How Are You Responding to God Today?

Ruth 2:10  Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

Today is a new opportunity to express your appreciation to God for giving you everything that pertains to life and godliness.  Our life can be so filled with distraction (job, marriage, parenting, activities, etc.) that we fail of the grace of God that presents us with the privilege of extolling His virtues, care, and provision for us.  A life spent sans worship and gratitude toward God will soon become a life sans joy and victory.  Ruth gives us a beautiful example of the proper response to God’s provisional grace exercised toward us.

In this act of the drama Ruth had just experienced the thrill of being personally addressed by Boaz.  With Ruth typifying the NT believer and Boaz our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ there is measureless value in this single verse.  Ruth was busy with life, a life that has taken a 180 degree turn in the recent weeks.  She is still mourning the loss of her husband, mourning her departure from her homeland and struggling with the separation from her family.  Suffering hurt, loneliness for home, and a great amount of uncertainty she had every reason to be distracted.  Yet, with all those burdens and cares she did not neglect the chance to humble herself under the mighty hand of Boaz.

Today you are going to face moments and incidents that you never saw coming.  If you are a stay-at-home mother your children are going to surprise you today!!  Your management of the home requires you to clean the home, do the laundry, wash dishes, plan meals and put together a shopping list to ensure you family is provided for in a manner that will allow them to tackle their day.  With all that responsibility it will be easy to forget all those responsibilities are blessings and all those blessings are given you by God.  Take time to play the part of Ruth today and fall down before God and worship Him for all His goodness toward you.  

In closing, note this conversation did not occupy a large part of her day but merely a few moments of time.  Do not burden yourself with thinking you have to dedicate a large segment of time.  Get out your Bible, capture a truth from your daily reading, muse on all that God has given you, and then fall down and worship Him!  This investment will prepare you for the events that will greet you today.  Be encouraged and go forth in His blessed Name.

It’s Not JUST You

Genesis 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 

Its another day!  Our job is to rejoice and be glad in it.  Today is another opportunity to present a sacrifice to the Lord.  We are told that our daily life is to be lived in a manner that it is an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord.  So as you move into your day let this be the occupying thought in our mind.  By keeping sacrificial living in the forefront of our mind it places us in a proper position to live a life acceptable to God.

Cain failed in this area.  Most treatments of Cain’s sacrifice focuses on the sacrifice which is not an incorrect approach.  However, it is only half the story.  You’ll notice in our text that God had not respect to the offering — that is true — but we are also told that God had no respect for Cain either.  That provides us great counsel as to how we should protect our hearts.  The greatest of offerings presented to the Lord fall flat when presented by an ill-prepared heart.  How you prepare yourself to walk through this day is critical as to how your presentation to the Lord will be received.  Do not take lightly how you interact with others, what you post in your social media, that attitude you take into different appointments today as they are areas critical to your fellowship with the Lord.

It is certain that believers can become complacent in our daily walk.  We are told by Paul that our life is actually not our life but the Christ Life.  How you approach the events that greet you today should be responded to in a manner that affirms you are living the Christ-life.  For instance, when someone attacks you today by accusation or confrontation plan now how you will respond.  When Christ was attacked, ridiculed, or scorned He did not answer in kind.  He confronted the lies but with an absence of malice.  This is your example.

So, today make it your goal that come the setting of the sun or the pillowing of your head you will have lived today in a fashion that your life can be presented with both its offering and its offerer on good standing with God.

Its a Good Day for Good Works

Titus 3:7-8  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

As you step out into this day the Lord has made, let it be adorned with ‘good works.’  But what qualifies as ‘good works?’  Many people try to perform good works in order to secure favor from God; some even go so far as to believe they might purchase forgiveness and eternal life as a result of their ‘good works.’  

God tells us that NONE of us are ‘good.’  It is a country saying that you cannot get good water from a bad well.  That is a biblical truth.  A person that is corrupted by sin cannot produce works that God would consider ‘good.’  You must first be justified by the blood of Christ.  It is only from a foundation of a justified life that you will have the ability to perform ‘good works.’  

It is of eternal importance that you get this order correct.  ‘Good Works’  never qualify as ‘good works’ until they are done BECAUSE we have been justified and NOT IN ORDER to be justified.  You are justified by faith not good works.  The result of coming to a great understanding of this truth will spur you to perform ‘good works’ on behalf of the Lord and those ‘good works’ will issue from a heart of deep gratitude.   

Luke 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Then the deeper our love and appreciation for God grows the more that love will manifest itself in ‘good works.’  Today when you go about your day, whether out in public, at home educating your children, or spending time with your spouse, let your decisions and conversations be filtered through a deep appreciation for the intercession of God’s Only Begotten Son on your behalf. 

One very succinctly stated some years ago, “A true believer does not divide righteousness from sanctification nor pardon from purity.”  God gives you the ability to work out your own salvation that He worked in you upon your exercising of faith.

The writer of Hebrews says it this way…

Hebrews 9:14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Born again believer, do ‘good works’ today!!

Wrong Decisions

Ruth 1:1 “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.”

A man’s health and wealth are temporary but his soul is eternal.  Elimelech had made an eternal decision based on temporal circumstances.  Many years ago while searching for God’s will regarding my life’s work in the ministry I found myself sitting in a hotel room in Powell, TN.  The phone rang and the person on the other end informed me that the pastor for whom I was working had a heart attack.  I was stunned but then thought, “Lord, you must want me to stay at that church.”  The next day my phone rang again, same person on the other end, but this time I was told, “It was not a heart attack, only a bout of angina.”  I said to the Lord, “You must want me to move on to another ministry.”  It was at that moment the Lord seemed to say in my heart, “Bart, do you think that is the way I work?  Do I use circumstances to determine My will for your life?  Didn’t I write that My Word was to be the lamp to your feet and light to your path?”  It was then that I knew my trust had to be in God and not circumstances.

In our text Elimelech made a decision based on temporary circumstances.  He moved his family from the House of Bread to the land of Moab.  To remove your family to an environment owned and operated under idolatry was an unguarded and ill advised decision.  Not only did he expose his sons to idolatry but he also positioned his wife to be assaulted by loneliness.  As Elimelech sold her on the idea of moving from the congregation of the Lord to the culture of Moab she gradually came to agree with him.  Now she is in a strange land among strange people that did not love her God.  She had no idea what heartache lay ahead.  When her husband died she knew precious few people that could minister to her in her grief.  Leaving God’s congregation exposes you to needless suffering.  

Pro 17:17 “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

As the songwriter wrote “You Can’t Make Old Friends.”  How lonely must Naomi had been?  Sure, she had her boys and their new girlfriends but she needed the love and support that only God’s people can provide.  This was all due to Elimelech’s decision.  Today as you work out your own salvation with fear and trembling remember to consult God’s Word for the path you should take.  You and your family will be the better for it!

The Doctrine of Christ

2Jn 1:9  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Finally, to fellowship with one that rejects the ‘Doctrine of Christ’ is to be a partaker of his ‘evil deeds (V11).’

2Jn 1:10-11  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

In this day of globalism (no borders, one currency, one governing authority, etc.) the lost frown and outlaw anything that does not agree with their satanic orthodoxy.  John the Beloved warned us of this by pulling back the curtain on the serpent’s assault on the ‘Doctrine of Christ.’  

It will do well to remember that Christ did not come to bring peace but a sword and His desire is for believers to be single focused for the cause of Christ.  The world, especially the religious world, cries for the elimination of Christian doctrines that separate the wheat from the chaff and the sheep from the goats.  However, it is the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST that is essential in the life of mankind. 

First, for the lost soul, rejecting the ‘Doctrine of Christ’ makes one a deceiver and antichrist (v7).  

2Jn 1:7  For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

To reject it as a believer is the cause for losing rewards (v8).  

2Jn 1:8  Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

To continue in this position of rejecting the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST secures one’s eternal destiny in Hell (v9) while accepting it secures one’s place in heaven (v9).  

2Jn 1:9  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Believer, you must stand for Christ and against the deceptive doctrine that rejects Christ.  If you fail in this command you  become a partaker of his ‘evil deeds (V11).’

2Jn 1:10-11  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds

So, as you go out today be prepared to speak a word of witness on behalf of the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, and ensure you give no quarter to lies and deception.  Do not become a partaker of their evil deeds!  Stand for Christ and against the great deceiver.

Finding Your Answers

In today’s world people are seeking answers to some very complex questions. While the questions are complex the answers are elemental and readily available. The searching souls are in need of someone who knows where to find the answer.  Perhaps you remember the account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.

Act 8:27  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch …

Act 8:31  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? …

Act 8:34  …of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

Like the Eunuch in Acts 8, Daniel 2 introduces us to a man, needing some man, to get him to some other man.  In our text Nebuchadnezzar has dreamed a dream (2:1) that greatly troubled him.  When he awoke, his soul was troubled but try as he would he could not recall the dream.  He would recognize it soon as he heard it but he simply could not recall the details.  

He tried to find the answer in the government he had set up.  The men occupying this office had spoke great swelling words of their ability so now it was time to show up. 

Nebuchadnezzar is a perfect object lesson of the search of the unregenerate heart.  Before people are saved we constantly seek peace, security and enjoyment.  Nebuchadnezzar was king, he had everything a man could want but was still discontent.  Why?  There was something in him that prevented him from finding peace.  Even after his dream was interpreted he awoke the next day with that same gnawing emptiness.

Dan 3:1  Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

God created mankind with an innate desire to worship something outside of himself.  There is unsettledness in the soul of every person which places them on a path searching to replace the unsettledness with peace.  So what does man do?  The same thing “N” did: busies himself creating gods in hope of producing peace.  It might be money, education, notoriety, or accomplishment, but there is no end to the gods they create trying to produce this peace.  Yet, just like “N,” the answer is in their life each day. The peace they try to produce is not found by production but in a Person, the  Prince of Peace!

Today find someone to whom you can hand a tract and speak a word of help  to guide them to Christ!  God prepared Daniel to provide the answer to Nebuchadnezzar’s need and God has prepared you to help the struggling find peace in Christ!  Go get’em!!

A Truth to Be Thankful For

Exodus 12:13  And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

At this time of Thanksgiving we celebrate the liberty and freedoms we enjoy by recognizing their source.  In 1620 a group seeking religious liberty made their way to the new world.  Having suffered a horrendous beginning God sent help to them through a native group who came to be called Indians.

This act of grace was one of the many reasons that brought about the first Thanksgiving.  These children of God recognized the protecting and provisional grace of God in bringing them through the valley of the shadow of death and allowing them to get their footing in setting the course of a new nation.

Each day we live on earth is filled with uncertainty as was the Pilgrims’ trek to the new world.  They had no idea of what would greet them upon their arrival yet they trusted God.  Our life is not different.  However on the spiritual side of life we can have absolute confidence of what lay ahead.

In our text the Israelites were instructed by God through Moses to slay a lamb and apply the blood of that lamb to the doorposts and lintels of their homes and then proceed to partake of the Passover Seder.  They were able to sit down in peace and eat even though outside their blood stained house were the sounds of screams and cries of those that were losing their first born child.  What allowed those inside the blood-stained home to experience such security?  It was the blood of the sacrificial lamb.

Of course this is the picture of the Lord Jesus, the Passover Lamb that would shed His blood to protect all who would come to Him from the wrath of God upon sin.  Recognize God added nothing to the blood requirement.  He did not ask them to mingle it with herbs or unleavened bread.  It was the blood alone the brought them security.  They believed what God had said and rested in the truth that God cannot lie.  Believing God brought peace and security and deliverance to their life.

Today put into practice that same truth.  Trust God today and rest comfortably no matter the chaos that surrounds you.  You are safe and secure by the blood of Christ.  Give God thanks for this signal truth!!

The Eternal Effect of a Godly Mother

1Sa 2:18-19  But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

In our text today we are introduced to a very tender and passionate portrait of a mother and son.  Hannah had spent the early years of her marriage to Elkanah barren.  God has closed up her womb to bring her to a place of deep petition to Him.  Here is a truth that would be good for us to hold close.  When troublesome times come to our life there is always a divine purpose behind them.  Had not Hannah suffered the sorrow of bareness and the scorn of her rival Peninnah she would not have sought the Lord with such depth and passion.  Do not waste the moments of trial for they are more precious than gold.

God at length did answer Hannah’s prayers and she bore a son and gave him the name, Samuel.  Once the child was weaned she honored her vow and ‘lent’ him back to the Lord.  She would visit her son each year as they traveled to the Temple.  In those intervening months between her visits with Samuel she occupied her time with making a cloak for him.

God had given young Samuel a linen ephod but Hannah would give him a ‘little coat.’  This was a small expression of a mother’s love that would ensure Samuel never forgot his origins and that he had a dear mother that loved him and prayed for him.  Amid all the important duties of the Temple and eventually as a prophet he would never forget the love of his mother.  Each time he reached for his coat to launch out on another round of his preaching circuit he was reminded of his mother’s love.

Samuel would eventually go the way of all the earth and find rest with spirits of just men made perfect.  Until one moment when he was summoned by the witch at En-dor.  It is wonderful and warming to note the description of Samuel—-1Sa 28:14  …And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. …

The observation is very simple.  The impressions of a godly mother will have an eternal effect on her child.  When it was time to let him go to the Lord she remained as close as the garment he wore.  A godly mother is never far away.  Today, if the Lord has given you children or someone to love intimately then make today count for eternity!

Walking and Talking

Gen 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

In our verse today we are witness to the fall of man.  The singular event in the history of man that has brought devastating consequences to every human born from Adam and Eve.  One cannot help but wonder how different man’s relationship and fellowship with God might have been had this moment played out differently.

That causes me to wonder about the singular moments in marriages that might have produced a much different outcome had they been handled differently.

Notice in this verse and the preceding that Adam is strangely silent.  Was it his fault or Eve’s that he was not involved in the conversation and consideration of the options?  It matters little, what does matter is that Adam and Eve were not in communication about the events in their respective lives.  This serves to warn us of the importance of conversation and communication in a marriage.

Most couples are taken captive by satan at his will by virtue of the fiery dart of distraction.  Adam was to be dressing and keeping the garden and Eve was to be his helper.  They were designed to fit together and work together.  They were given language and a common bond for the purpose of being one flesh, but something happened that made them vulnerable to the subtle assault of satan.  That ‘something’ might very well have been a failure in their communication.  Did Eve act independently of Adam?  Was Adam so busy as to not notice something was bothering his bride?  Surely she was acting differently as she pondered the ruse of the serpent, but Adam took no notice of it.

The result was decisions were made that were not considered as a team, as the one flesh God had designed and directed them to be.  Certainly had they nurtured that portion of the bond of marriage that required them to have daily communication this tragedy in their marriage might have been averted.   Had they simply stayed interested and invested in the life of the other their marriage would have had a much different story to tell.  Today, when you arrive home, take time to ask your spouse about their day.  Ask them of the challenges and blessings.  And then LISTEN to their reply.  Be encouraged and stay in the fray for the victory is worth the battles.

People Will Not Agree with You…And That’s OK

2Ch 15:12-14  And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.

Today we find ourselves at a time of rejoicing by the people of God.  Having experienced a time away from God and suffering the result of such a choice they have now returned to Him.  As happens on the heels of most times of tragedy there was a dramatic swing in the opposite direction.  We are creatures of extremes.

Consider the Apostles.  At one point they were so enamored with the power they had on earth that they forgot their purpose was to glorify God in heaven.

Luk 10:17  And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

Luk 10:20  Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Not long after they were at the most sobering moment in the earthly ministry of the Lord only to occupy the time arguing about heaven.

Luk 22:24  And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

One moment they were so earthly minded they were of no heavenly good and the next they were so heavenly minded they were of no earthly good.

In our text the Jews suffered the same affliction.  Having been delivered by God from the bondage of backsliding they now rejoiced in the liberty given by God.  So, what do they do?  They turn and take away the liberty of others.  

As you go about your day today remember from whence you came and surrender the need for everyone to be like you.  Exercise your liberty of choice and extend that same privilege to those you meet.  It is simply not important that everyone agrees with you.