Thursday, December 31, 2009

He Will Come

My three year-old son Asher loves to visit his grandparents. When he wakes up each day, he tells his Grammy, "Mommy is coming!"

He knows that his mother loves him and will never leave him. She has only given him a time to be loved by others without her direct presence, but he knows she will soon come and take him home where she will care for him.

As surely as Jesus came the first time as was promised, He will come again.

Malachi 4:1–6 “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. 3 Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty. 4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. 5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Yes, the Lord is coming again and nothing will ever be the same again.

Revelation 22:17–21 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


What a person resolves to do tells a lot about that person. Each resolution represents a value, a vision, and a core belief a person holds. With each resolution we make we point to what it is we believe and how we hope to honor that which we hold most dear.

As you consider making resolutions, take a look at the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards. He wrote these at a very young age. They give a great deal of explanation about his faith and character as is noted.

Resolutions afford ample testimony how much the author had entered into the spirit of 1 Cor. 10:31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. They also illustrate his views of the importance of consistency of character. He was not content with accurate views of truth, or any kind of outward profession, apart from holy consistency of character. He studied, he admired, and he exhibited the influence of the gospel; a walk “worthy of the vocation wherewith he was called” was the elevated object at which he ardently aimed. He well knew that the followers of Christ are required “to hold forth the word of life,” to shine as lights in the world, to instruct by their examples as well as by their words; and he desired to honour God by presenting to the view of the members of the spiritual kingdom, and also of the world, an example which might declare the reality and the beauty of religion. It is further manifest from these Resolutions, that his mind was most anxious for daily advancement in every branch of holiness.
Edwards, J. (2008). The works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1 (lxv). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Here are the first five of his seventy life resolutions. His first resolution is exceptional.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.
1. Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
2. Resolved, To be continually endeavouring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the forementioned things.
3. Resolved, If ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
4. Resolved, Never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God, nor be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.
5. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
Edwards, J. (2008). The works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1 (lxii). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Good Questions

One of the things I love about being a pastor is my role in sharing Biblical truth with people that they can use in living their lives. I am no academic. I love to read and write as much as anybody, but my role in life is not to provide solutions on paper. One of my tasks as a pastor is to help people pray and process truth so that it is lived out under the authority of the Holy Spirit for the Glory of God in the name of Jesus.

A question I recently received was about "useless" suffering. It was a confidential email so I cannot publish its contents, but the basic question is a common one and a good one.

This person believed there is suffering that is useless and that holds no redemptive purpose.

I assured this person that nothing is wasted by God and that everything that happens has a purpose according to God's eternal plan. We may never understand God's purpose until the light of eternity reveals what God was doing, but we can be confident that in every death, rape, theft, tragedy of nature, broken heart, and scraped knee that God has a plan for it to bring His redemptive purpose to our planet for His glory.

The sovereignty of God is a great comfort to those that believe in Jesus. The fact that God is in control of all things allows us to rest and relax. We of course must daily work to fulfill our responsibility to God and seek His Kingdom purpose. But we can know that in all things our King is at work and will bring about His ultimate victory when He comes riding on His white horse with the new heaven.

This warrior is called “Faithful and True” (19:11); his name is “the Word of God” (19:13; compare John 1:1, 14), and his title is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (19:16). He leads the armies of heaven in the final assault on the two beasts (i.e., on the beast and the false prophet) and on all who bear their mark. His weapon is a sharp sword that comes out of his mouth: he needs only speak to win. It is he who “treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty” (19:15), which returns us to the terrifying image of 14:19–20.
In one sense, Revelation 19 does not advance the plotline of the book of Revelation. It does not try to do so. We have already been told that God destroys the great prostitute, that those who bear the mark of the beast must face the wrath of God, and so forth. What it adds—and this is vital—is the entirely salutary reminder that God is in absolute control, that he is to be praised for his just judgments on all that is evil, and that the agent who destroys all opposition in the end is none other than Jesus Christ.
Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God : A daily companion for discovering the riches of God's Word. Volume 1. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Men

Two men are struggling this morning. They are both unemployed and facing challenges beyond their financial difficulty.

The first is suffering from physical pain as well. It will be some time before his health will be restored. But his marriage is strong.

The second is physically fine, but his marriage is failing. He does not know how to restore it and feels helpless.

I have no power or word from God that can provide a job for either man. It seems it is God’s will for the one to suffer physically. The marriage of the other can be healed, but like the physical pain of the first man, time and proper care is what God seems determined to use.

What is dramatically different between these men is the support they have. The first man has a group of friends he has been gathering with for over a year in Bible study and prayer. The other does not. Both attend worship, but only the first man has made connections with other believers.

The first man is being prayed for hourly. The second man has limited prayer support. The first man has friends checking on him daily. The second man has very few friends asking about his welfare. The first man will receive meals and movies and thoughts of the day in the upcoming weeks. The second man will have to gut it out on his own.

One day you will be like one of these men. Life is going to come at you and leave you in need. Who will be there for you? The answer is found in who you are there for now. Are you connected with a small group of believers that you study God’s word with and pray for needs together with consistently? The story that will be yours is being written now before the trials comes.

Get connected in a small group first thing in 2010 - you can find out how by clicking here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

We’re in This THING Together

We watched the TV edited version of the movie Christmas Vacation this week. There were still parts we had to fast forward through, but I must admit it is one funny movie.

That may be the most quotable Christmas movie in the world. A guy I work with responds to every questionable statement someone makes with, “You serious, Clark?”

One statement that Clark “Sparky” Griswold makes that makes me laugh is when everything has fallen apart and the in-laws have packed their bags in order to make an early escape from the disastrous holiday extravaganza they have been witness to. Clark meets them at the door and with an intense out of his mind look says, “Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together.”

One thing I would like to see happen in our city and world is for families and friends to share Sparky’s same sentiments. Wouldn’t it be great if people had the attitude that “we’re all in this together” and stayed together through the tough times that life brings.

The world would be a better place if people would fulfill their marriage vows, if friends would be true, if families cared for one another through thick and thin, and if brothers and sisters in Christ lived as though their Bibles were true.

There are many things to admire about Joseph, the step-father of Jesus. He raised the son of God along with Jesus’ siblings and seemed to have done a good job. When their lives were in danger, he listened to the Lord and made tough decisions.

His first decision as Jesus’ dad is his most impressive. When he found out that Mary was pregnant and knew that the child was not his, he stayed.

When he received the news about Mary’s situation, his first thought was to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:19 tells us, “Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”
The fact of the matter he could have had her stoned to death according to the law.

An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and explained what was happening to Mary and gave Joseph instructions on what he was to do. His response is exemplary. Matthew 1:24-25 “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

He had every right to leave. What he was being told made no earthly sense. But when he could have walked away he decided to stay.

During this Christmas Season and throughout your life, you are going to have opportunities to leave early on your marriage, on friends, on your church, and maybe on life. Don’t do it. Honor God. Keep your vows and promises and pledges of friendship. Be the person you want other people to be.


I have been such a slacker on my blog. If the blog world could fine me, I'd have a heavy toll to pay.

I have been writing a weekly column in our local paper and have not taken the time to post here. I am going to be faithful in the new year to do at least two posts a week.

I am also going to post some of my columns as well.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Temptation of Christmas

I am daily tempted to sin against God by loving this world, but Christmas takes me to a whole new level. The commercials and concepts that communicate the cool stuff that I can have and give to the ones I love are convincing. Thankfully, God's Holy Spirit knows my weakness and His Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

I appreciate Dr. Carson's words also.

...wonder why God should be praised for loving the world (John 3:16) when Christians are forbidden to love it (1 John 2:15–17)... God loves the world with the holy love of redemption; he forbids us to love the world with the squalid love of participation. God loves the world with the self-sacrificing love that costs the Son his life; we are not to love the world with the self-seeking love that wants to taste all the world’s sin. God loves the world with the redemptive power that so transforms individuals they no longer belong to the world; we are forbidden to love the world with the moral weakness that wishes to augment the number of worldlings by becoming full-fledged participants ourselves. God’s love for the world is to be admired for its unique combination of purity and self-sacrifice; ours incites horror and disgust for its impurity and rapacious evil.

The world that John envisages in these verses is not pretty. It is characterized by all the lusts of our sinful natures (“the cravings of sinful man,” 2:16), all the things from without that assault us and tempt us away from the living God (“the lust of the eyes,” 2:16), all the arrogance of ownership, dominance, and control (“the boasting of what he has and does,” 2:16). None of this comes from the Father but from the world.

But Christians make their evaluations in the light of eternity. “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (2:17). Pity the person whose self-identity and hope rest on transient things. Ten billion years into eternity, it will seem a little daft to puff yourself up over the car you now drive, the amount of money or education you have received, the number of books you owned, the number of times you had your name in the headlines. Whether or not you have won an Academy Award will then prove less important than whether or not you have been true to your spouse. Whether or not you were a basketball star will be less significant than how much of your wealth you generously gave away.
Carson, D. A.: For the Love of God : A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word. Volume 1. Wheaton, Ill. : Crossway Books, 1998, S. December 3

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spurgeon on Winter

It was very hard to get out of bed this morning. The temperature was 27 degrees outside and I was very comfortable in my warm house. I wanted to get a warm cup of coffee and my Bible, but there was physical work to be done. My push ups, sit ups, and leg extensions had to be done at the gym.

God has designed winter for a purpose. He also designs our dark cold days for His purpose. I appreciate Spurgeon's words on a day like today.

My soul begin this wintry month with thy God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind thee that he keeps his covenant with day and night, and tend to assure thee that he will also keep that glorious covenant which he has made with thee in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to his Word in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted world, will not prove unfaithful in his dealings with his own well-beloved Son.

Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes over the once verdant meadows of our joy: he casteth forth his ice like morsels freezing the streams of our delight. He does it all, he is the great Winter King, and rules in the realms of frost, and therefore thou canst not murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord’s sending, and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill noxious insects, and put a bound to raging diseases; they break up the clods, and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction!

How we prize the fire just now! how pleasant is its cheerful glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us draw nigh to him, and in him find joy and peace in believing. Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of his promises, and go forth to labours which befit the season, for it were ill to be as the sluggard who will not plough by reason of the cold; for he shall beg in summer and have nothing.

Spurgeon, C. H.: Morning and Evening : Daily Readings. Oak Harbor, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995, S. December 1 AM