God of Our Fathers


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God of our fathers, whose almighty hand

Leads forth in beauty all the starry band

of shining worlds in splendor through the skies

Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past.

In this free land by Thee our lot is cast.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,

In this free land by Thee our lot is cast.

Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, and Stay,

Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

“…O Lord, God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven?  and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? …” (II Chronicles 20:6).

God’s Gift of Anger


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You may ask why I call anger a gift of God.  God made us in His image.  Even our emotions reflect Him.  He is perfect in His use of the emotions He expresses and has.  The Scriptures say that “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalms 7:11). God knows how to use His anger wisely.  He is holy and so does not sin in the use of His energy from anger.

This election gave people a reason to get angry.  I saw several people who were angry with the results of the election including some of the news commentators.  It shows on their faces even though they try to say the right things.

Many times the news is full of someone who misused anger.  People get weapons and use them to kill others because of anger built up with in them which turns to bitterness and results in explosions of violence in some ways.

Even the first family was plagued with this emotion.  When Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s sacrifice was rejected, Cain reacted in anger and killed his brother.

God gives definite instruction with regard to the right use of energy from our anger.  “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).  This verse states that when we are angry we should not use the energy to sin. We should be using the energy from our anger to solve problems on a daily basis instead of using the energy to lash out with words, and/or hurt someone in a physical manner.

There are many constructive ways to use our energy which will please God.  When we are angry, we can pray about the challenge before us.  We can search the Scriptures for answers to solve the problems we are facing.  God gives definite instructions which will fit any situation we are going through if we will but use the energy in following the Biblical commands and directives.  Then we need to get busy with God’s help and work through what challenge is before us at the time.

 

 

Music – Worship or War?


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Is music important? Does music matter? Does music have a message and purpose? These are all essentially rhetorical questions that can be answered with an emphatic – yes! – with scripture to back each one. Is music important? It is important in worship. Psalm 81:1-4 tells that Israel used both singing and instrumental music in their worship. According to verse four it was “a statute for Israel and a law of God.” Numbers 10:10 states – “ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings.” Does music matter? When the Israelites were preparing for battle, they appointed singers that praised the beauty of his holiness, and God helped them in battle. “And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten” (II Chronicles 20:22 ). Does music have a message and purpose? Music does have a message. During the worship of the golden calf, what message did the music give those that heard from a distance? And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp (Exodus 32:17). Even though it was “worship” to the golden calf, this music had a specific message – war! Music has a purpose. David played his harp when an evil spirit was upon Saul. “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him” (I Samuel 16:23). Music does matter; it has a purpose – what about your music? Worship or War?

Trusting God in the Tempest


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Mark 4:36-41

“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship.  And there were also with him other little ships.  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful?  how is it that ye have no faith?  And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The disciples saw the power of Jesus to calm the tempest with merely His words.  Jesus was incredulous at the fear and lack of faith the disciples exhibited.  Our tumultuous world mirrors the tempest that the disciples faced that day on the Sea of Galilee.  In our world today, there are murders, terrorist attacks, physical hardships, and so much more that we face on a seemingly daily basis.  I was asked once during a gospel conversation with an elderly lady why the world is in such turmoil.  That question was a “door of utterance” as Paul speaks of for me to share with an unsaved lady that God is in control and desires to bring us peace.  This world we live in is a scary place for the unsaved who have no peace.  However, how does a Christian reconcile a world full of turmoil with the peace God desires to give us?  I have come to realize that our peace, joy, and comfort in this life can only come from trusting our Savior!  There is no political candidate nor perfect circumstance that is able to bring us true peace, joy and comfort.  Those things can only be found through faith in Christ.  I read the following statement recently: “There is more safety with Christ in the tempest than without Christ in the calmest waters.”  Today’s world has provided a seeming tempest on every side, but we do not have to fear if we are in the perfect will of God!  Instead of being full of fear, we must go the lost people around us with the answer to their turmoil.  The circumstances of our world today should give us much more to discuss than the upcoming election or the current international tragedy.  There is so much more to share with people who do not know the God who can control our tempest!  Christ calmed the wind and the waves with His words.  We can and must trust Him to take care of us through the tempest!

The Crowd or The Christ?


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And every man went unto his own house. [But] Jesus went unto the mount of Olives (John 7:53; 8:1).

Our lonely Lord, beset by the Pharisees, despised and rejected of men, took to the solitude of the Mount of Olives, while men returned to the comfort of their homes.  He had nowhere to lay his head, having come to His own, who received Him not.  Many a night He spent in prayer, while even His disciples slumbered.

This world still goes “every man to his own house.”  Alas, even we Christians do, for “all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”  We pursue our own interests, we live our own lives, we know nothing of the Mount of Olives’ concern for the plight of our hearts, the condition of the church, the state of the world.  We pay God our respects on Sunday, but we return to putter around our own premises.  We sing, “I’ll Go With Him Through the Garden,” when the olive trees would never recognize us, for we never accompany our Lord there.

Our Lord was a solitary figure in His day, and to this hour the deeper Christian life is a lonely life.  You will never “follow the crowd” to the Mount of Olives, for few go that way.

You can follow the crowd or the Christ, but not both, for they go in opposite directions.

 

Day by Day with Vance Havner, p. 223.

Lost Pup, Found!


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Matthew 18:11-14

Reward! $500.00!  So read the little signs put up all over town, in shop windows, on poles, even left at bus stops.  The signs sought to locate the master’s beloved little pup.  Reward, $500.00 for anyone who could find the pup that had dug himself out of his master’s yard.

It seems $500.00 was quite a thing in this little town, there were many folks out looking for the lost pup.  Just an ordinary little pup, not even an AKC.  But he was a little dog greatly beloved by his master!  The master’s heart was grieving and sorrowing for the little lost thing.

Yes, $500.00 is a great sum, but remember the sum paid by the “Master”! His own beloved Son given that we (the lost), might be found and saved!  That very “Son,” which gave His life, a ransom for the lost, is the very “One” seeking us!  (Luke 19:10)

In the end, the “little pup” was found and his master greatly rejoiced!  That leaves you!  Has the “Master” found you?  Have you answered His call, seeking to find you!  Our Lord God is not willing that even one of these little ones should perish (Matt. 18:14).

If you haven’t been found …… call on Him today!

God’s Grace


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God’s grace is so wonderful.  He gives us so much more than we deserve.  It’s pretty easy to realize this when we are blessed in a positive way; but what about in all the trials God allows in our lives?

God allows different people and circumstances to come into our lives to mold us and form us into the people He wants us to become.  We can choose to fight and fuss about those trials, or we can accept them as part of His plan for our life and let God do with us what He wills.

In Joseph’s case…wow!  He had a lot to overcome:  separation from family, betrayal, despair, unfulfilled hopes, etc.  But his focus was not on those things; it was on trusting God.  Genesis 41:51, “And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.”  Joseph leaned on God to get him through all those things, and then God made him forget them all!  We might think, “How is that even possible?!”  God.  It’s not through us but God.

Friend, whatever you’ve been through or are going through, God has a plan and a purpose for it.  He is molding you into the servant He wants you to become.  Allow Him to work.  His grace is sufficient.

This is Autumn – The Beauty of the Colored Leaves!


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When autumn begins, I start looking for the change of color in the tree leaves; and also, I am reminded of a poem that I learned in grade school! The first verse is: “There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—Touch of manner, hint of mood; —And my heart is like a rhyme, —With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.” It’s called “A Vagabond Song.” As a Christian, we are not vagabonds! We do have a home waiting for us! As we age, we begin looking forward to that very place! But I must say for now, I’ve been looking for autumn when the leaves start changing color. The beauty and splendor of the colors are breathtaking! And what does that really mean? Only God can design the beautiful ray of colors in the leaves! But, they will soon die and fall to the ground; however, they will become nutrients for the trees to get ready for the new leaves in the spring! This holds many parallels to the Christian life! Do you think maybe those of us in the “upper age bracket,” will really look as beautiful in our ageing process? We seem to have such a short season on earth, some longer than others; but as Christians, we do have a specific purpose and calling; to display a beautiful life for Christ while on earth.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;”

Although many of us may live with fairly little recognition during our lifetime, when we complete our earthly mission, we go in splendor and the expectation of what is to come. This then, spurs us on to greater love and commitment to Christ when it is our time to enter into the presence of our Heavenly Father. Will we leave behind a beautiful legacy? We must not allow anything to influence us that will cause us to be infected which will cause us to become ineffective as a Christian. We must be careful of what we allow in our lives that might be a negative influence on our heart and mind. We want to show forth an everlasting witness to those who do not know our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We want to exhibit that hope of being with Him for all eternity and living a life that is full of joy. Let us, be faithful to our Saviour in this life, so that when we are called Home to our heavenly place, we will be ready to experience the beautiful rich crimsons and golds of Heaven! Yes, we too will be beautiful in our ageing process, evidence of a life well lived for Him!

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

The First Petition


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Matthew 6:5-15

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

              This, the First Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, ardently anticipates that golden age when the secular shall be transformed into the sacred; when HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD shall be inscribed upon the bells of the horses (Zech. 14:20-21); when God’s name shall be great among the Gentiles (Mal. 1:11, 14); when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14); when God shall be all in all (1Cor. 15-28)!

Visit to a Courtroom


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In 2010, I had the opportunity to interview a judge in the large, historic courtroom of the courthouse in Plymouth, IN. I talked with the judge about the decorations in that room. He said that they ended up removing the large listing of the 10 Commandments when they added or remodeled the balcony. I was sorry to hear that, but at least it happened for a reason and not blatantly that some were just trying to get rid of it.

We discussed the arm of Lady Justice holding her balance pictured on the ceiling of that large room.

He told me about the large painting of Solomon and the two women. It portrayed the story of “divide the child.” Solomon is wearing his crown while sitting on his throne. A court guard is holding the live child up-side down by one of his ankles. The other child lay lifeless between the two mothers. One mother had her head turned away from the king looking down toward her deceased child while the other is looking at the face of the king with her hands raised up as she pleads with him for the life of her child.

I am surprised that a secular courtroom would have such a huge, biblical portrait on the wall in this day and age, but I am glad that it was there when I visited that room six years ago.

It would be an encouragement to see this image in a courtroom where one would be at the mercy of a random judge. I would hope that it would make it more likely that a godly or righteous decision would be brought forth from the bench in that courtroom.

May our courts, our judges, and our government be drawn back to godliness, righteousness, and a biblical foundation.