Archive for August, 2007

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Teach Us to Number Our Days

August 24, 2007

Ecclesiastes 8:8  “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. 

James 4:14  “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

The verses concerning the temporal nature of this life are as numerous as they are familiar.  We never know when our final moment will be upon us and our activities in the theater of life concluded.   It is imperative that we make the most of each day that we have under the sun as we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  The events of the past week, I was intending to comment on, however, it was needful to wait until things settled down.  This along with the hectic nature of things has kept me from posting at the planned interval.

On the morning of Thursday, August 16, my brother-in-law, Ernie, passed away without warning.  As I write this, I praise God that he came to Jesus fourteen years ago and is now in glory.  (How awesome it is to be able to say that knowing that it is true)  He was 49 years and  they have six kids whom they have adopted.  (Along with two who are older)  They were on their way to Niagra Falls when they stopped near Kingsville Ohio for a brief rest.  Ernie went to sleep and was gone.  No history of illness, no findings from an autopsy, nothing in the physical that would indicate a problem.  It was just his time.   His family is incredibly strong in the Lord and this has gotten my wifes attention more than anything that I could ever say.  A lot of pondering is taking place on her part and while we greive over a relative who is no longer with us, souls are soon to be birthed into the kingdom of God.   

The memorial service was held Tuesday at Ernies church in Elkhart, a church that we were at nine months ago for another memorial service, that being for my wifes sister, Barb, who at the age of 44, lost a battle with cancer.  In fact, she passed on the morning of Thursday, November 16, exactly nine months prior to Ernie.  Barb came to Jesus a while before this and is likewise in glory.  Pastor Bishop did the eulogy for both.  Both times, the truth of our need to be born again came forth.  Both were done in a manner that was indeed “blessed” of God.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  Both gave much tribute to a life lived while bringing forth the truth of the gospel.  Both should have caused much pondering on the part of those in attendance.  

At times such as this, I’m reminded of how important it is to always walk in the spirit and be ready to give answer to any who should ask of the hope that is in us.  To focus on the realm of the everlasting and not be caught up on the cares of this temporal world.  As mentioned earlier, my wife made note of how well Becky (Ernies wife) and the kids were holding up.  I truly believe that this will lead to her coming to Jesus along with all in my household.  The events of the past week have caused much pondering on my part as well.  To be mindful that time is short and the day is far spent.  Upon hearing of Ernies passing, all of us were stunned.  It was so unexpected.  Yet this verse came to mind. 

Isaiah 57:1  “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”

That may seem awkward in a sense, and yet I believe it to be true.  My prayer that the pondering caused by the events of the past week will “teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.  (Psalm 90:12)  For those outside the household of faith, I pray that their eyes would be opened to the instability of the flesh.  For the saints, I pray that we would be about our Fathers business with greater urgency and not be overcharged by things which have no eternal standing.   Our time in this world is like a summer breeze that passes by once and is gone.  When a day is passed, it cannot be edited as history cannot be rewritten.  And only the blood of Jesus Christ can wash away sins. 

Well I need to go for now.  Morgan woke up with servere stomach pains and my wife has run her to the emergency room.  This is why I’m awake at an early hour.  There is intense spiritual warfare going on in this household, however, strongholds are coming down.  Strongholds “are” coming down.  This post does a poor job at chronicling the details of the past week and seems awkward at best, but here it is.  Once school starts back and things settle down, I may be able to post more, unless the Lord has other plans.  Nonetheless, I will post when I can and visit elsewhere when I can.  Until then, I wish a blessed day in Christ to all. 

Revelation 14:13  “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth:  Yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

This verse was expounded on in the memorial service Tuesday.

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Four Hundred Prophets Can’t be Wrong! (Right?)

August 8, 2007

Ecclesiastes 8:5  “Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise mans heart discerneth both time and judgment.”

In this age, when sensationalism, entertainment, and soothing messages seem to be dominant factors in the church, there’s a real need for discernment on the part of every saint.  A need to be in close to the Lord and have our senses exercised to discern both good and evil.  To know if a particular thing is real or just a show.  To be sensitive to the Holy Spirit at all times as he will guide us into all truth and will let us know when something is amiss.  To have the word of God hidden in our hearts as the workings of the Lord will always line up with scripture and the name of Jesus Christ will always be glorified.  (I John 4:1-3 is SO important!  It cannot be stressed enough)  In the days to come, such discernment will be imperative on a level that none of us can presently grasp.  Without a doubt, the time to have our senses exercised is now, before things get dicey. 

One of the most incredible biblical accounts concerning this comes from I Kings chapter 22.  Jehoshaphat, king of Judah had come down to Ahab, the king of Israel.  Ahab, a king who had done more to provoke the LORD than any of his predecessors desired to take Ramoth in Gilead from the Syrians. 

I Kings 22:5  “And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD today.”

Jehoshaphat wasn’t one to march into a situation before consulting the Holy One of Israel.  Therefore, Ahab honors this request and gathers together about four hundred prophets.  When we think of a prophet, certain attributes come to mind.  A person who spends a lot of time in prayer and is close to the Lord.  One who is familiar with scripture and is of much understanding.  A person whom the Lord has selected to reveal truth through.  A person who lives a life of holiness and one not to be taken lightly.  (And if they should happen to be lacking on top, NEVER say “Go up thou bald head.”)  So if four hundred of these prophets were in one accord, saying “go and prosper” one would be inclined to go and expect to prosper.  Yet for Jehoshaphat, something was “wrong.” 

I Kings 22:7  “And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him?” 

Ahab must have been astonished at this request.  “I brought you four hundred prophets, what more do you want?  How much convincing do you need?”  Without a doubt, the prophets words and various demonstrations must have made an assault on Ramoth-Gilead seem like a no-brainer.  Yet despite the chorous of “Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king,”  Jehoshaphat remained unconvinced.  While “majority rule” may be a notable principal for a democratic government, it’s a terrible and dangerous way to discern spiritual matters.  At this point, Ahab reveals his slanted selection process. 

I Kings 22:8  “And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.  And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.”

There’s a lot of truths demonstrated in this passage of scripture.  Ahab sought out those who would prophesy according to his will instead of those who would reveal truth to him.  This is a problem in the year 2007 AD, just as it was then.  Folks seeking those who proclaim smooth things that will make them feel good about themselves while neglecting to preach against sin.  In the case of Ahab, he not only disregards Micaiah, he “hates” him because of his adherance to truth.  Nonetheless, he sends an officer to fetch Micaiah because he really wants Jehoshaphat to join him in the campaign to take Ramoth in Gilead.  The following passage shows just how much pressure was on Macaiah to “conform.”

I Kings 22:13  “And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.”

In other words “Go with the flow.” Don’t rock the boat.” “Don’t be a hero.”  Without a doubt, Micaiah is well known as one who goes against conventional wisdom, as is the case with all who love the Lord Jesus and seek to please him.  As Jehoshaphat and Ahab inquire of Micaiah, he remains faithful to that which the Lord has revealed to him.  The sideshow of prophets proclaiming error doesn’t distract him.  In fact, the Lord grants him insight as to the mechanics of this situation. 

I Kings 22:19  “And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.”

I have to pause here for a second.  This must have been an incredible sight.  When we grasp just how awesome our God is, we’ll not be turned aside by those who would urge us to just “Follow the herd.”  Our hope will be in the Lord Jesus and we’ll not be fearful of those who can chase us to the grave but no further. 

I Kings 22:20-23  “And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead?  And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.  And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.  And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?  And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.  And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth and do so.  Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.”

A strong delusion, designed to bring to nought Ahab who has done more to provoke the Lord than all of his predicessors.  Even when the whole truth is told to Ahab, he continues in his way.  The next verse is interesting.

I Kings 22:24  “But Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?”

Back in verse 11, we find Zedekiah had performed a demonstration with horns of iron, telling Ahab “with these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou hast consumed them.”  In other words, he put on a show and now Micaiah was exposing it as being such.   As has been the case in every generation, when one is really close to the Lord, the greatest opposition will come from those within the ranks of the “religious” so to speak.  It was true throughtout the old testament.  It was true when Jesus walked the earth in a body of flesh.  It holds true today as well.  It’s imperative that we follow the Lord Jesus.  That we we open to truth as the Holy Spirit gives understanding. 

Over the years, I’ve been in a lot of churches.  There seems to be a tendancy for folks to conform to each other instead of being atuned to what the Spirit is saying unto the churches.  The account of Micaiah is an admonition to seek the Lord first and formost.  In prayer, I often ask that if I’m in error somewhere, please show me.”  We are sinners, saved by the grace of God and washed in the blood of Jesus.  We must die daily to the old man and strive to be more Christlike.  It’s a lifelong process for us all; to be more like Jesus and less like us. 

WOW!  It’s been a long time since I blogged most of a night away.  It’s been fun and I’m not even remotely tired, however, I should be going for now.  In pondering the times that we find ourselves in, the need for discernment on the part of the saints is imperative.  To be grounded in truth and love the Lord Jesus with all of our being.  To be firmly established in the faith as everything is shaken that can be shaken.  Until next time, I wish a blessed day in Jesus to all. 

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Update: August 7, 2007

August 8, 2007

Greetings.  I’ve been trying to post for about a week, however, time has been contrary.  The extra time that comes with not being “tied” to blogging has quickly been consumed by a host of other things.  While I miss the daily interraction with other saints, it’s a blessing to no longer feel confined to a schedule.  (schedules can cause a host of problems if we’re the ones who fabricate the schedule.) As such, posting can now be more focused on those things which are needful. 

Currently, I’m on my lunch break at work.  A job which may well be gone by the end of next year.  (If other things haven’t come to pass by then)  I am at total peace with this as it would free us up to move in other directions.  (My wife doesn’t currently share my thoughts on this)  In fact, the job could well be gone by February if things go awry.  Gods perfect peace really does transcend all physical circumstances.  It’s not dependant upon the economy, the government, the weather, or any other factor that’s observable in the physical realm.  I pray that the oncomming situation will cause others here to realize just how undependable the promises of flesh are and that only through Jesus Christ is there life and true happiness. 

Well, I’ll be going for now.  I’m not planning to work over tonight, so I may be able to post later on.  (I have a bunch of things on my heart at the  moment.)  The primary thing is to be obediant to the Lord and not allow the blogosphere to become too controlling.  To be obediant in all things.  Until next time, I wish all a blessed evening in Christ. 

Psalm 84:10  “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.  I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”