Are You Praying with a Mouth Wide Open?


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Psalm 81:10 – “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” [emphasis mine]

The Psalmist recounts for us in Psalm 81 some of the amazing ways that the Lord delivered the children of Israel.  He starts the Psalm in verses 1-5 giving praise to God for all He had done for Israel, Jacob, and Joseph.  He protected them when they were in a strange land among the Egyptians and delivered them from slavery (vs. 6-7).  He delivered the people from sure disaster in the desert at Meribah (vs. 7).  Then the Psalmist shifts from praise to admonition of the Israelites’ need to “hearken” or listen carefully to the LORD (vs. 8-9).  Then we get to Psalm 81:10 quoted for you above.  The Psalmist has laid out for us some of the amazing things God did for His people.  He then uses words that bring to mind an image of a little bird with its mouth wide open waiting for its mother to fill it with food.  God desires to care for us in so many ways.

Recently I have personally experienced a vivid example of having my mouth filled!  I have been on deputation as a missionary to England for about two years now.  Early on in the process of deputation, I figured out that my Outfit and Passage needs would total almost $28,000!  That figure includes areas of need such as visa application, airfare, shipping, six-month down-payment on an apartment, furniture, appliances, driving lessons, driver’s license and test, and a vehicle.  As you can imagine, my mind began to run wild – How will I ever come up with all that money?  How can I ask churches who are already supporting me to send more money for these needs?  Where will it come from?  Maybe this is too much to ask for…  Then I heard a message during one of my weeks of training with Baptist World Mission on Psalm 81:10.

You see the rest of the Psalm details the fact that the Israelites didn’t listen to the Lord’s voice (vs. 11).  They went their own way and did things on their own terms (vs. 12).  The Lord wanted to help them by subduing their enemies and taking care of their adversaries, but they refused (vs. 13-14).  The Lord wanted to give them so much that would have satisfied their hearts, but He couldn’t because they refused to listen to His word (vs. 15-16).

I was challenged from that sermon and from studying this passage to pray in such a way that would allow the Lord to give me what He desires for me and in His own way.  I had to stop trying to figure out how it would all come together.  Instead I had to hearken to word of my omnipotent God and let Him fill my mouth!  I began to pray that way and ask the Lord to keep my heart from fearing in the “what if’s”!  Last month, I received over $23,000 toward my Outfit and Passage needs as well as added monthly support that raised my percentage to over 93%!  Who else can do that kind of work but our omnipotent God as He directs His people to do His will?

God wants us to listen and heed what He says to us in His Word.  Don’t pray with small faith – we serve an omnipotent God Who owns it all and can do with it what He wants!  Then He gets all the glory when He provides.  Start out this New Year praying with your mouth wide open and watch Him fill it!

A New Year


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A new year brings new opportunities, new responsibilities, new ideas, new relationships, and many other new things.  What a blessed thought to think that this year may be the first for something!  We will learn something new, take a trip to some place we have not been, meet new people, experience something new, or endure a hardship we have not known before.  In all that happens in 2017, may we ask the Lord to be in it with us!  His companionship, leadership, and guidance will help us weather whatever is before us.  The following hymn is a great thought with which to start the new year:

Jesus, Savior, pilot me

Over life’s tempestuous sea;

Unknown waves before me roll,

Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.

Chart and compass come from Thee;

Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Underneath the Rags May Be a Millionaire!


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There was a millionaire that was quite tired of those around him, as they were all “yes men” and “hangers on” looking only to get for themselves.

One day, the man decided to visit a diner for a cup of coffee.  He visited alone and in some old clothes gotten at a local thrift store.

As he entered, the waitress greeted him, flashing a huge smile and giving a cheery, “Hello, my friend!”  The man was taken back by the kindness of a stranger.  He had coffee and a donut while he conversed with the local folk, truly enjoying himself!

This activity became, over a few months, the rich man’s way to unwind and relax.  He became friends with those accustomed to meeting in the diner.

In less than a year, the rich man died.  His business partners were stunned to hear he had given most of his vast wealth to the smiling waitress that had become his friend.  He also left money to the owner of the diner and provided, “free” coffee and donuts for his fellow guests!

Quite stunned were all involved.  We never know who we shall meet.  We must be as the Lord and not respect persons because of their wealth or station in life.  We never know … We may befriend a “ragged millionaire”!

And so it is with the Word of God.  We are to share it with all we meet.  The one in the gutter needs the Gospel just as the man in the rich clothing!

“For there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11).

The New Year


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At the close of the year, it’s normal to reflect on the events of the past year–many times resulting in disappointment.  Goals are good and necessary to see things accomplished in our lives.  Those goals, however, can also mark our mistakes and flaws if we are focusing on ourselves and if we were doing things in our own strength.

This new year, determine to acknowledge God in all thy ways.  Consider His plan instead of your plan.  See how God is working through the events of your life, and He will direct your path.  His plan is not usually the plan we would choose for ourselves, but it will be the best plan for our lives if it is God ordained.

If we change our focus from self to God’s plan, we will have the direction we need in our lives and success.  This is the only success that matters.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  Proverbs 3:5&6

Provisions from the Lord


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I have experienced the wonderful provision of the Lord for almost eighty years! I have written previously that I was born and raised in a Baptist preacher home, my family then and now experience the provisions of the Lord.

Let’s look back today at how God provided for those main characters in that great story. God always has a purpose in His provisions.

The purpose in His plan:

  • Matthew 2:2 & 9, the Wise Men had a Star. Now they knew where to go: “A Directive Hand.”
  • Matthew 2:4, Evil King Herod had a Scripture. (Micah 5:2b) Now he knew the truth: “An Informative Hand.”
  • Matthew 2:11, Joseph, Mary and the Baby, Jesus had Shelter: “A Provisional Hand.”
  • Matthew 2:13, The Wise Men, Joseph, Mary and Jesus had a Signal: “A Protective Hand.”

Herod could not accept what the Wise Men told him about the child. Micah 5:2b, “…yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;….” Herod was king, and no one could challenge that!

The real truth in this story is that God provided, and all but King Herod obeyed. He was eaten of worms (Acts 12:23).

Now, we fast forward to today. God is ever faithful and he still provides! He provides salvation in Christ. Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” He provides direction and information from and through his word. 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Don’t be a rejecting, disobedient Herod; be a partaker of all the good things of God in this New Year 2017.

Matthew 2:11 (KJV)

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

Micah 5:2-3 (KJV)

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel?

Acts 12:23 (KJV)

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him [Herod], because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

 

Being His “Star” in This Age!


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How did this “Star” get the kings from the east to Jerusalem? God’s Word does not say that it led them or went before them. In Matthew 2:2, God says they saw the Star in the East and they came to Jerusalem.  How did that Star go ahead of them and lead them approximately five-miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem (Matthew 2:9)?  How did the Star rest over the place where the child was born?

We may never know the answers to these questions.  Some have explained that it might be the conjunctions of planets or comets or supernovas or miraculous lights.  We do not know. These solutions are only theories that have little spiritual value.  We have other questions on God’s events such as the Red Sea being opened, how Jonah survived being swallowed by a great fish, how the Manna fell, and how Creation could be in six days.  God is teaching us from recording the events, and we need to see how we can apply what we learn from the events to our lives, if possible, so that we can be a testimony of the salvation we have because our Savior came to provide Redemption for us.

We need to focus on knowing the only God Who exists personally.  Sinners do sin, and we need to see how helpless we are, and how Christ came to provide the salvation we need to prepare us for an eternity of living with Him.  Every believer needs to grow spiritually in his relationship with God.  Christ is coming again, and we need to be ready with His helping us to bring others to a saving personal knowledge of our God.

The Star was guiding Wise men to the Son of God to worship Him.  God was guiding them to the place where they could worship the only real God Who exists.  The Gospel of Luke tells us that God used the Roman Empire so that the census came at the exact time to lead Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4).  Our Creator used the Star to get the wise men to Bethlehem. This is God’s design. He did it then, and He is still doing it now. His purpose is that all the nations will worship His Son for their good and His glory (Matthew 24:14).

This is God’s will for everyone in your home, neighborhood, work, as well as throughout the whole world.  The Lord is seeking those who will worship Him (John 4:23).  Matthew writes at the beginning of his Gospel to come and see the Lord.  At the end of the Gospel, we are to go and tell the entire world the Good News (Matthew 24:18-20).  The end purpose is that God will be magnified in all His glory before all people.

The Purpose for the Birth of Christ


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I taught the Bible lesson in our elementary chapel this past week. I began by showing the students a basketball, softball, baseball, tennis ball, and a shot put. After identifying each ball I asked, “What is the purpose of this ball?” No one thought the baseball was used to play basketball although they did have trouble identifying the shot put and its purpose. The purpose of my message was to identify the purpose for the birth of Christ. We read Luke 2:1-14 (The Birth of Christ) and then Luke 19:10, “For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” You see, Christ was born for the purpose of dying for our sin. If all we see is a baby in a manger, we miss the ultimate purpose. Without His death, burial, and resurrection, you and I would be destined for hell. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, don’t miss this opportunity to show others that Jesus is Savior, not just the baby in a manger. If you have not recognized this baby as the savior of your soul, now is the time. Repent and confess your sin to him. Jesus is the reason for the season! He was born to be the savior of the world!    

The True Meaning of Christmas: Love


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And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.  – Luke 1:31-33

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  – Matthew 1:20-21

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.   – John 3:16-17

            We always talk about the babe in the manger and the true reason for the season.  Just about every Christian can tell you: Christ being born.  While that is so absolutely true, should we not focus also or maybe even more so on the reason of why this babe in a manger is the “reason for the season?”  Love.

            It is the love of the Father for His creation that spurred Him to send His Son through the birth of little child.  Have Him to grow as part of that creation, yet do so perfectly.  All for the purpose of becoming the final sacrifice to be offered for the disobedience of that creation.

            It is the love of the Father that spurred His Son to accept the role of Savior knowing full well that the road would lead to excruciating pain and anguish.  But in the end would be held in perfect and highest honor beside the throne of His Father.

            It is the love of the Father that should spur us to turn to Him and accept His gift of love for us: salvation.  He has offered it; we need but accept it.  That love must drive us to our knees in prayer, to our chairs for study, and to our feet for proclaiming!

            Think through and study the true meaning of Christmas over these coming days and then go forth and live it as He designed it.

Speaking of Heaven


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Most of the time, we only think about life down here.  Sometimes we think about Heaven, but our mind quickly comes back to where we live with the problems, work, and distractions of earth.

I enjoy singing many songs about Heaven:  How Beautiful Heaven Must Be, Is My Name Written There, and When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder to name a few.

The older we get, usually, the more we think about Heaven.  When we think of the growing number of friends who have left us, we are more likely to think about that wonderful home that Jesus is preparing for us there.

Here is a brand new poem (hymn) that may become a blessing to many about that glorious place that we will soon see:

 

MY BEAUTIFUL HEAVENLY HOME

  1. MY SIN OFFENDED THE SAVIOUR.

IT CAUSED ME TO WEEP IN MY SHAME.

THEN I HEARD THE WORDS OF MY JESUS.

HE SAVED ME, OH, PRAISE HIS DEAR NAME!

 

Chorus:

MY BEAUTIFUL HEAVENLY HOME;

UP THERE I WILL NEVER MORE ROAM.

I AM LONGING FOR THEE,

WHERE FROM SIN I’LL BE FREE.

IN MY BEAUTIFUL HEAVENLY HOME.

 

  1. I FELL TO MY KNEES IN MY SORROW.

I BEGGED GOD TO FREE ME FROM SIN.

I CALLED ON THE NAME OF THE SAVIOUR,

THAT DAY WHEN MY JESUS CAME IN.     Chorus

 

  1. GOD SPARED ME OF HUMILIATION.

HE CLEANSED ME FROM SIN WITH HIS POW’R.

HIS BLOOD MADE ME CLEAN ON THE INSIDE,

WHEN JESUS WASHED ME THAT HOUR.     Chorus

 

D.M. 11-19-16

Moment by Moment


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The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore (Psalm 121:8).

Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;

Moment by moment I’ve life from above

Looking to Jesus til glory doth shine;

Moment by moment, O Lord, I am thine.

Never a trial that He is not there,

Never a burden that He doth not bear,

Never a sorrow that He doth not share,

Moment by Moment, I’m under His care.

From Moment By Moment by Daniel W. Whittle, 1893