A Matter Of Life And Death – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Proverbs 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20)

Read the “0720 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21)

Good morning. Have you ever had anyone talk trash about you? Have you ever listened to anyone who talked trash about someone else? Have you ever talked trash about someone to anyone? It’s all trash.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)

Why do we do such things? Because we are sinners. We still have a will to sin.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45)

“A Psalm of David. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.” (Psalm 15:1-3)

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” (Proverbs 26:20-22)

How can you love your neighbor if your words are killing him? You can’t. So what can be done?

1) Stop Spreading The Gossip

“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” (Proverbs 21:23)

2) Stop Listening To The Gossip

“He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.” (Proverbs 20:19)

You could even say to the gossiper, “Joe Shmoe did that? Let’s go see him and see if it’s true. That will stop many gossipers from coming to you with that trash.

“For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (James 3:2-12)

Peace.


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Clean the Crib But Keep The Oxen!

ross-farm-museum-oxen

Today’s Passage – Proverbs 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 9 – 10; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0719 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previos post from today’s passage in Proverbs – “O Be Careful, Little Mouth, What You Say

“Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” – (Proverbs 14:4)

Every Sunday afternoon, immediately following the morning service, we clean the auditorium and bathrooms of our church to make it ready for the evening service. I am often amazed at how dirty our building can get, especially considering that it was only in use for a few hours. There are bulletins lying all over, and the hymnbooks are everywhere except where they should be. We find candy wrappers and water bottles in various places. Sometimes, I even find chewed gum stuck to a chair or on the floor. Yuk! The place is a mess. But I thank God for the mess, because the mess indicates that people were using the building. There are times when I get a little tired of cleaning it, but if I didn’t have to clean it, it could only be because nobody was coming to our services.

I have determined that I will never get the mindset that the building that God has given us is to be some sort of museum for the Saints of God to observe and admire. I want our building to be functional and practical; and I want it to be used by our people as much as possible, and as often as possible. And if it is being used, it is going to get dirty, and at times things are going to need to be repaired. I have been spending a great deal of time this summer painting and upgrading parts of our building. The rooms that were finished last month already have some marks on the walls. Praise God! That means that people: men, women, children; souls are coming to the House of God, and are getting the help that they need. I will keep cleaning the crib, but I think I am  going to keep the oxen as well.

Brother Hyles tells a story about a man in his church that was complaining about the oily messes made in the parking lot by all the busses that were used to bring boys and girls to church. Bro. Hyles reminded the man that D.L. Moody brought in a lot of children, too, in his day, and the horses used to pull the wagons were a whole lot messier.


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The Richest Man On Earth

Today’s Passage – Proverbs 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8; Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0718 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22)

What determines the true wealth of a man? Is it the amount of money he has in his bank account? Is it the number of acres he owns or the size of his house? Perhaps it might be the number of toys and possessions that he has been able to accumulate in his lifetime? Can richness be measured by the world’s standards? This world puts a great deal of emphasis on material gain and financial success, and to some degree they are right, because one of the ways that God blesses His children is by providing them with their needs, and even some of their desires. But the truth is, the world is replete with people who have “this world’s goods”, but are not rich. Why? Because they lack the blessing of the Lord. Let me list for you some of the reasons why I feel that I am the richest man on earth:

1 My Father is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and all of the silver and gold belongs to Him. Because I am His child, everything that He has is mine as well. Everything that I need is provided for me. I am completely content, because there is nothing that I will ever need that will not be provided for me.

2 My Family is truly a blessing from God. He has given me the most beautiful wife in all of the world along with four wonderful children (and now two sons-in-law, and a daughter-in-law), and three beautiful grandchildren. They are for me; they support me; they encourage me; they assist me; they love me as I am even with all of my faults.

3 My Friends are also extremely valuable to me. I have a few friends that I believe would take a bullet for me. They are loyal and true, even when things aren’t going so well.

4 My Future looks even brighter. My needs for the rest of my life are guaranteed, and I have a mansion waiting for me in Heaven when I have finished His purpose for me on earth.

How about you? Have you been measuring your wealth the same way the world does? Maybe you are actually richer than you thought? If you are experiencing the blessing of the Lord, you are a rich man indeed.


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Who Are You Going To Listen To?

Listen

Today’s Passage –Proverbs 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0717 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Did you notice in our passage this morning that there were two very different women, and each of them were calling out to men, trying to get them to yield to her?

# 1 – The Foolish Woman (the Strange Woman – [Ladies – this could also be a strange man])

“And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.” (Proverbs 7:10-20)

“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” (Proverbs 9:13-18)

The first woman is the foolish woman. You meet her quite often in the Book of Proverbs. She is easy to spot because she dresses like an harlot. She is loud, and very bold about what she wants. You see her just about everywhere you go. She is very alluring, and offers pleasure that promises to satisfy, at least temporarily. Unfortunately, those that yield to her end up ruining their lives. “For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” (Proverbs 7:26-27)

# 2 – The Woman named Wisdom

“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:1-6)

This woman is a different story altogether. She is introduced in the first few verses of chapter 7. Chapter 8, and the beginning of chapter 9 are also all about her. She is also trying to get you to yield to her, and she is desparately trying to keep you away from the strange and foolish woman (7:5). She offers you long life and the favor of the Lord, and promises that the fruit that she gives you is more valuable than gold. She has served as counsellor to the greatest leaders of the world, and was even present when God created the world around us. And she delivers on her promises. She may not give you the temporary pleasure that the foolish woman offers, but in the long run, she is the much “wiser” choice.

So, who are you going to choose? I can give you a suggestion. “Get Wisdom”, and stay as far away from the foolish woman (or man) as you can.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7)

“Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her (the foolish woman) ways, go not astray in her paths.” (Proverbs 7:24-25)


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Consider the Ant

Consider the Ant

Today’s Passage – Proverbs 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 3 – 4 ; Psalms 76 – 80; Proverbs 16)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0716 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” – (Proverbs 6:6-11)

I remember a few years back, our assistant pastor, Ted Stahl, was sitting on the curb in back of our church and he was staring down at the ground. I was curious as to what he was doing, so I asked him. He answer was even more curious: he said that he was obeying the Bible. By this point, he had my full attention, so I probed even deeper, and asked him what he meant by that. He told me that the Bible commanded him to consider the ants, and as I looked closer I could see that Pastor Stahl was actually observing some ants as they were going about their business. I will have to agree that the ants are fascinating creatures. They seem to be always busy, working together to accomplish their goal.

Christians ought to have some of the qualities of ants. Our society is filled with lazy people who seem to have little purpose in life, but that shouldn’t be said of us. we should be busy, diligent people who are able to work well with other people to accomplish God’s will for our lives.

As I have read through the Book of Proverbs, I have noticed that there are certain themes that reappear again and again. One of these is the subject of laziness (the Bible uses the terms slothful; and will also call a lazy person a sluggard).

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” – (Proverbs 24:30-34 )

The above passage speaks of a man who, because of his laziness, has neglected his field to the point where it was overgrown with with weeds. I feel that way in my life sometimes. I notice that there are times when I lose focus, and allow things to fall into neglect. It happens in all areas of my life as well. Sometimes, I may neglect the spiritual priorities, and at other times I may become lazy in one of my responsibilities as a father or husband. I get lazy. Laziness seems to be a bigger problem for me in the summertime.

God expects us to be fruitful. God expects us to be busy and productive. Here are some things that will help me stay on track to fulfill the things that God expects from my life:

1 Have a schedule – determine what time you need to get up, and how much time is needed to do what you have to do. Go to bed early, and get up early. Avoid the time wasters like the internet and television.

2 Set Goals – what do you want to accomplish this year; this summer; this week; tomorrow? Attempt to get a lot of things done. You may not get to them all; but you will accomplish a lot more than if you don’t set goals. “he who aims at nothing hits it every time”. Set spiritual goals; goals for tasks around the house; etc.

3 Be accountable to someone. This is the problem that many preachers have. They have no earthly boss standing over them with expectations. If I am not careful, I will let this lack of accountability cause me to get lazy; get up later; leave earlier, etc.

4 Stay motivated. I listen to preaching and leadership lessons from Godly pastors around the country to stay challenged. What motivates you?

We will have to give an account of our lives to God someday. What did we do with our time? Were we productive? Did we fulfill God’s will for our lives? Or did we sleep in? Don’t be lazy. Get up and do what God has called you to do. Be like the ant.


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Barns Filled With Plenty

Barns filled with plenty

Today’s Reading – Proverbs 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 1 – 2; Psalms 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0715 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)

A few years ago our church began planting a community garden. Although I have not really been personally involved in the process, I have observed with fascination as the folks first worked the ground, and then planted the seeds and plants. It didn’t look like much at first, but soon it began to take shape I remember that first year when brought in a tray of the “first fruits”, which was distributed to some people who needed food.  It was exciting to see food that was produced from our garden go to some families in our church who needed it.

When I read Proverbs 3:9 – 10, I am reminded of that garden. This is a wonderful promise from the Word of God. It is really very simple. If we will be faithful to give back to the Lord the “firstfruits” of all that He has blessed us with, He will also be faithful to fill our barns with plenty. In my case it’s actually just a food pantry, but I can personally testify that the Lord has been very faithful to me through the years in keeping that pantry and refrigerator filled. My family has always been abundantly provided for by the Lord, not just with food, but also with clothing, a house to live in, a car to drive, and even many luxuries. Let me challenge and encourage you in this matter of giving back to the Lord. You can absolutely trust Him. He will never fail to do what He has promised to do.

Consider some of these related promises from the Scripture:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:10-12)

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)


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Praise God!

childrens-choir

Today’s Reading – Psalms 146 – 150 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 27 – 28; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0714 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” – (Psalm 150:1-6)

“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” (Psalms 66:1-2)

I remember visiting Solid Rock Baptist Church years ago, and Pastor Clark had noticed some teenagers that weren’t singing. He rebuked them, saying, “Open your big fat mouth and praise God”. I will never forget it, and I often want to shout the same thing at our church.

It is interesting how many times the word praise is used in the Psalms. In fact, every psalm that we have read this morning mentions the word “praise” several times. The Lord deserves our praise. We should praise him first because of who He is; and then because of all that He’s done for us. We should praise God all the time, but it is especially important to praise the Lord in the church house. We can praise Him through our singing, and in our prayers and testimonies. We serve an awesome God, so “open your big fat mouth and praise God”!


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Sick Of Sin – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – Psalms 140 – 145 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 25 – 26; Psalms 61 – 65; Proverbs 13)

Read the “0713 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah. Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings. The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah. I said unto the LORD, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD. O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah. As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again. Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him. I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.” (Psalm 140:1-13)

“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 40:1-3)

Good morning! Have you ever been stuck in that horrible pit of sin? After you were saved? Some of us are living there now. It’s a horrible pit. The word horrible in this verse means uproar. Inside the devil’s bag are many tricks. One of them is distraction. The devil gets many things going in our lives that we lose focus on what God wanted us to do. He causes an uproar in our lives, a horrible pit. Our world is turned upside down. We start relying on our own power to get out of this mess when we should have relied on the Lord to get us out. After all, Romans 14:23 does tell us…

“And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)

And where does faith come from?

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

Even Jesus, when He was tempted by the devil, used Scripture to battle him. That is what we need to do: use Scripture.

The first action you need to take is to stop.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Scripture tells us in Psalm 40:2 that God is the one that brought you out of the horrible pit, set your feet upon a rock, and established your goings. God will lift you out in His timing.

Your second action is to allow the Lord to bring you up one step at a time.

He brings you out, sets you a solid foundation: The Rock. Then He gets you going again in the right direction, and puts a new song in your mouth. Don’t worry about what is going to happen tomorrow. Jesus said…

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34)

Your third action is to praise God for His deliverance.

“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 40:3)

Just as verse 12 and 13 of Psalm 140 says…

“I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.” (Psalm 140:12-13)

Peace.


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The Good Ole Days

Good Ole Days

Today’s Reading – Psalms 133 – 139 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

Read the “0712 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading – “Unity“.

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?” (Psalms 137:1-4)

Psalm 137 is a very sad psalm written after the Israelites had lost their land, and had been taken into captivity by the Babylonians. In this psalm they are remembering the good ole days, when they were safe and secure inside of their borders, and when they had the freedom and privelege to worship and serve God freely. But, that was all gone. As a nation, they had forsaken God’s word, neglected His worship, and had allowed all of the wicked practices of the heathen to enter in. Though God had warned them of the consequences many times through His prophets, the people just would not listen, so God had to judge them. In this psalm, they are looking back, and wishing that they could go back and do things differently.

I see a prophetic parallel to America in this psalm. I believe if we continue down the path that we are travelling as a nation, we too will lose everything, and will one day be looking back in regret, wishing we could go back and re-do things. We have not lost everything yet, but we can see the hand of God’s judgment beginning to fall upon this once great nation. It doesn’t have to happen though. We could repent, and go back to what we were when we were founded. Of course, we had some problems back then as well, and I do not advocate that we do everything exactly as we did then, but I do believe we need to put God back on the throne in this land. Our nation has become a godless, corrupt, and extremely immoral place. We have come to accept and even promote many things which God has declared to be evil. We are forsaking the houses of God’s worship, and instead are consumed with chasing possessions and pleasure. If we keep going, someday soon it will all be gone. But then, we will remember. I guess it won’t be all bad, though, because while we are remembering what we lost, we also will remember God. Just a thought.


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Happy To Be In Church

people-smiling

Today’s Reading – Psalms 120 – 132 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 21 – 22; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read the “0711 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” – (Psalm 122:1)

“Except the LORD build the house they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” – (Psalm 127:1)

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” – (Psalm 133:1)

If you want to put a smile on the face of my grandson, Jaxon, just tell him that you are taking him to church. He loves to go to church. He loves to put on his little tie.  He loves to ride in the church bus on soul winning night. He loves everything about the church, and he is glad every time he goes.

For my devotion this morning I have listed a couple of verses from our reading today (and one from tomorrow’s reading) that I believe can certainly be considered together. Though, I may be taking a little bit of liberty regarding the proper interpretations of these Scriptures in their original contexts, I do not believe my thoughts violate basic Biblical truth. The first verse (Psalm 122:1) talks about the joy of being in the house of God. I also love to be in the house of God with God’s people, but there have been times in my life when I did not appreciate going to church. Before I was saved, the last thing I wanted to do was to go to church; and even after my salvation there have been times when I dreaded church. Thinking back at these times I now realize that the reason for my apprehension was either because my own heart was not right, or that there was something not right going on in the church.

I remember years ago my wife and I were at a church business meeting. The pastor of the church had fired the youth pastor. The problem was that a good portion of the church really liked the youth pastor and did not want to see him go. The result was a church split, with a lot of arguing, gossiping, and bitterness that certainly was not pleasing to the Lord. The lack of unity (Psalm 133:1) among the brethren caused the church to become an unpleasant place to go.

The bottom line is, however, that a church where the people are striving together, submissive to the will of God, is a place that is a downright joyful place for the Christian to go; unless, of course, his heart is at odds with the will of God. If the church is healthy, and the Christian is healthy spiritually, there ought to be a joyful anticipation of going to the House of God. I am very thankful for the church where I serve. Though we are not a large church, we enjoy serving and worshipping together. It is my prayer that our church will grow together, both spiritually and numerically. However, the house must be built by the Lord. It must be done His way, otherwise, we are just wasting our time.

Do you look forward to going to church, or to you you dread it? If the thought of going is unpleasant to you, you need to ask yourself, why? It may be that there is a major problem within the congregation; but more often than not, the problem lies within your own spiritual condition. If you are out of the will of God, being in God’s house, and around God’s people will certainly be a difficult experience. If that is your situation, please don’t blame the church for your misery, and don’t run from the church either. If you do, you may experience a temporary relief from your feelings, but it will ultimately lead to more sorrow. The best thing that you can do is get back inside the will of God. Inside of God’s will, the local church is a place of happiness.


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Open Thou Mine Eyes

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Today’s Reading – Psalm 119 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 19 – 20; Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0710 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalms 119:18)

What a wonderful privelege it is to be able to open up a copy of the Word of God. Our reading this morning in Psalm 119 is all about God’s word. Almost every verse in this Psalm contains a word that is synonomous with the Bible. For instance, in vs. 1 – 6, you will see the words, “law”, “testimonies”, “ways”, “precepts”, “statutes”, “commandments”, and “judgments”. All of these words are references to the Word of God. They all have slightly different meanings, but together they help us to understand what the Word of God is, as well as what it does. This is a wonderful psalm, replete with tremendous truths and promises regarding our relationship with God through the Bible.

My attention this morning was drawn to v. 18, where the psalmists asks the Lord to open his eyes so that he could understand (see) wondrous things from the Word. The Bible does contain a myriad of “wondrous things”, but oftentimes our spiritual eyes are not open enough to receive them. There are certainly many reasons for this, but I believe one of them is the fact that we do not approach the Word of God expectantly, and prayerfully, anticipating a life-changing truth. Our prayer should be the same as the psalmist every time we open up the Bible: “Open thou mine eyes”.

Everything that we need to succeed in this life is contained in the Bible, but we are missing so many principles that would guide, instruct, and protect us simply because we are not looking, because our eyes are closed. Stop approaching the Word each day as a religious ritual, but rather open it, looking for the truth that you will need to help you survive, and even thrive as an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ. God has the answers for the problems that you will face today and tomorrow. They are in His Word. Ask Him to help you to see them.


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Not Short on Truth

 

Not Short On Truth

Today’s Reading – Psalms 115 – 118 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 17 – 18; Psalms 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0709 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” – (Psalm 117:1-2)

Did you ever notice that some of the most powerful messages in the Bible come out of passages of few words. For instance, Peter’s message at Pentecost, which was used of God to lead 3000 people to Christ, was only 25 verses long. The people at our church are hoping that I would learn to preach some of those short sermons. Anyway, Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in all the Bible, but it is certainly not short on truth. This Psalm speaks about two very important doctrines in the Bible: God’s mercy, and God’s truth. It really says it all if you think about it. Through God’s mercy a way was made possible for us to receive the forgiveness of our sins; and it is because of His truth that we could find out about His mercy. What an awesome little passage of Scripture!


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Unmoveable

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 108 – 114 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 15 – 16; Psalms 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

Read the “0708 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Surely he shall not be moved forever…” (Psalm 112:6)

“…his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7)

“His heart is established…” (Psalm 112:8)

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed….A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6,8)

There is far too much instability among God’s people today; they just can’t seem to make up there minds as to where they stand. The Bible says about Jesus that His face was set like a flint, meaning He wasn’t budging from the will of God. Why is it that His children, however, are always moving in their doctrinal positions, and in their personal convictions. We need to learn the lesson that the Psalmist teaches here in the 112th Psalm.

Notice the characteristics of this unbending, righteous man spoken of here in the Psalm 112:

1 He is unmoveable about His Bible.

“[He] delighteth greatly in his commandments” (v. 1)

He is not the type of guy that changes the Bible he uses, or what he believes about the Bible. He is bull-dogmatic about Bible principles. He believes and applies what God says; and doesn’t deviate off of the course that the Word charts.

2 He is gracious and full of compassion. (v. 4)

Even though you are not going to move him about what he believes, he will be gracious and compassionate with those who have not yet grown to where he is. He gives people who are heading in the right direction time to get there. He is willing to give somebody a second and third chance when they demonstrate true contrition and repentance.

3 He is generous in his giving. (vs. 5, 9)

He knows that the source of all of his wealth is God. He knows also that God expects him to distribute the wealth that he has given him in order to be a blessing and a help to others.

How often do we change our minds and our actions regarding our Christian walk. We need to be a little more like this man mentioned in the Psalm. We need to dig in, find out what we believe from the Bible, and stick with it until the Lord takes us home.


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Never Satisfied

Never Satisfied

Today’s Reading – Psalms 106 – 107 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 13 – 14Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0707 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:15)

The Scripture referenced above has to do with the children of Israel during their wilderness wanderings. It seems that the people were always griping and complaining about their condition; always discontented about what God had provided for them. You will remember that God gave them manna from Heaven, but the people lusted after meat. God gave them what they wanted, but at what price? The Psalmist tells us they received leanness into their souls. I don’t think that God was upset with them because they had a physical hunger; but He did judge them because they put their lust for the physical above their love for Him.

How often do we put our physical, and other fleshly desires over the things of God. There is nothing wrong with food, but when we become so consumed with eating, playing, enjoying, etc. that we become negligent of the spiritual we too will suffer the consequences of a spiritual famine. I love to eat, I love to enjoy the good things that God has given us to enjoy in this life, but I don’t want to trade off the spiritual blessings that God has for me because of an over-appetite for the physical.

Notice the historical reference of this event from Numbers 11:

“And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.” (Numbers 11:33)

Our flesh is enemy # 1. If we are not careful, we will allow our flesh to take over our lives. We may be physically fat, but we will also be spiritually famished.


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Joy Is Coming: Remembering The Fourth Of July – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – Psalms 103 – 105 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 11 – 12; Psalms 26 – 30; Proverbs 6)

Read the “0706 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.” (Psalm 103:1)

Good morning. As I sit here reading my Bible, I realized something about the Fourth of July. This was a few years ago. I didn’t go to watch the parade. I didn’t watch the Macy’s fireworks show, the biggest fireworks display in the nation. I didn’t even watch the Twilight Zone Marathon. My flag was up on the front of the trailer waving in the breeze. I played dominoes with Camille most of the day; and cooked BBQ’d ribs in my 16 qt. cast iron dutch oven. And yes, they came out great! But this was the most quietest fourth of July I ever had.

My best Fourth was in 1976. I went to visit my brother, Harry. We stood near the Varizano Narrows Bridge, and watched the tall ships sail by. Then later into the evening, we went to a swamp where you could see the back of the Statue of Liberty and watched the massive fireworks display celebrating our nations 200th birthday. That was 43 years ago. The celebration of the fourth in 2013 just did not feel the same to me. Maybe it was the camping trip to Gettysburg, PA, a few weeks earlier that got me to thinking. There were 51,112 deaths in that one battle. That’s more than the Korean Conflict (36,574), and almost as much as the war in Vietnam (58,209). I wonder what the soldiers would say if they could see the condition the country is in today. The country they gave their lives for. Would they be sickened by the stench of our way of life: relying on big brother, rather than God for all our needs? What would they say? Would they say, “Wow, what a great cell phone!”; or would they slap our faces for the low price we put on the freedoms that they shed their blood to keep?

Depressing, isn’t it. It was for me until I read Psalm 30:5. There may be some hope for our nation. Psalm 30:5 says…

“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

Joy is coming. It may be in seeing the nation turn back to God, or it may be in Christ’s returning for us. But joy is coming in the morning. We made a real mess of our “One Nation Under GOD”, but He promises…

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Chronicles 7:14)

Joy IS coming.

Peace.


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O Be Careful Little Eyes

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 96 – 102 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10; Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0705 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “Enduring to All Generations“, and “Before His Presence

“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” (Psalms 101:2-3)

Before I get into my main thought for this morning’s devotion, let me point out that in Psalm 101, David uses the phrase “I will”, or “will I” 9 times. These were very bold, and almost cocky assertions on his part, and I am pretty sure that he failed to keep every one of these promises during the course of his life. He was, as we are, human. I am very careful not to make too many promises about what I will or will not do, because I have been known to break a promise or two in my lifetime as well. However, I do believe that it is good to set up some standards and boundaries in our lives based upon the principles that we are taught in the Word; and we should ask the Lord to help us to maintain them.

In vs. 2 & 3 of this psalm, David determines that he will behave himself wisely, and that he will set no wicked thing before his eyes. In the culture that we live in today, we almost have to put blindfolds on in order to fulfill this promise. There are so many “wicked things” for us to look at. Let’s be honest, you absolutely cannot turn on the television without setting some kind of wicked thing before your eyes. Wickedness is blatantly visible in our culture. To be perfectly frank, I am ashamed to say that I have seen some things in our church that should have never entered into my eyes. Things that were condemned just a few years ago are condoned and even promoted today, and it is getting worse every day. It is impossible for us to interact with this culture without allowing wicked images to enter into our eyes, and then ultimately into our hearts. Yet, we must strive to put some blinders on our physical and spiritual eyes that will keep us from beholding sin and thinking about things that could destroy us spiritually.

In Sunday School we sing a song that says:

“O be careful little eyes what you see,

O be careful little eyes what you see,

For the Father up above is looking down in love,

O be careful little eyes what you see.”

Christian, please be careful. If you have a television, you will need to block much of the programming, and you will have to turn off many of the commercials. The ads are often worse than the shows themselves. Don’t let your children watch the TV unsupervised. There is just way too much poison coming through that box. The Internet is obviously a huge problem also. And, there are many places, like the movies or the beach, that we will need to avoid if we want to keep our eyes from beholding sin.

Let me say a word to you ladies. Please be careful about what you wear, especially in the summer months. Immodest dress can be a big stumblingblock to many men. Job had to make a “covenant” with his eyes not to look upon a maid. I think if he were living today he would have a tough time keeping that promise.

Obviously, I cannot address every application that could be made from these verses in Psalm 101, but I think you get the idea. I understand that we are living in some desperately wicked times, but don’t get swept away by the culture. Don’t just be content to be a little more conservative than the culture, either. Determine to please God with what you allow yourself to see, and also how you behave.


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Happy Birthday America

Happy Birthday America

Today’s Reading – Psalms 90 – 95 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 7 – 8; Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0704 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “A Penny for Your Thoughts” and “Are You Thriving or Just Surviving?

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. …If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32; 36)

Praise the Lord for America!  This is the greatest nation on the face of the earth.  When I think about Independence Day I am filled with praise and gratitude to our God for three specific things:

1  I thank the Lord for Jesus who died on the cross for my sins, giving me liberty from the Law and from the bondage of sin.  To think that Christ would love someone like me is really beyond my comprehension.

2  I also thank the Lord for the men and women of God throughout the centuries who have given their lives delivering the message of salvation.  I could not be saved today if it weren’t for people who sacrificed greatly communicating the truth of God’s Word.

3  Finally, I am filled with gratitude for the men and women who have given their lives for the cause of freedom here in America.  With all of her faults, America is by far the best place in the world to live.  I can carry my Bible here; I can open it on any street corner and proclaim the glorious name of Christ.  I have the freedom to worship God here according to the convictions that God has given me through His Word.  I do a lot of complaining about the direction our country is heading sometimes; but today I am going to lay aside  all of the negatives, and be thankful for the blessing of America!

One more thing.  I am going to think today about what sacrifice I can make to send the message of Christ to not just America, but to every living, breathing soul on this earth.

Thank you Jesus for setting me free from sin.  Thank you America for giving me the freedom to thank and serve Jesus.


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Ain’t God Good

Field-of-Flowers

Today’s Reading – Psalm 86 – 89 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 5 – 6; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0703 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” (Psalms 86:5)

This morning’s passage contains a very simple, yet also very profound truth, which is perhaps the greatest truth in all of Scripture. God is good. God is better than good, God is awesome. We sing the song sometimes, “Ain’t God Good”; and He is. It may not be proper English, but it certainly is sound doctrine. Consider the following verses:

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalms 34:8)

“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalms 100:5)

“Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.” (Psalms 135:3)

“The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalms 145:9)

“The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 33:11)

“The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:25)

“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7)

The Lord is good for an infinite number of reasons, but in the context of Psalm 86, David declares that the Lord is good because He is merciful, and ready to forgive all them that call upon Him. Nearly 30 years ago I heard the gospel preached, and I realized that I was a sinner that needed salvation. I called upon the Lord, and He was merciful to me, and “ready to forgive”. He saved me. You see, I can testify firsthand that the Lord is good. And He hasn’t stopped being good to me. He has never done me wrong one time. Ain’t God good! Can I get a witness?


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Visit This Vine

Grape Vine

Today’s Reading – Psalms 80 – 85  (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 3 – 4; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0702 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.” (Psalm 80:14 & 15)

The context of this passage of Scripture involves a time period in the history of Israel (the vine) when the people of God were under judgment due to their falling away from Him. Most people believe that it specifically involves the time of the Babylonian captivity. You will remember that God raised up the nation of Babylon to come and judge the northern kingdom of Judah in 586 BC because God’s people had turned away from Him and had fallen deeply into idolatry and immorality. The psalmist was pleading with God to return His favor to the vine (Israel), and to allow her to be restored to a place of God’s blessing; a place of provision and protection.

As a child of God today, I desire the same thing for my home, my church, and my nation. I so desperately want to see God move in my family and in my church. I want to see the evidence of God’s hand in the place where He has called me to live and to minister. I want God to visit the vine called Jersey Shore Baptist Church. I want God to use this place as a bright light in a dark world. I want to see multitudes of souls saved here; and I want to see the wayward saints return to the vineyard.

I believe this can happen. I believe we can see a great revival, even in these last days. But how is it going to happen. The answer to that question is found in vv 3, 7, & 19. Three times the psalmist pleads with God to:

“Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

Notice that it begins with a movement of God. The Psalmist asks God to move in the hearts of the people and cause them to desire to be turned toward the things of God. I guess that’s kind of what God has called me to do as a preacher. My job, in part, is to plead with the people and exhort them to turn away from the world and their sin; and turn back toward God. There can not be a salvation without a turning. Don’t misunderstand, I do not believe that this Psalm is specifically dealing with the salvation of a soul from Hell, but the principle can be applied. In order for a person to be saved they obviously have to turn to God; and in order to be moving in the direction of God, one must be moving away from their sin.

The same is true for the revival of our worldly, cold and indifferent hearts in the local church. We need to turn away from our sin and all of the trifles that this world has to offer; and turn back to God with all of our hearts. We are living here for a purpose; but merely living here is not that purpose. We are here to glorify our Lord in this dark world by shining the light of His glorious gospel.

God, please visit the vine of my life, my family, and my church; and cause me to turn away from all of those things that are hindering me from fulfilling your perfect will for my life. Help me to glorify you in everything that I do and say; and help me to wet the appetite of the people around me for the things of God.

 


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He Knows Our Humanity

He Knows Our Humanity

Today’s Reading – Psalms 78 – 79 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

Second Milers also read – Proverbs 1; Psalms 1 – 5; Mathew 1 – 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0701 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “Where Is Their God?”

“But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” (Psalms 78:38-39)

“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalms 103:14)

Isn’t it comforting to know that we do not have to pretend to be anything other than human when dealing with God. Think about it. In every other relationship we have, we are always putting on our masks, and placing defensive barriers around us so that people will not see the real us. We want to portray an image of ourselves to the people we meet that is far better than the reality. But we know that it is futile to even attempt such a thing with God, because He can see right through any veil that covers us. He knows everything about us; every dirty detail; every hidden thought. He knows some things about us that perhaps we have pushed so far back in the recesses of our minds that even we don’t remember. He knows that we are merely “flesh”, and He knows that we are “dust”. To me that is comforting, because I know that God is the only one that I can truly be myself around. And the strange thing is that He loves me, even though He knows all of the dirt.

In our passage today, in Psalm 78, we read about the history of Israel from the perspective of God. God gave Israel everything that they have. He delivered them from Egypt, fed them and protected them as they wandered through the desert, brought them into the land of promise; but what did Israel do in return for God? They rebelled against Him, complained about Him, and turned to worship other gods. God had to send judgment in order to get them to turn back to Him, but their repentance was never permanent, they would always resort back to “being human”. Our humanity, our flesh, causes us to keep leaning unto our own understanding; doing our own thing. Most of the time our thing is in direct opposition to what God wants. But we have this flesh that is continually seeking to satisfy its own lusts, and is constantly pulling us out of the will of God. To make matters worse, we also have the world and the devil cheering our flesh on in its battle with the will of God. No wonder Paul said, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) I say “AMEN” to that, but I also, like Paul, thank the Lord that God sent a Saviour who died for my sins, and sent the Holy Spirit to live in and work on this old sinful flesh, conforming me into the image of Christ.  That means every once in a while I am going to get it right down here on the earth, and someday, praise God, I will be delivered completely from this body of flesh.

God didn’t utterly destroy us and wipe us out. He loved us, He died for us, and He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. And someday soon, He will transport us up out of this world, and take us to be with Him (without our sinful flesh) forever.


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Slippery Places

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 73 – 77 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 17 – 22; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 30 – 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0630 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.” – (Psalm 73:2)

“Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.” – (Psalm 73:18)

I remember one day years ago when I was working as a youth director at the Christian Bible Baptist Church in South Toms River, I was picking up one of the guys from the youth group during an ice storm. Everything was covered with ice. I watched as this young man very carefully left his house and walked toward my truck. I turned my head for a minute, and when I looked back he was nowhere in sight. I assumed that he went back inside for a moment because he had forgotten something. That’s when I saw a hand stretching up to grab the mirror on the pasenger door of the vehicle. He was holding on to that mirror for dear life. With all of his strength he pulled himself up, and steadied himself to get in the cab. I don’t think that I have ever laughed so hard in all of my life. The young man could not even stand on his own simply because the ground underneath him was too slippery.

I may be taking too much liberty with this passage, but I can not help but notice that twice in Psalm 73 there is a reference made to slipping. In verse 2 the psalmist says that he had almost slipped because of his envy of the prosperity of wicked people. Then again in verse 18 we see another reference to a slippery place. I got to thinking that God’s people often fall because they tread 0n slippery places. You can make the application here wherever it fits in your life, but a slippery place is a place, person or thing that presents to us a great temptation to sin. Maybe for you it’s the wrong crowd, or it could be sitting home alone on the internet; but it is a place where you can easily fall into sin. If you don’t want to fall, stay away from slippery places.

By the way, did you ever notice that when you fall off your feet, you often have a difficult time getting back up on your own. It is the same when you fall into sin. Don’t be too prideful to call out to someone and ask them for help.


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Let God Be Magnified – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – Psalms 69 – 72 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 13 – 16; Psalms 141 – 145; Proverbs 29)

Read the “0629 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.” (Psalm 70:4)

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18)

Good morning. Do you have a vision for the things of God? Has God given you a vision for what He wants to accomplish in your life? Let God be magnified. Do you have a vision? If you don’t, you need to get a vision before you perish. Maybe God once gave you a vision of His will for your life, and somehow you got sidetracked. This happens. It happened to me. I was recently reminded of the verse I had received as my reason to go to college. In Luke 14:21, Jesus said, “So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.”

Where is your vision? The key is after the colon: he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Your vision of God’s will for your life is in the Scripture. You need a vision or you will perish.

Have a vision for God’s Word.

King David wrote,

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.” (Psalm 119:1-8)

And God is serious about His Word. His Word is truth. God wanted the king to write out his own copy of the Bible:

“And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

Have a vision for God’s people.

Jesus said,

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)

Maybe you are down on yourself. You think, how can God use me? I’m such a screw-up. If you start loving others as Jesus did, you will begin to get a vision of how God sees you. He doesn’t see you as a screw-up, He sees you as His child.

Have a vision for those who are not God’s people.

Hell was created for the devil and his angels, not for people. 2Peter 3:9 tells us that…

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter 3:9)

God is not willing that any should perish. That’s why He commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel. People need to hear the gospel. You are saved by grace through faith, and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Those who are not God’s people need a chance to become God’s people. If you are reading this and are not one of God’s people, you can become one. 1John 5:11-13 tells us,

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1John 5:11-13)

Romans 3:10 & 23 tell us that we are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory. God will not allow any sin to enter heaven. The good news is in Romans 5:8…

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

According to Romans 10:13, all you need to do is ask Him to save you and He will.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Did you do that? Great! Now get yourself a vision for God’s Word, God’s people, and those who aren’t God’s people. And let God be magnified.

Peace.


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Make His Praise Glorious

glory-of-god-pic

Today’s Reading – Psalms 65 – 68 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 10 – 12; Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the  “0628 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read an earlier post from this passage – “What Are You Thinking About?”

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” – (Psalm 66:1-2)

Our God is an awesome, and wonderful, and great, and powerful God. The English language really does not contain enough adjectives to describe how glorious our God is. Yet, we who have been saved through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are encouraged to learn about the greatness of God from His Word, and then communicate our appreciation and admiration to Him first, and then to the people around us. In order to do this, we must first study God. One of the reasons why many Christians hava a tough time praising Him is because they don’t know Him; and there are others who are praising Him, but not according to knowledge. We are commanded to study God through the Scriptures. If the God you serve seems vague or small to you, it is because you do not know Him very well. Open the Bible and read about His awesome power, as well as His infinite wisdom, and loving compassion. He is wonderful. Get to know Him.

Once we know some things about God, we are to sing about Him. These Psalms were all originally songs, and many of them are songs of praise. I sometimes get a kick out of watching the song service at our church. I often see people going through the motions, thoughtlessly and half-heartedly mouthing the words of the hymns. Every once in a while I have to shake myself, and remember what I am singing, and to whom I am doing it. Singing is a form of praise and worship. When we sing the songs of God, we are worshipping Him, and praising Him. If there is one part of our church service that I have really been trying to work on, it is the song service.

Notice also Psalm 66:3:

“Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.”

Finally, we are to speak our praise to God, and for God continuously. The Scripture says that the redeemed of the Lord are supposed to “say so” (Psam 107:2). We have an awful lot to be thankful for; and an awful lot to praise Him for. My preacher in Texas used to say, “if you’re not going to Hell, you ain’t got no problems; and you ought to be shouting.” He is right. I once heard Pastor Charlie Clark say, “Open your big, fat mouth, and praise God.” Perhaps if we started praising the Lord as we ought to, more people would be attracted to our God. Just a thought.


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The Rock That Is Higher Than I

 

Kohala Mountain Road

Today’s Reading – Psalms 58 – 64 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 7 – 9; Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 27)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the “0627 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – (Psalm 61:2)

I love this verse from Psalm 61. David was a man who had many enemies and spent much of his life fighting them. He valiantly strove against the enemies of God’s people throughout his life, and he also spent a good portion of his life defending himself from some of his own people that had turned against him. He lived much of his life at war. I can certainly understand why there were many times that his heart was overwhelmed. Imagine how it must have felt for David when King Saul pursued him for all of those years; or when his own son Absolam led a rebellion against him, forcing him out of his own city temporarily. David’s life was not easy. He experienced much heartache along the way.

Though I have never experienced the horrors of military battle, I have experienced my share of trials and difficulties in life. There have been many times when life got a bit overwhelming. There have been many times when I just did not know what to do. These are the times in life when we should go to God, who is the Rock that is high above all of the circumstances of life.

I have given some thought to David’s use of the illustration of a mountaintop to express his going to the Lord during the difficult days (and nights) of his life. In a battle, there are many advantages to having the higher ground. The mountaintop was a place of safety. It is much harder to attack someone when you have to climb up to fight them. It is easier to defend a higher position than it is a lower one. God is our place of safety. Nothing can happen to the child of God, who is living in His will, unless God wants it to happen. It is very comforting to know that God has got my back.

The mountaintop is also a place where our sight is increased. Have you ever gone up to the top of a mountain? The views are sometimes absolutely breathtaking. A few years ago my wife and I were blessed with a once in a lifetime trip to to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary. We took a drive on the Big Island up the side of an old volcano on the Kohala Mountain Road. I don’t know how high up we drove, but when we got to the top, we could see everything. It was an absolutely gorgeous view. It was a rather strange experience being on top of a mountain, and looking down at miles and miles of shoreline, as well as the vast Pacific Ocean. We could even see one of the other islands from where we were. God wants us to understand that when we are overwhelmed with life, He can see much better than we can; and through the eyes of faith, we can see a little better too. We may not be able to fully understand what we are going through, but we know that God does; and we can trust that He has a purpose for it all.

It is wonderful to know that though life gets a little overwhelming for us, it never is that way for God. He always has things under control.

 


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Betrayed By A Friend

friend-betrayed

Today’s Reading – Psalms 51 – 57 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 4 – 6; Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0626 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” (Psalms 55:12-14)

It is not clear exactly what the context is surrounding Psalm 55. Some have claimed that David was referring to Saul; others have suggested that it was his son, Absalom; and still others believe that it could have been Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15) who was David’s counsellor but had turned against him. A man as great as David was, no doubt, had a lot of friends, along with a lot of enemies; and I am sure that he had several friends (and even family members) that turned on him. Nothing is quite as painful as the betrayal of a friend. It hurts deeply. You expect your enemies to treat you badly, but when a friend turns on you, it often takes you completely by surprise.

What can you do today when you are betrayed by a friend:

Pray –  This whole Psalm is really a prayer from David regarding the situation. He gave the problem to the Lord. Resist the temptation to talk to people about the betrayers, and instead talk to the Lord. It is OK to “gossip” to the Lord.

“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 55:16-17)

By the way, don’t just pray for the Lord to punish your enemy; pray that God will restore your friendship. Jesus commands us to love our enemies, which includes those enemies who used to be our friends. Pray also for God to show you where you might have failed as a friend yourself. It is very interesting that the person that betrays us often feels justified in their betrayal, and perhaps sometimes they are; not that their betrayal was necessarily right, but perhaps there may have been some underlying reasons, or hurt feelings that may have motivated the betrayal.

Love – You can continue to love and “do good to them which hate you”. This is certainly not easy, but it is the best way to demonstrate the love and grace of our Lord. He loves us, even though we fail Him continually, and even betray Him at times. We may never win back our friends, but we can make it easy for a restoration to take place. Continue to be a friend to those who no longer see you as a friend.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)

I think we all have been on both sides of this equation. I have had people that in my view have betrayed me; but I am also sure that there are people out there that would say that I have betrayed them; and I suppose there is some truth to that. We don’t always get it right, do we? But, we can strive to make things right with the people who are at odds with us.


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You Can’t Take It With You

U-haul behind hearse

Today’s Reading – Psalms 46 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 1 – 3; Psalms 121 – 125; Proverbs 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32 

Read the “0625 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.” – (Psalm 49:17)

You have heard it said that you will never see a U-haul behind a hearse, except, of course, in comical pictures like the one above. The bottom line from Psalm 49 is, however, that your accumulated wealth and status in this life will do you no good in eternity, unless your life and wealth have been invested in the cause of Christ, and in the lives of others. This Psalm admonishes us to not envy the lifestyles of the rich and famous among us. First of all, we don’t see the whole picture. While they may seem to be enjoying life on the surface, we know that lives that are lived outside of the will of God are not really happy on the inside. There is a lack of inner peace, and a void that cannot be filled with the things that this world offers.

I want to be clear to point out, however, that wealth or possessions are not evil in themselves. God blesses His children with some of the non-sinful pleasures in this life. The key, however, is found in v. 20:

“Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” – (Psalm 49:20)

Notice that only the man that understandeth not is like the beasts that perish. Honor and wealth, and possessions, etc. are wonderful gifts given by the Lord to the person that “understands” Him, and His will. So, go ahead and enjoy the possessions that this life contains, but do not let them possess you; and remember to thank the Lord who gave them to you.


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God Wants To Hear You Sing

girl_singing

Today’s Reading – Psalms 40 – 45 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 John, 3 John, Jude; Psalms 116 – 120; Proverbs 24)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the  “0624 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this morning’s reading – “Thirsty?”

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” (Psalms 40:1-3)

“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalms 100:2)

“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.” (Psalms 126:2)

Christians ought to be a singing people. We are really the only people on this planet that have a reason to sing. David, the writer of Psalm 40 lists the reasons for his song in vs. 1 – 3. He tells us, first of all,  that the Lord inclined unto him, and heard his cry. The word, “incline”, has the idea of bowing down. David was saying that God bowed down, or leaned over, to hear David’s cry. I do not know the reason that David was crying, though I do know that in his lifetime there were many events that would have brought him to tears. This world has a way of beating you down, but isn’t it a great joy to know that God can “incline” to us, give us his full attention, and hear our cries.

God didn’t just listen to David’s problem, however; He fixed it. Notice v. 2 again:

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Psalms 40:2)

In the context of this psalm, I believe David was probably referring to one of the many earthly problems he faced. Perhaps, it was when God delivered him from the hands of Saul. We can’t be sure. However, I believe that we can apply the principles of this psalm on a deeper level. When the Lord saved me, He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, and he secured my salvation on the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ; and now He has given me a new direction in life, a new purpose. I get to live for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He established my goings within His perfect will for my life.

Because of all of this, I, like David, have a reason to sing. If you are saved, so do you. God wants to hear us sing. He tells in Psalm 100 that we are to enter into His presence with singing, and we are supposed to be in His presence all of the time, which means that we should be singing all of the time. So go ahead: let loose with a few verses of “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” David tells us that when this world hears us sing, many of them will “see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Isn’t it interesting that it says here that people will be drawn to God through our singing. I believe that we should preach the Word, and live the Word; but if I am going to really be effective as a soul winner, I will also have to learn to sing the praises of God.


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Nuggets of Gold

Nuggets of Gold

Today’s Reading – Psalms 36 – 39 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 John 1 – 5; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0623 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” – (Psalm 37:4)

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” – (Psalm 37:23)

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” – (Psalm 37:25)

Have you ever noticed that Psalm 37 contains many wonderful verses that we often quote. I have listed three of them above, but really I could have added more. This Psalm almost reminds me of a chapter from the Book of Proverbs, but the theme seems to be the same throughout the Psalm. The bottom line to this Psalm is that God is encouraging us to trust in His promises and provisions; and to not worry about the apparent prosperity of the lost world around us. Their success and superiority is short-lived at best; but ours is eternal.

Let’s consider the three verses listed above. David says that a good man will “order” his steps according to the direction of the Lord. This means tha a good man will yield himself to the will of the Lord. Notice that both verse 4 and 23 say that this good man will “delight” in God. God then in turn not only provides the necessities mentioned in v 25, but also will grant his desires. What a wonderful and awesome God we serve. What does this world have to offer you that could possibly compare to what God wants to give to that “good” man (or woman) who delights in Him.


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She’s Just A Kid – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – Psalms 32 – 35(Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Peter 1 – 3; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22)

Read the “0622 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” (Psalm 34:11)

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Good morning. I read something about six years ago. It was an article about a 16 year-old girl who was sentenced to death and is being released now that she is 43. She pleaded guilty to the murder of a 78 year-old Bible Studies teacher. She was 15 when she sat on the old woman, and slashed her 33 times with a butcher knife. She did this while three of her friends looked on (the youngest was 14).

She was sentenced to death, and became the youngest convict on death row. Protest sprung up across America, and even Europe, against the death penalty. The Indiana Supreme Court moved the minimum age for the death penalty from 10 years-old up to 16 years-old. This young girl was then sentenced to spend the next 60 years in prison. But you need to see how the article ends…

Linley E. Pearson, who was Indiana’s attorney general when [the girl] appealed to the state Supreme Court, said research now shows that the human brain doesn’t fully mature until age 24. “So kids can do a lot of things they wouldn’t do if they were an adult,” Pearson said. [The girl’s] sentence was reduced due to her behavior in prison, where she earned a bachelor’s degree. She will remain on parole for a few years…

So who is to blame for the murder of the 78 year-old Bible teacher? Was it the girl? She was old enough to know right from wrong. She chose to do wrong. Were the parents to blame? Proverbs 22:6 tells us to…

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

I don’t know what her up-bringing was like. Maybe her dad only cared about making babies, and didn’t love his wife as Christ loved the church? Was it something she learned in school? Maybe in evolution class? Did her teachers tell her how she came from a slug that crawled out of the sea, and that she was superior and stronger than a 78 year-old lady. Did they teach her that she would be doing the world a favor by killing the old woman? It did not work for Hitler, and his socialistic, superior then any other, Aryan race either. Maybe it was the government who took God’s Word out of the schools. How do the students learn right from wrong if they are being taught to do their own thing? How can a country that is built on the Word of God function without the Word of God? It can’t. That is why we are in the mess we are in today: children killing children, drive-by shootings, home invasions all because we refuse to listen to God’s Word. Israel turned their backs on God, and started chasing after false gods, and for a while they were without a country: scattered. America has turned it’s back on God, and we are paying the price. Our freedoms are being flushed down the sewer. Soon the country that was built on God’s Word will be no more because we chased after false gods. What are our false gods? Worship of self, money, things. False gods like Allah, Buddha, Harri Krishnah, and the devil. We need to give God His proper place: Number One in our lives. 2Chronicles 7:14 says…

”If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Chronicles 7:14)

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but being under the rod of God’s correction is not a good place to be for our nation.

Peace.


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Joy Cometh in the Morning

sunrise-free-690785

Today’s Reading – Psalm 26 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Peter 1 – 5; Psalms 101 – 105; Proverbs 21)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0621 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” – (Psalm 30:5)

This is a tremendous, encouraging truth from the Word of God. Sometimes living and serving on this earth can be very trying. There are going to be days, and even seasons, where we experience hardships, pain, and suffering; but, praise God, He always brings us to the other side of the trials to the place where we can see the glorious sun of God’s love rising over the dark horizon.

As I read this verse this morning, I thought of the Stahl family. Ted and Camille have had a pretty rough go of it for the past few years. They dealt for years with the debilitating arthritis of their daughter, Melissa, which involved many surgeries.  Later, their daughter developed cancer, and after a long battle with more surgeries and painful treatments, she finally went home to be with the Lord. It was certainly a dark time for this godly, faithful, serving family. After Melissa’s death, Camille had a heart attack, which would necessitate surgeries for her. In the midst of it all, Brother Ted was struggling to take care of his family due to problems related to his job. Through it all, they remained true to their God: they stayed faithful. It did not seem like this long night of weeping would ever end, but God has brought them to the place where they could once again experience the joy of living and serving Him.

Ted and Camille Stahl are not the only ones that will go through the fiery trials of this life. Our family also went through a very dark valley a couple of  years ago, and there were times when we thought it would never end. But, God has brought us through to the other side of the trial, and we are now enjoying life more than ever. The truth is that we will all experience the rough times, the dark valleys; but it is good to know that God will be with us every step of the way, even though at times we cannot perceive His presence. It is also very comforting to understand, that every dark tunnel that we may experience in this life has a light at the end of it; and when this life is all over, we have the bliss and splender of Heaven waiting for us.

Are you in a dark valley right now? Take heart. Stay faithful. Joy does come in the morning.


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