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to Archived Meditations
an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward
the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."
This is desert.
am told that are three kinds of people. There are those who make things
happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what
happened. We are all supposed to be self-starters who make things
happen. But I like it better when I am in the right place at the right
time and get to watch things happen.
was directed into a desert to meet a man who was already reading his
Bible and had already gotten to Isaiah 53 in his reading. This man was
hungry for the truth and Philip was able to explain to him the way of
salvation. He preached unto Him Jesus. The man was saved while Philip
was talking to him and proved it by being baptized. Often we who try to
make things happen look and look for an opportunity like that. But when
we are guided by the Lord to that kind of an opportunity, it causes us
to rejoice and to just stand back and say "wow!"
often go to a local coffee and bread shop to study in the afternoons. I
have found that if I have a Bible out and my computer booted up, people
often approach me and ask what I am doing. This gives me an opportunity
to talk to them that I wouldn't get by going door to door and handing
out literature. I don't make things happen, I am just there and
available so that when the Lord wants things to happen I can be
involved. Late last week, I needed to get some things done and the phone
had been ringing off the hook at home. I thought I needed a quiet place
to study. I knew that if I went to my usual coffee shop I might not get
anything done. So I changed locations. I was working on some notes on
prayer for a message that I would be giving over the weekend. While I
was at this spot where almost nobody knows me, I had three people
approach me and ask me what I was doing and whether the Internet was
available. Two of them didn't give me opportunity to share the Gospel
with them but the third person was a hostess in the restaurant with a
little down time. She not only asked me what I was doing but wanted to
know what I was going to say when I spoke on prayer. I found out that
she was going to a church that calls itself Christian, however, many
would call it a cult. Before we were done talking she asked me if I
would print my notes and give them to her. I couldn't do that because I
didn't have a printer available but I was able to email them to her
right then while we were talking.
she left I said, "Wow!" I had been directed to a new fishing
hole and the Lord had led someone to me who had an interest in Spiritual
things. I wish I could say that she stayed with me until I could ask her
if she believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but that didn't
happen. But I still felt a little like Abraham's servant who was sent to
find a bride for Isaac. When he had prayed and had found Rebeka as an
answer to prayer he said, "Blessed be the LORD God of my master
Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master.
As for me, being on the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's
brethren (Genesis 24:27)."
we make things happen, sometimes we do things our way instead of the
Lord's way. I find it comforting to know that the Lord can still lead us
to people who are hungering for the Truth if we will just let Him.
Watching things happen can be so much more fulfilling that making things
for the week of October 5, 2008
1:20 Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open
1:24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand
and no one regarded.
has called and we have refused! It doesn't seem logical that anyone
would refuse the wise choice or the wise person who could give wise
counsel. But Eve did in the Garden of Eden and it has affected all of
the rest of us. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived apart from the
Lord, began to worship pagan gods in his old age.. They were gods who
did not put him on the throne. They did not speak to him and commend him
for asking for wisdom. They did not do him good, instead they led to the
dividing of his kingdom. Was this wise? No! Are we wise when it comes to
the decisions we make?
now, we are reaping the consequences of poor decisions in the financial
markets. Short-term gain does not always lead to long-term profits and
those who wanted to get rich quick have now thrown this country into
economic turmoil. It appears that the wisdom and perspective of those
who went through the banking crises of the Great Depression were gone
from the decisions being made by banks. Most people with any business
wisdom know that when prices are too high, at some point they are going
to come down. That is a truism. So now we are seeing the housing market
come down and the banks are reaping the consequences of some poor loan
choices. But unfortunately, when we make bad choices, we affect more
than ourselves. In this case the whole world is being affected.
of the war in Iraq, because of the present banking crisis, because of
the uncertainty of who our current presidential candidates really are
and what they really believe, it would be easy to say, "Let us eat,
drink and be merry (Ecclesiastes 8:15)." After all we are just
going to die and the generation after us isn't going to respect what we
have done anyway. Solomon, who wrote Ecclesiastes, was quite discouraged
when he looked at life after he had quit enjoying the Lord, and he said
all was like the wind. It was empty and emotionally vexing.
Lord tells us that the wise man builds His house or life on a rock and
the foolish man builds his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). I don't
know how people survive mentally who think that this life is all a
product of time and chance and that when they die, they cease to exist.
I am glad that I do not believe that. Some people say I am emotionally
stunted and intellectually challenged. But I say that until they can
replace the confidence I have in the Lord and His Word with something
better, they should just leave me alone. My Rock, the Lord, gives me
peace in troublesome times. My Rock assures me of unconditional love. He
treats me the same no matter what company He is keeping. He is not
partial and He is always the same. He loved me enough to die for me and
then He said that He would send the Holy Spirit to indwell me so that I
would always know His joy, His presence and have His wisdom. How can
anyone top that? It it wasn't true, I wouldn't want anyone to take that
away from me unless they could prove to me that believing what I believe
was harmful to me or to someone around me. And so far nobody has proven
that to me.
these troublesome times, the best part of what I believe is that it
really is true. The Lord says in John 14:1, "Let not your heart be
troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.." I do. Wisdom
has cried and I have listened. I am prepared for whatever comes. I hope
you are too.
for the week of October 12, 2008
Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.
Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in
you? --unless indeed you are disqualified.
nights I can't sleep and I lay awake thinking about things that bother
me. Sometimes I think about what it will be like for unbelievers to wake
up in hell and to find out that the Bible was reliable, that Christ was
who He claimed to be, that John 3:16 was a passport to heaven and that
they foolishly rejected the truth. What will it be like to be in eternal
torments knowing that you could have been saved?
thing that bothers me is that when I listen to how people are saved
today, the language has changed. We used to hear people tell us how they
found out they were lost and how they came to trust in the truth that
Christ had died for them. Now we hear people tell us about what they
have done to be saved. Sometimes they say, "I did it." No
doubt many of these people are saved but aren't expressing that truth
very clearly. However, I worry about the people who give these kinds of
testimonies and then do not want to get baptized (and the word means to
be immersed), when people complain about the people who brought the
Gospel to them as is the case in our chapter, when people have more
interest in the ball games on Sunday afternoon than they do in the
worship of the Lord on Sunday morning. When people we know do not seem
to have a love for the Lord and respect for those who preached the
Gospel to them, we have to wonder if we who preach the Gospel are being
faithful to them. I am always reluctant to question people when they say
they are saved, but Paul wasn't. He says "Examine yourselves, make
sure that you pass the examination." Those who don't pass are
called reprobates and a reprobate is simply one who fails the test.
am still a firm believer in the fact that salvation is a point in time
experience that only happens once. I believe that whether we are younger
or older when we come to Christ we go through a crisis experience. When
we find out we are not right with God, we begin to be
"troubled" or concerned. The Bible says salvation is like a
birth and a birth always involves labor pains. Sometimes labor is
prolonged and difficult and sometimes it is not but no mother ever
forgets giving birth. Some have told me that they don't remember their
first births so they don't need to remember their salvation experience
or new birth. I wouldn't trade places with someone who can't remember
the events associated with their salvation for 5 minutes. I wouldn't
remember the date of my salvation if it hadn't happened so close to
President Kennedy's assassination but I don't think I will ever forget
the wonder of finding out that I was waiting for God to save me when
Christ had already died to do that. I rested on that truth that
afternoon. The lyrics of the Johnny Cash song, "I was there when it
happened" express my sentiments on this issue.
I know when Jesus saved me,
The very moment He forgave me;
He took away my heavy burden,
And He gave me peace within.
Satan can't make me doubt it,
It's real and I'm gonna shout it;
'Cause I was there when it happened,
and I guess I ought to know.
of what is at stake, it would make sense if each of us took a little
time today to examine ourselves and to make sure that we have passed
this most important test. Our destinies for eternity depend on getting
for the week of October 19, 2008
to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or
think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the
church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
the collection of stories called Arabian Nights, there is a story
about Aladdin. He manages to find an oil lamp which when rubbed releases
a powerful genie who is ready to do anything for Aladdin. Of course,
this is a story that all of us could fantasize about. While this story
is a myth, we have a story that is true and that is better.
prays for the Christians in Ephesus in this letter that was written from
prison. He prays that their inner person or mind would be strengthened.
He also wants them to enjoy the love of God which is beyond
comprehension. He wants them to be controlled or filled with all that
God is and offers, not just with part of the blessings available to
them. Then he tells them about something better than a genie in a
bottle. They have a God, that is the mighty One, who is able to do
exceedingly abundantly about all that we ask or think.
I don't mean to be a spoil sport, but wasn't Paul sitting in prison when
he prayed this prayer for them? Did Paul enjoy prison? Probably not! So
some would say that God was able to do what Paul and the Ephesians
wanted but that He didn't always do it. However, if we are filled with
all the fullness of God, then we will want what He wants and we will
expect our miracles to be in keeping with His plans and objectives. We
might not pray for release from prison but perhaps for a fruitful prison
ministry while we are there.
we have confidence that our creator God really did send His only son to
reveal God to us? John tells us that the Word was made flesh and we
beheld His glory, the glory of the unique Son of the Father, full of
grace and truth (John 1:14). Do we really believe and trust in the truth
that this unique Son of God was also the Son of Man and that He had the
right and the power to die for our sins? If we do, we have already been
recipients of blessings that far exceed the blessing of any religion man
has ever devised. We have peace of mind, we have hope for the future, we
have a God who bears our burdens instead of asking us to bear His. He
saves those who trust Him.
we are saved by grace through faith, we can expect blessings that far
exceed our measly expectations. Oh, we can't pray for God to harm our
enemies, because that is not His way (See Matthew 6:44). But we can pray
for Him to change them so that they are no longer our enemies. We can't
pray for him to remove death from our lives because that is not the way
things work since Adam sinned. But we can pray for him to use death to
help the unsaved to see the importance of the decisions that they make
concerning the Lord. We do know that those who die "in the
Lord" go to a place where there is no more sin, no more death or
sorrow or pain, and no more night. I suspect that there are many more
things that He wants to do for us that are in keeping with His will and
that are in keeping with His love.
there a burden about unsaved loved ones on your heart today? He is able.
Is there a burden about sickness? He may not heal the sickness but he
will certainly not forsake you during the illness. And He just may cure
you as well because He is able! Is there concern about financial
situations now that the financial markets are in turmoil? The Lord has
said with regard to our needs that He will never leave us nor forsake us
(Hebrews 13:5). Believe it, because He is able. We may have great
concerns about the future when we consider war and man's inhumanity to
man, but just as the Lord was with David when he went down into a valley
and fought the giant Goliath, He has promised to be with us. I take his
promise to David personally when he says, "Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You
are with me (Psalm 23:4)."
lamp is a myth but the Lord is real and available. He is able to exceed
for the week of October 26, 2008