Today’s Passage – Zechariah 6 – 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 – Psalm 25
Read the “1002 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” (Zechariah 8:21-23)
Throughout the Book of Zechariah, God tells us what life will be like during the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth. This will certainly be a wonderful time for people to live on the earth. The Bible tells us, “…the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof“ (Zechariah 8:5). It goes on to say, “And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.“ (Zechariah 8:8) God will be “running the show” here on the earth, and the people will be thrilled to have him ruling in righteousness.
In vs. 21 – 23 of chapter eight, there is a phrase that grabbed my attention: “ten men…shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.“ The people of the surrounding nations will be so impressed with the relationship that the Jews have with their God that they will ask to join them as they go to the House of God. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the people that we know today could look into our lives and clearly see the relationship that we have with our Lord, and say to us, “I want to go with you to church, because I can see the Lord is with you, and He has made a wonderful difference in your life”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God’s people today exuded the love, joy, and peace that comes from a life filled with the Spirit of God. Maybe the reason that we are not attracting too many people to desire a relationship with the Lord is because they cannot see the difference that the Lord has made.
By the way, I am not saying that all we need to do is live before our neighbors. We still need to speak the truth to the people around us. Notice v. 16
“These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:” (Zechariah 8:16)
The truth is that people need to hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ from our mouths, but they also need to see the love, joy, and peace that come from the relationship that we have with Him.
Posted in Thoughts from Zechariah by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0930 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. …Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.” (Haggai 1:6 & 9)
Haggai is writing to the children of Israel that have returned to the land after their time spent in captivity in the land of Babylon, and later Persia. Upon returning, they had done well in the beginning: they immediately began to re-build the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. However, after some opposition came along (and it always does), they put aside the building of God’s house and began working on their own houses and farms, etc. The problem was that God was not blessing them in their work. In many respects they were spinning their wheels. They were working hard, but God wasn’t helping them, simply because they were no longer putting the Lord first in their lives.
I see a lot of parallels from this passage with Christians today. There has never been a time in the history of America when we are as busy as we are now. Many families have both husband and wife working with some folks working two and three jobs. It is very common to hear people say that they would like to attend all of the church services, but they always have to work. After all, they have to take care of their families, don’t they? Now, I understand that people need to work. Work is good. The Bible says that men need to work in order to eat; but when our work replaces God, or seriously interferes with our worship of Him, something is wrong. And I wonder if God isn’t doing to us what he did to those Israelites of old who had misplaced priorities. Do you miss church regularly due to work? I’m not saying it is always wrong, but you have to ask yourself and the Lord if your missing services is OK with Him.
The same could be said about our giving. We would like to give, but money is tight. We justify our lack of giving due to the fact that we need to care for our families. But did you ever think that by taking matters into your own hands, you are forsaking God and removing His blessing upon your life. God said that their wages were going through a bag filled with holes. I have often felt that my money was going into a bag like that as well. Have you stopped giving your tithes and offerings because money is tight? You can expect it to get even tighter.
The problem is that we are often blind to this condition. We don’t see where we have put something above God in our lives. Ask yourself honestly. Have you put something in front of God: your job; your children; your pleasure? What is causing you to miss the full blessing of God in your life. We need to put God back where He belongs in our lives. He deserves and demands first place. After the Israelites repented and starting working again on the temple, God said, “I am with you”. I want God to be with me in my life, and He will be as long as put Him in His rightful place. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that God is with you, that His hand of approval and blessing is on every aspect of your life?
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – (Matthew 6:33)
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” – (Colossians 1:18)
“I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.” – (2 Corinthians 8:8)
“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.” – (Malachi 3:10-11)
Posted in Thoughts from Haggai by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0929 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.” (Zephaniah 3:15)
If I understand this verse correctly, it appears that Zephaniah is looking forward to the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth. It would seem that this will be the only time that all of the things mentioned in the context could take place. In the first two chapters Zephaniah wrote of judgment which has already come and is still coming, but the future holds a time for Israel when they will be reconciled completely with God and God will once again be pouring out His blessings upon them, and will remove all of their enemies from the land.
My thought this morning, however, is how this verse, though directly dealing with Israel, applies perfectly to the Christian today. The Christian already has today what He is going to give Israel in the future. First, it says “The LORD hath taken away thy judgments”. How wonderful it is to know that the penalty for sin is gone. I will not be judged for my sin. I used to hear preachers say that when I stand before God, He is going to show a video of every bad thing that I have ever done. Not true. Jesus paid for all of my sins at Calvary and they are all under the blood. My record is clean because of what Jesus did for me at Calvary. My sins are gone! Praise God!!!
Secondly, Zephaniah says “he hath cast out thine enemy”. Now this isn’t true yet; but it soon will be. My enemy is Satan, and though he and his devils are reeking havoc today, he is already defeated. Some day soon, we will see Satan cast into the lake of fire. I am on the winning side and Satan is a loser. Just a thought: why do so many people, including Christians, follow him.
Finally, Zephaniah says “the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee”. I know that this verse is talking about God dwelling in the midst of His people Israel, but I have God dwelling in me right now.
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Colossians 1:27)
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” (John 15:4)
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13)
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
God is not only with me, He is in me. And if I will allow Him to have His way with my life, I will reveal Him to others around me.
P.S. I have one additional encouragement from Zephaniah 2:
“Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” – (Zephaniah 2:3)
This verse is a great encouragement to me because it teaches that though there may be judgment by God on the world around us, we may escape it if we are in a right relationship with Him. God has not appointed His children to wrath, and though He may pour out His judgent on this land, He will still protect and provide for His own.
Posted in Thoughts from Zephaniah by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Today’s Passage – Habakkuk 1 – 3 (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 – Deuteronomy 32:4
Read the “0928 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. 17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither [shall] fruit [be] in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and [there shall be] no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” (Habakkuk 3:16-19)
Habakkuk, whose name means “to embrace” or “to wrestle”, was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah during the reign of King Jehoiakim, and possibly began in the reign of Josiah.
He was contemporary with Jeremiah, and followed closely behind Nahum and Zephaniah. His prophetic ministry began either shortly before or after the death of King Josiah who was the last good king that Judah had. Habakkuk wrote just prior to the beginning of the Babylonian captivity, which started in 605 BC, and was consummated in 586 BC.
The northern kingdom had been conquered and taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 722 BC. The southern kingdom of Judah experienced periods of revival through Kings Hezekiah, and Josiah; but after Josiah’s death at the hands of the Egyptians in 609 BC, the nation was in very bad shape spiritually, and was ripe for the judgment of God. (see 2 King 23:28 – 24:6;2 Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 22)
In chapter three, vs. 16 – 19, Habakkuk declares that even though God will destroy Jerusalem, he will continue to trust and rejoice in God.
“Hinds’ Feet” carries the idea of surefootedness, which enables the doe to travel safely in the mountaintops. He started this Book complaining to God from a deep valley, and he concludes with a song from the mountaintop; and his actual situation had not changed. He just got alone with God, and God assured him that He had everything under control. His circumstances hadn’t changed, but he had changed. That’s what God wants to do through the situations and difficulties of your life and mine.
There will be times when the people of God will have to endure very difficult times, sometimes through no fault of their own. Good people often suffer because of the consequences of the decisions of others. There were some righteous people in Judah, such as Daniel and Ezekiel and, no doubt, many others, who would lose some of their family and friends, not to mention their homes.
What can we do when faced with life’s difficult circumstances:
- We can pray
- We can seek God’s will and wisdom through his Word
- We can trust that He knows what He is doing
- We can walk by faith
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8
Read the “0927 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. … The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” (Nahum 1:3, 7)
Some facts about Nahum:
This book is the prophecy of the judgment of God upon Nineveh, which was fulfilled in 612 BC. You will remember that Jonah had previously been called upon to preach to the people of Nineveh. His message, though very short, was basically the same thing that Nahum preached in much greater detail:
“And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” – (Jonah 3:4)
Jonah didn’t cry out to the people of Nineveh to repent, he just told them that judgment was on its way. However, the people of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah; but apparently, they did not repent at the preaching of Nahum, though Nahum’s actual message regarding the judgment of Nineveh was much longer. Though the pronouncement of judgment was against Ninevah, the actual message was given to Judah.
We do not know a great deal about Nahum, whose name means “comfort” or “compassion”, except that he was an Elkoshite. We really are not sure where Elkosh is located. Some have stated that there was a town called Elkosh (Al Qosh) in Assyria, just to the north of Nineveh, which could mean that Nahum was one of the exiles from the northern kingdom. Others have claimed that Elkosh was located in what was left of the northern kingdom of Israel, near Capernaum, though by this time, Israel was no more. Most are convinced that whether or not Nahum was originally from the Elkosh of Galilee in the northern kingdom, he lived in Judah during the time of his prophecy. Some even claim that there was also a village called Elkosh in the southern kingdom.
The time of the writing is a little easier to figure out. Nahum refers in the past tense to the destruction and captivity of the city of No (Hebrew – No Amon, Egyptian name – Thebes), which the historians tell us took place in 663 BC. The actual fall of Nineveh is recorded to have taken place in 612 BC; so, it is safe to assume that Nahum wrote in-between these two events (663 – 612 BC), during the reigns of wicked kings Manasseh and Amon, and good King Josiah. More than likely, it was written earlier in that period when Assyria was still strong and Judah was very weak. During King Josiah’s reign Assyria was weakening and Judah was strong (at least spiritually) If the earlier date is right, Nahum may have personally witnessed the fall of Samaria and Sennacherib’s attempted siege on Jerusalem, which would make him contemporary with Isaiah and Micah. If Nahum lived closer to the time of Josiah he would have been contemporary with the prophets Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah.
Nineveh had repented at the preaching Jonah, but had quickly reverted back to their cruelty toward the people of God, along with the committing of immorality and idolatry. The religious idolatry in Nineveh and Assyria had negatively influenced both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom.
Nineveh was a very proud nation that was about to be brought low by God. The downfall of Assyria would bring great comfort to the people of Judah as Assyria had been harassing them for quite some time. Judah never felt safe as long as the threat of Assyria was looming over them. Some would wish that this Book of judgment was not part of the Canon because it seems to go against the message of love, but this Book paints a wonderful picture of God’s final removal of evil in a sin-cursed world. The city of Ninevah was destroyed by King Nabopolassar and his son, Nubuchadnezzar, of Babylon in 612 BC. Nineveh was thought to be impenetrable with walls 100 feet high, and a surrounding moat that was 150 feet wide and 60 feet deep.
Thoughts from the Passage:
Notice two very important facts about our God from Nahum 1:3 & 7:
- God is very patient with people. This applies to both the Lost world as well as those that belong to Him. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). God was patient with Nineveh. He sent Jonah to warn them and He postponed the destruction of the city because they heeded Jonah’s warning. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), and He certainly does not want to punish His own children; but He will correct us for His glory and our good.
- The Lord is good. Whenever things get crazy in your world, just remind yourself of that fact. Whenever your feelings tell you that God does not care about your situation, remember that He is always good, and He knows those who trust in Him. Not only does He know you, He loves you and cares deeply for you.
We are living in a time where craziness and chaos is increasing, and it appears as if the Lord is pulling back His hand of protection and provision from our nation. But if you belong to Him: if you are His child through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have absolutely nothing to fear. He knows you, and He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Stuff may get worse in our world, but the Christian can be comforted in knowing that God will shield him (Proverbs 30:5, Psalm 84:11) from the brunt of what the world is facing. Why? Because He is a stronghold in the day of trouble.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1
Read the “0926 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8) (Click on the verse to hear it sung by the Clark Family)
A simple but very profound verse of Scripture from the Book of Micah. Do you want to know how you can be right with your God? There is a simple three point outline here in verse eight of chapter six that explains just how to do that. Notice, however, that this verse is written to a people that already know God, so in order to make the application to yourself today you would have to have already begun a relationship with Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. If you have already trusted Him as your Savior, then this verse is for you:
1 Do justly – this has as much to do with our relationship with others as well as our obedience to God. We need to strive to be in a right relationship with others; and do the right thing by them. If we have wronged somebody, let’s try to get it right. “Do the right thing”.
2 Love mercy – this has to do with forgiving others who have wronged you. Are you bitter against somebody today? Why not release him from the debtor’s prison in your heart; and forgive him. Look at how God (and others) have forgiven you. Loving mercy could also apply to your love for the souls of men.
3 Walk humbly with God – We need to see ourselves for who we really are – nothing; and see God for who He is – everything. Do you have a walk with Him? Are you spending time daily in prayer, and in the Word? Are you living your life in submission to His will.
Living in a right relationship with God is not all that mysterious or difficult. Jesus said that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. But if we refuse to submit ourselves to His Lordship, holding on to our own will and desire; walking with Him will be impossible. I’m not talking about perfection here: we all blow it at times; but when that happens, we must confess it to God, get back up, and move forward again in our walk with Him.
Posted in Thoughts from Micah by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10
Read the “0925 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.” (Micah 1:2-3)
Micah was a prophet from the town of Moresheth, which is located approximately 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem near the border of the Philistines, and not too far from the City of Gath (See Map). He was called and equipped by the Lord to deliver God’s message:
“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” – (Micah 3:8)
His name means, “who is like Jehovah?” or “who is like Yahweh?” His name is said to be a shortened version of the name Micaiah. There are many other men in the Bible that share the names “Micah” and “Micaiah”
Micah prophesied to both the northern kingdom as well as the southern kingdom. Only the names of Judean kings are mentioned in verse 1, however. This is probably due to the fact that the northern kingdom was just about to be taken into Assyrian captivity at the time of his prophecy. Micah was a prophet during the reigns of Jotham (2 Kings 15:32 – 38, 750 – 731 BC), Ahaz (2 Kings 16, 731 – 715 BC), and Hezekiah (2 Kings 18 – 20, 715 – 686 BC). Hezekiah was the king when the Assyrians invaded Judah and attempted to conquer Jerusalem. (See 2 Kings 18:13 – 19:36; 2 Chronicles 32)
Micah was contemporary to the prophet Isaiah in the south; and also to Hosea, Jonah, and Amos from the north. He prophesied at the time when Israel was being completely over-run by the Assyrian Empire, and the same threat was moving southward into Judah. Many of the people from the north were seeking refuge in the south, but unfortunately, they were also bringing with them some of their bad habits. The worship of Baal was becoming more and more of a problem during the time of Micah, as well as the disintegration of moral values. Micah was the prophet to the poor and downtrodden citizens of the farmland, and Isaiah was a preacher in the cities and had the ear of kings and princes; but the messages of both Isaiah and Micah were very similar.
My thought this morning comes from the first few verses of Micah’s message: “Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.” God had a message for the people of Judah, and he has a message for us today that is very similar. We need to hear and heed his message. Our nation is currently in a mess. We are still dealing with the COVID-19 virus and all of the resulting restrictions that have been placed upon our liberty. We are also bitterly divided as a nation, and the division seems to be primarily between God-fearing people and people who reject Him. God is calling out to America today, just as He did through Micah 2,700 years ago. But, will we listen? The northern kingdom of Israel didn’t listen and they were taken into captivity. The southern kingdom of Judah listened for a little while, but they also eventually turned away from God and received the same fate as their northern neighbors. Will America listen? Will America turn back to the God that has blessed her so abundantly in the past, or will she continue down the path of forsaking God?
You and I cannot answer for the nation, but we can determine, like Joshua: “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15). We can keep our lights shining brightly in an increasingly dark culture, and we can remain faithful to Jesus during a time when faith will be hard to find (Luke 18:8). We can also listen to the Lord as He commands to preach His gospel to all of the lost people around us. This world is desperately in need of revival. The Lord is still calling, but will we listen?
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32
Read the “0923 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:” (Amos 8:11)
Amos is writing concerning Israel about a time where there will be an absence of the Word of God among the people. But that famine of Bible instruction and principle comes as a result of the lack of desire among the people of Israel for hearing the Words of God. The people of Judah and Israel had their fill of God. They no longer desired to hear what He had to say; they no longer desired to live in by His precepts. They simply felt that they no longer needed God or His instruction.
I feel that America today is in the same boat. There is no famine here. There may be preachers out there who water down the Word of God, and there may be a lot of compromise out there; but, a copy of the Word of God is certainly available to nearly every person in America, and there really isn’t a shortage of churches out there. The problem is not the availability of the Word of God. Rather, the problem is a lack of desire for instruction from God. We have loosed from the moorings of our Biblical heritage and are floating in the sea of secular humanism. We are shouting to God from our culture, “Get Out!”, we don’t need you and we certainly don’t want you. I don’t think it is too far fetched to think about a day in the near future when our authorities try to stop the distribution of the Word of God altogether.
God will not stay where he is not wanted. In fact, the only thing holding back the judgment of God is a remnant of people in America who love the Word and the God who wrote it. So what is the solution? Can this tide of apathy and antagonism toward God be stopped, or even slowed? I am not sure. But my instructions are still to “preach the Word”, even when it is out of season. Christian, it matters not what the world thinks about our God and our Bible. We need to keep obeying God by sowing the seed of His word to the world around us. Some day soon, our job will be done; but for now it is still our responsibility to reach who we can with the glorious gospel of Christ. There are still people out there that hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Posted in Thoughts from Amos by Phil Erickson with 5 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 4 comments.