June 8, 2012
Meditations on 2 Chronicles 29:25, “And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets.”
How do we present our formal worship to God? I think it is easy to say, “Well if it pleases me, it must please God!” Or, “If God allowed it in the Old Testament, he will allow it today.” I have heard that kind of reasoning about music offered in praise to God.
But consider this verse, Hezekiah was restoring temple worship and all the instruments used were used for a reason. It was not because the king and the people would like it. It was not because they thought God wouldn’t care if they did or didn’t use them. It was because of “the commandment of the Lord.”
Since we love God and want to keep His commands we need to be sure we are behaving as God commands. Today that means following the commands in the New Testament. So with music or whatever we offer up to God as worship, it must be what He commands. Our sense of what feels good is not authority for worship to God. - Joe
June 7, 2012
Meditations on Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Most of us will have a lot on our minds today. Moms at home with the children giving them the spiritual, mental and physical nourishment they need. Some will be at work involved in an assignment that may have far reaching implication for their livelihood. Some may be students who are working hard to get the grade needed for advancement to more education and a future in the work force.
With all this going on around us we must still set our priorities. What do we think about above all else? As you get ready to go out into the pressures of living on this earth today stop for a few minutes and shut everything and everyone out. Now take in a deep breath, hold it, and slowly blow it out. Put your mind on God, Christ and their dwelling place. Right now leave no room for the things that will need done here on earth today. It is just you thinking about the spiritual, not bills to pay, no boss to please, no crying babies to kiss and comfort. Just set your mind on things above, remember what your priorities start with – things above.
That peace, joy and security you have right now, carry it with you all day long. May you have a wonderful day even if it is maddening by earthly standards. – Joe
June 6, 2012
Meditations on John 1:17, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
Last week Connie overheard a conversation between a doctor and patient talking about the Bible. The young lady said, “As long as I follow the Ten Commandments I know I’m going to heaven.” The doctor agreed.
A few minutes later it was her turn to see the doctor, so she asked him if he believed Christ is the Savior. He said, “Oh yes!” She then asked if saving grace comes by keeping the Old Law. He said he would think about it, and they moved on to the reason for the visit. I hope he does so.
Many do not take the time to study and read the Scriptures today. From our reading above we see that saving grace culminates not in the Ten Commandments but in Christ. The Old Testament has value to bring us to the New Testament, but the keeping of the old law will not bring us salvation in Christ. – Joe
June 5, 2012
Meditations on John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
The Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day really knew the scriptures. They spent much of their time pouring over what we call the Old Testament. They did so to know what the Law required of them, and to be ready when the Messiah came. The sad thing is they did neither very well at all! Regarding keeping the Law of Moses, they were making their own laws. Regarding preparations for Messiah, He was right there and they could not see Him.
Do not read your Bible today just to have said you read your Bible. Every time you read your Bible, read it to understand God’s will. “Search the Scriptures!” – Joe
June 4, 2012
Meditations on Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
Many times we let emotions get in the way of doing what God commands of us in this verse. Knowing my own life and listening to the experiences of others over the years, it is clear to me that most of the time those emotions are not godly. We will let all kinds of feelings stand between us and forgiving someone for a wrong done to us. When we allow them to control our lives not only do we refuse to forgive, but we allow them to destroy peace with God and within ourselves. It is always our responsibility to keep emotions in check before God and man whether someone repents or not.
Here is an important and yet simple thing to remember about forgiveness, it is a command to be obeyed not an emotion. When someone repents, forgive them. Yes it really is that simple. – Joe
May 31, 2012
Meditations on 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”’
Aren’t you glad the image you saw in the mirror first thing this morning is not what God sees? In reading this verse we see how shallow our view of ourselves and others often is. We make judgments daily about others simply on how they look, what they wear, what they drive, or where they live. We are so much more than that!
God sees our hearts whether good or bad. But remember this also, we see others’ hearts based on their fruits and they see our hearts based on our fruits. Today let God and the world around us see a heart set to obey our God and be a reflection of Christ. - Joe
May 30, 2012
Meditations on 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
Testing means we need to make sure things are genuine. There is only one way to do that, hold it up to the Word of God. If it fails, get it out of your life!
If it passes the test as genuine, hold fast and do not let go. We would have no problem understanding the strength of the phrase “hold fast” if we were drowning and a rope were thrown to us. So hold on tight
Do not take on any behavior or thought without testing it. Then, do what you’ve got to do – let go or hold on! – Joe
May 29, 2012
Meditations on Acts 17:28, “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”
Reading verses like this reminds us we are dependent children. It reminds us of how reliant we are on our Heavenly Father. He supplies our very breath. When we left Him for sin, He supplied our way back to Him. He supplies peace and help in times of need. He gives us ways to escape temptations. He sustains us with the necessities of life. I am reminded of the deep truth in the old hymn, “I need thee every hour, Oh I need thee.”
As you begin another God given day have confidence in knowing He cares for you, and supplies all your needs as a child of His. I hope it is a day of thanksgiving to a great and loving Father. – Joe
May 25, 2012
Meditations on 2 Corinthians 8:5, “And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.”
Starving Christians in Judea needed money to survive and Paul was encouraging the Corinthian saints in both the first and second letters to step up and help. While doing so he uses the Macedonian Christians as an example and so we have this very revealing statement about the Macedonian’s core value, “they first gave themselves to the Lord.”
It is at the heart of who we are and all we ever will become. If we do not begin with self-surrender to God nothing else will matter. We can throw money at problems, we can give ourselves wholly to any and all earthly relationships, we can achieve all kinds of accolades; but without surrendering to God what will they mean?
It is such a simple statement, “they first gave themselves to the Lord.” But meditate on all it encompasses and let it describe you today. – Joe
May 24, 2012
Meditations on Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
We are Christians yet we still have sins we think we cannot stop committing. Maybe some of those sin are still a problem because we are making “provision for the flesh.”
When we think about it, how many of the sins we deal with are quite simply the results of plans (provisions) we have made to let the sins go forward. We make choices that will lead to doing the sins we say we want to stop doing. We line things up for the sins to happen. To overcome those sins, it means changing some things in our lives. We may need to change where or with whom we spend our free time; or maybe what we watch or where we shop. It could be even more serious, where we work or live.
Putting on Christ calls for radical change within us. Change that will truly show we are new creatures in Christ. As you go through the day ask yourself if your words, actions or thoughts are making provision for the flesh or for Christ? – Joe