Friday, May 13, 2011

A Good Deed

1Peter 3:13-14
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear[a]; do not be frightened.”[b

Have you ever been afraid to do good because you thought it would come with retaliation? First, the Lord delights in our doing good and most people enjoy acts of kindness.  Second, Peter's letter to Jew and Gentile Christians in Asia Minor notes that we are not to fear what others fear. Fearing to do good is like fearing man. And fearing man is not of God. Jesus said something so powerful to the disciples when he sent them out.

Matthew 10:28
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

So the fear of doing good because one fears man is not of God. Third, even if we suffer for doing good, we are blessed. How so? The Lord will have favor upon us for doing good though it's not appreciated by others. We are not to do good to seek praise from man anyway. We are to do good to please our heavenly father. So if you attempt to help someone who doesn't accept help or repays you wrong for it, know that the Lord sees all and knows all and he will remember what you have done and bless you when you least expect it. Don't worry about how, because a blessing is a blessing.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dramatic Response

Job 38:1-2
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:  2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel
   with words without knowledge?

Has the Lord ever spoken to you through the clouds of a storm? For Job, it was a dramatic response to his complaining regarding his circumstances. Sometimes the Lord has to be dramatic with us to get our attention. The Lord spoke to Job because he was looking for an answer but he had no idea of the circumstances surrounding his situation. Job had no idea the Lord allowed Satan to test him because he already knew Job would pass the test. Not only was the Lord going to answer Job but he wanted Job to answer him as to why he thought he could even grasp the Lord's actions through his limited human understanding before the answer came.

How many of us do that? How many of us are being tested right now because the Lord already knew we were going to pass the test? How many of us are being tested because the Lord wants us to see that we are not at the starting line but mid-way in the race? How many of us are being tested about TRUSTING God right now? How many of us has the Lord spoken to over and over and over again but because we haven't quite understood, the clouds burst open with rain? Like Job, if anyone wants an answer from the Lord know that it will come if he is asked, but it may not be what one expects or when.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Unsuitable Training for Greater Means

Acts 7:21-22
21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

The context of Stephen's speech to the Sanhedrin was filled with the history of the Jewish people. His point was about making the distinction between Judaism and Christianity. But within the content of the speech, he talks about one that God loved and befriended. Moses was a prophet and leader who had the humbling honor to be directly in the presence of God. His meeting God at the burning bush turned his hair white. But Moses didn't start where he ended. God works with the end in mind. So everything we encounter in our lives is a stepping stone no matter how big or how small. Moses for his own safety was given up. But God knew what he was doing. In order to use Moses to defeat an evil later, he had to let Moses live and learn the ways. He was studying unknowingly for a role that exceeded his present circumstances.  Ah yes, Moses was brought up as one with Egyptian blood but he was not their descendant. Moses was the spokesman for God's people upon their deliverance. He was being trained all along for the greatest role of his life. He wasn't going to learn how to speak with power and authority among slaves.

The Lord can use any situation as training ground for our future, including one that doesn't seem suitable to the naked eye. The Lord has taken many a man and woman from a life that was filled with destruction and turned them into great leaders for him. Not only is it a witness of his ability to change a heart which is the greatest miracle, but often that same training ground is the territory in which God has them to do His work. Why not? There are no accidents in God. For everything is done with purpose. We do not know his ways so we often miss the little pieces of the puzzle because they insignificant to us. Moses had no idea that he was being prepared for the greatest role of his life. It came in the form of being given away and raised among those that actually enslaved his people. How has God used your past roles and situations? How is God using your current situation to train you? Only he knows the end but no piece of the puzzle is insignificant. Nothing is unsuitable for training in God's eyes. Our loving father will train by any means necessary.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Hard Way

Psalm 25:9
9 He guides the humble in what is right
   and teaches them his way.

Ever notice that those who are easily taught actually desire to be taught? In order to be taught anything, one has to acknowledge that there is still much learning needed. David acknowledged his sin and the protection he needed from his enemies in the psalm. David was aware that he knew nothing apart from the Lord. For that is how Jesus said we must be, "as a child" in our learning. Children soak up information like a sponge. Children want to learn all there is to learn. Unfortunately as adults, we have a problem. We associate our age with wisdom. Age does not guarantee wisdom, only God does. We must be willing to throw away what "we know" and learn what God wants us to know.  It is much easier on us when we are willing to admit to God that we need him. When we don't, we create more havoc because then we have to learn "the hard way". Learning "the hard way" means like the prodigal son we must be left to our own devices for a time and run in a circle before we realize that the path God desired for us was actually the best path. We will learn one way or the other but "the hard way" just hurts more.

P.S. Book signing event on Saturday, May 14th at John 3:16 Christian Bookstore in Lanham, MD from 1-4pm. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

From Oasis to Desert

Luke 6:25
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
   for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
   for you will mourn and weep.

We've heard "there's a time for everything," dubbed by King Solomon in the Word of God found in Ecclesiastes. In contrast to the beatitudes or blessings describe in Jesus' sermon on the Mount, he also describes the exact opposite or woes.If one is in the time of harvest right now, it will not always be so. If one is in a time of joy, it will not always be so. How can we appreciate what is good if we have no knowledge of what is bad? For that was what Adam and Eve discovered when they ate from the tree of life. That is why we too must know the difference between good and bad times. It's during those bad times that we often draw closer to the Lord. We are to be close to him no matter what the circumstance but our human nature is such that we usually don't pay attention to him until we are in trouble. It's like the college student living away from their parents that never calls home until they need food, money or prepping parents for the horrible grades to come. A college student such as this is often describe as selfish and lacking appreciation for the sacrifices their parents have made. Do we treat our Lord this way?

So if the law of physics deems that what goes up, must come down, so it is in our lives, in every way and everything. We must accept that there is both desert and oasis in life. The desert is to prepare for the oasis and the oasis is to remember while in the desert. Whatever our circumstances, love the Lord.

P.S. Join me Saturday, May 14th for the book signing event at John 3:16 Christian Bookstore in Lanham, MD from 1-4pm.