Monthly Archives: August 2018

Aug 2018
Getting in Line
As a teacher begins a new school year, some of the most important lessons of the year come during the first week. No, for the most part, it does not have much to do with the “three R’s” of education. However, these vital points of instruction actually make or break the classes educational quality. What are these most important points of education? They teach the young ones how to walk in line. At first glance, you probably doubt the importance of these points of procedure, but do not be fooled. They surprisingly establish the environment for learning. Training the children’s basic deportment in the classroom and in transition around the school essentially conditions the atmosphere to eliminate all distractions and maximize the teaching potential. 
The Israelites are about to learn how to walk in a line, literally! They are going to learn how to sit at their desk…well, more like how to live in the camp, but the concept is the same. They have sat at the base of Mt. Sinai and learned how to worship God, now they will grow in their discipline as a nation while they learn to walk with God. They are a kindergartner of a nation, so God is going to show them how to walk and live. He will “whip them into shape” in order to eliminate all distractions and maximize their learning potential.
As you read through all the numbers and organization, consider your own life. Are there some distractions you could eliminate? Are there some extraneous activities that clutter your life so you can’t hear God clearly? Are you a little haphazard in the way you walk with God? Maybe you’re that kid who is lost in their own world and left behind in the lunch room? Or maybe you are the mischevious child always looking for a way to dash to the playground? Paul echoes the lesson of Numbers: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). Is your life characterized by “order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ” (Colossians 2:5)? The Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land. They will engage the enemy and live in maturity! Their success or failure pivots on their awareness of God’s presence and protection. Their survival depends on their appreciation of God’s provision and patience.
All of this is learned in the wilderness. Get in line. Answer “here” to the roll call. Class is about to start!

Aug 2018
Pillar and Ground of the Truth

“Well I used to go to church, but then one of the deacons offended me 4 years ago and I haven’t been back since.   I mean, I read my Bible a couple times a week and watch my favorite preacher online every Sunday so I’m doing fine.  As a matter of fact, I really don’t miss church too much at all.”   How many times have you heard someone say something along those lines?   Someone who used to go to church but now feels that church attendance is not that big of a deal.  After all, we can read our Bible ourselves and now pull up thousands of good preachers online so is being a part of a local church that big of a deal?

In our reading today, we get a good glimpse of how important the church really is.  1 Timothy 3:15 says, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Did you catch that?  Paul calls the church the “pillar and ground of the church”.  You could rephrase that to say that the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth.  God has chosen the New Testament church as the entity to hold up and carry on the truth expressed in His Word. As important as our personal walk with the Lord is, God did not design us to be “Lone Rangers” out and about of our own volition doing the Lord’s work.  But instead He has chosen for us to be a part of and operate through a solid, Bible-believing church.   All through the NT we see God operating through various churches as His Word was spread by the apostles and early church leaders.  Evangelism, mission work and even the meeting of physical needs were all done through the church. So may we not yield to the temptation of thinking that attending church is not that big of a deal and that our involvement in one is optional.  But may we instead take our rightful role in the “pillar and ground of the truth.”


Aug 2018
Take the Highway
What is 46,876 miles long, estimated at $425 billion, and took about 35 years to complete?
It was created to improve the transportation times of military troops to and from airports, other terminals, and military bases.
It was deemed critical to the defense of the United States.
Hint: Dwight D. Eisenhower is known for championing this after seeing how it worked in Germany.
It is the Interstate Highway System. You know, those things that are crowded with traffic because of too many people and accidents. Yeah, those things were designed to facilitate moving soldiers, not necessarily vacationers across the country.
Highways are very helpful. They have helped me cross the country five times from coast to coast!
You know “highway” is in the Bible, right?
“The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: He that keepeth his way preserveth his soul” (Proverbs 16:17).
There are a lot of parallels to this, but let’s look at one. I went to college in Florida. The number one question I get is, “Did you see any hurricanes?” Yes, I did and one of them was Ivan the Terrible. Not too much later there was Katrina which was a record setter. When those hurricanes come and evacuation is mandatory, those highways are vital. They cause all traffic to run one way on both sides of the road to get all the people out of danger.
Proverbs says that the upright has a highway which gets them out of danger too. It’s great to know that we have a way of escape but think about this.
Does the highway magically appear when the hurricane comes or was it built years before and has been prepared for the day of danger? Uh huh. It definitely was prepared years before.
If you want to have victory over sin, if you want to find the escape from that moment of temptation, it’s not a magical moment. It’s a plan that has been thought out and prepared in advance.
Start building some highways today.

Aug 2018
I Can See Clearly Now

It’s easy for believer’s to get out of focus in this nutty world. We wonder who can fix the world’s problems. Watching television one would think Hollywood and professional athletes will save us. God forbid! Then we remember, we serve a mighty God and He will take care of all this. That needs to become a forethought and not an afterthought. We should get about the Father’s business of winning souls and let God take care of His world. I imagine God in Heaven, as we run around fretting over every little thing, He may smile, chuckle or shake His head as He watches us worrying for nothing. He’s got the whole world in His hands! Remember the familiar jingle, “You’re in good hands with Allstate?” Actually it needs changing.

I have met many influential people including: military leaders, Presidents, the Queen, senators and world “religious” leaders and there is an heir of importance about them (or at least we feel that way). In Nevada, I had the occasion to preach the funeral of a woman in our church. It was to be a small ceremony, but then the doors opened, secret service agents filed in and then Senator Harry Reid (at that time one of the most powerful men in the world). The mood changed completely as everyone was more interested in him than the upcoming service. People were tripping over themselves to shake his hand. He was embarrassed and did not want his presence to detract from the service. I must admit I felt somewhat dazzled, but I quickly had an Isaiah 6:1 moment, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple”. Like Isaiah, I had my eyes on someone other than God!

We need to look to God for our help and not mankind. It took the death of Uzziah to help Isaiah see God as the problem solver and not Uzziah. We too need to see God as He is and not envision Him as an image, statue or semi-real person. Psalm 93 more than adequately describes the Omnipotent One; “The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty;…with strength,Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting…The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.” Let us make it a point to get alone this week, read Psalm 93 in its entirety and askourselves who, or what, is our Uzziah and be rid of it! 

Aug 2018
In Fifty Words or Less
Social media has reduced the grandeur of life into soundbites and text-bites. Authors used to write copy like the sprawling, lush imaginative landscape. Now, they write to be quotable. Public speakers used to titillate their audience by immersing all five senses into a story or incite a passionate rebuttal to injustice. Now they speak in tweetable, 140-characters-or-less, blurbs. In general, public communication is about as deep as a spring rain’s puddle.
Sometimes, such brevity can be found in Scripture too, but do not underrate the spiritual depth. In 1 Chronicles 4, you will come across an oasis in the middle of a desert of names. Because you disciplined yourself to read through the first nine chapters of Chronicles, you are rewarded with a fifty-word biographical entry.
Could you tell the story of your life in fifty words or less? Jabez was a man of success, fame, faithfulness, devotion, prayer, and righteousness. Much like another genealogy, it is safe to say Jabez walked with God. In fifty words or less, we learn Jabez prayed on prayer and God answered. His desire was to be kept from evil. Unlike Solomon’s uniquely answered prayer request, Jabez maintained his uprightness before God. He coveted God’s hand to be with him.
In your fifty word biography, would it rave about your accomplishments?
Would it record your achievements?
Would it relate your affections?
Or would it reflect your allegiance? To leave this earth with the obituary naming your accolades of business prowess or your engagement as a father or your maternal care as a world-class mother or a constant friend is too cheap and petty. The world can generate such eulogies. To covet the blessing of God and live a life counted worthy of such blessings, such a story would be the pearl upon black velvet.
May your biography tell a story of dependence upon God, devotion to God, and delight in God. All of this was wrapped in Jabez’s fifty-word biography. He prayed; God answered; end of story. Oh, the incalculable richness of such a legacy! May you be as wealthy.
Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, That delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: The generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: And his righteousness endureth for ever. (Psalm 112:1-3)