Monday, October 24, 2016

"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." - Zephaniah 3:17
The tale is told of a princess held captive by an evil monarch. As time passes a knight in shining white armor arrives and saves the day. The story concludes with the words, "They lived happily ever after". Will there ever be a day when the citizens of God's kingdom will live happily ever after?
The answer to the above question is a resounding yes. The Lord will certainly bring purging and judgment upon an arrogant and rebellious world. Yet, the day will finally come when the LORD, who is might to save, will be in the midst of His people. He will rejoice over them, quiet them with His love and sing songs of exaltation. And they will live happily ever after.
Is this your hope my friend? Then walk humbly before the Lord and serve Him faithfully. Be encouraged when the days are dark and discouraging, for your Knight in shining white armor is on His way. "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war..." (Revelation 19:11)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter." - 2 Thessalonians 2:15 
We collect lighthouses. We visit them while on vacation and regularly add to our collection of miniatures and pictures. Lighthouses remind us of being a light in the darkness and a guide to wayward. They are those great stone edifices that stand firm in the storms and send forth the light that saves from a watery grave. God also places lighthouses on the shores of this world to save souls from eternal damnation.
Paul writes of coming days of increasing evil and tribulation. He assures believers of their deliverance from this time, but until those days arrive he calls us to stand firm and hold to the teachings passed down to us. The winds of time may bring change, but the truth remains the same: Those who refuse to love the truth will perish, and those believe the truth will live eternally. As we spread the light of this truth, we are God's lighthouses.
There is no lighthouse of worth that doesn't stand firm in the midst of the storm. The lighthouse serves the mariner with the same purpose today as it did hundreds of years ago: it gives light to show the way to safety. Stand firm my friend, hold to the teachings passed down to you and be the lighthouse that God called you to be.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation." - Habakkuk 3:17-18
There have been books written which were entitled, "Happiness is a Choice" and "Love is a Choice". Such titles alone promote thoughtful consideration over and above the chapters found in the books. Is it possible to experience happiness and love by choice and not by result of good things?
After a lengthy prophetic pronouncement of the Lord's coming judgment, Habakkuk settles down in the fact that he could be happy and find joy. When we walk with the Lord there is always sufficient reason to rejoice. When all else leaves us, we have the God of our salvation.
Is your joy and love based on the blessing of God or the presence of God? Stop for a moment my friend and reflect on the unchanging love and care of your Lord and choose wisely. When you know the Lord, happiness and love is your choice to make, every moment of every day.

Friday, October 21, 2016

"Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more... And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more." - 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 10
We live in a world that's all about improvement. Improve your looks, your job, your education, your car, or your house. We're never satisfied with the status quo. As in the Dickens classic, Oliver Twist, we are always asking, "Please, sir, I want some more".
What about our spiritual lives? Paul mentioned the phrase "more and more" twice in this chapter. He instructed these believers to "live in order to please God" more and more and "love all the brothers" more and more. In both cases he noted a current lifestyle of Godliness, but he didn't want them to settle for just enough. He wanted to see spiritual improvement, "more and more".
Have you become satisfied with your spiritual life, while being driven for more worldly gain my friend? What efforts are you making to improve your walk with God and your love for the brethren? The next time you want bigger and better or you're planning some home improvements, ask yourself, when was the last time you did some "heart improvements"?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Thessalonians 1:3
A good many years ago there was a nationwide retailer that gave its employees a vested interest in the company. The more they sold, the more shares they would be awarded. As they succeeded, the business succeeded, and as the business succeeded, so did they. This company learned that success comes from a healthy motivation.
Paul greatly appreciated the work, labor and endurance seen in the Thessalonians. He noted that they were a motivated group of believers who were driven by a much deeper commitment than most. Their faith empowered them to work hard, their love encouraged them to labor diligently and their hope invigorated them to endure to the end. Three spiritual qualities kept them motivated in the most difficult hour.
Faith, love and hope; every believer has these qualities, but not often drawn upon for motivation. From time to time, you will face the giants my friend, but every day you will have to deal with the little foxes that pester you in your spiritual walk. The work, labor and endurance will be difficult at times, but trust in the Lord with all your heart, love the Lord with all your heart and hope in the Lord with all your heart and you will be sufficiently motivated for the greatest success.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

“And all who look at you will shrink from you and say, ‘Wasted is Nineveh; who will grieve for her?’  Where shall I seek comforters for you?” - Nahum 3:7
How often do we hear people refer to hell as a final party place? This idea centers on believing that there will be plenty of company in the place of judgment. A certain comfort is sought by thinking judgment day will bring about a comradeship of the rebellious.
The sobering truth is clearly stated in this above verse. No one grieves over the judgment of the wicked and condemned. They may be curious, but never comforting. The way of the world revels in the wickedness of the moment, but when the hammer of judgment falls they shrink away. As Jesus pointed out, the afterlife without Christ and His righteousness is "outer darkness". (Matthew 22:13, 25:30)
Be wise and assured my friend; there will be no comfort from fellow sinners on the Day of judgment. The only comfort that we are ever promised is from the Lord Himself when we come to him in repentance and faith. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) In the days of this life, before the coming judgment, may you turn to the "God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3) who will never shrink away.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” - Nahum 1:7 
When the thunderstorm comes upon us without warning we run for cover. If we're wise we look for a safe place that will protect from rain, wind and lightening. We don't run under a tree!
In the storms of life we should look for a refuge that is good, strong and is a perfect fit for our personal needs. That refuge is the LORD and when the rain falls, wind blows and lightning strikes we can be at peace, because He knows and meets our every need.
There is nothing simpler my friend. The LORD is good and there is no better refuge in the time of trouble. He knows you better than anyone, so when you run for cover - run to Him.