). The disciples were
expecting to be blessed by being loyal to a living King. However, the
Lord became the sacrifice for sin by dying and then rising from the
dead. The Lord was able to accomplish much more by dying and then living
that He ever would have by living without dying. He has been able to
exceed all of our expectations.
if things do not seem to be working out, maybe things aren‘t as they
seem. We need to learn to trust God when we ask Him for something that
it appears He is not doing. The Lord is able to give us answers that
exceed our expectations.
of August 28, 2005