Tag Archives: daily walk

The Good Old, Bad Old Days (Job 29-31)

In Job’s final speech to his friends, he talked about the past, the days he enjoyed a prosperous life, when he was able to help the poor with his material wealth. He remembered the strangers who found shelter in his home, and the respect he received from everyone who knew him.

“How I long for the months gone by,” he said in 29:2, “for the days when God watched over me.” In verse 4 he said, “Oh for the days when I was in my prime…” (Well, actually I have said the same a time or two myself!)

Job looked at the past with longing. And many of us do that, too. We remember the good old days, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing…

  1. unless we allow our memories to paralyze us. The truth is, life was easier for me before my back problems. Life was more exciting when I had more energy and the future was promising. But today the days of my past outnumber the days of my future. The days of the past were innocent and full of new things to learn. Today my look at the world can be jaded. So, do I sit in my recliner and remember the good old days while ignoring my present and future? Do I find more comfort remembering the past than I do embracing the present and looking ahead to my future?  Isn’t it a waste of precious time to live in the past?
  2. unless our memories are not true. Our minds have a way of inflating the good while diminishing the reality of the ugliness that existed, too. The opposite can be true as well, and can be so destructive if all we remember is the bad. No past is all good, or all bad.

My dad loved being a dad. We five girls were his everything. That is, until we became teenagers, and then adults with minds of our own. That was hard for Dad. And I think he always longed to go back to the days when his little girls were still his little girls. I’m not saying we weren’t able to enjoy a good relationship with him once we got through those awkward teenage years. But I think he was always a bit disappointed we grew up. And I think that colored the relationships we had with him as adults.

Living in the past, whether real or imagined, is an act of futility. Life will never be the same as it was when we were kids. We can’t go back. Time marches on. And if I am honest, my past has been fun and blessed and amazing; but it has also been painful and lonely and hard. Would I really want to relive all of it?

Warren Wiersbe says this:

“The good old days are are often a combination of a bad memory and a good imagination.” (With The Word, Thomas Nelson Press; 1991; page 298)

Yep. That pretty much describes it, doesn’t it? But Wiresbe also said something that hit me this morning on page 297 of With The Word:

“The past must be more than a memory; it must be a ministry.”

I am thankful for the gift of memory, even though not all my memories make me happy. So, what am I doing with that gift of memory? Am I sitting on it in the privacy of my own home, wishing, longing, regretting, or obsessing? Or am I using my past experiences to help someone today, January 11, 2020? Am I remembering my blessings so to encourage others, my mistakes to challenge or to warn someone who needs a reality check?

The past is the past, there is no going back. But our past can also be a tool to be used on behalf of others, for their sakes and God’s glory. Let’s remember the good old, bad old days, and allow it to minister to someone who needs our wisdom and experience to help them along the way.

Flabbergasted (Job 21-23)

I feel bad for Job on many levels. He was a good man. He thought he was doing everything right, and like most, seems to have thought that following the rules should lead to blessings, or at least to the absence of trouble.

Now, after losing everything, he has no answers to his questions. God is silent. His friends are miserable counselors. Job really has nowhere to turn.

Do we know how blessed we are in this day and age? When hardship and loss hit us, when we have questions, God need never be silent. We have His Word right at the tips of our fingers. We have His answers, His counsel, His assurance, His direction any time we need it.

What Job wouldn’t have given for a glimpse at the Bible on your bookshelf.

Yet so often we don’t even pick it up when we have questions, when life gets hard and we don’t know where to turn. We might go to Dr. Phil. We might read any number of self-help books. We might even Google our questions.

I think Job would be flabbergasted at our squandering of the amazing gift we have in the very words of God, written and easily accessed any time, day or night. All the man longed for was to hear from God.

Don’t miss hearing from God today. Pick up your Bible. Whether you are in a difficult season of life, blessed out of your mind, or somewhere in between, pick up your Bible. God need not be silent today.

Unequally Yoked (Genesis 4-6)

I was talking to my sister the other day about these very verses. Who were the “sons of God,” and the “daughters of men,” anyway? So today I did some digging.

There seems to be two schools of thought on this. One is that the sons of God were angels (some think demons, although not sure why anyone would think a demon would be called a son of God) who had sex with humans. The other is that the sons of God referred to the line of Adam’s son Seth, those who followed God. The daughters of men were from the line of Cain, who did not follow God.

Matthew Henry (Commentary on the Whole Bible in One Volume; 1961; Zondervan Publishing House; page 16) takes the second viewpoint without giving a thought to the angel idea. R.C. Sproul, Jr. (ligonier.org; Who Are the Sons of God and Daughters of Men in Genesis 6:1-5?) addresses both views but ends up agreeing with Henry’s interpretation. With good reason, I think.

First, Sproul points out angels are spirits without flesh and blood bodies. They can’t morph themselves into human form.

Now, there are times in the Bible where we see God sending angels looking like humans to perform some task, but never to have sex with a human. And looking like a human doesn’t make an angel human nor does it suggest their bodily functions would be human-like. The idea of an angel having sex with a woman has no foundation.

Second, Sproul reminds us these verses in chapter 6 come after the account of two groups of people alive at the time; those who followed God, and those who did not.

In chapter 4 we read about the line of Cain, who killed his brother Abel, and whose claim to fame was building a big city he named after one of his sons. His line also is recorded to have yet another murderer in its midst. This group of people seem to be more concerned with “number one” than with obeying God. In fact, there is no indication that following God was on any of their minds at the time.

Then in chapter 5 we read about the line of Seth, the son born to Adam and Eve after their son Abel was murdered. In this account we read about Enoch who walked with God, and Lamech who said that son Noah would save the people from the Lord’s curse. Seth’s line contains people who followed God.

Even though we see chapter 6 as a division point, remember the Bible wasn’t written in chapters and verses. The account of the sons of God and daughters of men immediately follow the genealogies of Cain and Seth. We see believers, sons of God through Seth, marrying daughters of men, daughters through Cain, simply because they were pretty. 

Unequally yoked with unbelievers.

That is a recipe for disaster. In fact, by chapter 6 in Genesis, sin is so rampant God is going to destroy the world.

I believe this account in God’s Word isn’t here to suggest some super-human race existed because of the sin of angels and women. I believe this account is here to remind us the consequences of sin, the seriousness of being linked to non-believers.

I think that is what God would have me hear today. We are to go into all the world, be all things to all men in order to win some. But we must never, NEVER, compromise on sin. We must never deviate from the holiness God demands of us. And we must never marry, or go into business with, or attach ourselves to non-believers in any way.

Matthew Henry says this: “The bad will sooner debauch the good than the good reform the bad.” I believe that’s the lesson here today.

 

 

December 27; Don’t Forget

Revelation 2-5

God has some amazing things to tell us through John’s letter to the seven churches. In them He addresses each of us, and challenges us in our walk with Him.

To Ephesus God addresses those of us who are busy serving God, doing good work, keeping on keeping on. But something is missing. The busyness has overshadowed our first love, that love we knew when we were first cleansed from sin. God warns that without that fervent love for Him, our service to Him will lose its effectiveness.

DON’T FORGET WHY WE SERVE.

To Smyrna God speaks to those of us going through difficult circumstances. There are some people in our world today who suffer imprisonment and even death because they serve God. Others of us face unfair treatment, slander, rejection. Don’t be afraid, God tells us. He is the One who died and came back to life. That second death can’t hurt us.

DON’T FORGET WHO WE SERVE.

To Pergamum God has a word for us who live in a fallen world where sin runs rampant and evil surrounds us. Stay true to His Name. Don’t let the teachings of Satan creep into our hearts, no matter how popular the lies become. Know the Truth according to Scripture. Repent if you’ve deviated from that Truth. It’s serious business to accept the lies.

DON’T FORGET WHAT IS TRUE.

To Thyatira, God addresses those of us trying to live in two worlds, that of Christianity, and that of immorality. As Christians we help our neighbors, express love, and are people of faith. But we also tolerate immorality, even to the point of believing immorality is not sin. Some of us actually participate in immoral conduct, even if it is only in the privacy of our homes in front of a screen. God tells us there are serious consequences for that. Hold on, God tells us. Don’t give in!

DON’T FORGET HOW WE ARE TO LIVE.

To Sardis we hear a warning to those of us simply going through the motions. Oh, we do Christian sounding things, say Christian sounding words, but our hearts are dead. God tells us our deeds are only half done if that’s the case. “Walk with me,” God pleads. “Obey. Repent.” There is life in Christ.

DON’T FORGET WHAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED.

To Philadelphia God speaks to those of us who are feeling weak. Maybe it seems our efforts are in vain, that we have no place in ministry But God also commends us for being true to His Name, for serving patiently, perhaps quietly. If God opens a door of opportunity, He will bless our obedience. Again He encourages us to hold on!

DON’T FORGET WHO LOVES US.

To Laodicea God addresses we who are lukewarm Christians. We are pretty self-assured, happy to be saved from hell, but not wanting God meddling in our lives. God says we make Him sick. He tells us to earnestly repent. “Knock,” He says. “I’ll come in and fellowship with you and you with Me!”

DON’T FORGET WHO IS AT THE DOOR.

There is so much in the book of Revelation for us in 2019 concerning our relationship with God. I’m looking forward to ending the year listening to what He will say to me, getting to know Him better, and to growing my walk with Him into something useful for His kingdom. I hope you’ll join me.

December 24; Faith in Action

Hebrews 10:19-12:29

Do you know what I noticed about the people listed in Chapter 11, the “Hall of Faith?” Each one put their faith in God, but none of them sat on that faith. It wasn’t enough to simply believe. They all did something as a result of their faith.

They warned, went, obeyed, blessed, spoke, refused, left, passed through the Red Sea…. All of these people were commended for their faith yet none of them actually saw the One in whom they’d placed their faith. None of them knew the Messiah Jesus whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow. But that didn’t stop them from having faith in Him anyway.

Everybody has faith of some kind. I have loved ones who have faith their belief there is no God won’t usher them into hell. Some people have faith in false gods, in religion, in goodness and kindness, in the stars, or in themselves. We all have faith that what we believe is true.

The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (12:2)

So who has authored your faith? I pray you will place your faith in the author of creation, in life itself, in love, and in eternity. I pray you’ll place your faith in the One who went to the cross for the joy of forgiving your sins.

Then, with the saints listed in Chapter 11, let’s do something with that faith. Let’s warn, and go, and obey, and bless… because the truth of the matter is, people need to know there is only One who is worthy of our faith.

December 21; A Charge

2 Timothy 2-4; Hebrews 1

I hope you will read Paul’s charge to Timothy and hear God speaking to you. The fact is, the time of Jesus’ return is 2,000 years closer than when Paul wrote these words. We may be 2,000 years before that blessed event yet today, but Scripture tells us to be prepared. It could be 2,000 years from now. It could be today.

This is Paul’s charge from chapter 4:

  1. Preach the Word
  2. be prepared in season and out of season
  3. correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction
  4. keep your head in all situations
  5. endure hardship
  6. do the work of the evangelist
  7. discharge all the duties of your ministry

Friend, our relationship with God has to be intentional. It cannot be mere emotion, or something we put on a shelf like a trophy. You and I need to be using our minds, keeping our heads in all situations.

In chapter 3 Paul talks about the evils of the last days and warns us about those who live lives of greed, pride, disobedience, slander… He tells us to have nothing to do with them. Why?

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires… 

Now before you men start to feeling smug here, I’ve known some pretty gullible men, too. I don’t think I’m going out of bounds to suggest this warning is for all of us. None of us are immune from the wiles of the devil.

And I can’t help but think evil is worming its way into our homes through the internet and cable TV. Be ware!

That’s why my prayer is that any who read this blog will be encouraged to be in the God’s Word every day. Reading. Studying. Praying about it. Memorizing it. Re-reading it. And obeying it. Please let God grow you and strengthen you through the pages of His precious Word. And take Paul’s charge to Timothy as your own.

 

 

December 20; Everything You Need

Jude 1:17-25; 2 Peter 1-3; 2 Timothy 1

Do you realize that, if Jesus is your Savior, you have everything you need to make it through this life? Peter tells us the divine power of God Himself gives us everything we need for life and godliness.

Don’t miss the word, “everything.” And don’t underestimate God’s power.

But then Peter says; For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith…

I recently read an article about a woman in our town whose name is Shawn, One day Shawn noticed a very tired woman walking along the street. She stopped to check on her and found out the lady walked to work every day. And it took her three hours one way to walk to her job at McDonald’s. Shawn decided to help, and for some time picked her up every day and gave her a ride. When Shawn wasn’t able, her sister or her son made the trip so that tired woman wouldn’t have to walk to or from work.

Then Shawn did something else extraordinary. She bought a car, put it in the woman’s name, paid for insurance for two months, and filled the gas tank. She handed the woman the keys to the car.

That woman now owned a car. No strings attached. I ask you, wouldn’t it have been a waste if she never put the key into the ignition? Wouldn’t you wonder about anyone with such an amazing gift who DIDN’T use it? What if the woman insisted on continuing to walk to work, a car in her drive, gas in the tank, and keys in hand? You’d think something was wrong with that picture.

At least I would. Here’s the thing. That car belongs to the woman. But in order to take advantage of  that gift, she has to use it.

In 2 Peter 1: 5-6 Peter tells us to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love. Then verses 10-11 the apostle says:

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yes, God has give us everything we need, but Peter reminds us if we want to make our election sure we need to use what is given, and to grow it. What a waste it is to have everything we need for life and godliness, and not use it.