Sunday, July 29

Psalm 100: verse 1

Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Not only should we praise God with worship and music, but we should also do it with joy. It is a joy that comes from thanksgiving for God’s kindness and mercy that he has bestowed upon his sheep. Everyone, in all countries that call on the name of the LORD, will experience a peace and joy from the Holy Spirit that will cause them to make a joyful noise unto the LORD. A joyful noise does not necessarily mean a loud noise as joy springs from the heart and not the mouth. Joy flows from thankfulness for salvation and trust in God’s providence and promises. This leads to a heart overflowing with praise and a desire to release the joy through music and thanksgiving.

Praise God that His mercy and love fills our hearts with a joy that yearns to point to his glory.

Saturday, July 28

Name it and date it....

The following verse was the feature verse for a daily devotional in a devotional magazine entitled, “Fire from the Bramble":

Judges 9:49 So every one of the people cut down his bundle and following Abimelech put it against the stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about 1,000 men and women.

The devotional said in part…… The tower of Shechem must have been a massive structure to hold a thousand people……. By contrast, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower”

Can anyone name the title of the devotional magazine and the date the above verse was the devotional of the day?

Wednesday, July 25

Peace and Joy with the LORD

On a recent trip down the Natchez Trace from Nashville, my wife and I stopped at one of many scenic and historic sites. This stop was the Buffalo River in southern Tennessee and we ran into a family with two young boys swimming and playing in the river. There was no one else there but us for a short time to snap a few photos. They were swinging on a rope, as their parents watched, and I wondered if they could have possibly had any more fun at some expensive crowded theme park. The boys were having a great time and I heard the youngest one tell his parents that he wanted to stay there forever. I wonder how many children tell their parents they want to stay at six flags FOREVER. Although it is a cliché, it is true that the best things in life are free and this swim on the Buffalo River did not cost this family anything.

There is no greater joy than to slow down and enjoy the beauty and glory of God’s magnificent creation. What a joy it is to contemplate the joy and peace that FOREVER with the LORD will be like.

Do you think it will be more like the scene above or more like Six Flags over thus and such?

Sunday, July 22

Psalm 23: verse 6

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Goodness and mercy are another way of expressing that grace from God is given to Christian saints as they walk through this worldly life. Times may be difficult, with much pain and suffering, but Christians have an inexhaustible reservoir of grace to sustain them through their pilgrimage in this world. Hebrews 4:16 instructs Christians to go boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace in times of need. This grace may not make the suffering cease, but it will bring peace and sustain the souls of the redeemed as they journey to the heavenly City of God. People whose focus and goal in life is to have temporal health, wealth, and perpetual joy and happiness will be disappointed 100% of the time. However, if the LORD is your Sheppard, you will face all the adversity that this world has to offer without fear and you will be 100% satisfied.

Praise God that an eternity to dwell in the house of the LORD dwarfs any temporal pain and suffering from this fallen world. Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Saturday, July 21

Susan tagged me with five questions.....

1. If you could own your own business, what would it be?

Microsoft, Wal-Mart, etc. I would like to have the resources (wealth) to support the ministries and causes I like in a very effective way. Most of what I would support would meet the “Jesus test” about the world when he said if they hate me they will hate you as well. A lot of organizations that the ‘religious left’ and the ‘secular left’ dislike would receive my support. I would very carefully insure that liberal organizations or thinking would have no access to what I supported. O.K. One exception might be giving the football team at Miss. State Univ. so much money that they couldn’t help but be winners again.

2. What was the best job you ever had?

Flying airplanes without a doubt. Wonderful views of God’s glory and I loved the merging of the human mind with the controls (stick & power) of the airplane. Formation flying was my favorite (see photo above) and I absolutely loved the views.

3. What was the best book other than the Bible you have read?

Christian - “Reformed Doctrine of Predestination”. Novel – “The Godfather”

4. If you could interview anyone other than Jesus – alive or dead – who would you interview?

Tie between John and Paul. Slight edge to John because he knew Jesus well.

5. What are your views on eschatology? No? Okay, how’s about if you had time and resources to write a book on any area of theology, what would it be?

It’s not over till it’s over and I believe when Jesus returns it will be over. We will immediately be ushered into the judgment and eternal state. That dispensational stuff makes no sense to me.

I do have the time to write a book on theology, but I realize my limitations in training and knowledge of theology so I prefer to write basic easy to read devotionals illustrated with photos (I have only been a Christian 11 years). My interests are primarily the New Testament, Jesus, and soteriology.

Wednesday, July 18

Psalm 23: verse 5

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

The LORD in his providence pours out his blessings on his sheep in the presence of their enemies. The world and those redeemed by grace will be enemies. Jesus said, (Mt 10:22) “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” If a person or church is admired and held in high esteem by the world, then Scripture is clear that something is very wrong. James even calls such a situation as being hatred toward God. Hatred from the world should not be surprising and we should take comfort that God provides for his sheep with temporal and spiritual blessings. The sheep of God’s pasture may not enjoy the temporal things of this dying world, but their cup will be overflowing from the showers of spiritual blessings that God provides for his sheep. God’s grace for his sheep is in such abundance that it overflows. It is more than sufficient and God’s sheep never have to worry or fear that their situation or circumstances are beyond His sovereign control.

Praise God that his sheep are under his spiritual and physical care and all things work for their ultimate good (Rom. 8:28).

Thursday, July 12

Psalm 23: verse 4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

With the LORD as our shepherd, there is nothing to fear when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. No evil can touch God’s sheep apart from His permission, and even through this valley He will be with them through all that may come. Where is the sting of death to those who will be merely passing through a door to the eternal glory that awaits His sheep? Dying grace will be with Christians ever step of the way as they walk through the valley. While this walk is filled with terror for the unregenerate, there will be no fear for the redeemed as God will comfort and sustain his sheep on their final earthly journey.

Praise God that is grace is sufficient, even in the valley of the shadow of death.


Check out the Bluecollar Blog where Jazzycat is contributor!

Tuesday, July 10

Psalm 23: verse 3

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

The photo above shows the recently restored Hinds County Courthouse in Raymond, Mississippi. It is a beautiful building but will one day need to be restored again. However, when God restores the souls of his redeemed through grace, the work is complete and lasting. While the body may still struggle with sin, the grace of regeneration insures that the soul and spirit will gain victory in those whom God has touched with his Power. To these he will lead in paths of righteousness. They will desire and seek the things of God and his righteousness that is a part of their new Spirit led nature. Paul speaks of this righteousness from God in Romans 1:16-17. The Psalmist is clear that God does this for his name’s sake. God restores the soul and leads his redeemed in paths of righteousness for HIS name’s sake. Since God’s power is total and never fails and he is concerned about his name and his glory, it is inconceivable that the sheep of his pasture will not be brought safely home by walking in the paths of righteousness.

Praise God that his provision and grace is sufficient, and his people can rest and trust that he is a Sheppard that will lose none of those whose soul He has restored. Spiritual peace, comfort, and joy are the temporal rewards of God’s flock and the eternal rewards are beyond comprehension.

Saturday, July 7

Psalm 23: verse 2

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

There is no place where God’s glory is more on display than in the high mountains near the tree line. The wildflowers are full of color and the grass is lush and green during the short summer. In verse two of Psalm 23, our creator God is said to make me lie down in green pastures. God, in his providence, makes available green pastures for his redeemed, which gives rest to their soul. Contentment, peace, and joy are the results of this love and provision. Although a believer may be short on worldly goods, he has a spiritual bounty that is illustrated by rest in green pastures. The temporal body is fading, dying, and possibly suffering, but the spirit and soul are constantly nourished through meditation on the green pastures of God.

Christians willingly follow the lead of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The spirit filled Christian is led spiritually beside still waters where his soul is nourished by living water. The fruit of the Spirit is but one way that nourishment is provided to the soul of the Christian by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Adversity, hunger, and thirst may come in his temporal life, but a Christian is always beside the still waters that nourish and sustain his soul.

Praise God that our souls are provided with green pastures and quiet waters in the here & now and that one day all pain, suffering, and tears will be no more. In this eternal state there will be no distractions from the glory and joy that is found in the green pastures and quiet waters of God’s glorious mountains. On that day, all people will be in one accord as they praise and glorify God continually.

Thursday, July 5

Psalm 23: verse 1

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

The relationship illustrated here, between God and man, is one between a sheep and its trusted shepherd. Sheep depend on a shepherd totally for their security and needs. A Christian, likewise, depends on the LORD totally. He knows that his spiritual security and eternal life have been accomplished through faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, there is nothing to be in want for in the spiritual realm. Since this physical life and temporal concerns are insignificant compared to the glory that awaits those whose inheritance is in heaven, Christians are secure and at peace with their short time in this physical world. They know that all things work for the good of those that love Christ. Nothing in this temporal world occurs without the sovereign control of the father and if God allows it, Christians accept his will without wanting for anything else.

Note that the LORD alone is my shepherd and not political leaders, civil governments, or even church leaders such as popes, bishops, elders, and pastors. Church denominations or creeds are not my shepherd. The LORD and He alone is my Sheppard and I shall not want. In Romans 8:31-39, Paul gives details about the glorious situation that God has reserved for believers.

Praise God that He is our shepherd and we shall not want.

Wednesday, July 4

Christianity 101- Part 6: Sanctification and Discipleship

New Christians that have been saved by Jesus Christ will experience a feeling of gratitude, joy and love for Christ in their hearts for the mercy they have received (1 Peter 1:8). The Spirit of God dwells in believers (Romans 8:9-11) and enables them with divine power to be sanctified. The process of sanctification in believers is a work of the Holy Spirit that gradually transforms sinners to increasingly mortify sin and live unto righteousness. He empowers new Christians to become disciples by following the teachings of Christ and performing good works. While it is primarily a work of God’s grace, believers can and should co-operate in their sanctification. True Christians do participate in sanctification to varying degrees. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells us that true Christians return a yield of one hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Scripture does not leave any wiggle room for someone to claim Christ as savior, but deny him as Lord by refusing to co-operate in sanctification. This so-called carnal Christian view of a true believer is a myth and is refuted by many passages of Scripture such as (James 2:14). Christians may grieve the Holy Spirit and fall into sin for a season, but they will gain the victory over the bondage of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s discipline.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command? (John 14:15 ).” The Bible is full of warnings of things to avoid (Rom 12) and things to do such as love, forgive, serve, give, etc. These Biblical exhortations to good works are sometimes mistakenly thought to be the cause of justification by God. However, good works are the fruit of the grace of justification that comes from faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ is what saves sinners, not their works in the sanctification process. Sanctification happens in a Christian because Jesus Christ not only saves sinners form the penalty of sin, but He also saves them from the power of sin (Romans 6).

As new Christians begin their walk of sanctification and discipleship they participate in and practice activities like worship, Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, and witnessing. These activities are not burdens but bring joy and peace to Christians in their Christian walk.

Praise God that the power of his grace is sufficient to not only save sinners but also sanctify them.

This series first appeared at Bluecollar Blog!

Monday, July 2

Christianity 101- Part 5: Saving faith

Sometimes the word faith is used in the Bible to represent a body of doctrine such as Jude 3 that exhorts us to contend for the faith. Faith is also sometimes used to express a belief that God will answer prayers of a temporal nature. Often faith is expressed as a mere mental assent much like a belief in a historical fact. The Bible tells us that eternal life comes by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and is a free gift of God. But what is the definition of the faith that saves?

Saving faith is that faith and trust a sinner puts in the atonement of Jesus Christ to pay his sin debt. Scripture tells us, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins? (1 John 4:10). Saving faith is the instrument or means by which a person gains access to eternal life that the atonement of Jesus Christ secures. This faith is a gift of God and will also be accompanied by the gift of repentance (Eph 2:8-9 & Acts 11:18). Scripture is clear that honoring God with lip service, and not from the heart, is not saving faith (Matthew 15:8, James 2:17). Therefore, a person that has been given the gift of saving faith has crossed from death unto life due to being regenerated (born again) with power by the Holy Spirit of God (John 3:3). By virtue of this power and their new God given nature, Christians will have a new attitude and a new focus that will result in a Christian walk according to the Spirit with minds that are set on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:4-5 & Eph. 10). Christians will also be very thankful to God for the mercy and salvation that has been given to them from God.

Therefore, the definition of a true Christian is a person that has saving faith as described above. Just as the photo above shows, being a disciple by following Jesus, performing good works, and Christian service flow from being a true Christian. However, performance of Christian service do not make one a true Christian as works and deeds cannot justify (save) a person. Justification (being saved) is by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and it is the amazing grace of God.

Next in Part 6 we will look at the Christian discipleship that flows from the power of God’s grace.