Monthly Archives: November 2015

Who Wants To Be Considered A Slug?

Today is the birthdate of the US Marine Corps, and the anniversary of the day my Dad entered that branch of service. It must have been 1943 when Dad finally got to join the fight during WWII at the young age of 18.

Dad was proud to be a Marine, and toward the end of his life, talked about what it was like to train, and go to war. He would describe a group of fit, strong, active, and determined young men who were ready to battle 24/7. I don’t think you could be lazy and wear a Marine uniform.

Hebrews 6, and the memory of my father, challenged me today. The word “sluggish” got my attention because I am afraid that describes me too often. Sitting here this morning, I see dust on my baseboards, and a cobweb on my ceiling. I can sit in front of my computer, or the TV for hours instead of getting out to walk, or visit a friend. And that gets me thinking about my walk with the Lord.

That’s the topic the writer of Hebrews was addressing here in chapter 6. I wonder if there are cobwebs in my heart, the place I’ve invited my Savior to live. Are there opportunities to serve Him that I’ve missed because I’m slow to move?

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His Name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (verse 10)

Being a member of a Bible believing church fellowship means I have work to do for God’s kingdom. There are people associated with my church to pray for, to visit, to encourage, to rake leaves for or fix a meal for. There are people outside my church who need to know Jesus, who need to see Him in me. That can’t happen if I’m content to be a slug.

And who wants to be considered a slug?

I think of the training Dad endured on Parris Island, getting ready to go to war. It was hard. It was intense. It was constant. We need to prepare in such a way to do the things required of us as Christians, too. Oh, I don’t mean target shooting or running multiple miles with fifty pounds of equipment on our backs. But seriously spending time in God’s Word, searching, studying, praying, talking about it, questioning and not giving up until we find answers.

But all the training in the world is worthless unless we use it. Dad finished his boot camp, then went to war. We, too need to prepare – and go! Our world depends on us.

Being a Marine isn’t for the lazy or sluggish. And neither is being a Christian.

Our Heavenly Captain, Our Commander in Chief, we are soldiers (or Marines) in your army. May we be equipped for the battles ahead, may we be willing to serve at a moments notice. May we be intentional about our training in Your Word. And may we not hesitate when you call. Forgive our laziness. Make us fit and capable to do what you would have us do. No slugs here, Lord. We want to win this war!

Does That Warm Your Heart?

Ezekiel saw a vision of the Lord. I love his description in chapter 2: colorful light, blazing fire, a throne like sapphire, an appearance like a rainbow on a rainy day. Ezekiel SAW the glory of the Lord!!

And it was beautiful.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that in the past God spoke to us through prophets like Ezekiel, but in these last days God speaks to us through His Son. The writer calls Jesus, “the brightness of (God’s) glory and the express image of His person”. (chapter 1)

Ezekiel witnessed that brightness! And we can, too. What is that “warm” feeling you get when you fellowship with God from a repentant heart? What is that “lightbulb” that turns on when God reveals a truth through His Word?

It’s the same Jesus Ezekiel saw in his vision. It’s like the warmth and light from a fire. It’s the Spirit of God, Jesus in the flesh. It’s tangible evidence that God is real, He’s alive, and present with each of us today, this minute.

This morning I am overwhelmed by the lengths to which God goes to reveal Himself to us. From the strength of a hurricane, to an “aha” moment reading His Word, from the birth of a baby, to the heartbeat-skipping experience of asking for – and receiving – forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.

Our hearts are warmed when we see the love of God demonstrated by Jesus on the cross, knowing He did that for each of us. We experience the warmth from the fire Ezekiel saw in his vision. We look at the world differently when we allow God to teach us what He wants us to know. We experience the light Ezekiel witnessed. And we can walk in that light, the Light of the world.

My hope is that the next time your heart is warmed by someone or something, you will recognize it as from God. Or the next time you become aware that the path before you is bathed in light, you’ll know that light is from God.

Don’t miss out on the blessed realization that those “feelings” are God’s embrace. It’s Jesus!

If that doesn’t warm your heart…

Renewed Days

I read Lamentations this morning. God was unresponsive to the cries of the disobedient nation of Israel. There was a famine in the land and the Jews were not spared. In fact, the actions of some to survive are unimaginable. How desperate they were! Why did God reject his people?

Woe to us, for we have sinned. (5:16)

The last two verses of this sad book caused me to pause. Here’s what they say:

Renew our days of old, unless You have utterly rejected us, and are very angry with us.

The truth of the matter is God was angry, and they were rejected because of their disobedience.

Psalm 119 reminds me how important is God’s Word, how necessary it is that we obey it. God’s not playing around. He’s serious about sin. And so should we be. He has spelled out His demands, His Law, and has demonstrated the severe consequences for disobedience. This psalm challenges me to love Scripture and obey it. There is evidence of God’s holiness, power, and love on every page.

Then I read the beautiful letter Paul wrote to Philemon, and I am reminded what Jesus did for me. I sinned against God, like Onesimus sinned against Philemon. Philemon had owned Onesimus, but Onesimus walked away from him, may have stolen from him. God created me to be His, but I, too, walked away when I sinned. Onesimus owed a debt he could not pay. There’s no way I could pay my sin debt, either.

But Onesimus repented. He became a follower of Jesus, a helper to Paul. So Paul asked Philemon to forgive Onesimus, to accept him as a brother, to place any debt of Onesimus’ on Paul’s account. And Jesus did the same for me. He paid my enormous debt, asked the Father to forgive me, and accepted me as His child when I repented, too .

My days are renewed and I am not rejected, thanks to Jesus. I pray you can say the same.

Imbedded Truth

My Bible reading plan for 2015 had me in the first two chapters of Lamentations this morning. I realize that this book, like all the Old Testament, tells us what happened or was going to happen to the flesh and blood people of that day. I know the buildings were brick and mortar, the wars resulted in bloodshed, the famines were severe. Real people suffering real hardships in real time.

Then I turned to the third chapter of Titus where Paul says something I hadn’t seen before. He said to avoid genealogies because they are “unprofitable and useless.” (Titus 3:9 NKJV) I had to stop and think about that. I myself have researched our family tree. And I know, for a Jew at that time, tracing their ancestry was everything to them. Why would Paul say genealogy is useless?

First of all, I thank God for that truth! Many people still today want to give importance to the genealogy of the Jewish nation, and can point to verses to back them up. Others can point to verses that proclaim there is no difference between Jews, Greeks, men, women. I’m not here to dispute or agree with either belief. Because I think God would have us see a bigger truth.

Psalm 119:137 says:

Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are your judgments.

I believe God would have us see Him and our world from His vantage point when we read His written Word. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world. But that the world, through Him, might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

Yes, the Bible is made up of the accounts of individual people, nations, and events. But the purpose of recording all of that is to show us Who God is, what He demands, the result of disobedience, and the love of God for each of us, a love that sent Him to Calvary. As we read the Old Testament we see over and over a God who is Holy, Almighty, Just, a God who demands obedience and punishes disobedience. In the New Testament we see the same God, and One who loves each of us so completely He paid what we could not pay, the debt of our sin. We need to see that today. And that’s why God inspired men to record the events we read here.

If we read the Bible as an historical account, or a mystery novel trying to figure out the end from the clues, we miss the big, most important picture. I think that’s why Paul said genealogy is unprofitable. It’s just not important in the light of eternity.

Dear God, thank you for your written Word. Thank you for the men and women whose lives we read about, people who followed you, people who didn’t, people who were blessed, and people who suffered the consequences of sin. Because through those lives you have painted a picture of my own life and relationship with You. Thank you for the accounts of the life of Jesus, for revealing the fact that He is the one and only Savior of all of mankind, and that His forgiveness is available to anyone who believes. I pray that none of us will miss the relevant Truth imbedded in each book of the Bible. And may we apply that Truth to our lives today.