Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Being Certain-DD 5/31/2011

"...that you may know the certainty concerning the things of which you were instructed." Acts 1:4

The author of the book of Luke, in a letter addressed to his very good friend and evident pupil, Theophilus, is also penning what has become known as the book of Acts to continue his education and ours. This letter traces the origin of the church for us, but for Luke's student, it was designed to be additional evidence concerning Divine truths. If additional evidence is being presented, it stands to reason that there has been primary evidence presented. This, in fact, was the book of Luke.

Beloved, we have all been given everything we need to become convinced of the reality of God, the facts of the gospel and the certainty of His promises. Despite this, it is human nature to experience doubt and to have questions. When we experience uncertainty, we are in good company. John the Baptist, the apostle Thomas and many of the other apostles and disciples all needed to have their faith strengthend.

To combat this, we have two great tools at our disposal. We first have the holy and divinely inspired scriptures. John famously wrote, "These things have I written to you that you may know that you have eternal life, even to you that believe on the name of the Son of God" 1 John 5:13. Secondly, we have our own life experiences. We can all look back on our lives and see where God is and has been there and the differences He has made.

Let us, like the most excellent Theophilus, be certain concerning the things of which we were instructed.

Loving Like Jesus,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Say So!-DD 5/27/2011

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so," Ps 107:1-2

In southern congregations there is a call and response where one person says, "God is good" and another says "All the time!" Then the caller says, "And all the time," to which the respondent replies, "God is good!"

Truly, God has been good to us all and that, all the time. No matter what our current condition, we experience His goodness in ways that we take so for granted, we don't even notice. An asthmatic knows not to take for granted the simple act of breathing freely. A person limited in their sight does not take for granted the rising of the sun. A truly hungry person savors every single morsel. Think about the buffet we toss out in the garbage.

Beloved, we are the children of God. We should spend every moment of our lives reveling in that fact. Our adoption into His family is the greatest thing that has happened to us. More, we should spend ample amounts of time telling others about His goodness and the availability of their own adoption. Think about how we joyfully share the news of relatively much lesser blessings like promotions, closing on homes or children's graduations.

We have been truly and wondrously blessed. To all who will listen, let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Preparation-DD 5/26/2011 (rp)

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Cor 15:58

The preceding verses in this passage of scripture focus on our future. Paul shares with the Corinthians the fact of the promise as well as how it is to take place. He says that though we are fleshly creatures descended from the first fleshly man, Adam, we are also spiritual creatures descended from the first spiritual man, Jesus. We will not enter heaven in our current flesh, but will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Whether we have passed from this life or are in the very midst of living it, death will have been defeated and the righteous shall live ever more with Him.

Beloved, the encouragement is to not get tired, to not faint and to not give up. We must be firm in our convictions, certain in our belief, dedicated in our service and convinced of the truth. There are many things that will challenge us, but we are to constantly redouble our efforts by doing the work of our Lord and keeping our minds occupied with him. Surely this is not a useless pursuit or waste of time, but preparation for what comes next.

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Spirit of Adoption-5/25/2011

"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, " Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ," Rom 8:15-17

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families reports that in fiscal year 2009, 114,562 children were waiting to be adopted in the United States. As you might guess, some of these children come from the most dire situations imaginable. All are in need of love, family, understanding and nurturing. For all intents and purposes, they need to be saved from their situations.

Their situation is analogous to ours outside of Christ. We are misguided and in need of things we cannot ourselves supply. We need someone to take us in, teach us right from wrong, good from bad and develop us into productive citizens of the kingdom.

I am pleased to say that many from our local congregation have followed God's great example and taken children in need into their homes and made them family. Wonderful organizations like Christian Family Services also exemplify God's great gift of benevolence and love through adoption services.

Beloved we who were once lost are now found. We who were once alone are members of God's family. As members, as children of the Almighty, as heirs, we have been given the right to call upon Him as "daddy" (Abba), the most intimate of addresses for our common Father. He cares for us and loves us so much. Let us rejoice in his kindness, even as those wonderful children do when they are made a part of an earthly family.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Gentle Reminder-DD 5/24/2011

"Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder," 2 Peter 1:12-13

Peter had just espoused a number of virtues that lead one to the other. These involved diligence, faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self control, godliness, brotherly kindness and brotherly love. In that God has supplied us with everything pertaining to life and has made an eternity with Him available to us, Peter encourages us to be all that God has called us to be by constantly working on these virtues.

To be sure, when we came to know Christ and accepted him as our personal Lord and Savior, we were only too prepared to make the changes that would demonstrate obedience to him and love for him. We all wanted to be better people. As is this case with human nature, however, our attention span narrows, our enthusiasm wanes and our attention becomes diverted.

Beloved, anything done well is accomplished by constant focused attention. When it comes to something as important and permanent as our eternity, we cannot afford to take our eye off of the prize (Phil 3:13, 14). We must be consistent in our effort to live godly lives. But because we are human, we sometimes need reminders.

Let us be reminded through prayer. Constant communication with God (1 Thes 5:17) reminds us that He is and that we have a relationship with Him. Let us be reminded by His word. Consistent study of the scriptures adds to our knowledge and understanding (Prov 4:7). Let us be reminded by the regular assembling of ourselves to worship Him (Heb 10:25). It is through our coming together that we better understand that we are His people, brothers and sisters made so by a common Father. And finally, let us be reminded by telling others (Matt 28:19, 20). We tend to talk most about what we believe and live every day.

The Spirit has said that we already know these things. Let us endeavor to keep the word and will of God and their product, our salvation, top of mind.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, May 23, 2011

Truth-DD 5/23/2011

"Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION" 2 Cor 6:2

This past weekend, the world was treated to a tempest in a teapot. Though more credit is given here by simply mentioning it than it really deserves, it is important that those who are current or potential believers know that there is truth to be obtained. That truth comes from the Source of all truth. The truth has been made known to us through the divinely inspired scriptures.

Beloved, there are many things for us to know. God has been generous in His provision of knowledge about Himself, His will and His expectations of us. He has assured us that those who are the called according to His purpose can look forward to an eternity with Him. NONE of us knows the exact timing but we can be 100% sure that the day will come.

That said, it is important that we be in a constant state of readiness for when that day arrives. The "acceptable time" is that which God saw fit to send his only begotten to the earth to carry out his mission of love and reconciliation. The "day of salvation" is every day between the resurrection and his second coming. Since we do not know the timing of the second event, we must diligently pursue the truth found in His word and live according to that which is found there. Not only will this prepare us, but it will shield us against false doctrine and those who would mislead based on their own version of truth.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, May 20, 2011

God's Gift to Men-DD 5/20/2011

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her," Eph 5:25

Men, we have a great responsibility to God first and immediately thereafter, to our wives. We know that from the earliest man, there was woman given to be his wife. Not only was she formed by the Creator from the man's own body but she was presented to him by God himself, Gen 2:22. Why did God do this? The scripture reveals that He determined it was not good for man to be alone and that he needed help(2:18). What could anyone take from this except that God is wise, loving, compassionate and giving?

As with every corruption of God's design, marriage has devolved to, many times, a situation of temporary convenience. It has become as disposable as a used paper towel. We enter into the institution lightly and unadvisedly and we are quick to leave it at the earliest sign of difficulty. In so doing, we damage and sometimes outright destroy our families, we start or continue a pattern for our children's view on committment and contribute to the degredation of society. God never intended it to be this way. He intened us to be together for life.

Beloved brethren, wives are an amazing gift given to us by God Himself. With and through her, we have partnership, the ability to accomplish great things, wise counsel, the ability to be obedient to God, completeness and legacy. For this great gift, we must love, respect and give thanks to the Father. We can best accomplish this by honoring and cherishing our wives. We must be willing to prioritize her needs, support her at every turn, care for her as we care for ourselves and be willing to forgo some of our own desires for her sake.

Let us remember that Christ's relationship with the church, even with us as individuals, is the model for our marriages. We were brought together by Him. By placing God first, we can stay together through Him. We as men must immitate Christ's giving to and sacrifice for the church in our relationships with our wives. Remember, she is a gift.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Resisting Revenge-DD 5/19/2011

"Never pay back evil for evil to anyone..." Rom 12:17

Beloved, it is our natural inclination to hit back when hit. None of us have any desire to suffer wrong undeservedly. None of us have any desire to suffer wrong even when we deserve it. No sooner that we have been offended we either respond immediately or begin making plans to get "pay back."

We must ask ourselves what we hope to accomplish by doing this. Yes, we may be successful in teaching a person a lesson, but just as likely we will escalate things into a full blown conflict. This is literally how wars begin.

As children of God, we must realize two things. One is that we are His children and He will protect us. The Spirit has said, "Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord." Rom 12:19.

We must also remember that our mission on earth is not to create or maintain enemies, but to win souls. It would be difficult at best to gain a brother or sister in Christ with a clenched fist.

Let us remember, that we were enemies of God at one time. He loved us enough to send his only begotten son as a peace offering. Not just His hands were open, but His arms and His heart. Let us follow the Almighty's example of love, grace and mercy. He will take care of the correction of those who have arrayed themselves against us. As the popular 60's saying goes, "(let us)give peace a chance."

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prioritizing Life-DD 5/18/2011

"If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire." Matt 18:8

There are many things that Jesus said that were illustrative rather than literal. Just as we may today say, "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse" to indicate the size of our appetite, figures of speech, metaphors and hyperbole was used 2000 years ago to the same end.

Beloved, the Lord in now way endorses the maiming of our bodies, but simply points out the importance of salvation. Nothing should keep us from accepting the eternal life he offers, particularly when you consider the alternative. Contextually, we should cease actions (symbolized by the hand and foot) that place us into a sinful situations. We should discard them lest they cost us heaven.

Jesus advises us to just do the right thing. More importantly, we are to prioritize pleasing God above all other pursuits.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Will Alignment-DD 5/17/2011

"He said, 'Thus says the Lord, 'Make this valley full of trenches.' "For thus says the Lord, 'You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts. 2 Kings 3:16-17

The kings of Judah and Edom had allied themselves with aggrieved king of Israel, Jehoram, in an effort to do battle with the offending king of Moab. It should be noted that Jehoram was a wicked king but the king of Judah was righteous. Having set their battle plan to go through an area of wilderness, they found themselves without water for their men and animals. Wisely, they sought the prophet Elijah to advocate for them with God. It should also be noted that Elijah would have had nothing to do with Jehoram had it not been for the presence of Judah's king.

God's instruction, in short, was to prepare themselves for a miraculous blessing. They would have all the water they needed if they followed His instructions. They would not be inundated by rain which might have actually hindered their efforts, yet the Lord promised that they would have water.

Beloved, we do not always know how God will accomplish those things for which we have prayed, but we should always be prepared for an affirmative answer when the request aligns with His will. In this case the Moabites had offended God and wronged His people. It may be in your life that God take action in order to accomplish His will. Perhaps you WILL receive that promotion in order to be able to carry His word to more people and contribute more financially to His kingdom. Perhaps you WILL recover your health in an effort to be more convinced of His grace and mercy and will in turn be an encouragement to others. Perhaps He WILL send a spouse to you in order to allow you to defeat temptation and thereby be preserved. But as the kings did, you must prepare to receive such blessings.

God truly delivered on His promise to the kings. Not only did they have water to drink, but the blood like appearance of the waters' reflection of the rising sun caused the enemy to believe the kings had fought among themselves. Thinking this they went out to meet the prepared and army and were themselves consumed.

Our God is a mighty God who blesses His children in accordance with His will. Does yours align with His? Despite the fact that there may be Jehorams in your life, be sure that you are the Judah that finds favor.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, May 16, 2011

God's Plan For You-DD 5/16/2011

"And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are these all the children?" And he said, " There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep." Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." David Anointed So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, " Arise, anoint him; for this is he."
1 Sam 16:11-12

During this conversation, young David was completely unaware he was being discussed. He was minding his own business. As a shepherd, that business was in fact, his father's. That said, his whole future had already been decided by God and was now being discussed with his family. He would ultimately remain in his (heavenly) Father's employ for the rest of his days.

Beloved, we rarely know what God has in store for us. We go about our lives pursuing our own dreams of education, family and career but how many of us dream of our place in God's employ? Surely He has equipped us for all that He has set for us to do. All that is left is for us to desire and accomplish His will.

David had walked with God all of his life. They had already accomplished great things together. His career would start in earnest when he came face to face with Goliath. Are there any Goliath's in your life?

The point is that God has a plan for all of us. We don't always know what it is nor do we necessarily see it coming, but it is as sure as where we have already been. Seek out His purpose for your life. When it is revealed, embrace it. Most likely, He has been preparing you longer than you know.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, May 13, 2011

Embracing Your Role-DD 5/13/2011(rp)

"Thus he said to him, " Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also." 1 Sam 23:17

Beloved there are times when we have the grandest of plans for our own lives. We pursue education, athletics, apprenticeship in construction or the arts with the greatest of intentions to make a significant impact on the world. Whether through hard work or birthright, we sometimes feel that we deserve to have a particular function or station in life.

Consider Jonathan, the son of King Saul. In monarchy, it is a foregone conclusion that the son follows the father to the throne and that the family would rule in perpetuity. Johnathan had every right to expect to become king after his father. Scripture reveals, however, that God had other plans. He had already chosen David to be the next king early in Saul's reign.

Despite what we think or plan, we must realize that we do not have all of the answers and that God has His own ideas about what He wants us to do and where He wants us to be. We may serve His purpose best by working at a not for profit organization rather than holding the office of CEO at a Fortune 500 organization. It may be that we are placed with a spouse of questionable values and morals rather than a steadfast and upright mate for the glory of God.

Surely we must place ourselves in the hollow of the Father's hand and embrace whatever role He has for us with gladness. Not only was Jonathan not angry about David being the future king, but he made a covenant with him and "...he loved him as he loved his own life." 1 Sam 20:17 It may very well be that God put you exactly where you are. It is from there that you can get to exactly where He is.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Do What YOU Can Do-DD 5/12/2011 (repost)

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase." 1 Cor 3:6

When it comes to doing the work of the Lord, it is not unusual that we sometimes get discouraged. Whether it involves work in and around the congregation like teaching or serving or external things like evangelism or acts of benevolence toward others, sometimes the enormity of the work can be overwhelming. Christ said in Matt 9:37, "...the harvest truly is plenteous but the workers are few."

To make things even more challenging, it seems that it is always the same people that do all the work. As much as there are those around us who are part of the fellowship and enjoy a relationship with God as we do, it seems that some do not quite demonstrate their love through the actions the Lord calls upon us to take. [Be cautious about presuming what others do for the cause of Christ in their own way and their own time]

The encouragement to you beloved is simply to do what you can do. We are called upon to serve. We all have diverse talents and as members of the body, are responsible to the whole for doing the things that we have been gifted to do. To carry the biblical analogy of the body a bit further, if you are an ear in the body, your job is to hear. You do not have the ability to see or digest food. That is someone else's responsibility. It takes all of us doing our part in order for the body to work as it was designed.

As Christians, we are called upon to plant seeds and water them. Those seeds may fall into a variety of places that are hostile to growth, but some find fertile soil. And for even those to grow, it is God that adds the increase, not ourselves. Be not weary in well doing. Do what you can do and encourage others to do what they can do.

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Temporary Nature of Trials-DD 5/11/2011

"But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided." Gen 8:1

There is a saying often heard from the wise and experienced lips of older women in southern congregations, "Trouble don't last always." While we are in the midst of times, trials and tribulations, it seems as though they are never ending. We sometimes feel as though we will never survive our circumstances. Things can be so onerous that we wonder if God is angry with us or has just forgotten us. With the recent storms and current floods in this country, these feelings are likely very topical to some.

Beloved, we assign many things to God. To be sure, there are definitely times when He expresses Himself through the conditions that afflict us, as was done with the great flood, the captivities of Israel, the loss of battles and even the collapse of the family unit in David's case. Before we look to Him, however, we must first examine ourselves. This is not to say that all sin results in calamity or all calamity is sourced in sin. Nevertheless, we as God's children must look in the mirror constantly to see whether we can be found in His will or not.

In any case, suffering is temporary. The psalmist has said, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" Psa 30:5. Time after time God has relented from His anger and swept us up in His arms, expressing His love in ways that exceed our imagination. Think about your own life. How many difficulties can you look back on today because you are no longer suffering from them. Further, how much better off are you today? Job's whole world was ripped apart, but we know that he was in a greater position after calamity than he ever was before. If by narrow chance, you have suffered your whole life but have remained faithful, you still have Lazarus' reward to which to look forward.

Have faith in the Lord. Endure the storms that will inevitably come for a reason or a season. Then enjoy the restoration and bounty that lies beneath every rainbow that he casts.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Can You Hear Him Now?-DD 5/10/2011

"And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights." Jonah 1:17

Everyone knows the famous story of Jonah. He experienced consequences of disobedience that were quite interesting. Imagine what it must have been like to be convicted in your heart, thrown overboard into a stormy sea and swallowed by a fish. The type of solitude he evidently had gave him a clarity of thought not previously enjoyed. You have to love God's way of getting our attention sometime.

Beloved, has God ever gotten your attention? Most often, those times are both painful and inconvenient. Despite how wrong we might be, no one likes to be punished. But there is something that each of us needs to understand. First, like Jonah, we are God's people and as God's people, we are on a mission. Like Jonah, our responsibility is to go to a people in imminent danger and warn them. When we run away from those responsibilities, there are consequences. Secondly and at least as importantly, He chastens us because He loves us, Heb 12:6-9. God corrects us in an effort to not lose us.

Sometimes the responsibilities of being a Christian can be inconvenient, disagreeable and perhaps even painful, but know that it is all for the love of God and for the good of our very souls.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, May 9, 2011

Sharing the Gospel With Those Acquainted With God-DD 5/9/2011

"A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us." Acts 16:14-15

Beloved, there are many who know of God and some who even worship Him in their own way. They are good people. They are people with good intentions who are doing what they feel is the right thing. That said, many of us do what we think is right but know well the feeling of discovering our error. Prov 16:25 says, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

Though Lydia is described as a worshipper of God, it was necessary for her to hear the gospel. Note that it was only after this that she was baptized. Note also that it was her heart for God that caused Him to open her mind to the things Paul said.

From this we must come to the realization of what Christ said, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." Think about it. If there is a harvest, someone has already done the planting and the watering. We have been set up for success in our evangelistic efforts. It is only necessary that we share what we know with those that God has prepared. How do you know who that might be? There are clues that can be found among the people we know, but for the most part, we usually do not. Despite this, we know that there are those who are seeking and we know that we have a responsibility to share His word. He will add the increase. Let us be sure to plant and water.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, May 6, 2011

Not of This World-DD 5/6/2011

"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself." Phil 3:20-21

To be sure, we are sojourners on this planet. Though we are natives here by virtue of being born here, when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we became sons and daughters of heaven. Both reborn and adopted, we are Gods own and no longer claim the earth as our home. It remains, however, our dwelling place. Jesus prayed, "I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world." John 17:15-18

Beloved, this means that we are not mere citizens, but workers; ambassadors if you will. Jesus asks not that we be removed from the earth at this time because there is much work to do before we go home. We must therefore live out our purpose as we sojourn here.

The good news is when the work is done and when we are called home, all things will be made new. As he came to join us in the flesh, we will join him in the incorruptible glory which he made possible. Let us work toward home while it is day. Soon night will come when no man can work.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow-DD 5/5/2011

"He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf." Prov 11:28

Jesus famously asked, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" Even 2000 years ago, too much of our focus was on gaining material wealth and pursuing conspicuous consumption. Most of us know the tragedy of the rich young ruler who walked away from heavenly riches to come in favor or worldly riches today.

Beloved, let us remember that where are hearts are, there also lie our treasures. Either they are the few temporary scraps we can gather here or the inconceivably vast and permanent spiritual wealth we can obtain through the benevolence of God.

What can be more valuable than an eternity with the Creator?

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Attaining Perfection-DD 5/4/2011

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Heb 4:15-16

As we pursue spirituality and godliness in our lives, we sometimes view it as an impossibly mammoth task and wonder who can accomplish all that is required. It is like needing to lose 30 pounds while being surrounded by all of your favorite unhealthy foods. It is like needing to exercise for the preservation of your life while considering your expensive mattress, comfortable chair and brand new HDTV. We know what we should do and we may even have the ability to do it intermittently but a permanent and perfect change looms as large and insurmountable as Yosemite's El Capitan is to a novice climber.

Beloved, there are three things to consider when we have such thoughts. First, we must define perfection within its biblical context. In Matt 5:24, Christ commands his disciples to "be perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The context for the word here is not to attain Gods perfection (which really is impossible) but to attain its likeness by being finished, complete, pure and holy. The term was originally used to describe a mechanism that had all of its parts which operated according to its design. In humans, when we accept God, we have all we need and must operate in a manner consistent with our maker. Job was described as perfect in Job 1:1 but later, fault was found with him in 9:20 and 42:6. Does this represent a contradiction in scripture? NO! It offers insight into the meaning of the word. God was pleased with his life because it was lived in accordance with His will and was done so consistently. This is the perfection we can and must all attain.

Second, when we struggle in our pursuit and attainment of biblical perfection, we are to be a reassured that our Savior took on the same flesh we have and exceeded the meaning of the word. By taking on flesh, he was subject to all of the threats and temptations we all are, yet he did not sin, Heb 4:15. He is not one who sat at some distance and judged, but went through what we go through and therefore is compassionate about our suffering and challenges.

Lastly, because of these things, he is our help in attaining the perfection to which we are called. It is Jesus who has the words of life. As he spoke them to his disciples thousands of years ago, they continue to be spoken to our hearts and are available to us in the Holy Scriptures. We have everything we need to become everything we are called to be. We need only to fortify ourselves against that which would destroy us and get started on that diet, that exercise program and that climb. Let us pursue godly perfection in all that we do.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No Weapon Formed-DD 5/3/2011

"No weapon that is formed against you will prosper" Isa 54:17

There is a man discussed in the scriptures whose name is Lazarus. This Lazarus is known for his suffering and his story is irrevocably connected to one who did not suffer at all in life. Lazarus' story is a heart wrenching one in that he is described as being so sick he had sores, so weak he was laid at the rich man's gate, so poor he is described as a beggar, so friendless dogs gave him his only compassion and so hungry he just begged for crumbs.

Beloved, life can throw all kinds of adversity our way. Whether it is sourced in health difficulties, financial situations, relationship issues, catastrophes, bereavement or general lack, we all experience problems. What is our approach to dealing with what can sometimes be devastating consequences? Does it strengthen our faith or weaken it?

Lazarus eventually died, but we are told that he was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom, ostensibly a place of comfort and peace. Every Christian can expect that same future. Though we may suffer mightily in this life, you must know that no weapon, be it any of the aforementioned difficulties, will prosper against you. As long as you hold on to God's unchanging hand, you will prevail, be it in this life or the next. The Almighty has said, "Live faithful unto death and you will receive a crown of life," Rev 2:10.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, May 2, 2011

The Remnant-DD 5/2/2011

"And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the ten." Gen 18:32

During a visit from God Himself, Abraham learned that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were to be destroyed due to the wickedness of their inhabitants. Abraham, moved with compassion for his fellow man, not to mention to his nephew living there, besought the Lord about his willingness to turn from his wrath. He asked the Lord if He would spare the towns if there were 50 righteous, then 45, then 40 and so on down to 10. Each time, the Lord agreed to spare the towns, ultimately, even for the sake of just 10 righteous individuals.

Beloved, our God is kind and loving. He would have all men to be saved. He is longsuffering with us and offers His grace and mercy generously. Though the whole world was clothed in unrighteousness, Noah and is family found favor with God and through them, mankind was saved.

Look at the world around us today. Idolatry, sins of the flesh, crime, violence, debauchery and the like surround us and infiltrate us like a virus. People are leaving the church in record numbers and others are avoiding it like never before. Yet this is the world that he foresaw and the world to which he sent His son to die. He sent him out of his great love for us and His unwillingness to see His ultimate creation ultimately fail.

To be sure, heaven and earth will indeed pass away but as with both Noah's and Lot's families, there will be a remnant. Will you be among their number? God has given us provision. Let us be found among the saved.

Loving Like Jesus,