Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Week Forty-Five - What You Need to Know

I enjoy listening to intelligent people talk. Their handle on reason and depth of knowledge impresses me. My little mind wanders along with them as I try to capture their ideas. 

The Bible is full of intelligent people, and we will consider a couple of them today, but I want to remind you of two things you need to know. Wisdom comes from God. It isn't produced by intelligence; it is the submissive understanding that God is the source of all truth. And, according to Proverbs 21:30, "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord." For all our smarts, we will never outsmart God. 

There is a beauty in knowledge that affords us a great wealth of intellect and faith. In Psalm 119, David said that because He meditated on God's Word, he had "more understanding than all his teachers." That's an awfully bold statement, wouldn't you say? God's wisdom plunges deep into the how and why of life, giving this psalmist insight beyond his years.

Daniel was also wise. His wisdom and discernment came directly from spending time with God in prayer. He understood the value and beauty of wisdom when he said, "The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32). This knowledge of God strengthened his faith as he faced Persian captivity and the lion's den.

Let's think of some other things we need to know about Christian knowledge. We have the Spirit of God that leads us into all truth. This knowledge strengthens our love for God and each other. It opens the door to a greater understanding of God and reveals Christ in various facets. 

Ephesians 3:19 reads, "And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." That is an amazing statement. Take a few moments to meditate on that. Christ's love for us surpasses our understanding, yet it fills us with all the fullness of God. We can't figure it out, but it fills us anyway. Amazing!

Knowledge also strengthens our hope. It removes distracting objects and teaches us patience. Knowledge is a vast treasure we should continually seek. 2 Peter 3:18 instructs us, "But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Grow not only in spiritual grace but, more importantly, in the knowledge of Christ.

Let me encourage you today to seek God's wisdom, to rest in Him, and to know the peace of God that passes understanding.

Proverbs 2:1-12 gives us more things we need to know about God's wisdom. I've copied in this passage below. As you read, look for the benefits and descriptions of wisdom. Then ask yourself, "Am I diligently searching for God's wisdom or settling for my own? Am I experiencing the things promised by finding God's wisdom, or am I struggling due to my own rebellion? What would it look like to change my direction, and what blessings might come my way?"

"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things."

Do you know this level of wisdom? You can, and you need to.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Week Forty-Four - It's Too Scary

There was a time when reading the book of Revelation or hearing teaching on the End Times filled me with fear. It all seemed too scary. I’d been taught we could not understand Revelation and there was no sense trying to take it literally, but through the years, my fear has been replaced with joyful anticipation every time I read that final book of the Bible.

Not that I don't shutter at the impending wrath of God upon the unbelieving world, but my focus has shifted to the glory of Heaven, the worthiness of the Lamb, and the rejoicing of the saints. I now look forward to the rapture and the wedding supper in Heaven because I am ready.

If you’ve ever read or watched movies about the coming judgment and things that take place it might feel like something from a horror movie, but for the child of God, it is the fulfilling of God's promise for justice, restoration of divine order, and eternal peace.

Watching the news reminds us that we are being ushered us closer and closer to the final hour. Time grows short on this earth, and God's Word is succinct; what He has designed will be fully completed.

If you are a believer, don't shy away from God's revelation of things to come. All of these things are the product of His perfect will and justice on the unbelieving world, the world that rejects Christ. For you, there is no impending judgment. Your sins are forgiven. Your name is in the Book of Life, and you can rest safely in His provision. 

However, it should be very scary if you do not have assurance of your salvation. There is impending war, starvation, earthquakes, and all manner of upheaval as this old earth moves to its demise. Then, every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Yet, though they kneel, they will not enter Heaven because they rejected Him while on earth. Don't be among that number.

Today, even as you read this blog, God is warning you and pointing you to a way of escape. Kneel your heart to Christ as King and Redeemer today. The alternative is too scary to imagine.

If you have never heard of God's plan to save you from the wrath to come, please copy and paste this link into your browser and read more.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Week Forty-Three - Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

Because I prefer things to flow and go smoothly, I often grow impatient with waiting. How about you? I have found obstacles that make waiting a trial of faith and patience, obstacles like sloppy accounting, lost data, and government decisions. They grind on my nerves. 

Waiting is one of those qualities a Christian only learns with years of experience. And even then, most of us still have a distaste for waiting. 

Spurgeon took up this topic, saying, "Marching and quick-marching are much easier for God's soldiers than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, doesn't know what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, but simply wait."

Just wait. Those two words leave us in complete wonderment. Sometimes, we don't know why or what we are waiting for. We are simply left with the instruction - wait. So, what is the best posture for these times? As Spurgeon said, we are tempted to vex ourselves, push forward, or run the other way, but that is not Christian faith. He goes on to give us some wonderful instructions.

Wait in prayer. Lay your situation before HIm. Tell Him your difficulty and plead His promise of aid. 

Wait in simplicity of soul. Be sweet and humble like a child. The Father has promised to answer, so wait.

Wait in faith. Lay yourself before Him for His guidance and express your unstaggering confidence in His Word and faithfulness.

Wait in quiet patience. Don't rebel, murmur, or fight against God. Accept the situation as it stands and "simply, with your whole heart, without any self-will," commit your situation to God and wait for Him to work.

That's not always so easy to do, is it? 

Here's what I've learned about waiting. It can be a wonderful place. While waiting, you do other things and serve in different ways. You rest and watch God at work around you. You pray with greater anticipation. You know you are in God's holding pattern and under His protection, so waiting takes on more of a purpose. Ephesians 1:11 tells us He works all things according to the purpose of His will: all things, even the time of standing still.

So, though it might feel uncomfortable and obstacles grind on, we need to learn to be still, trust God's work, and rest in His promises. When you cease from your labors, you begin to see His better.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Week Forty-Two - Rocks and June Bugs

Back on the farm, part of our summer fun included catching shiny, green, flying beetles called June Bugs that appeared for a short season. We would catch them and tie a string to one of their legs, then hold on as they flew in crazy patterns, trying to escape. Hence the phrase, crazy as a June Bug on a string.

My husband and I discussed June Bugs a while back, which brought us to describe ourselves like this: Tom is a lump on a log, and I am a June Bug on a string. For us, that meant I was the one with crazy ideas and willing to take risks, while he was the settled one who kept things calm and grounded. We laughed about the comparison, but it is a very apt description of us. 

Then, I came to a psalm that resonated with my heart and left me meditating for several weeks. Psalm 89:26 reads, "Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation." Psalm 92:15 and 94:22 also referred to the Lord as our rock. The verses aren't referring to a pebble. This rock is something settled, strong, and grounded. It means a boulder or solid cliff face, something not easily moved.

Let me share what I recorded in my journal. Open your Bible and follow along with these verses. 

"He is my refuge when I am afraid, my courage in the face of mischief framed by law (94:20), my strength when I consider my age (92:14), and my security when I need a place to stand (89:26). He is my rock, salvation, refuge, help (94:17), and my comfort (94:19). He is the Father who loves me and my God to whom I surrender, whose might defends, directs (90:17), and delights. He will never leave me. (89:34). I am frail and limited (89:47, 90:9,12), but He is my Rock."

I might be a June Bug on a string, but He is not. He remains faithful, drawing me to grounding and anchoring me in His love. God, my Rock, is able to keep me from falling. He is consistent, reliable, and sound, full of grace and truth. I am often fleeting, changeable, flighty, and too easily influenced, but God remains faithful. 

Rocks and June Bugs, what a wonderful meditation.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Week Forty-One - When He Cometh

When he cometh,

When he cometh,

To make up his jewels.

All his jewels,

Precious jewels,

His love and his own.

Like the stars of the morning,

His bright crown adorning,

They shall shine in their beauty,

Bright gems for his crown.

(William Cushing)

When He cometh! O, how we long to be joined with our Saviour, bright jewels for His crown.

My heart began singing this old hymn after reading Psalm 96, which ends with verse 13 saying, "For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth; he shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with his truth."

I'd imagine this verse inspired the hymn, but the last phrase, "with his truth, " caught my eye. Not our truth, not any other truth, but His truth. In a world seeking to create their own, we are often tempted to believe their truth is right, but we need not be naive. Man's truth fluctuates. It moves along with patterns of unrighteousness and the demands of those seeking to live without God as a governing factor. Sinful humanity rebels against God's truth. But as much as they want to stomp their feet and breath out threatening, God's truth remains as the determining factor for eternal judgment. 

In John 12:48, Jesus says, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." His Word judges us.

The Bible says Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) and His words were written that we might find Christ as Saviour and be assured of our eternal home (1 John 5:10-13). As comforting as that promise may be, His words are also there for condemnation to those who reject them. Those words divide. They demand a decision. They are the standard by which God will judge when all men stand before Him.

Jesus blends truth and His Word in John 17:17, saying, "Thy word is truth." That is a powerful statement and one we cannot ignore. In humanity's eternal search for truth, God's Word stands solidly as the ultimate measure.

We could continue with this vein of thought reading in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." Shall not - a definite determination. Though everything we know fails and passes away, God's Word will not. It stands consistent, faithful, and true.

Friend, there are two truths for us to grasp here. First, for those who know the Lord, we can rest assured that God's Word is truth. We can stand confidently because it is established for eternity. It is the ground of our salvation, our soul's hope, and our life's strength. It will not pass away. Everything recorded in His Word will come to pass. He is coming! And we rejoice in anticipation.

But for those who do not know Christ, this truth must be understood: judgment will be based solely upon the truth of God's Word. God is "not willing that any perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). And there lies your hope, invitation, and opportunity. Come to Christ today. Repent and turn to the One who gave Himself for you now before He comes to judge. Open the Bible and read to understand His mercy and longsuffering that offers you yet another chance to bring yourself in line with the Word of God and know the beauty of His truth that will save your soul. When He cometh, it will be too late.