Archive for June 2011
No Son, You Can’t Have A Pony
I love riding gaited horses. I have ridden thousands of miles over a lifetime on fast racking horses. Although I am not a horseman, I still love them. A man on a good horse can cover a lot of ground in a day.
I’ve enjoyed many week-long trail rides with my friends over the years. Opportunities to ride have been scarce of late, however.
Horse riding is something many of the world’s children long to do. It’s almost like the desire is born into little children. But the Lord told Israel that he didn’t want them to have any horses. Why?
It sounds harsh I suppose to the twenty-first century mind. Why would God say ‘NO’ to owning a horse?
- His mother rode a donkey to the stable where He was born.
- He rode on a young ass that had never been ridden when the cried Hosanna.
- When He comes back to Judge, He will be riding on a white horse.
So, what’s the deal? Why did God tell Israel when they came out of Egypt that He did not want them to own a horse? Why did God prefer that they walk and not ride?
- Was He being insensitive?
- Was He being cruel?
- Was He just being harsh?
- Was He treating them like the slaves they had been?
Actually, Jehovah was doing all of Israel a favor. In his mercy, he cared for them. He provided food and water. He guided them safely. He even parted the seas for them.
He wanted to take His people out of bondage and lead them to a glorious place. A place we call the Promised Land.
The problem with God’s plan was that he had to get Egypt out of Israel. The journey would be stressful and wearisome. It would cause the people to criticize both Moses and Him many times.
With much ado, He finally got His children across the Red Sea and into the Wilderness and away from Egypt. So, what’s that have to do with the horses?
Deut. 17:16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
God didn’t want His people to go back into Egypt. He had delivered them and He wanted them to stay delivered. The Lord also knew the weakness of their flesh.
At the 1st sign of trouble, disappointment or delusion, there would, no doubt, be some that would get on their horses and ride away.
Does it ever cross your mind, that there may be things that God has not placed in your life as a safe guard? Something He did not put there for your own good?
God eliminated the prospect of Israel making a hasty retreat in times of frustration. He did it because He loved them. He did it for their own good. In love the Father said, “No, my son, you can’t have a pony.”
Maybe the Lord didn’t answer that prayer request of yours because He saw that it just might be the horse that would carry you back to Egypt. You don’t actually think that God would equip you to leave Him, do you?
Israel later had horses. But permission was not given in the Wilderness. Timing was everything. It still is.
He really is a good God! He will even keep you from messing up if you’ll let Him.
Jude 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Is Your Ship Is Sinking?
No likes the thoughts of a ship sinking, especially if they are on board. The knowledge that it is sinking would surely bring reactions of horror and panic to us all!
Current Ship Sinking Statistics.
According to Wolfgang Rosenthal, the Senior Scientist with the GKSS Research Center, at least two large ships sink each week, or about 100 per year.
The same scientist also mentions that 200 super tankers or container vessels over 200m in length have sunk over the last 20 years, or 10 per year in this class of ship.
The sinking of most ships never seems to be investigated with the same fervor as an air crash. Normally, the sinking of a ship is written off as a result of bad weather.
The Plimsoll Line
In the 1800’s, overloaded merchant ships often sank in stormy seas. Over 500 English ships sank in one year alone. They were so overloaded with merchandise, that all it took was one good storm to sink them. Sailors sometimes called them ‘coffin ships’.
An Englishman named Samuel Plimsoll devised a means to calculate the capacity of a ship. He produced a formula that determined how much cargo each vessel could safely handle in stormy waters. He then determined where to draw a line on each ship to mark its capacity. The ship was to sit no lower in the water than the marked line and still be considered safe. For many years it was simply referred to as the Plimsoll Mark. In more modern times the name has been changed to The International Load Line.
Two different times in the New Testament, the Disciples had near death experiences. Their ships were on the very verge of sinking, but for different reasons.
A Ship Sinking Because Of The Storm.
Whether the ship is a cargo ship or a human life, they both face storms. Neither is exempt.
The beloved Disciples of Jesus encountered a life-threatening storm. Jesus was in the boat asleep. The waves were high and the winds were very strong. The boat began to take on water. So much water came into the boat that they all feared they would drown. Even with Jesus in the boat it looked like they were going under.
Luke 8:22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
Luke 8:23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
Luke 8:24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
The Storms of Life Happen To Us all.
- Financial Disasters
- Home Foreclosure
- Heart Ache
- Moral Failure
- Church Problems
- Consequences of Bad Choices
- Family Turmoil
- Marriage Problems
- Health Problems
Our minds readily grasp the concept that our personal ship of life can sink in a bad storm. It’s only God’s mercy and divine intervention that any of us are here today.
All it might take to sink our ship is one good storm. If you are loaded down with the cares of life, if you are loaded down with pressures, troubles, worries and fears, then be careful. Storms can happen. One good storm could sink you.
Even though we live for the Lord, that doesn’t mean we can avoid all storms. The only thing that kept the Disciples’ boat from sinking was that they called on Jesus. Call on Jesus still works today!
A Ship Sinking Because Of A Blessing.
The bad news can get worse. It is one thing to have your boat sink because of a storm, but there is also the possibility of your ship sinking because of a blessing. Imagine sinking in good weather with calm seas.
Luke 5:5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
Luke 5:6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
Luke 5:7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
Their ship was filled to overflowing with the largest catch they had ever gotten. And it started to sink. They did ask for help however, to keep them from sinking.
We pray almost all of our lives for God’s blessings. Some prayers for blessings are just generic in nature, I know. Yet there are some blessings we’ve prayed for that if we had gotten them, they quite possibly might have overwhelmed and sunk our little boat.
Imagine, our ship sinking because of a blessing! Some folks seem to be blessed with everything in life.
- Good Fortune
Their financial and earthly blessings sometimes have caused their spiritual boat to flirt with disaster. Too many have sunk while their ship was loaded down with blessings.
The same God who knows how much storm your ship can handle, also knows how big a load of blessings it can handle too. Trust Him.
When the Disciples saw they were sinking, they chose not to go down quietly. They wished to keep their blessing and keep afloat at the same time. What did they do? They called for help! That lesson is 2,000 years old, but it is still good advice today.
Is Your Ship Sinking? It Doesn’t Have Too!
Mama, I’m Tired Of Walking
Who’s that hollering out there? What is all the commotion about? Run outside and see what is causing all the noise!
The young girl ran to the door of the tent and looked out. Their tent door always faced the Tabernacle, and it’s shape stood high above the tops of their neighbors’ tents.
“It’s moved,” she exclaimed!
“What’s moved?” The girl’s mother wanted to know.
“The cloud has moved. It’s moving slowly to the East!”
Trumpets sounded and officially declared that it was time to take up their beds and fold up their tents.
Children ran to gather the animals and find their favorite items. It was time to go! The cloud never waited for anyone to catch up.
The raucous noise of the donkeys braying was almost overwhelming. The cows were complaining about the sudden moves. Those that had carts hitched them to their oxen. Dogs barked in all the excitement.
The cloud was not drifting with the wind. It moved at it’s own pace, regardless of the elements around it. The travel weary Israelites plodded forward, not knowing where or when they would stop next.
“Why does God make us do this, Mom?” The little girl asked as she walked by her mother’s side.
“Why does He make us do what?” The Mother wanted to know.
“Why does He make us just pack up all the time and move to strange places? How come we can’t have a house like we did in Goshen?”
“Baby, Be careful when you talk about God. We are not supposed to ask Him why. We just do what He tells us and we go where He leads us. Sometimes we like where He makes us stop, sometimes we are happy when we leave there.
The reason we don’t have a house like we did in Egypt, is that we don’t live here. We are on a journey to our new home. We are pilgrims and strangers in the land. We are passing through, and we are not home yet. Where we are going, is a land that flows with milk and honey. It’s not like the wilderness here.
“When will we ever get there?” The little girl wanted to know. “My feet are tired from walking already.”
“I know, my child, but God seems to know how much we are able to endure in one day. He always leads us to where He wants us to be. He has us stop and rest at just the right time.
“But I liked the last place we were at Mommy! I really didn’t want to leave there.”
“Hush child, don’t you ever talk like that again. God could have left us to die in slavery in Egypt. We would have spent the rest of our lives being beaten by the slave master every day. We lived where the slave master said and we ate what they let us. God delivered us from all that.
“Now we are the children of Jehovah. He doesn’t beat us and hurt us like the Egyptians did. We are not in bondage anymore. We follow God because He brought us out of bondage. Jehovah-Jireh supplies all our needs.
Do you remember the song that Moses taught us to sing?
Ex. 15:1…I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
Ex. 15:2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
Ex. 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
Ex. 15:4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
Our God fights for us. He takes care of us. Have you noticed that none of us ever get sick?
Look at Mama’s sandals. They still look new don’t they? I’ve had these since we left Goshen. The Lord Jehovah doesn’t even let our clothes wear out. Honey, He is good to us. Why not follow wherever He leads us?
We are following that cloud because that is the presence of the Lord. If it moves, we move too.
In the night-time, the pillar of cloud turns into a pillar of fire. It even helps us see in the dark night.
Every morning He gives us Manna to eat. He even gave us water out of a rock. He fights our enemies for us. Your Father and I follow where He leads because we choose too.
“I know Mama, I have heard you and Father talk. But we have been walking for years it seems like, and I am tired of walking, walking, walking. I wish we where there.”
“I wish we were there too baby, but just keep walking. We’re not home yet. We’ll get there!”
I’m Very Sorry He Married Her!
“Hey Benjamin. Did you go to King Solomon’s wedding today?” He married the daughter of King Hiram, someone told me.”
“No sir, I didn’t go. I wasn’t invited and I’m very sorry he married her!
“He seems to be getting married two or three times a month now as it is. I can’t keep up with it all. If he continues to marry at this rate, he’ll probably have a 1,000 wives and concubines by the time he’s done. What makes me sad is that each new wife seems to be worse than the last one.”
“Hush,” the Father said! “If the King hears what you are saying about him, he’ll have both of our necks. It’s treason to talk like that. Don’t ever let anyone else hear you say this. You are very sorry he married her?”
“Father, you haven’t seen the idols around Jerusalem that King Solomon has built lately. I wish you could. It’s wrong. These heathen brides have influenced our King for evil. They have led his heart away from the Lord.”
“Son, I can barely walk now as it is and have been sick these many years. I have not seen what you have seen and this news distresses me sore.”
“Father, we are Levities. It is our duty under God to preserve the Law of God and keep his commandments. We love it and it’s our life. It is to be the life and the love of our children and our children’s children too.”
“Benjamin, you are a faithful son and I am blessed of God that you are daily serving Him in the Temple. My heart is saddened that our King is not serving the Lord, as did his Father David. I pray that God protect our people from going astray as well.”
“Me too Father. Some of the other Levites and myself have been quietly talking of the changes we see. We are distressed. We have seen these new idols and we know that God is not happy either. Here is what has happened lately.”
“King Solomon has recently built a high place for Chemosh right here close to the Temple. What was he thinking? The worshipers of Chemosh even offer child sacrifices. Our sons and daughters will be offered. He is flaunting this before our faces. He is daring us to criticize his deeds.
“The King has loved many strange women. He married the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, Hittites and others. It’s just wrong. His desire for more women is never satisfied.
“He doesn’t even ask them to convert. He marries them just like they are. They convert him, and he’s the wisest man I know. He’s not thinking right when it comes to women.
“They all come with their jewelry, their ornaments and their ungodly customs of dress and attire. Their faces are all painted up. Some even have marks made upon their skin unto their gods of impurity.
“He has gone after Ashtoreth as well. You know, the fertility goddess. She is almost always joined with Baal worship. Immoral deeds are committed in public. Our children see this. The young women that refuse to be defiled in it’s worship and want to remain virgins are forced to pass through the fires of Molech and be sacrificed. How can these things be in Israel? How could this happen here?
The Ammonites and the Moabites are cursed of God. Even those that are proselytes cannot enter into the Temple for 10 generations. Yet the King marries them and brings their gods to Jerusalem. What can we do? We are but servants in the House of the Lord. He is the King.
“The women he has married of the Edomites are Esau’s children. They are despisers of the birthright. The family of the man God hated. Yet the King thinks they are beautiful and marries them with only his pleasure in mind.
“The women of the Zidonians he has married, worship Ashtoreth, the Hittite women are almost lawless, and anything goes with them. They only have a handful of things that they even consider wrong. They are a lawless people by nature.
“The other Levites say that they seldom ever see the King come near the Temple any more. But they see him visiting the High Places of these idols with his heathen wives. It’s an abomination unto the Lord.
“The sacrifices at the Temple have been down lately. Some of the people are following after the King’s example and are worshiping in the high places too, rather than at the Temple.
“Even Nathan the Prophet doesn’t come to see him much that I know of. Maybe he thinks himself above the law of God. Maybe he thinks he can do all this and his heart not be turned aside. But, he is wrong, Father. It’s already happened.
“Our beloved King has somehow forsaken every precept and every commandment of the law that he put in our hearts. He told us how to live and now he is not living it himself. Now, he has forsaken the old paths. It’s only a matter of time before our people Israel will follow in his steps. Our people are in a fearful place, Father.”
“My son, Job said that great men are not always wise. I weep today because I cannot change the heart of my King. Only he can make the choice to change. I pray we will be not punished of God and scattered among the heathen. I pray that the Name of the Lord be not lost among us forever.”
“Me too Father.”
“Years ago when I was able to serve in the Temple, one of the other Levites gave me a copy of some of the proverbs the King had written. Let me read you some of them.
Proverbs 2:16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.
19 None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
Proverbs 5:1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
Proverbs 22:14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
“How can he write things like that Father, and the do what he said not to so?”
“I do not know. He also wrote in another book he calls Ecclesiastes, ‘Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
“My son, if an unknown Israelite had married a gentile, that would be bad enough. It would not have the blessings of God upon it at all. It is being unequally yoked together and God is against that.
“But if this unknown Israelite did marry, he would not have by himself caused all Israel to sin by accepting and praising his deed. To hear that our King is doing this so openly tells me his mind is made up, and no one can change him.”
“I agree, I hear that many lords in the Kingdom are praising his new bride and telling the King that they are happy for him. That he deserves to have happiness in his life and that if she gives that to him, then they are happy for him. they’ve all lost their fear of God.
“May God help us all!
“Now when I say, “God save the King, I say it with more meaning than ever.”
“Son, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved. Kings can rise no higher than their wives allow them to. Yet the King has sinned and will not be blameless before the Lord. May God keep us all safe from such ungodly leadership and influence.
1Kings 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
1Kings 11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
1Kings 11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
1Kings 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
1Kings 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
The Misery Index
That term somehow caught me by surprise. Years ago, I wasn’t aware of a Misery Index. Now, we read about it’s existence when times get tough. Our unemployment is horrible. Inflation is scary. Gas prices are unbelievable and home foreclosures are frightening. So an index was created to measure how miserable we really are.
“The misery index was initiated by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960′s. It is simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. It is assumed that both a higher rate of unemployment and a worsening of inflation both create economic and social costs for a country. A combination of rising inflation and more people out of work implies a deterioration in economic performance and a rise in the misery index.”
Since I lack training in economic understanding, I must trust their calculations. This weekend, The Drudge Report said the Misery Index in America is the worst it’s been in 28 years.
The Misery Index may be a name that has only been around for 50 years or so, but the condition of misery has been known to God since Genesis chapter one.
When God created the heavens and the earth, it mentions that darkness covered the whole world.
Gen. 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The Hebrew word for darkness is from (chashak); the dark; hence (literal) darkness; figurative misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness :- dark (-ness), night, obscurity.
Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
Figuratively, the world was wrapped up in misery when God set out to work His plan for man.
The very first words that He spoke were, “Let there be light.”
Gen. 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
The Hebrew word for light is from (‘owr); illumination or (concrete) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.) :- bright, clear, + day, light (-ning), morning, sun.
Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
God’s first desire for the world was Light, or Happiness. Jesus said in the New Testament, that He was the Light or Happiness of the World. He also said that we were to be the light or happiness of the world after he departed.
Revelation chapter three tells a sad tale of woe. The Laodicean Church was miserable and didn’t even know that it was.
Rev. 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev. 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev. 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
The Misery Index is high in Laodicean Churches. They feel they are rich and have everything they need. But God sees the hearts and He pronounced their lifestyle as miserable. If God says their Misery Index is high, then that point is unarguable.
Holy Ghost filled people who are pleasing God are the happiest people in the world. There is no misery in the term, “Joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
Ye are the happiness (light) of the world.
Too Drunk Too Fish
The Weatherman pronounced a beautiful October day. The World Series was underway and the fish were biting according to the Farmers Almanac. Life didn’t get much better than this for Alex.
He parked his old car in front of John’s Bait and Tackle Store. He said ‘Good Morning” to the clerk and looked to see if John had gotten any new crank baits in. Finding nothing new, he sauntered back to the cooler where the Night Crawlers were kept.
He opened the door, selected a carton and then stood there a minute. On the top shelf was beer. Alex grabbed a six-pack, and headed for the counter. He paid for his purchases and for a bag of ice from the machine outside.
Within 30 minutes, Alex had backed his boat down the ramp, parked his car and was happily rowing to his special spot.
He stopped a minute to turn his portable radio on. He didn’t want to miss anything. The World Series was all tied up at 3 games each. Today was the final game.
The water was calm and the color of the water looked right too. He eased into the little cove where he always caught his limit and silently lowered the anchor.
The poles took a minute to get baited up. He made his casts and watched as the red and white bobbers lazily rose and fell with the water’s movement.
The sun felt warm and comfortable. Alex opened the cooler and pulled out a beer. He nursed his drink as he listened to the game. His team was having a good day. But this was only the bottom of the 3st Inning.
An hour later, a bobber announced that another baby fish was trying to steal his bait. No keepers had taken the bait yet.
His daydreaming turned to thoughts of home. He’d had an argument with his wife last night. She was still mad at him. The kids were out of control again. To make matters worse, they were talking at work about downsizing at the plant. Maybe he’d go ahead and drink another beer.
The sports announcer’s voice rose with excitement. Alex hollered out loud as he heard the news of his team scoring a home run. He finished the beer to celebrate.
The bobber finally went under and Alex landed a keeper. He put another worm on his hook and cast back into the same area.
Alex opened another beer and sat there listening. The other team had taken the lead. That made him drink in frustration.
Other fishing boats could be seen around the lake. Voices announced their excitement over each new catch. Alex knew that he needed to catch enough for supper. His one wasn’t enough. He had to catch several more. He reached for another cold one.
The game ended. Alex was so mad and disappointed that he turned the radio off and opened another beer. He began to guzzle it down and then he opened the last one.
The gentle rock of the boat, the warmth of the sun, and the beer all helped relax Alex. His eyes slowly closed and his chin rested on his chest and he went to sleep. The bobber’s submerging was of no concern to him. Alex was too drunk to fish.
The story of Alex is more than just about a man having a bad day. This story is also about those who may never have tasted alcohol, yet are too drunk to fish.
KJV – Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
KJV – Rom. 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
The Message – Luke 21:34-36 But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.
The Message – Rom. 13:11-14 But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
Evidently the fear 2,000 years ago was that the saints would become so intoxicated with living and the things of life they wouldn’t do much for God. If there were warnings issued then, there certainly should be even more issued now.
Our job as Holy Ghost filled children of God is not just to enjoy this glorious experience alone. We are to be fishers of men. That’s our calling. Let’s not get sidetracked with life and living.
How are we doing on our witnessing? Are we letting our light shine? Are we catching anything or are we too drunk to fish?
What Would It Take To Encourage You Today?
- A word spoken in faith?
- A pat on the back?
- A smile?
- A money gift?
- A present?
- A word of affirmation?
- A friend’s visit?
- A helping hand?
What makes you tick? What puts a smile back on your face that makes your eyes smile too? What would it take to make your heart feel uplifted?
If you are one of those people who has everything and is still not happy, I don’t think I can offer any help here.
I’m just asking those who have had some bad days lately, or maybe some bumps in your road. Maybe there has been a major disaster in your home, your health or your finances. What would it take to encourage you today?
I really wish I could offer everyone encouraging words that I have thought up on my own, but I cannot. The good news however, is that God’s Word always offers encouragement.
The Bible mentions that David even encouraged himself in the Lord. In your case, that might be easier said than done. My refuge and help most often comes from God’s Word.
I am one of those simple guys that from my youth visited the little box on our mantle that had God’s promises printed on little cards. I would draw one out and read it, claiming it as mine for the day. Did you ever do that?
Here, let me draw some out for you and I’ll look to see if I can see a smile of hope on your face again.
Isa. 40:29-31 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Psa. 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Psa. 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psa. 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Phil. 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
2 Cor. 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Psa. 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
Psa. 37:23,24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
Psa. 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Psa. 9:9,10 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
2 Cor. 4:8,9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Prov. 18:24 …and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Deut. 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Prov. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
1 Pet. 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Ex. 15:26 …for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
Heb. 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Thank God For His Promises!
Oh, And There All Yours Too, You Can Have Them All!
Things Daredevils Say
We all have an idea of what daredevils do. Some have amazed us by the very fact they survived. Others have caused us to shake our heads in disbelief that anyone would even consider doing what they just did.
Daredevils like notoriety. They wish to be seen. They enjoy the public spotlight and their 15 minutes of fame. Their ego is fueled by the applause. They really want to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. They might even be happy if Ripley’s Believe It Or Not took notice of them too.
What Daredevils Do.
Newspapers have chronicled daredevils for years. Going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Climbing the world’s tallest skyscrapers without a net or harness. Walking on a tight rope between the Twin Towers. Houdini’s underwater exploits while handcuffed and chained to concrete. Evel Knievil’s made over 75 ramp jumps on a motorcycle. He also suffered 433 broken bones in his life.
Hundreds of others have made the front pages because they tried something that normal people would not dare try. Sometimes they lived to talk about it, even though it was from a hospital bed. Others did not fare so well. One or two survived the first attempt, but did not on a second one.
What Daredevils Say.
Long before a daredevil privately or publicly puts himself on the line, he has had to cross that line in his mind. It’s after the twisted wheels of his thinking have already turned that we hear him announce his intentions. His intention is primarily to get attention. It may have started when he was young.
They Tried Their Daredevil Stunts When They Were Kids.
- Look Ma, no hands. (Look Ma, no teeth.)
- Watch this.
They Tried Their Daredevil Stunts When They Were Dating.
- If you love me, you’ll let me.
- What will it hurt?
- Everyone is doing it.
They Even Have Tried Their Daredevil Stunts With God.
- I’m not convicted.
- There is no God.
- Not tonight
- What’ll hurt?
- Nobody will know.
- I don’t care what anybody says.
- I can do my own thinking.
- I don’t need your help.
- I’ll do whatever I want.
- It’s my life.
- I don’t need anything
- I’ve got plenty of time.
- There’s always tomorrow.
- Everybody’s doing it.
- I’m the exception.
- I don’t have to.
- Who do you think you are telling me what to do?
There Were Daredevils In The Bible.
- He said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?”
- Was such a son of Belial, that a man couldn’t speak to him.
- He said, ‘Who is David?”
- Ignored the punishment of God on his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar.
- Desecrated the Holy Vessels of the Temple in a lewd party.
Nadab and Abihu
- Offered Strange Fire before the Lord.
Ananias and Sapphira
- Lied to the Holy Ghost and To Peter.
- Said, “When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”
God detests arrogance. He called it haughtiness. Humble people aren’t daredevils. Daredevils aren’t obedient. They aren’t submissive. They do not wish to do what others do. They will always struggle to be saved.
Are you a daredevil that is trying to see how much Bible you can ignore and still be saved?
Some daredevils have a problem giving God His tithe. Others struggle with modesty and holiness. Some daredevils challenge the Pastor, the Church and the Bible. It’s dangerous to be friends with a ‘spiritual’ daredevil.
Solomon Describes The Daredevil’s Mindset.
KJV Eccl. 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
NIV Eccl. 8:11 ¶ When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.
Daredevil, you might get by, but you won’t get away. If you think it’s not easy being a daredevil in this life, just wait until the next life.
You’ve Got Guard Duty
Readers of the Bible are familiar with all kinds of Guards.
Some Guards Mentioned In The Bible Are:
- Jail Guards,
- Prison Guards,
- The King’s Guards,
- Temple Guards,
- Watchmen on the wall.
Shepherds Were Guards Also.
- David guarded the sheep. He protected them from the lion and the bear.
In The Early Days Of America,
- There were Guards on Trains called Pinkertons.
- There were Guards on Wagon Trains,
- Soldiers were always used to guard the settlers.
- Even Cowboys guarded the cattle herds at night by using watches, which they called, 1st watch, 2nd watch, etc.
In More Modern Times,
- We have Airport Guards,
- Bank Guards,
- Loss Prevention,
- Bouncers in Beer Joints,
- Crossing Guards,
- Guards in the Schools as well.
- Life Guards.
- We have the National Guard.
- Then there are the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
- We all have seen Guard Dogs that have been trained to defend and attack.
In High School in the 1960’s, we became familiar with the term D.E.W. or Distant Early Warning System. It was an anti-missile shield to protect American from enemy attacks. Today, we hear the term, Star Wars used to describe our High Tech Defense System.
Body Guards Are Now More Common. They Guard:
- Rich people,
- High-Level Politicians and aspirants.
- Movie Stars,
- Famous Singers all have them too.
We Have Several Branches Of The Armed Forces That Are Trained To Defend Our Great Country.
In Guard Training, You Are taught:
- To recognize the enemy and what he looks like.
- He may use disguises
- This is his M.O. or Method of Operation.
- This is what your response is to be to his threat.
- It’s up to you.
- You are the 1st line of defense.
- You may be the last line of defense as well.
Guards Are Warned.
- Don’t go to sleep.
- Don’t get distracted.
- Don’t leave your post of duty.
- Stay alert.
- Don’t get overpowered.
- Here is how to Guard and Who to let in and not let in.
- There is the punishment for dereliction of duty.
Pastors are Guards
- Watch for your souls
- Standards, Holiness preaching of separation from the world.
Parents are Guards.
- Family rules
Only You Can Guard Your Heart.
- A guarded heart is a heart that is at peace.
Solomon’s Wives Turned His Heart.
- Can you keep up your guard even if you have to defend yourself against your own family and loved ones?
- Solomon didn’t.
Evil Kings Caused Israel To Sin. The Guards Of Israel Let The Enemy In.
- We hear of Pastors going Emergent and Charismatic and taking the whole church with them.
- The Guard, let the guard down.
- The seducing spirit of the age got past the guard.
- Both the guard and what he was guarding became a spoil of the enemy.
God Is Your Guard. He Is For You A…
- Rereward (rear guard)
But You Have To Guard Your Heart.
We Guard Our Computers.
- We Guard our private life with passwords
- We guard our PC’s with Anti-Virus software.
We Guard Our Vehicles:
- We guard our vehicles on the outside with under coating and wax.
- We guard our car’s drive chain with special oils and lubricants.
- We guard the car with door locks and anti-theft devises.
We Guard Our Homes:
- Alarm Systems
- Termite inspections
We Guard Our Bodies.
- We guard our eyes with safety glasses.
- We guard our eyes with sunglasses.
- We guard our skin with sun blocker
- We guard our hands from cold with gloves.
- We guard our hands with oven mitts so we won’t get burned.
- We guard our necks with scarfs in the cold.
- We guard our ears with earmuffs in the cold.
- We guard our ears with earplug in noisy environments.
- We guard our feet with steel-toed shoes in factories.
- We guard our head with helmets.
- We guard our knees and elbows with pads.
- We guard from the sun with hats.
Why Don’t We Guard Our?
- Worldly Friends
How Do We Guard?
- Praying daily
- Reading God’s Word every day.
- Submitting our self to God
- Submitting our self to God’s Word
- Submitting our self to our Pastor
- Not being influenced or intimidated by the negative actions of others.
How Do We Guard Our Heart?
- We guard our hearts by forgiving
- We guard our heart by repenting
- We guard our hearts by humbling ourselves
- We guard our hearts by loving one another
- We guard our hearts by praying for our enemies.
- We guard our hearts in the prayer room.
- We guard our hearts in the worship service.
- We guard our hearts by saying amen to preaching.
We Only Have One Heart.
No One Else Will Guard It Like We Can.
KJV Prov. 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
NIV Prov. 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
You’ve Got Guard Duty.
He Had No One To Help Him.
The clouds drifted over the moon and made the street even darker. A feeling of fear and trepidation made him look furtively on both sides of the street. This was a bad part of town. Empty houses with broken windows and partially boarded up doors were scattered here and there.
Somewhere in the dark came the sound of a hiss and then a spat. A black cat streaked across the street in front of him and ran on off into the night. What had spooked the cat? Something was out there.
No cars were to be seen on this street. All his senses screamed that something was terribly wrong. The feeling of unseen danger nagged at him.
His footsteps seemed loud on the sidewalk. He could feel eyes looking at him. He quickly glanced over his shoulder again. They were still following him. He’d noticed them earlier.
The two matched his pace and his speed, always staying about the same distance away. What were they up to? Why had they been following him? Were they detectives? Were they thugs? He couldn’t think of anything he’d done to make anyone mad at him. Why were they there?
He stared ahead in the distance at the street light a block away. A couple of guys stood under it’s light. One leaned up against the light pole. They had their heads turned in his direction. They were waiting.
The two behind him seemed to be gaining on him. There was no way out of this. He had no weapons. He was not even a good runner. He was trapped. He didn’t have much to steal. He had no phone to call for help. He had no one to help him.
Would he be robbed? Were they planning to kill him? Did they just want to beat him up? His heart was pounding. His mind was numb with anxiety.
He could hear the footsteps of the two behind. They were closer, much closer. The two under the street light stared hard at him. Their bodies blocked the sidewalk in a threatening manner.
They looked at him and then they looked past him at his followers. A look of recognition came over their faces. They glanced at each other and without speaking, turned and disappeared into the dark.
Wonder made his eyes follow their departure. Had the two behind him given a signal or something? What had just happened?
Glancing over his shoulders, he saw that his two followers were very close. The street light revealed their faces and their identity. Relief flooded him and a smile stretched across his face. They smiled back at him. He knew why they were there. He knew who had sent them. He did have someone to help him. He would be safe. Yes, he would be very safe tonight.
Psa. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.