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OCTOBER 2013

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What are the Desires our Hearts?

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Some years back I had a friend who was sick with cancer. He and his wife and at least one friend all seemed to take courage from a promise made in one of the Psalms. I think the verses were found in Psalm 30:2-3, "O LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; you have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit." After my friend died from the cancer, I asked his widow if she felt she had misunderstood the passage. She struggled with the fact that it appeared that the Lord had not kept his promise to her husband until she read Hebrews 11:13 which says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them." According to her, her husband had received the promise. Only the timing was misunderstood. He was now healed in heaven.

My mother recently died after a good long productive life. However, early in her marriage a tragedy occurred that greatly impacted her and the family. Her oldest child was accidentally scalded with hot water and died. At the funeral, the preacher made it clear that he believed based on David’s comments when his child by Bathsheba died, that Judy would be in heaven. David quit agonizing with the child died and said, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me (2 Samuel 12:23)." We know that David was a man who loved the Lord and who will undoubtedly be in God’s heaven. My mother was unsaved at the time that Judy died, but she believed in God and in a Biblical heaven and hell. However, she had never been born again; she had never trusted in Christ to put away her sins. It greatly bothered her to know that Judy would be in heaven and that she would never see her again unless she settled this matter of "being saved." About a month later she did trust the Lord through John 6:37. The old King James Version says, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." From that point on she delighted herself in the Lord and some 72 years later, she got to see Judy. Well, in all fairness, I don’t know if she has seen Judy yet. I don’t know just how all that works after we die. We probably see the Lord first. But if she hasn’t seen Judy yet she will in time. However, since the Lord says that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart and since the desire of Mom’s heart was to see Judy, I suspect she has seen her.

I am amazed to think of the blessings that are in store for those who delight themselves in the Lord. This kind of delight cannot be faked. It is not Sunday only worship. It is not making a good impression on other Christians. This kind of delight is almost embarrassing to those who don’t understand it. A person who delights in the Lord is as obvious as those who delight themselves in the idols of this world. The blessings that come from delighting in the Lord are not always immediate and since we are a very impatient people, there is a tendency to think that a promise that has been delayed is a promise that has been denied. But that isn’t so.

One might assume that delighting in the Lord would be like an Aladdin’s lamp. One could wish for anything. Again, not so! If we are delighting in the Lord, what He delights in is what we will delight in. I suspect one who delights in the Lord would be talking to Him and following Him. He or she would likely be reading the Bible as a current living letter rather than as a quaint out of date and out of touch piece of literature.

We must never get so discouraged and bogged down with this life, that we forget the blessings that are available for those who delight themselves in the Lord.

Meditation for the week of October 6, 2013

Would we Recognize Truth if it Bit us?

John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

Truth is difficult to recognize in this life.  A really good used car salesman can convince most of us that the car he wants to sell us is a cream-puff that will drive forever.  But of course he will also convince us that the long-term warranty should be purchased “just to make sure.”  In the medical field we try to get second opinions, not because the doctor we go to is dishonest, but because he may not have all the latest tests and facts; and of course he may not know what he is doing. 

None of us like to find out that people have intentionally lied to us, but many times we get bad information just because the people we are depending on simply do not know what they are talking about.  They are not ornery or mean.  They are just ignorant.  Most of us don’t really understand how little we really do know for sure.

There has to be something that we can depend on.  God says He can be depended upon. We depend upon Him when we depend upon what He says.  He says His Word is TRUTH and that it will sanctify His followers.  That just simply means it will set them apart from the unbelieving world so that we can be a unique special purchased people that God can use and display for His glory.  There is just one problem.  We have all kinds of Christians who believe that the Bible says all kinds of things.  And while we who study the Bible know that there are principles of interpretation that should be followed, even those who claim to follow those principles come to remarkably different conclusions.  Even though Peter makes it clear that Paul’s writings are “Scripture” (See 2 Peter 3:15-16), there are some who think that he hated women and that most of the things he wrote about women and the way that they can please the Lord are not divinely inspired.  Others tell us that the Bible has to be “culturally relevant,” and they dismiss anything that an apostle or prophet wrote that is not (in their opinion) relevant to present society.  We have Christians who believe God chooses people to be saved and we have people who believe that God chooses those who are saved to be His people in the present day.  We have people who believe that salvation is by faith through grace alone and we have people who believe that salvation is through faith and works.  So why would anyone today believe that the Bible contains “TRUTH?”

Again, the Bible says that the Lord’s people will be “sanctified” or “set apart” by His Truth.  But as you study those who claim to be Christians, they are really not so much different than the world around them.  They divorce and remarry just like unbelievers do.  They live together without benefit of “a piece of paper.”  Some of them do not pay their bills even though they could.  I could go on and on.  So why should anyone believe those of us who say we believe the Bible and that we have the TRUTH?

I am convinced that most of us believe what we want to believe and most people do not want to believe that God tells the truth in the Bible.  I am convinced that most people who read the Bible (any of the better versions) with an open mind will find out that it is not that hard to understand.  If we let the simple Scriptures explain the difficult ones, the TRUTH that God loves us and has provided a way to escape the righteous penalty that we deserve because of our sins will become obvious.  And when the Holy Spirit impresses us with the Truth, we will be able to trust in the Lord and become one of His disciples.  All of our questions won’t be answered, but those of us who do believe that God’s Word is TRUTH realize that much that goes as “Christian” really isn’t. 

When we come to the conclusion that God does not lie, that God keeps His promises and that His Word really is TRUTH, we are freed from the deception of this world and Satan.  We are able to trust the Lord.  We are then different because we have been set apart for God by His TRUTH.  I believe we can recognize the TRUTH and it doesn’t have to bite us.

Meditation for the week of October 13, 2013

I’m Looking for Robins!

Song of Solomon 2:10-13
10 My beloved spoke, and said to me:“Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away.
11 For lo, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs, And the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away!


I really really get depressed this time of the year. I love the cool days and the beautiful trees, but I know winter is coming. I know that for many of you that means ice skating and skiing and ice fishing and hot chocolate and all the things that “sting the toes and bite the nose.” But for me it means short days, shoveling snow, driving in white-outs, and worrying about frozen pipes. Winter wouldn’t be so bad if the snow would come on Wednesday and be gone by Saturday when I usually travel. It wouldn’t be so bad if the below zero weather didn’t come with a strong northwest wind for two weeks in January. But the beauty of winter is that spring is coming. The wind will swing to the south, the snow will melt, the tulips will pop though the ground and those nice April showers that bring May flowers will bless the land. Oh I know there will be a tornado or two but somehow those don’t count when I begin to bask in those longer warmer days. I have noticed that if you can get away from city “smells” there even seems to be a freshness in the way the air smells in the spring. Now I may be a bit sentimental, but spring is my season; and I just can’t wait for spring to come when we are in the middle of winter. 

Spring reminds me of resurrection (not of reincarnation). It speaks of renewal and of new life. And in this passage, the man who has captivated the heart of the gal that is being courted is coming in the spring. To me, it is a nice picture of the Lord coming for His bride. I realize that the Lord could come at any time; but even if He doesn’t come in the spring, it will seem like spring. Actually the winter seems to be a picture of what life is like today when the bridegroom is gone: while the bride-to-be is awaiting His coming to take her back to the Father’s house for the wedding feast. Spring is associated with the blessings of His coming. It will be a new day: and yes, I do believe that the Lord is coming.


According to Titus 2:13 we who are believers are looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. We don’t hope to be saved, but we who are saved have a spring-time in our future. We have hope. We have something to which we can look forward. We don’t live as though winter is going to last forever. We live as though spring is coming. Because it is. We need to have our affairs in order because when the Lord comes, we are going to leave everything behind. He says He is coming so that where He is, there His disciples can be also (John 14:3).


I think that from the standpoint of the seasons of life, spring is just around the corner. I can almost smell the lily of the valley, the lilacs and I can almost see the tulips. I’m looking for robins.
Who gets to take part in this spring time blessing? Only those who are “born again (John 3:7).” Believers in the Lord Jesus have their places reserved. You can tell these people by their compassion, by the way they live for eternity and not for time, by the way they have set their sights on heavenly blessing rather than earthly blessing and by the way they treat one another. These people can honestly say, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”


Spring is coming, it really is!

 

Meditation for the week of October 20, 2013

Our Weeping Savior!

 

Luke 19:41-43 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

 

The Lord had just made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 which foretold this event. The Lord knew that within a week the crowd that had wanted to crown Him king would reject Him and want Him to be crucified. He wept because He loved the nation and He loved its people. But He knew that while God has decreed blessing on those who believe in His Son, He has also decreed destruction on those who reject Him. This was true of Israel as a nation and it is true of each of us today. John 3:36 says, gHe who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

I believe that in the life of every one of us there comes a special time of visitation when the Lord does His best to convict us of our sin and to convince us that the Lord Jesus can and should be trusted as the sacrifice for our sins. In a sense, that day could be today because we know that none of us have a promise of a tomorrow. But it is also true that God brings circumstances and people into our lives to keep us from destruction. This happens for everyone at least once but I believe that generally it happens many times. In Luke 13:8-9 there is a barren fig tree that doesn't produce fruit. The keeper of that vineyard pleaded for one more year for the tree before obeying the owner and cutting the tree down. The parable no doubt speaks of God's long suffering with the nation of Israel, but it should also speak to us of His long suffering to us.

When the Lord said that Jerusalem did not know the time of its visitation, He knew that on that day a prophecy in Daniel 9:26 was being fulfilled to the actual day. The Jewish leaders that considered themselves teachers did not understand that on this day a 483 year period was coming to an end. The Lord had given the nation over three years at the end of this 483 year period to acknowledge Him as their Messiah and now the end of their day of opportunity had come. They would reject the Lord and He would reject them. Terrible destruction was coming and the Roman general Titus became the instrument of God's destruction in 70 A.D.

I think there is an application to us here today. There are those who know that they have rejected the Lord but they are unconcerned. This verse tells me that they will not have forever to change their minds about their relationship with the Lord. Then there are those who claim to be worshiping the Lord just like the Jews did and just like Paul the apostle did whose consciences must be bothering them They must see the difference between people who really trust the Lord and who have peace and joy in their lives and the people who carry great burdens because their system of religion is all about ceremony and religious burdens. These people are still trying to please God in order to get passage into heaven rather than trusting the Lord and His finished work to take them there. These people also will not have forever to accept the fact that it is by grace through faith in the Lord that we are saved. Then there is the true church, the believers in Christ who have settled this great issue of trusting in Christ for salvation. In the US most in this church are wasting their lives on the attractions of the world rather than living separated lives in devotion and service to the Lord. In many cases they are finding the worship of the religious world of ceremony and works more attractive that the simple worship of the primitive New Testament church. These believers are not doing business for God until He comes (Luke 19:13). They will not have forever to change their loyalties and make a difference for the Lord either.

Special opportunities do not last forever. We can all look back over missed opportunities. Today is a special day when we can make sure are hearts are right with God. The blessings will be eternal.

 

Meditation for the week of October 27, 2013