Read the “0923 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land. Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court. Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.” (Amos 7:10-17)
Good morning. Proverbs 12:22 says…
“Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.” (Proverbs 12:22)
And also in 1Peter chapter 1…
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1Peter 1:14-16)
If you are saved, God is in the process of conforming you to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And since Jesus said that I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and also told us that, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth; truthfulness should be one of the traits we look for in ourselves. Don’t look for it in anyone else: this is personal between you and God. He knows when you are lying and so do you.
There was a priest at the time of Amos, whose name was Amaziah. Amaziah did not like to hear the truth. Like so many others who do not like to hear the truth, they try to keep others from hearing the truth also.
Amaziah tried to get the king to turn against Amos. Then he basically tells Amos to get lost, go back to Judah and prophesy there. And Amos delivers Amaziah the truth…
“Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.” (Amos 7:14-17)
Truth is the only thing that is stable: it can not be bent or reformed. If truth is modified in any way, it is no longer truth, it is a lie. In America, we have been being fed lies for a long time. Evolution, there is no God, god is in everything so hug a tree, it’s okay to abort a baby because it’s just a blob of goo, and the list goes on and on. Adolf Hitler said that if you tell a lie often enough, it would be believed as truth.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
Jesus is the Truth. The Words given Amos to speak to the nation of Israel, and write in a book, they are truth. In our search for personal holiness, we must be truthful. Truthful to God (He knew what you would do. He knew all about you before you ever existed). Truthful to others. Truthful to yourself. Examine yourself (remember this is all between you and God). Peter pointed to the disciple whom Jesus loved, and asked what that man would do. Jesus saith unto him, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33
Read the “0922 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)
The context of verse 3 above deals with both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and how they had chosen to live contrary to the principles of the Word of God. They had become immoral and idolatrous. They had become enamored with the cultures of the heathen nations around them. God tells them here that He cannot walk with these people because they are not in agreement with Him.
I have often quoted this verse when preaching, particularly while speaking on matters of separation. How is it that the professing Christian today feels so comfortable walking alongside the people of the world who do not know Christ? There must be agreement in order for there to be fellowship. Now, I can walk alongside anybody for a short distance. I will have to work at times with people who are not Christians; and hopefully, I will walk along with a lost man for a time trying to persuade him to trust Christ. Jesus walked and ate with some lost people at times in order to reach them. But, I do not think that this verse is talking about casual, purposeful, or limited contact with the lost world around us. It is talking about true communion. God cannot commune with people who have forsaken Him; and we should not be comfortable running with people who are not in fellowship with Him either.
Christian, be careful who you run with. Surround yourself with people who are going to influence you positively, encouraging your walk with God. Stay away from the gossips who have “the goods” on everybody else. Avoid those who are always negative: who desire to tear everything down instead of building things up. Run with people who have the same doctrine and standards that you have. My preacher used to say, “You are, or soon will be, who you hang around.” I want to run with people who will cause me to do right and grow in the Lord. Just a thought!
Posted in Thoughts from Amos by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” – (Joel 2:15-17)
“Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servantswhich is shed.” (Psalm 79:10)
Have you ever asked the question, “where is God?” I have often heard the people of this world ask this question when bad things happen on the earth. They will say that if there was a loving God, He would not allow all of this evil in the world. I have also heard some of the people of God pose the same thought when they or somebody they care about are experiencing hardship in life. However, the context of the verse written above is a little bit different. In our passage, the people of God have strayed far away from His will. Judgment has already come, and more judgment is on the way, and the prophet is pleading with the people to turn back to God. Notice that he wants all of the people: men, women, and even the little children to gather together. He doesn’t want any of them to not be in their place. That’s a good place to start, isn’t it. Many of God’s people today have forsaken the church house, which is “the house of the living God” for us today. Then the prophet says that the priests are to plead to God for the people. God wanted this congregation of Israel to understand that they needed to recognize that they have strayed; and then repent and turn back to God. We need to do the same thing today.
My thought for this morning, however, is that I wonder how many of of the people around us: our neighbors, our co-workers, our family members, etc. can see God in our lives. Can they see the reality of our faith working throughout our day to day living. Maybe they are tolerant and even polite to us regarding what we say about our faith; but I wonder sometimes if they aren’t secretly thinking, “where is their God?” Can they see the reality of God in our lives? No wonder we are having a difficult time reaching the people around us. If God isn’t real to us, how can he reveal Himself to others through us. I believe we have a tremendous responsibility and an awesome opportunity to show people our God through our lives.
1 Show them God by living out your faith. If you really believe God, then live according to the principles found in His Word. Walk with Him daily. Yield to His Spirit and His will. Separate from the things that are not apart of His perfect plan for your life.
2 Show them God by loving the people around you. God loves people, unlovable people just like you. Demonstrate the reality of God by demonstrating God’s love to people. Look for ways to express the love of God to the lost world around you. Don’t take separation beyond where God intended it to be. He wants us to impact their world; not only with the truth, but also with compassion.
3 Show them God by lasting. A lot of Christians start out their race, and do pretty well for a while, but eventually drop out. When a Christian throws in the towel on his faith, he is telling the world that his God was not real. When I first got saved years ago, my brother said to me that he didn’t think this new life of mine would last. He thought it was just a phase that I was going through; but now I think he has come to realize that my God as well as my salvation is very real. The greatest compliment a person could give me would be for them to say that they saw the reality of God in my life.
Posted in Thoughts from Joel by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –Micah 6:8
Read the “0920 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12)
“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.” (Hosea 14:1-2)
A few years ago, Hosea 10:12 was the theme verse for our church. Throughout the year, we would say to each other before services or soul winning, “It’s time”. In the context of Hosea’s book, Israel was at the end of their time for turning to God. God had warned them over and over again to come back to Him; but they were content to stay away. They had become comfortable, and complacent. They had been protected and prosperous, but they attributed their success to themselves rather than to the blessings of God. God had been patient; but His patience was running out. It was past time to seek the Lord. Judgement was imminent.
As a preacher, I sometimes feel the same frustration that Hosea and the other prophets felt. I preach the best that I can, yet I get the feeling that for the most part, my words are going in one ear and out the other. I am not speaking here about people who are trying but struggling. I am in that category myself sometimes; but I am sensing that their is an indifference to spiritual things by many in our community and even in our church. I believe with all of my heart that we are in those “perilous times” that Paul spoke of where men will “heap to themselves teachers having itching ears”.
Those of you that are reading this blog most likely are not in this category. You are the “choir” that so often get preached at (or written to). You love God, and though you may have your weak moments and battles with the flesh, the world, and the devil; you desire to live for Him. Keep seeking God. Don’t let the attitude and apathy of the world cause you to back up in your love and devotion for Him. Keep moving forward, keep growing. Hosea was writing to a bunch of lost Israelites about turning back to God; and we certainly want to encourage a lost America to turn to God. But, we also want to plead with those who may already have a relationship with God to keep seeking Him; keep drawing closer to Him.
I am praying that God will bring real and lasting revival to our church, and new life to our community and country; but I really want to experience a personal revival. I want to know God and love Him in a deeper way than ever before. How about you? It is very dry out there, spiritual speaking. If you are like me, you are thirsting for some refreshing rain from God. Let God break up some of that hard, dry soil in your heart; and ask Him to refresh, renew, and revive your life.
Posted in Thoughts from Hosea by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11
Read the “0919 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land… My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:1 & 6)
I remember recently looking at a textbook from back at the turn of the last century. I think it was called a “primer” and it was used for teaching in public schools all over America. It is full of references to God and direct quotes from the Bible. It didn’t matter what the subject was, the writers of the curriculum made sure that while the students learned academics they also learned about God. When I was a child, we used to observe a “moment of silence,” which was our opportunity to pray at the beginning of the school day. When my dad and mom were young, the teachers in the classroom actually prayed to God aloud and also recited the Ten Commandments, etc. in the public school. America was filled with the knowledge of God in years past. They say that the average lost man, 100 years ago, knew more Bible than a Bible college student does today. I don’t think that is far from being true. We have become a secular society with all of the humanistic principles and philosophies that go along with it. We no longer look to God for solutions; we look to the government or whoever the prominent secular authority is.
In Hosea’s day it was much the same way. The land of Israel was founded on Biblical principles, yet the people became increasingly enamored with the counsel and culture of the ungodly. God said that the people were destroyed because of this lack of knowledge. The question in my mind, though, is where to place the blame. Was it God’s fault? No. Was it the people’s fault? That is a good question. I mean, the people obviously had lost their appetite for spiritual things; they did not want to “hear it” anymore. It’s hard to deliver truth to people who do not want to listen anymore. However, I would place the blame at the feet of God’s ministers. They seemed to have gotten tired of going against the popular trends of their day, and chose to acquiesce to it rather than preach against it. So, truth stop being delivered and the spiritual condition of the people got worse.
This sure reminds me of the current religious climate in America. Preachers want to please the people. Who does not want to be liked? The problem is that in pleasing the people preachers often compromise the truth. Most churches in America today are only delivering a small fraction of the truth that they once delivered. For example: how many churches have shut down their Sunday School programs, Sunday evening services, and mid-week prayer meetings? How many messages have been cut back to a palatable 20 minutes, and how many of those 20 minute messages have more than a reference or two to Scripture. God commands His preachers to preach the Word “in season (when it’s popular) and out of season.” It really does not matter if the culture wants it or not, we are supposed to flood our communities with the truth of God’s Word. Our nation is starving for the Word of God and unfortunately, so are many of our church members. We need to get back to preaching and teaching the truth in our schools and in our churches and in our homes. We need also to get back to flooding our communities with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ so that the people will not be “destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
Posted in Thoughts from Hosea by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31
Read the “0918 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” – (Daniel 12:3)
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” – (Proverbs 11:30)
Several years ago I received a text message from a very excited member of our church. She had taken a trip down to North Carolina to visit with her father who was very sick. She was concerned about her father’s physical health, but she was even more concerned about his spiritual condition. This young lady had never led anyone to Christ before and she was very apprehensive, but because she had such a love and burden for her dad, she boldly shared Christ with him. Praise the Lord! Her father was gloriously saved. I do not know that in the future she will go on to “turn many to righteousness”, or not; but I do know that she was shining like a star the day she was used of the Lord to win her father.
I don’t know about you, but that story encourages me to be a better soul winner. I want to share Christ with the world around me. There was a time in my life when I was overflowing with the gospel; I witnessed to everybody. But, to my shame, somewhere along the way, I lost some of that zeal. I want it back. Daniel says that people who turn many to righteousness will “shine.” The darker the world gets, the easier it should be to shine for Christ. Paul told the Church at Philippi: “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life;…” (Philippians 2:15-16a). Proverbs states that soul winners are wise. Harry Ironside said this: “May ours be the wisdom that leads us so to walk as to commend the gospel of Christ to all with whom we come in contact, that thus we may be in very deed winners of souls, turning many to righteousness.”
A great practical tip for being a soul winner is carrying gospel tracts with you wherever you go. If the Lord put someone in your path and an opportunity presents itself, it is easy to give the person a tract. If their reaction to the tract is positive, then you can try to talk to them further.
Posted in Thoughts from Daniel by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Today’s Passage – Daniel 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 27:15
Read the “0917 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:” (Daniel 9:4 & 5)
The three chapters that we have read today contain wonderful prophecies about what was going to lie ahead for the people of Israel; and partially they reveal what still lies ahead for us today. Daniel receives several visions in these chapters, and for the most part they are explained to him so that he (and we) can understand them. We basically learn about all of the kingdoms that would rule the earth from the time of Daniel up until the time of the return of Christ. We learn that the Kingdom of Babylon would be overtaken by the Kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. Following them will be the Greeks; and finally we conclude with the Roman Empire which was in power at the time of Christ. This kingdom will eventually be revived and ruled by Antichrist in the last days. These are fascinating and amazingly easy to understand passages of Scripture that leave us with the assurance of knowing that we already have the victory over any evil forces that may come our way.
However, in the midst of all of this prophecy that is given in these three chapters is a prayer to God by Daniel. The thing that captivated my attention about this prayer is that Daniel includes himself in his confession to God regarding all of the iniquity of the people of God. He doesn’t say “they”; he says “we”. Now from what we know about Daniel from what is recorded in Scripture is that he was a very good man. There is not a mark against him in the Word of God. However, we know that he was a man like every other man and was not sinless. Nevertheless, he includes himself in all of the corporate idolatry and immorality that the nation was guilty of. I don’t think that he had forsaken God as the nation had, yet he took the blame upon himself.
I have a couple of thoughts regarding this humble prayer of Daniel:
1 Daniel is a type of Christ here who, though innocent, takes the blame for the sin of others.
2 Daniel is not like most men, including myself at times, who are always trying to pass the blame on to others. Why are we so full of pride that we have to try to make ourselves look to be without flaw and without sin. We are sinners. Sinners sin: it’s what we do. When we sin, we ought to be able to admit it to the Lord, ourselves, and others. We are not God. God doesn’t sin. Remember the old saying, “to err is human”. It is. Humans err; humans make mistakes; humans get away from God. Let’s not be proud of our humanity, but let’s try to humble ourselves enough to recognize it.
Christian, let me encourage you to not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. You ought always to be willing to accept blame for your actions; and even accept some blame for the actions of those you may be associated with. Daniel took full responsibility for the actions of his nation. We ought to have enough humility to come before God the same way. It really is kind of strange the way we behave. We try to present ourselves as perfect: we want to be seen as some kind of God; but God, who is perfect, took upon Himself the blame of everyone else.
Posted in Thoughts from Daniel by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Read the “0916 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
(Daniel 5:30-31) “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. (31) And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.”
(Daniel 6:1-10) “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; (2) And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. (3) Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. (4) Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. (5) Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. (6) Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. (7) All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. (8) Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. (9) Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. (10) Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Good morning. When is it okay to be a dissident? Before we delve into this, a dissident is a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state. An authoritarian state is a government that concentrates political power in an authority not responsible to the people. In other words, your Nazism, your Communism, and your Socialism. They, the government, know what is right for you, and your opinion doesn’t matter. In Texas, a few years back, Annise Parker, the openly lesbian mayor of Houston wanted pastors to turn over copies of their sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity, or the mayor herself. Or should what they’ve been preaching be considered a hate crime. All those in charge have to do is pass a law. That’s what the presidents who did not like Daniel did. They got King Darius to pass a law, that no man could ask petition of any god or man; they could only ask the king.
(Daniel 6:10) “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”
Because Daniel obeyed God he was thrown into the den of lions. But God protected Daniel by shutting the mouths of the lions. The presidents who accused Daniel didn’t fair as well…
(Daniel 6:24) “And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.”
Daniel was a dissident, and God backed him up. Peter and the apostles went through a similar situation…
(Acts 5:12-42) “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. (13) And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. (14) And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) (15) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. (16) There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. (17) Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, (18) And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. (19) But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, (20) Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. (21) And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. (22) But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, (23) Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. (24) Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. (25) Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. (26) Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. (27) And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, (28) Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. (29) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (30) The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. (31) Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. (32) And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (33) When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. (34) Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; (35) And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. (36) For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. (37) After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. (38) And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: (39) But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. (40) And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. (41) And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. (42) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Now what are you going to do when persecution comes? Will you stand for what is right? Will you stand for God? Will you be rejoicing that you were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus? When is it okay to be a dissident? If you are walking in the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The Holy Spirit will let you know what is right and just.
“O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” (Last verse of The Star-spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key)
May the Heav’n rescued land (that’s us) Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation (that’s God). If we forget God, what good is being a dissident? If God’s not in it, don’t do it. If you are asked to do something that goes against God’s Word, don’t do it. Obeying God is better than sacrificing yourselves for a cause that is not of God.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121
Read the “0915 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliverus out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:17 & 18)
I enjoy reading every part of the Bible, but I have really been looking forward to getting into the Book of Daniel. These first three chapters, and the stories of Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) were a great source of strength and encouragement to me today. I may not be facing trials and burdens that could be compared to what these young men faced, but I figure if they had faith enough to stay true to the Lord during their big ordeals, then I certainly should be able to muster enough faith to handle the little tests and problems that have come my way. These were great young men of faith, whose strength and trust in the Lord caused them to stay true to the Lord when all others compromised; and it also allowed them to stay cool when faced with the trials of their life.
In chapter one, we see the four men having a good attitude in a very bad situation. They were taken captive into the strange land of Babylon. We have no idea what happened to the rest of their families; but they may have been left behind, or possibly even put to death. These men were the cream of the crop from Israel: they were smart and well favored physically; but these gifts were not the traits that caused them to stand out from the crowd: it was their faith in God that distinguished them from everybody else. They were given a diet of the best meat and wine from the king, however the meat that the king gave them was most likely sacrificed to some pagan God. Daniel and his companions requested pulse (vegetables) and water as they did not want to compromise their faith in God by eating that which was sacrificed to an idol. The prince reluctantly agreed to accommodate them but only as long as they gave no appearance of being weak and thin. God prospered them with their vegetarian diet and they grew stronger than those that ate the meat.
In chapter two, we see them face an even greater test. The king had a dream and he wanted somebody to tell him what it meant. He made it really hard for the “wise men” in that he would not even reveal the dream: they not only had to give the meaning, but they also had to tell the king the events of the dream. This put most of the kings soothsayers out of business, and got the king mad enough to give all of the “wise men” including the four Hebrew boys a death sentence. Daniel did not panic; he prayed, and God gave him the answer to the king’s dilemma which saved his life and the lives of his three companions. It also gave them great favor in the sight of the king, and elevated them in position above all of the rest.
In chapter three, we see the stakes are raised even higher. The king has passed a new law that states everybody needs to bow to the new statue that he has made. Of course the boys refuse to bow to anything but their God. Once again the king is furious. (Kings don’t like it when the people listen to any other power but theirs) Their sentence this time is to be thrown into the fiery furnace. They trust that their God is well able to deliver them, so they continue refusing to bow to the image. The king throws them in, but miraculously God saves them, not from the fire, but in the fire. Sometimes God allows us to go through the trial: He doesn’t always deliver us from them; but His grace is always sufficient.
These are amazing, encouraging, motivating accounts of great faith. I want to have the strength of faith that these boys had. How about you? Is your faith strong or weak today? Well, did you spend time today in the Word of God? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17) There is a direct correlation between the time spent in the Word of God, and your strength in trials. Why not allow God to strengthen you today through His Word?
Posted in Thoughts from Daniel by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0914 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.” (Ezekiel 47:9)
“It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.” (Ezekiel 48:35)
These concluding chapters of Ezekiel paint a marvelous picture of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ which He will establish here on the earth after the Great Tribulation. The Bible speaks of a river that flows from the throne of God in the Temple that will eventually empty into the Dead Sea. The River begins as just a trickle but deepens and widens as it flows, eventually becoming a great river that one could swim in. I believe this is a marvelous picture of the presence and grace of God. We, as His children, often begin our journey only entering in ankle deep, but as we grow in our relationship with Him, we go ever deeper into those living waters of life that He spoke of also in John 4. It is interesting also that Ezekiel tells us that the waters will heal anything that they come in contact with. Even the Dead Sea, which is virtually devoid of all life today because of its salt concentration, will be healed and will be full of all sorts of fish and other living creatures. God told us in John’s gospel that He came to give us an abundant life, and at this time that Ezekiel prophesied about, all the world will experience the abundant life that only can come through a deepening relationship with Christ.
I love the last verse of Ezekiel’s prophecy. It says that the name of the city shall be, “The Lord is there.” I got to thinking about that statement and how it should apply to many things today. The presence of God indwells me today, so I can say about my life that the Lord is there. But I wonder how often my life is not a good representation of that reality. How often do I quench the Holy Spirit of God as He seeks to flow through me in order to reach the people around me who may not know Him. My family ought to be a picture of “the Lord is there,” as so should our church. In this Millennial Kingdom that Ezekiel speaks of everybody will see it: there will be no obstructions, no impairments that will hinder the people from clearly experiencing the presence of God. I want the obstructions to be removed from my life so that others will clearly see Christ in me. I want people to be able to say about me that God is with me, but my flesh often puts a bushel over the candlestick of God’s working in my life. How about you? Can people clearly see and be refreshed by the presence of God in your life? Won’t it be wonderful when this time that Ezekiel writes about comes to never have to be hindered by our flesh again: the sin nature that plaques us will be removed for good. But for now, we have to battle with our flesh; we have to surrender to the Spirit of God, and allow His abundant life to flow through us.
Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.