6:11-12 God Sees All
God saw how
corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted
their ways. (Genesis 6:12 NIV).
OUT AT GOD in frustration. "Are you totally blind to what is happening?
Or if you do see, are you so uncaring as to do nothing? Or if you do care,
are you powerless to stop the madness?" To Robyn those were the only
As we look around
our world and see it becoming more and more like the days of Noah, we too
may feel Robyn's frustration. The degree of immorality and injustice seems
to constantly escalate. It gets to the point of "believe it or not."
This verse reminds
us that no matter how awful the condition of the world becomes, God does
see. The rest of Noah's story reassures us that God does care and has sufficient
power to mete out both justice and mercy.
In the in-between
time, until God chooses to bring final judgment on the wicked of our day,
let us be about our Father's business. Rather than sitting on our hands
and bemoaning the condition of the world, we are required by God to "act
justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with (our) God" (Micah 6:8).
God sees all!
Am I seen as part of the problem or part of the solution?
27:38-39 Bless Me, Too
to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me
too, my father. Then Esau wept aloud. Genesis 27:38 (NIV).
LIKED YOU BEST" is one of Tommy Smothers trademark sayings. Almost
every child has felt at one time or another that a parent liked someone
else better. I even know an only child, who was convinced that her mother
loved her first grandchild best. Her suspicions were seemed confirmed when
her mother died and left the entire inheritance to the first grandchild.
One of the most
bitter experiences is to be openly rejected or denied what is rightfully
yours. Esau is not the last child to beg "Bless me too". In the
book, The Blessing, John Smalley and Gary Trent dramatically reinforce
the importance of the ancient ritual of parental blessing. Many adults
still seek the "blessing" of one or both parents.
Smalley and Trent
suggest that those who could not receive a parental blessing need to look
to others who can give them a "surrogate" parental blessing.
In addition, we cannot underestimate the power of receiving a blessing
of worth from Jesus. Can you picture the incident of Jesus sitting among
the children? Place your wounded inner child on the lap of Jesus and allow
him to bless you today.
If I have
received the wholeness that comes from a parental blessing, am I willing
to be a "surrogate" parent to another?
15:6-13 Who is Like You, O Lord?
In your unfailing
love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will
lead them to your holy dwelling (Exodus 15:13, NIV).
KEEP MOVING! FASTER!" With Pharaoh's army in pursuit, the children
of Israel walked through the middle of the Red Sea. With feet dry as the
desert, eyes wide in disbelief and mouths wide open in awe, they were being
rescued by the Lord, God Almighty.
Is this the same
God we follow today? Missionaries smuggle banned Bibles into countries
under the eyes of all-seeing guards. Hungry families open the door to bags
of unexpected groceries. Unemployed people marvel as a job is "created"
for them out of nowhere. Patients who are sent home to die, miraculously
recover as the Great Physician heals them. A chance phone call begins a
domino effect of events, which bring closure to an unsolved crime. A hardened,
sinful heart melts with the love of the Gospel message.
All these are
impossibilities as great at parting the Red Sea! Our God continues to lead
and guide those he has redeemed. Perhaps you feel caught between an immovable
object and a pursuing enemy. Wouldn't you really rather follow the majestic,
awesome, wonder-working God, rather than the earth-bound, fallible, mess-making
and Miriam, offer a praise song to celebrate God's love and guidance.
24:32 An Inheritance of Eternal Value
became an inheritance for Joseph's descendants. Joshua 24:32 (NIV).
MY CHILDREN'S INHERITANCE," announced the bumper sticker on the motorhome.
Funny, but not necessarily true. Most people still work very hard to have
some type of an inheritance to leave to the children, church, civic organization,
or even pets. The sad reality of an inheritance is that a death has to
The dreaded words
of the doctor began to sink in, "There is nothing more we can do,
the cancer is not responding to treatment." We five children decided
we wanted to keep Mom home as long as possible with the help of Hospice.
One of her comments surprised us. "Oh, good, now I won't have to spend
the money I've saved. It can all go to you children."
Mom left us something
far more valuable, an eternal inheritance. Not only has she received her
own eternal inheritance through faith in Jesus Christ, she has also left
five children and several grandchildren who know Jesus Christ as personal
Lord and Savior. No amount of money, possessions or real estate can compare
to the value of an eternal inheritance.
inheritance has value only when we die. An eternal inheritance has value
now and forever. Which am I accumulating most?
37:2-13 Changing Perspective
great things beyond our understanding. . . . The Almighty is beyond our
reach and exalted in power. . . (Job 37:5b and 23a, NIV).
"I AM HAVING
A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, no good, very bad day," as Alexander would say
in Judith Voight's book. Ever have one of those? Most people have had at
least one day like that. Some have weeks, months or years fitting that
tragic death, natural disasters or blatant injustice naturally leave people
searching for answers. For those who trust God, the questions are raised
heavenward, "Why me God" or "What have I ever done to deserve
In Job's case,
he and his three older friends carry on a lengthy debate until they have
exhausted their accumulated years of wisdom. After waiting with respect
and losing patience with his elders, the youngest friend, Elihu begins
to speak, "It is not only the old who are wise."
on God: God's greatness, God's mercy, God's goodness, God's justice, God's
sovereignty, and God's power. Hmmm! Parts sound very similar to God's response
to Job. Elihu may not have been 100% accurate, but he was getting the perspective
ill hospice patient smiles peacefully saying, "I never expected to
live this long. God is so good to me!" She has learned to truth of
the song, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory
perspective may not change my situation, but it will change me.
89:1-5 Walk It and Talk It
With my mouth
will I make your faithfulness known through all generations (Psalm
A STORY, MOMMY!" Childhood bedtime at the Watkins' included not only
a Bible story, but also telling the story of our day. Often the day's events
became the application for the Bible story. Story telling is too important
to become a lost art.
In some cultures
special occasions are set aside for sharing family stories and traditions.
Family reunions, weddings and especially funerals are perfect times to
share family heritage. I learned more about my parents early days at their
funeral dinner and sorting through their things than I had in my whole
part of their story I did already know. From a very early age, I knew their
faith story. Speaking of God, sharing answers to prayer and discussing
the Bible were as natural as talking about the farm crops, how Bessie the
cow was feeling or if the weather would co-operate.
has continued in our family, even during the ten years we were laypeople.
We are praying for our children's future and potentially their children
and children's children. The story of Jesus, the power of God's word and
answers to prayer need to be verbally shared with each generation.
live out my faith. More is caught than taught, anyway." That's true!
But a good life without a verbal testimony is like watching television
with no sound. Both are necessary.
is only one generation away from extinction.
111:1-10 It's Testimony Time
Lord. I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright
and in the assembly (Psalm 111:1, NIV).
ENJOYING THESE TESTIMONIES." The congregation smiles knowingly. This
is the standard beginning for Dorothy's testimony. How wonderful it is
to be able to enjoy public testimonies! Everyone benefits: God is praised;
the testifier is strengthened to share it beyond the church; and the hearer
is encouraged to keep believing God.
testimonies can be risky. You never know what they are going to say. Attention
wanders if a person can't be heard (use a cordless microphone) or becomes
the Energizer Bunny--keeps going and going and going. We encourage the
use the A-B-C's of testimonies: Keep it Audible. Keep it Brief. Keep it
include, "I praise God, for letting me win big at the horse races!"
or "I praise God that I feel so good since taking XYZ supplements.
See me if your interested!" Just as children can embarrass us in public,
inappropriate testimonies can make some uncomfortable moments. But that
is part of family life and God is being praised.
Due to the size,
Park Avenue Baptist Church has those who wish to testify submit a form
indicating the content. People then go to the platform to use the microphone
in sharing their testimony. This allows people to plan ahead and think
through what they want to share. It also keeps bloopers to a minimum.
the praise of his people and dwells deep within.
12:1-7 Carpe Diem
Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and
the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"
(Ecclesiastes 12:1, NIV).
LATIN FOR "SEIZE THE DAY", is a challenge to live life to the
fullest in the present. "Don't put off 'til tomorrow what you can
do today." "Live each day as if it were your last." "Do
what you want to when you are young, because when you are old you won't
want to." A Speed Bump cartoon by Dave Cover reads: Top ten reasons
A regretful widow
laments, "I worked hard at my job for years dreaming of the day I
could enjoy retirement with my husband. Six months after I retired, he
died of a heart attack." She continues with a word of wisdom, "Take
time to enjoy your family now."
Most every child
has been asked, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Unfortunately,
life does not just happen by wanting. It is built day by routine, uneventful
day. A course is set by seemingly insignificant decisions, an opportunity
seized or lost.
realized all this and gave the wise instruction of our verse. In our day
trouble seems to come to children and teens much too early. With the growing
number teen-age suicides and murders, perhaps our verse should read, "Remember
your Creator in the days of your infancy before the days of trouble
of those who come to Christ do so before the age of twenty-one!
40:12-31 Elementary, My Dear Watson
Do you not
know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator
of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding
no one can fathom (Isaiah 20:28, NIV).
WHAT MAKES A
MYSTERY SO APPEALING? Just recently a friend reintroduced me to mystery
novels. I hadn't read any since Edgar Allen Poe and Agatha Christy in high
school. I had to give them up, when I could no longer walk past our cellar
door without my heart pounding. I just knew someone was going to reach
out and grab me.
From the days
of Perry Mason to Murder She Wrote, the "Who dunnit" shows and
books have held audiences spell bound. The most fascinating part is the
deductive reasoning that weaves all the loose clues together to reveal
defines deduction as, "The process of reasoning in which a conclusion
follows necessarily from the stated premises: inference by reasoning from
the general to the specific."
I doubt that
Isaiah was schooled in deductive reasoning, but he uses it masterfully
in this passage. The children of Israel are complaining "My way is
hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God." In fourteen
verses Isaiah rehearses for them the power and greatness of God. I can
imagine Isaiah saying, "This is the observable evidence, the given,
is true, then does it not follow that God does not grow weary and his understanding
is beyond us? If God can do all this, does it not follow that he can also
give strength and power to you."
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
1:6-9 Reflecting the True Light
was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. John 1:8
A CURIOUS MONKEY" begins one of my favorite children's stories. Toto
finds a mirror and terrorizes the jungle by reflecting the sunlight into
the animals' eyes. However, even a monkey of limited intelligence, if he
were to think about it long enough, would know that he is not the light.
He is merely reflecting it through the mirror.
who profess the name of Christ, would be farther ahead if they, too, would
realize that they only reflect the True Light of Jesus Christ. Many leaders
get into deep trouble when they begin to view themselves as the light,
convincing themselves and gullible others that they are the source of light.
John the Baptist
gives us an excellent example of one who knew his purpose and relationship
to Christ. He was very overt in his pronouncement that he was not the Light.
Being a witness to the Light or reflecting the Light to the world was his
respond favorably to our witness, let us be careful to point them to the
True Light, whose rays we merely reflect.
1:17-23 "More Power! Arrr! Arrr! Arrr!"
. . . his
incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working
of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from
the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20).
FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT'S
TIM TAYLOR, "More Power! Aaar! Aaar! Aaar!" is the answer to
every problem. There is not a stuck thingamajig that won't respond to just
a little more power. A few broken items are proof that I have shared that
mindset at times. Well, it's not stuck anymore!
first stone tools were made, the goal has been to make more efficient,
more powerful tools, then machines, now computers. Aaar! Aaar! Aaar! We
have become power addicts; more muscle, more brains, more influence, more
money, more technology.
these powers fall miserably short of God's power. Only God's power can
create a universe. Only God's power can reveal the unknown secrets of life.
Only God's power can transform a sinner into a saint.
power can raise the dead back to life. As I stood at my father in the casket,
I prayed, "God, it would give you so much glory, if you raised Dad
back to life. Wow! What an impact on the community. We all could use a
miracle about now!" Evidently God had another idea.
I know that
Dad is raised to a new life that I cannot begin to comprehend. Just as
God raised Jesus from the dead with a power unlike any other, so we too
shall be raised to new life. That "incomparably great power"
is not only for dying, but also us who believe now.
power? Get connected to the Power Source.
11:29 On Which Side Are You?
By faith the
people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land, but when the Egyptians
tried to do so, they were drowned. Hebrews 11:29(NIV).
DOOR AND ONLY ONE and yet it's sides are two. I'm on the inside, on which
side are you?" This old children song is not very politically correct.
The modern version would go something like, "All doors from which
to choose; really doesn't matter. You choose the one you want, and
I'll choose the latter." So much for a song writing career!
there are more religions springing up. Each one offering another "savior,"
an alternative route to true spirituality or cosmic consciousness. We are
told that any religion is one among many equals. Among this diversity of
voices stands Christianity insisting on one true God, one Savior and Lord,
one way to eternal life.
Only one way
was provided through the Red Sea. One group walked in by faith and found
salvation from slavery and death. Another group walked in defiance of God
and were drowned. Likewise some approach Jesus Christ in faith and find
salvation, others in defiance and find destruction.
is a choice, there are two sides. On which side are you?
11:32-34 At the End of the List
I do not have
time to tell about . . .who through faith . . . Hebrews 11:32-33 (NIV).