Archive | December, 2019

The Well

20 Dec

The Well…

The marriage of Isaac and Rebecca is, among other things, a beautiful picture of salvation, of the marriage of God, Jesus, and us, the Bride. The most crucial events of the story take place by a well.

What is it about the well? A well is the place that those who thirst go to drink. The well is a place of need. And it’s there that the Bride is found and the marriage begins. In other words, God, the Bridegroom, meets us in a place of need. And we, the Bride, likewise, find Him, in a place of need.

So thank God for wells, and for need – without it, you may never have found Him. And even now as a believer, you still find yourself in places of need. But see these things in a new way – they are wells that the Bridegroom uses to bring the Bride back or closer to Himself.

So don’t despise the places or times of need in your life. In reality, these are the wells, the wells of the marriage, where the Bride finds the Bridegroom and the Bridegroom, the Bride.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12:3

Take all that you need, all you lack, all you desire and bring it to the Lord and let Him fill you up.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Secret Of Serving

19 Dec

The Secret Of Serving…

In the early days of the Salvation Army, the biologist and skeptic, Thomas Huxley, launched an all-out attack on the Salvation Army and its founder, William Booth. Booth’s son Bramwell, was greatly upset over it.

But William Booth told his son that he couldn’t waste his time fighting his critics, or else he would be distracted from the Lord’s call – and he would not let anything divert him from it.“Bramwell,” said Booth, “fifty years from now, it will matter very little indeed how these people treated us. It will matter a great deal how we dealt with the work of God.”

William Booth was powerfully used of God to affect a nation, and a world. Why? He didn’t allow himself to get distracted from the calling God gave him. There will always be people who criticize you or attack you. But no one can take you away from God’s calling, unless you let them.

You’re here for one purpose, to serve and glorify God. Don’t let yourself be distracted or turned to the right or to the left – and you too will live a powerful life for God.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Ephesians 4:1

Resolve not to be distracted by criticism that’s not of God – but set your eyes on the Lord and what you need to do for His purpose.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Lure Of Sin

18 Dec

The lure of sin…

Grandfather was always one who would challenge me. How do you catch a rat he asked me one morning? One particular way is to use a rat poison like d-Con. D-Con is roughly 99 percent rat food and 1 percent brodifacoum. This poison is used to thin a rat’s blood so rapidly that it begins to hemorrhage.

Of course you would never catch a rat if you sat out a finely decorated bowl of brodifacoum. It wouldn’t appeal to it. That is why the deadly poison is masked by that which appeals to rats; namely, food. Led by their stomachs these rats eat what will slowly lead to their undoing.

Not only is brodifacoum deadly, it is also patient, which is why it is the key ingredient in mouse poison. Because of the slowness of death mice aren’t able to associate it with their demise. I doubt rats have funerals, but if they did the obituary would not read death by that tasty bowl of food that Speedy just ate. They would blame another culprit for their demise.

Believe it or not we are like those rats. Killed by our own desires we look for other sources of our demise. James 1:13-18 helps us to see that God is not the one that entices us to sin; it is in fact our own natures that make sin so enticing. Thankfully, God graciously changes our natures so that we can withstand temptation.

In James 1:2 we see that trials are inevitable. In James 1:13 we see that in this age temptation is inevitable.

We are tempted to shift blame for our temptation:

Notice the pattern in Genesis 3 where the serpent tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

Proverbs 19:3 A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.

In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus teaches that we are more likely to look at specks in our brothers eyes than the log in our own.

God is never the source of our temptation.

God cannot be tempted.

God tempts no one to do evil.

This does not mean that He will not bring trials or even test us, but he does not entice anyone to do evil.

When we feel the pull towards sin and rebellion we are never allowed to shake our fist at God and say, “You made me this way”. Temptation does not come from the Lord. It has another source.

Just as with the rat we drink the poison of sin because we are enticed by our desires.

Temptation comes from within us.

“Desire” is any intense longing for that which God has forbidden (see Genesis 3:6).

Temptation is tailored to our “own desire.”

It is unique to each person.

One man might be mightily tempted by something that holds no enticement over another.

Temptation wears a mask.

“Drawn away” and “enticed” are fishing and hunting metaphors.

Temptation rarely comes in the form of its grandchild (death).

Temptation eventually brings forth death.

What begins as desire turns to sin.

Sin “fully grown” births death.

Sin is attractive to us because we are not yet fully redeemed. James is urging his readers to not give in to temptation because it inevitably leads to death. Thankfully God is at work to change our natures.

The source of our problem is our nature. Apart from Christ we aren’t wise enough to see the poison of sin. Truthfully, even if we did see the poison of sin we would still rebel. By nature we hate what we should love and love what we should hate. Yet God is in the business of changing our natures and restoring our desires.

Every good gift comes from a good God.

God is the creator of the good gift of creation.

God is the creator of the good gift of new creation.

God has given the gospel to rescue us from death.

He changes our desires.

He overturns our death sentence.

Apart from grace, we will have a foolish thirst for poison. Thankfully God has redeemed us from this insatiable hunger for our own destruction. We are still tempted, but through Christ sin is losing its luster. James 1:13-18 is a call to flee the lure of sin as well as a call to celebrate the new life we have in Christ.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Serpent And Your Feet

17 Dec

The Serpent and Your Feet…

One of the earliest prophecies of redemption occurs in Genesis 3. The Lord says to the serpent: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between her seed and your seed, and he shall crush your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The words have several fulfillments, from the natural relation of snakes and people, to the enemy’s war with Jesus. But it also applies to you as one of Jesus’s people. The enemy will seek to strike your feet.

In other words, the lowest part of your life, the part that is most connected to the earthly things. That’s where you’re most vulnerable – in those areas of sin and of the flesh. But any wise person who walks among snakes takes precaution to cover their feet, to put on boots.

So be wise, address those parts of your life that are vulnerable to the enemy’s bite; your weaknesses, and your inconsistencies. Cover them up with the righteousness of God. For if the enemy cannot strike at your feet – there’s nowhere else he can. But in Jesus, you still have the power to crush His head.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:20

Today, take time to cover those parts in your life that are vulnerable, fill in that gap, and strengthen that weakness.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Great End-Time Holy Day Redemption

16 Dec

The Great End-Time Holy Day Redemption…

The sacred Hebrew year is a prophetic picture of the age. It ends in autumn with the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and The Feast of Tabernacles – all linked to the end of the age.

The autumn is the time when the fig tree puts forth its full harvest of figs. The autumn is also the time the olive tree brings forth its olives. The Fig Tree is a symbol of Israel. The Olive Tree, in Romans 11, is a symbol of the Church.

So what do we see? In the Hebrew year, the time of the fig tree’s blossoming and that of the olive tree, overlap and are joined. What does it reveal? The blossoming of the church is linked to the blossoming of Israel.

In other words, the purposes of the church can never come to fruition without Israel and the return of the Jewish people – nor can Israel find its fulfillment without the church.

So pray for the redemption of the Jewish people, and bless the nation of Israel. For when they come in, so too will come the redemption.

He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name. Psalm 111:9

Take time to pray for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people – for their survival, their blessing, and their redemption.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Power Of Our Words

14 Dec

The Power Of Our Words…

Grandfather always said be careful with what you speak because words can be very powerful to gladen the heart and to hurt. The real problem is they can never be taken back…

Our words are very powerful. Apart from the redeeming work of Christ we will only do harm with our words. We need wisdom from above to use our words wisely. Our words also reveal the state of our hearts.

Time and again the Scriptures address the tongue. Did you know that James devotes an entire chapter to controlling the tongue? When we consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:34 we see why the tongue is given such extensive treatment. How we handle the tongue is a great indicator of our hearts before God.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Matthew 12:34

Our words give us away. In James chapter 3 we see that the tongue has power; that it is by nature hypocritical; and that it can only be transformed from above.

Most people want to be heard. What better way to be heard as a believer than to be a teacher of the gospel? Yet, James urges us to consider the power of the tongue. We must not be hasty in propelling ourselves into a position where the tongue is constantly used. It is powerful and as such will incur a “stricter judgment.”

Control the tongue, control the man or as Grandfather would say, engage your brain before you engage your mouth.

James argues from greater to lesser in verse 2. If one can control their tongue then they will be able to control the rest of the body as well.

As illustrated by the horse (verse 3).

As illustrated by ships (verse 4).

Big things come from the tiny tongue.

As illustrated by a wildfire (verse 5).

Words can build or destroy so use them wisely.

Better than anything else the tongue displays the state of our hearts.

Humanity alone cannot control the tongue. If James left us here this would be a miserable message: the tongue is a deadly poison that no man can stop.

Thankfully, we aren’t left to ourselves.

The powerful tongue can be used for great good or great evil. Apart from redemption it will only tear down and destroy. Perhaps better than anything else the tongue reveals the “already” but “not yet” of Christian sanctification.

The tongue can worship or curse (verse 9-10a).

This hypocrisy should not be the case (verse 10b-12).

James is not saying that they are unbelievers because of their hypocrisy. Note that he says “my brothers”.

What he is saying that such duplicity is inconsistent with a life redeemed by Christ.

Believers ought to be growing more consistent in their speech.

We must know the source of the tongue’s redemption: Redeemed speech only comes from godly wisdom being imparted to us. Worldly wisdom will lead to a tongue infused with bitterness that will show itself through bragging and a denial of truth. Godly wisdom will lead to pure and peaceable speech.

Worldly wisdom is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic:

Shows itself in bitter envy and selfish ambition that is accompanied by bragging and a denial of the truth (v14).

It leads to “disorder and every kind of evil”.

This type of wisdom and speech is our default position.

Godly wisdom comes from above.

Characterized by all that is pure and peaceful.

It leads to peace.

This type of wisdom only comes from God’s redeeming grace. The type of wisdom and speech that governs our life displays the work of God in our hearts. Where our speech and wisdom is worldly we see that the earthly, unspiritual, and demonic is the governing authority. Where our speech and wisdom is characterized by purity and peace we see that something “from above” has taken root and is spreading through our lives.

Grandfather was correct, our speech and the type of wisdom that governs our lives displays the state of our heart.

What does your tongue reveal about your heart? Are you increasingly maturing in your speech? Or do you find your tongue a “restless evil” that you cannot control? Grandfather’s solution was to control your tongue.

James has taught us that apart from Christ, such an exhortation is impossible. Redeemed speech and wisdom only come from the work of the Redeemer. Let us cast ourselves on the mercy of our Redeemer and pray that He will continue His work of overthrowing the demonic words that occasionally flow from our mouths.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

The Never Ending Banquet

13 Dec

The Never Ending Banquet…

There’s an old Twilight Zone episode where a criminal dies and wakes up in a mansion, the paradise of a lifetime. A man in a white suit appears to grant him his every wish. Whatever the criminal wishes, he gets: money, women, comfort, success, luxury.

But finally, it begins to drive him crazy. He turns to the man in the white suit and says, in effect, “I can’t take it anymore. Please, let me go to the other place” He’s asking to go to hell. The man in the white suit replies, “But this is the other place.”

There’s a biblical truth here: A life of joy and contentment is never dependent on what you have around you – but what you have inside. It’s not your life that will make a joyful heart – it’s your heart that will make a joyful life. It’s never about getting what you desire, it’s about changing your desires to the will of God.

Proverbs 15 says that a heart of righteousness produces a never ending banquet. Surrender your life and desires to the will of God, and your life will become heavenly, even now.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Surrender your desires to God and allow Him to change them to His perfect will.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed