Category Archives: Bible

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD

images

Some days drag. Some days fly
Some days I think of the day I’ll die
Some days fill me and some days drain
And one day Jesus will call my name

One day Jesus will call my name
As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same.
I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change,
On that day that Jesus calls my name

Most days I pray but some days I curse.
It’s that number of days I put myself first.
But it’s not what I do, the cross made that plain.
And one day Jesus will call my name

One day Jesus will call my name
As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same.
I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change,
On that day that Jesus calls my name

 

Check out these lyrics by Lynda Randall. If this isn’t the truth, I don’t know what is. Some days drag. Indeed they do. And some days fly. For me, it’s the week-end. You say “what?” The week-ends for me mean no work, no real interaction with people, no family around. You see, I’m alone. Most Christians don’t think of people like me. And for obvious reasons. They are wrapped up in their own family and the activities and accoutrements that go with all that. I understand. However, it doesn’t make the week-ends fly even though I understand. And on those draggy, draining days, the mind begins to dwell on the thoughts that I am supposed to take captive, like when I might die.

Growing older brings those thoughts to the forefront. Can’t seem to help it. They come. But then Lynda Randall puts it all in perspective with the next sentence. “And one day Jesus will call my name.” Hallelujah. That makes it all worthwhile! Then I remember, wow, how fortunate I am. Not everyone looks forward to that day. But He called me out of darkness into His marvelous light!

Again the lyrics remind me that putting myself first, which in the US is so “normal,” are the days to curse!!! It means I have forgotten that indeed all will not be called by name by the Lord. And, I share responsibility in that because I have forgotten and/or neglected to share His love.

Oh but wait, I don’t have to beat myself up and claim unworthiness because of my selfishness. Look at that next phrase “the cross made that plain.” In other words, it’s not what I do but who I am. I am a child of God, my life is hidden in Christ. Does this give me license to do whatever I want? Indeed not. It makes me remember what price has been paid for me to have that privilege. And I am renewed just thinking and knowing that one day Jesus will indeed call my name. In the meantime, as the Apostle Paul said in 1Cor2:2: I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I do want to draw so close to Him and to have Him live through me so that others see Him. Sometimes it seems impossible but with God, ALL things are possible.

Check out the song, One Day by Lynda Randall on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz58xcJHAJ4&start_radio=1&list=RDQz58xcJHAJ4.  I hope it ministers to you as much as it has to me.

Advertisements

GOD ON THE MOUNTAIN

download

Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind, like you’ve never known
But things change, when you’re down in the valley
Don’t lose faith, for you’re never alone
For the God on the mountain, is the God in the valley
When things go wrong, He’ll make them right
And the God of the good times
Is still God in the bad times
The God of the day is still God in the night
We talk of faith way up on the mountain
Talk comes so easy when life’s at its best
Now down in the valleys, of trials and temptations
That’s where your faith, is really put to the test
For the God on the mountain is the God in the valley
When things go wrong, He’ll make them right
And the God of the good times
Is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night
The God of the day, is still God in the nigh   (Lyrics as sung by Lynda Randal)

In our typical American days and weeks, being bombarded with all sorts of negativity, it is so very easy to be “down.” I don’t know what triggers you, but for me it is loneliness, lack of finances, the feeling of uselessness, and frankly growing older. The devil, being who he is, doesn’t bring these things on us one at a time in order for us to deal with them systematically; but rather, he brings them all at once! When he does, the valleys of life seem so deep and so never-ending that often times we feel despair and that God, Himself, has left us. We begin to think that we alone, abandoned.

Down in that valley is where we need to remember that God is still there with us and has given his rod (discipline) and staff (authority) to comfort us. It is there that the Word is somehow drawn out of us (assuming you put in there in the first place) and we recall that it is not God who has abandoned us but rather the accusations and trials have come from the enemy, an enemy who God said we are to condemn (Is 54:17).

As we rise up to take that authority, we realize God has been with us all along. He was still God in those bad times. And He is, as the above lyrics say, God of the day AND God of the night. When it seems like Friday, we must remember that Sunday is coming, that God has a plan for our lives, and that we have the victory. Hallelujah! Our God reigns.

LESSONS FROM BALAAM

images.jpg

The story of Balaam, the soothsayer, is in the Book of Numbers, chapters 22-24 with New Testament writers warning about Balaam on three separate occasions. With that in mind, the story must contain important lessons for us.

Balaam is a strange and intriguing personality. He is a baffling combination of supernatural spiritual gifts and corrupt character. Sometimes we can see this combination in ministers and leaders today.

When the story of Balaam opens, Israel is encamped on the border of Canaan. The King of Moab, Balak, was apparently afraid of the Israelites. Balak viewed the Israelites as a threat to his kingdom, although they had done nothing to justify his fear.

Feeling unable to confront Israel in battle, Balak decided to use spiritual weapons against them. He sent some of his princes, with a fee for divination in their hands, to the Israelites. Balak called for Balaam to come and put a curse on Israel. As a soothsayer, Balaam had a reputation for uttering blessings or curses with a powerful effect for good or evil.

It is interesting to note that Balaam came from a town in Mesopotamia. He was not an Israelite, yet he had direct personal knowledge of the one true God. In Numbers 22:18 Balaam refers to God as “my God” and knew his sacred name.

When Balak’s princes arrived, God told Balaam not to go with them and not to curse Israel. Balaam obeyed. So Balak sends a larger party of more honorable princes with a promise of a much greater reward. This time God gave Balaam permission to go on one condition: “If the men come to call you” (Numbers 22:20). Interestingly enough, there is no record that the men did come to call Balaam again. Yet he went, and by his disobedience incurred the anger of the Lord, who opposed him on his journey and nearly killed him. This is a great side story of how the donkey Balaam was riding saw an angel blocking their way and even spoke to Balaam when he began to punish the donkey. Finally, however, the Lord did release Balaam to go but with the condition: “Only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak” (Numbers 22:35).

Balak welcomed Balaam and made the most elaborate preparations for him to curse Israel. But each time the result was exactly the opposite. Altogether Balaam uttered four prophecies, which are among the most beautiful and powerful revelations in Scripture of God’s irrevocable commitment to bless Israel.

Thwarted by God in his attempt to curse Israel, Balaam proposed a different strategy against her (see Numbers 31:16). If the Moabite women could entice the Israelites into idolatry and immorality, it would not be necessary to curse them! God Himself would bring judgment upon them. Balaam’s second strategy succeeded and 24,000 Israelites perished under God’s judgment (see Numbers 25:1-9).

In all of this Balaam displayed the most amazing inconsistency. More than once he had been explicitly forbidden to curse Israel. Further, by supernatural revelation he had four times affirmed God’s unchanging purpose to bless Israel and to judge her enemies. But he stubbornly persisted in cooperating with Balak, the enemy of Israel, and in plotting Israel’s destruction. (Eventually he was executed along with the kings of Midian—Numbers 31:8.)

This story leaves us to ask ourselves: What motive could be powerful and compelling that it would cause Balaam to act in direct opposition to the revelation he had received from God—to his own ultimate destruction? Two writers of the New Testament answer this question.

Speaking of false teachers in the Church, Peter says: “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the sone of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15).

Jude likewise, speaking of false teachers, says: They…have run greedily in the error Balaam for profit: (Jude 11).

The answer is clear. Balaam was tempted to his own destruction by the love of money. For this he was willing to prostitute his marvelous spiritual gifts. Probably he was flattered too by the attention he received from King Balak and his princes. The love of money is closely associated with the desire for popularity and for power. All of these evil lusts grow out of the selfsame soil: pride. Sounds like some of our church and government leaders, doesn’t it?

What are the lessons to learn?

First, Almighty God has made an irrevocable commitment to establish the Jews as His people forever (get over it if you think otherwise). There is no power in the world, human or satanic, that can ever annul this commitment. Even Israel’s own unfaithfulness can never annul God’s faithfulness.

Speaking to Israel, Balaam says: “Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.” Individuals and nations alike determine their destiny—often without being aware of it—by their attitude toward the Jews. Those who bless are blessed and those who curse are cursed!

Second, one of Satan’s strongest and most successful weapons against us is the love of money. This has been true from the earliest days of Christianity until now. A ministry accompanied buy powerful supernatural signs—especially miracles of healing—can almost always become a means of making money.

Paul contrasted his own ministry with that of many of his contemporaries with these words: “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit” (2 Corinthians 2:17 NIV emphasis added).

Money in itself is not evil. By nature, money is neutral. It can be used however for either good or for evil. When we begin to love money, then we are caught in Satan’s snare. Look at Paul’s solemn warning to us:

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into

 many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed

from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

(1 Timothy 6:9-10)

Third, we need to understand the difference between spiritual gifts and spiritual fruit. Gifts represent ability, but fruit represents character. A gift comes through a brief impartation from God, but fruit comes through a slow process of development. Receiving a spiritual gift does not, in itself, change a person’s character. If a person was proud or unrelieable or deceitful before receiving a spiritual gift, that person will still be proud or unreliable or deceitful after receiving it. When we pass from time to eternity, we will leave our gifts behind, but our character will be with us forever.

Balaam’s clear vision of the blessed end that awaits the righteous is shown by his prayer: “Let me die the death of the righteous and let my end be like his!” (Numbers 23:10).Yet Balaam’s prayer was not granted. He was executed with the Moabites, whose money had tempted him to align himself against God.

Balaam’s story and the lessons learned from it are so current, not only in the Church but in our government as well. Each day in this election year greed among our officials and candidates for the highest offices in the land seems to be the driving force. Public service has become a means to great wealth. Certainly “service” is a misnomer these days. Not only greed but lying, cheating, and stealing, have become the norm and seemingly what the public accepts as normal.

Let’s learn from Balaam that obedience to the word of God is a means to much greater wealth than the world can offer. Character outweighs gifts. The fate of Balaam provides a graphic illustration of Jesus’ teaching given in Matthew 7:21-23:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who

does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we

not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders

 in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me,

 you who practice lawlessness.