1 The First Question
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Genesis 3:1
The first two chapters in Genesis tell of us God's creation and "it was good". When we come to chapter three, we find the first question in our scriptures. The serpent questioned God's Word. Satan is still questioning the Word of God today. Eve answered the serpent "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4 & 5) After questioning God's Word, the serpent contradicted God's Word in saying, "Ye shall not surely die." God has established laws for us to live by. How many people today begin by questioning what God has said, then contradict what He has said? The apostle Paul warned the Roman believers, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." (Romans 6:12) Many take chances today in their choices and sinful living. They think they are exempt from judgment and say, "That won't happen to me." Paul goes on to say "For the wages of sin is death..." But we can have hope. Jesus died, so that we might live. He paid for our sin on the cross. "..but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) Don't listen to the lies of Satan. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
2 Where Art Thou?
"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" Genesis 3:8 & 9
This is the second question we read in the Bible. Adam and Eve listened to the voice of the serpent and sinned, breaking their communion with God. God asked, "Where art thou?" but He knew where Adam and Eve were. "And he (Adam) said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Genesis 3:10) We are lost and hopeless in our sinful state. But God gave His only Son to be our mediator. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time." (I Timothy 2:5 & 6) Jesus came as the Good Shepherd and said, "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?" (Luke 15:4) He also said, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) Where are you? Are you a sheep in the Lord's fold? He is still calling. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) Open the door of your heart and let Him in.
3 Facing Our Sin
"And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." Genesis 3:11-13
We have several questions in these three verses. First of all, God asked Adam who told them that they had sinned. But verse 7 shows us that no one had to tell them. "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." They knew they had done wrong and they tried to cover up for their sin. We do the same thing today. If we make a mistake or do something wrong we try to cover it up and pretend it didn't really happen. When they found that they couldn't hide from God, and they couldn't cover over their sin, they tried to blame someone else. I am afraid we are also guilty of doing that. It is so much easier to put the blame on someone else, than to face up to our own short-comings and failures. I think we can learn some valuable lessons from these first few questions in our Bible. When you sin or fail, and we all do, try to remember these thoughts.
Don't try to hide from God. He knows all and sees all.
Admit your mistakes and don't try to hide them. Confess your sin to God.
Don't blame others for your failures.
And last of all, remember that we all will stand in judgment before a Holy God, and fall on our faces before Him. It is much better to bow before Him now.
4 Am I My Brother's Keeper?
"And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door... And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done?..." Genesis 4:6-10
Cain said, "Am I my brother's keeper?" He killed his brother in anger. Let's look at another brother who could have been angry. If any person ever had just cause to hate his brothers, then Joseph did. Beginning in Genesis 37 when Joseph was 17 years old, his brothers hated him. They sold him into slavery and he eventually spent several years in prison for false accusations. Many years later Joseph became a ruler over Egypt and met his brothers again. He had the power and position to get revenge, but instead he helped them. After the death of his father his brothers asked for forgiveness, "And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them." (Genesis 50:19-21) Do you remember what Jesus said about forgiving your brother? "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven tmes? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21 & 22) We are told to love our brothers. "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." (I John 4:20 & 21) I think God's Word clearly shows that we are indeed our brother's keeper.
5 Where Are You Headed?
"And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD... Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan;... and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." Genesis 13:8-13
Abraham and Lot did not have enough land to feed their cattle so they decided to go in opposite directions. Abraham let Lot choose first and he chose the well watered plain of Jordan and "pitched his tent toward Sodom". Here we see the deception of sin. It looked good, described as "the garden of the LORD". But the city was wicked. Next we see the progression of sin. Maybe he didn't plan to go into the wicked city. He just wanted to let his cattle feed on the plain. But in Genesis 14:12 we see that Lot dwelt in Sodom, and in Genesis 19:1 "Lot sat in the gate of Sodom". He had become an important man in Sodom. And last of all, we see the cost of sin. Lot lost all that he had except for two of his daughters. His wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. He did not have time to take any belongings with him. He didn't have time to herd his cattle away. He lost everything. Take a look at your life, right where you are today. Are you in the right place. Where are you headed? Don't be deceived by the bright, outward appearance of sin. It will lead you down paths you don't want to go. It will take you on a downward spiral and leave you empty. Abraham and Lot chose opposite directions. Let's look back to Abramham's choice. "Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD." (Genesis 13:18) We know what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. God rained down fire and brimstone and destroyed the cities and all the plain. "And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt." (Genesis 19:29) It is interesting to read here that "God remembered Abraham". God saved Lot because of the prayers of Abraham. If you are headed in the wrong direction, turn around. If you have friends living in sin, pray for them. You don't know how much God's protection may be on them because of your prayers.
6 Is Anything Too Hard For The Lord?
"And the LORD said unto Abraham, wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son." Genesis 18:13 & 14
God had promised Abraham that he would be a father of many nations. "Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred yeard old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?" (Genesis 17:17) He laughed so hard he fell on his face. Sarah also laughed when she heard from behind the tent door. And the Lord asked Abraham, "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" The Lord also asked Jeremiah, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:27) What do you think? Is anything too hard for God? Let's read a prayer of Jeremiah, "Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, and LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men:" (Jeremiah 32:17-19) We serve a great God, and I can say with Jeremiah, there is nothing too hard for God. We are so small but we serve a big God. Don't hesitate to believe His Word. Trust Him and know that there is nothing too hard for God.
7 Where Is The Lamb?
"And Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering:..." Genesis 22:6-8
God told Abraham to sacrifice the one he loved, his only son, "And Abraham rose up early in the morning,... and went unto the place of which God had told him." (Genesis 22:3) Abraham was willing to obey God and did not hesitate to do so. Abraham built the altar and laid the wood in order, and the angel called out to him "And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son." (Genesis 22:12 & 13) God provided the sacrifice, not only then, but again two thousand years later. God laid the wood on His Son and He was led up the mountain to be the Lamb offering for my sin. He was sinless and spotless, and He died to pay the price for sins He didn't commit. God provided the Lamb for the offering. John the Baptist proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) And in the book of Revelations we read of "ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." (Revelation 5:11 & 12) Are you going to be present to give glory and honor the Lamb? The sacrifice was made, all you have to do is accept and believe.
8 Who Is God?
"And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword." Exodus 5:2 & 3
I woke up during the night to the deep sound of an owl calling outside my window, "Who, who, who?" The call was returned by another owl somewhere in the distance, "Who, who, who?" And yet another call came, with a higher sound as if from a younger owl, "Who, who, who?" I listened for several minutes as the owls called to each other. Just as I was about to get up and close my window so I could go back to sleep, they must have moved on. This made me think of people that ask, "Who is God?" Just as Pharaoh asked so long ago, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice?", people today have the same attitude. God told Moses, "I AM THAT I AM." (Exodus 3:14) He is the God of creation, the God from everlasting to everlasting. He is the God of love and of judgment. Pharaoh found out who God is through all the plagues on Egypt when he refused to let the children of Israel go. The Lord told Moses, "And the Eqyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen... And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians." (Exodus 14:18 & 24, 25) Do you know God?
9 Who Is Lord?
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Matthew 16:13-16
Many people today know who Jesus is. At Christmas they celebrate the birth of Jesus and at Easter they celebrate the resurrection. But there is a difference in knowing who Jesus is, and knowing Jesus as Lord. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-13) Paul tells us how to really know Jesus in Romans 10:9 & 10, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Is Christ, the Son of the living God Lord of your life?
10 Who Am I?
"Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?" II Samuel 7:18
I have heard people say, "He left his family to go find himself", or speaking of a teen runaway, "She went to find herself", or "She left her husband to go find herself." Have you ever asked yourself the questions, "Who am I?" or "What am I doing here?" If you feel that you are lost, you can't find yourself. You must trust in the Lord to save you and find you, as we talked before about knowing God. When you know God and see just how big God is, then you see how small you really are. In Psalm 8 David wrote, "O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens, ... When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" (Psalm 8:1, 3 & 4) Let's also look at Isaiah. "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims... And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (Isaiah 6:1-5) The 26th chapter of II Chronicles tells us that King Uzziah was a good king who reigned 52 years in Jerusalem. The people must have mourned greatly at his death and wondered about the next king. But Isaiah saw The King, the LORD of hosts and when he saw how great God is, he saw how lowly he was. I want to say with David, "Who am I, O Lord God?" as I look around and see all the blessings God has given me. We can also cry with the seraphims, "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the earth is full of his glory."
11 Who Is My Neighbor?
"And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?" Luke 10:25-29
Jesus went on to tell the parable of the man who fell among thieves. A priest and a Levite passed him and walked on the other side of the road. "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds... and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and too care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." (Luke 10:33-37) The Jews and the Samaritans had no dealings with each other in the days when Jesus walked on the earth. Jesus told this story of the Samaritan who had mercy and compassion. Jesus wants us to show love and kindness to everyone we meet. There are many different cultures and nationalities in our country today. We go to school and work with people of different races. We should not be prejudice toward those who speak a different language or judge others by the color of their skin. Jesus died for all. Paul said, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26-28) We are brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray that God will remove the prejudices that are hidden in our hearts and we can show the love of Christ to all.
12 Who Can Be Saved?
"When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:25 & 26
Jesus had been talking to the rich young ruler who wanted to know what good thing he could do to be saved. Jesus told him to sell what he had and give to the poor and follow Him. The young man regarded his possessions above Christ and walked away sorrowful. "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:23 & 24) So, who can be saved? John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Also in Romans 10:13 we read, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." If anyone and everyone can be saved, why aren't they? I think many people let pride stand in their way. They are too proud to bow before God, or they trust in their riches and don't feel like they need God. Popularity and prosperity can also hinder people from wanting to be saved. They are blinded and can't see how Jesus can change their lives. My son brought home a conversation that they had at school. "Are you saved with your brain, or with your heart? If you could have a brain or heart transplant would the recipient then be saved? Just suppose that Josh is lost and I could give him my brain..." His younger brother interrupted suddenly, "Oh, no... if you want to pretend... you be the lost person... I'll be the saved person." Once you are saved, you never want to go back to being bound by sin. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17) Who can be saved? Anyone and everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.
13 Who Will Go?
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:8
As we get farther into spring, the weather gets warmer, and as the afternoons get hotter, the air conditioner kicks on in my office and it gets colder. It is really strange that we will probably be colder in the summer than we are in the winter. The cold air blowing above my desk today reminded me of one of our missionary letters posted on the board at church. Our church supports a missionary family in the frozen north. The letter said the fire wood keeps the hut warm but the fire goes out at night and they often wake in the mornings to 0 degree temperatures. They left the comforts of America to face the hardships in a frozen land to tell others about our Lord. The Lord asked Isaiah, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And Isaiah spoke right up, "Here am I; send me." What has the Lord asked you to do? Are you willing to go where He wants you to go? Pray for the missionaries who are willing to go all over the world to spread God's message. And pray for boldness to go to your neighbors, and co-workers, and friends to tell them about God's love. Another thing we can do to support our missionaries is to give them monetary support. Many leave good jobs, their homes, and families to serve the Lord. We need to remember them continually in our prayers and support.
14 Who Is Worthy?
"And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon." Revelation 5:1-4
Who is worthy? "And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book,... And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." (Revelation 5:5, 11-13) Christ alone is worthy of our praise. Those who are rich receive praise from the world, but Paul told the Corinthian believers, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." (II Corinthians 8:9) Those who are great are praised, but Isaiah 40:12 asks us of God "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" Some who have great intelligence are praised, But Paul tells us in Colossians 2:3 of Christ "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Those who give sacrificially are sometimes honored and praised, but "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) That love, that led Him to Calvary, makes Him worthy of our praise. To whom do you give praise?
15 Why Are You Sad?
"Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?" Nehemiah 2:2 & 3
The time came around again for me to get my drivers' license renewed. I had no trouble passing the eye test with my trusty glasses and after a brief wait I was sitting in front of the camera. I tried to show a natural smile and the officer said, "You can't smile." I thought she was kidding and it made me almost laugh. Again she said, "No, really, according to Homeland Security you can't smile." I was surprised. I tried to cover my smile without appearing that I was mad at the world. For me, the hardest times to keep from laughing are the times when you know you can't. I remember sitting in church when I was young and a fly landed on the bald spot of the man sitting in front of me. I know that really wasn't that funny, but knowing that I couldn't laugh made me want to laugh even more. Nehemiah was the king's cupbearer and in the first verse he said, "...Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence." What a remarkable statement. I see so many people walking around in a state of sadness almost all the time. Nehemiah was sad over the state of Jerusalem, his home. He took his petition to the king and went to help restore the wall and city. Is your countenance sad? The picture on my license looks so bad, I hate to show it to anyone. God has given us salvation, and showered His love on us with abundant blessings. If you have reasons to be sad, take your burdens to the King of Kings who has power to give you joy. If you have sin in your life, ask for forgiveness and pray with King David, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." (Psalm 51:12)
16 Why Is The House Of God Forsaken?
"And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. and it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers; and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat-offering and the frankincense. And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every on to his field. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries." Nehemiah 13:7-12
The king gave Nehemiah leave to go back to repair the walls and city of Jerusalem. He told the people of his plans on rebuilding the walls. "But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem." (Nehemiah 2:19 & 20) These men fought so strongly against them that the workers used one hand to do the work and held a weapon in the other hand. (4:17) Tobiah had said that if a fox went on the wall it would break it down. (4:3) In our verses above we see that Tobiah had moved into the house of God, and made the Levites and priests move out. Nehemiah asked, "Why is the house of God forsaken?" Some of our opposition comes from without. These men tried to stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When their efforts of destruction failed, Tobiah allied himself to Eliashib the priest and moved in. God has given us churches to meet together to worship Him. Many times we have opposition from without which keeps us from going forward with the Lord's work. When that doesn't work, Satan may send opposition from within. We need to keep going forward in our work for the Lord. Don't forsake the house of the Lord. There are so many people who say that someone in the church said something they didn't like and they use that as an excuse to just quit going. Don't quit. Keep on serving the Lord. Don't let people outside the church keep you from following God in service for Him and don't let people from within the church keep you from worshipping him. Keep on keeping on.
"And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." Judges 6:13
Here is the ultimate "Why?" How many times have we thought in our hearts, "If God is with us then why has this happened?" I have heard people say that it is wrong to ask "Why?" But here we see that Gideon questioned the Lord and the Lord promised him deliverance. "...Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us?..." First of all, we can't say that bad things happen because the Lord is not with us. Times got really bad for the children of Israel before God delivered them out of Egypt. God told Moses, "And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go." (Exodus 4:19 & 20) Pharaoh actually made things worse for the children of Israel by taking away the straw they used to make the bricks. God sent Moses back to Pharaoh and told him, "And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD..." (Exodus 7:5) Just because bad things happen to us, that doesn't mean that God is not with us. "...and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?..." Next, we shouldn't limit God to the past. We had a measure of revival twenty-five years ago. But we should not put limits on God and say that we had revival then, but we can't have a Holy Ghost revival in our hearts and lives again. God is still the same as He always has been. We are the ones who have strayed away. We need to return to Him. "...but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." And last of all we need to question why God delivered the Israelites into the hands of Midian to begin with. God told the children of Israel to drive the Canaanites out of the land and we read, "And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem..." (Judges 1:21) "Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns... but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.) (1:27) "Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer... Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them..." (1:29 & 30) And the list goes on. They did not fully obey the commandments of God. "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years." (Judges 6:1) The book of Judges is summed up by the last verse in the book. "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25) Sometimes bad things happen in our lives because of sin and incomplete obedience. After Gideon destroyed the idols God gave them deliverance. If something has happened in your life that has caused you to ask God "Why?", maybe you need to ask yourself and search your heart and life to see if you have been fully obedient to God and followed His guidance.
18 Why Are You Troubled?
"And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled?..." Luke 24:36-38
Jesus asked His disciples, "Why are ye troubled?" Are you troubled? At my house everyone seems to be stressing over final exams and end of the year projects and papers. For those graduating, stepping out into life can be troubling. Take your cares and burdens to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to stand with you and give you peace that only He can give. Let's look at some of the comforting words of our Lord. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3) And in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Let the Lord help you carry your burdens. While you are cramming for those finals, make sure you take time to eat and sleep. And as you try to commit so much information to memory, don't forget that Jesus loves you and He cares.
19 Why Call Him Lord And Not Obey His Word?
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Luke 6:45 & 46
A few years back it became popular to be a "Christian". Movie stars, politicians, country singers, and athletes all began to profess to be born again. Many professional people gained popularity through their religion. I heard ball players on television praise God in one sentence and curse in the next. If we are Christians we need to talk and act like Christ. True born-again believers who follow God are not loved by the world. Jesus said, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:18 & 19) Christ also said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15) If we are going to proclaim that we are Christians, we need to separate ourselves from the sin of the world. Our friends and family should be able to see a difference in our lives as we live for God.
20 Why Sin Against The Lord?
"And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him?..." I Samuel 2:23-25
Eli was the priest, but his sons were very wicked. Verse 17 of this chapter tells us, "Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD." They would take the best of the offerings that people brought to the temple for themselves. If people would not give it to them they would take it by force. So the people did not even want to take their sacrifices to the temple. Their father warned them, "If one man sin against another the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him?" We need to be very careful about the things we do and the life we live. When we tell others that we are Christians we must live a separated life. Paul told the Roman believers, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1 & 2) It is our reasonable service to live for God. When we live in sin, we may hinder those who are watching us, thus preventing them from wanting to be saved. I think we can also see from these words of Eli that it is not enough that we are in church serving God. We need to be sure we are serving Him fully and not hindering other believers with our unclean living. In chapter 4 we see that Eli and his two sons died in the same day. Also his daughter in law died in childbirth. "And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken." (I Samuel 4:21 & 22)
21 Why Stand Ye All The Day Idle?
"And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:10 & 11
Jesus wants us to be busy for the Lord. We can read the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard in the 20th chapter of Matthew. A man went out early in the morning and hired labourers for his vineyard, who agreed to work for one penny a day. I don't know how their money system worked, or how much a penny was in that day, but that was reasonable because the men agreed to work for that amount. About the third hour, which would have been the third hour from daybreak, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace and gave them the opportunity to work and he would pay them a fair amount. "Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive." (Matthew 20:5-7) At the end of the day the man called them to give them their pay, beginning with those who came last. He gave all the workers a penny. "But when the first came they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee." (Matthew 20:10-14) We are laborers for Christ. Down through the years many have withstood hardship and endured persecution for their faith. We have been called in the last hours. But if we work for Jesus, He will reward us just as He promised. In our verse above the angels asked those who watched Jesus ascend up into heaven, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?" Christ does not want us to stand idle until He returns. We need to be busy in our work for the Lord.
22 What Shall We Render To The Lord?
"What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?" Psalm 116:12
What a wonderful day and age to be a mother. When I think back of all that our mothers and grandmothers had to do it makes me thankful for all the conveniences I have. The Lord has blessed us with so many benefits. When you go to apply for a job, the employer is sure to tell you all the benefits the company can offer you. Well, as a Christian mother, I can tell you of wonderful benefits the Lord has given me. Not only did He make a way through Calvary, but the Comforter abides in my soul, giving me peace in times of trouble. He provides the Fruit of the Spirit which is such a great help to deal with all the aspects of motherhood. I could never have been the mother to my children that I needed to be without the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance that we find in the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22 & 23) Not only have I been blessed with Spiritual benefits, I have been born in a time of modern conveniences. I did not always have disposable diapers when my children were small, but I was able to wash cloth diapers in a washing machine. I had the convenience of baby food in jars and cereal that could be mixed with a little milk. I looked forward to each little milestone as they learned to walk, and talk, and feed themselves. We had a good elementary school in our area and God provided transportation so that I could carry them to school every morning and pick them up every afternoon. It was a tremendous milestone when I waited in line for the last time after 15 years as my youngest moved out of elementary school on to middle school. We are celebrating two graduations this month. One has graduated from Piedmont Bible College and is ready to serve God in his call to the ministry. Another is graduating from high school and getting ready to enter college. And the Lord willing, in another three years we will pass another great milestone as my "baby" graduates from high school. As my children grow up and mature into young Christian adults, I often ask myself this question, "What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?" God has been so good to me and blessed me so much that sometimes I just can't contain my joy and praise to Him. As I lay in bed some nights thanking Him for His blessings of the day, I lift my hands up toward heaven and just say "Thank you, Lord". We can never repay the Lord for what He has done for us, but maybe our praise can show His love to others.
23 What Shall We Do?
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For this promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call... Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Acts 2:37-41
When Peter preached to repent, the people asked "What shall we do?" We read that 3,000 people were saved in one day and verse 47 tells us that "...the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." We all want our churches to grow. Let's turn the question around and ask "What shall we do to add souls to our church?" Preacher Courtney Crowson used this thought to exhort our church members last week. He said that first of all there was Preaching. Peter stood up in boldness and preached to the multitude. "...it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (I Corinthians 1:21) We need sound preaching in our churches. Second we see that they had Prayer. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication..." (Acts 1:14) Not all are preachers, but we can all pray. We also need Preparation. Prepare your heart and mind before you come to the house of God. We can learn from the book of Samuel. "And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only..." (I Samuel 7:3) Put God first in your life. This also brings a Pure Heart. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart..." (Psalm 24:3 & 4) And last of all they had a Simple Plan. The plan of salvation is simple. "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Acts 2:21) We can apply these simple truths and maybe we too can see souls added daily.
24 What Shall It Profit?
"And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mark 8:34-37
From the little store on the street corner, to the big mega superstores, they are all trying to make a profit. You may work in a small office with only two or three people or you may be one among two or three thousand working for a company nationwide. Whatever the size of the company, it must continue to make a profit to stay open. Jesus said, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" If you became a top CEO and made multi-millions, or you were a famous sports star with everything a person could want, but do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior you will die and leave it all behind. All we have is nothing, without Christ. Jesus told the Parable of the Rich Fool. "And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:16-21)
25 What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful Of Him?
"What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" Psalm 8:4
This is my favorite Psalm. I worked it in cross-stitch twenty years ago and it still hangs on my wall. It really needs to explanation or elaboration. Just read it slowly and think about each verse.
1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
26 What Shall I Do With Jesus?
"Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it." Matthew 27:22-24
This is the most important question you will ever answer, "What shall I do with Jesus?" Pilate made the wrong decision. He said that he washed his hands and was innocent. But we are all guilty of sin and death. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) If you don't choose to follow Christ, you are choosing to reject Christ. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away our sin. John said, "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Revelation 1:5) Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-19) What will you do with Jesus?
27 What Must I Do To Be Saved?
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Acts 16:25-30
Once you have answered the question, "What will I do with Jesus?" the next question is "What must I do to be saved?" When I was in the third grade my teacher read the class a book titled, "Where Do Butterflies Go When It Rains?" I kept waiting for the answer, but the book was just a picture book full of questions. I was upset that I never found out the answer. In our scripture story above, the jailor had been put in charge of the prisoners and knew his life would be taken in place of the escaped prisoners. But before he could end his own life, Paul stopped him and told him they were all there. He then asked Paul and Silas a very important question, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they had the answer. "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." (Acts 16:31-34) The way to salvation can be explained as simple as A, B, C. A -- Admit that you are a sinner. Many today won't get saved because they don't accept the fact that they are lost. They think their good outweighs their bad and they are trusting in their own works instead of the work Jesus did in giving His life to pay for our sin. B -- Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven. It is not enough to believe that Jesus was a good man, you must believe that He is Lord of all and the only way. C -- Confess the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul told the Romans, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:9-11) When you are saved, you will want to tell others about the Lord. Not only was the jailor saved, we read that he believed "in God with all his house."
28 What Is In Your Hands?
"And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand." Exodus 4:1-4
Moses was a shepherd on the backside of the desert when God spoke to him out of the burning bush. God told him to go back to Egypt and lead His people out of bondage. Moses remembered smiting the Egyptian and having to flee from Egypt. He gave God all kinds of excuses as to why he could not go back, when in reality he "was content" to live in Midian, while his people were in bondage. (Exodus 2:21) There are people all around us in bondage to sin, but we are content to close our eyes to their pain and suffering. After several excuses God asked Moses, "What is that in thine hand?" Moses had a rod that he could use for protection in the wilderness. He could also use it to lean on when he climbed the mountain. God told him to throw down the rod and Moses learned that he needed to trust in God for protection and that he could lean on God in hard times. Then God let him pick the rod back up. What are you trusting in for your protection? Is it a large bank account? Are you trusting in your health or job? What are you leaning on when times get rough? Whatever it is, you need to lay it aside and trust in the Lord. He may let you pick it right back up once you put all your faith in Him. God used the rod to do mighty miracles. The rod was lifted up in the sight of Pharaoh over the river and land as God sent terrible plagues on Egypt. When the children of Israel came to the Red Sea God said, "But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea." (Exodus 14:16) Over and over we see the rod. When Moses was willing to give what he had to God, God gave it back to him and used it for His glory. We need to give what we have to God. It may be out talents or our possessions. Whatever you have, give it to the Lord and put your faith and confidence in the only true and living God and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
29 How Shall We Sing The Lord's Song In A Strange Land?
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?" Psalm 137:1-4
Are you singing the Lord's song? Four years ago when my son went away to college I began sending him devotions every night through email. Last week he graduated. He recently mentioned one of the devotionals I sent on these verses. I told him to get a song in his heart and sing throughout the day. I did not know that he would remember those words throughout the past 4 years. Did you go to church today and sing the Lord's songs? Or, have you hung your harps on the willows? Years ago when we started visiting different churches I also felt like I was in a strange land. I got discouraged trying to find where God wanted us to be. But God once again put a song in my heart. He gave me back my song. I can say with David, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." (Psalm 122:1) We can see in many of the Psalms how we should sing to the Lord. "O Come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms." (Psalm 95:1 & 2) "O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth." (Psalm 96:1) "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing." (Psalm 100:1 & 2) God wants to hear you sing.
30 How Long Halt Ye Between Two Opinions?
"And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word." I Kings 18:17-21
We have been looking at different questions and answers in the Bible. We looked at the first questions, and several "Who?", "Why?", and "What?" questions. We have looked at questions which still need answers today. This is such a question. Ahab sent to all the children of Israel and Elijah asked, "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." And it is sad to notice that "the people answered him not a word." How many people today are trying to stand in the middle between serving the Lord and not serving the Lord? They say that they are Christians and they go to church sometimes, but they don't want to fully follow God. It is time for Christians to stand up and serve the Lord in faithfulness and holiness. Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24 & 25) We also have the words of Joshua in the Old Testament, "Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:14 & 15) Have you made a commitment to serve the Lord? How long halt ye between two opinions?
31 How Long Will You Wait To Claim God's Promises?
"And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you? Joshua 18:3
God had given the children of Israel the land of Canaan, but here we see that some of them had not received their inheritance. Every so often I see a long list of names in the newspaper of people who the government owes money. The list is provided so that the people can step forward and claim their part. In much the same way, God has made promises and put them in the Bible so we can claim them. He has provided benefits and the only reason we don't have them is that we have not asked for them. James said, "...ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lists." (James 4:2 & 3) The first thing we must ask for is salvation. God has provided salvation free to all who believe. The next thing we should ask for is also mentioned by James. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering..." (James 1:5 & 6) We can claim love, joy, and peace and the blessings in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 & 23. We can also see blessed promises in the 23rd Psalm.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Find your promises in God's Word and claim them for your own.
32 How Close Is Close Enough?
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" Isaish 55:6
How close is close enough? When my son graduates from high school Friday night, the chair of Matthew H. will be empty. He drowned this past weekend while swimming with a friend. As they started to the other side, they must have thought the bank on the other side was close, but it was not close enough. His friend realized they were in trouble and swam to the side for help. Matthew could not save himself and drowned.
How close is close enough? Someone called 911, and as his family and friends were arriving for a surprise graduation party, neighbors were diving, desperately searching for him. But no one was close enough to save him.
How close is close enough? I heard the comment made, "He was so close to graduation. He has been going to school 13 years and came within one week of graduating." None of us know when our time on earth will be over. Our verse above says, "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." Don't wait until it is too late to ask the Lord to save you. Don't put it off until you get out of school or college, or until you get your big promotion. Matthew was only 17 years old. Now his life on earth is over. One of the saddest verses in the Bible is Acts 26:28, "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Agrippa came close, and we don't know if he ever trusted the Lord as his Savior. How close are you?
33 How Can We Know The Way?
"Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:5 & 6
There are some things about the internet that I don't like. I think it can be a temptation in many ways. But there are also things I do like about the internet. The "Map" programs have been a big help to me on several occasions. If I don't know exactly where I am going, I can put in the starting place and the place I am headed and get a map with directions, including street names and turning points. Jesus told the disciples, "...I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." That is when Thomas spoke up and said, "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" We have an answer to this question because Thomas spoke up and asked. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The Word of God gives us directions. We can read our Bible and find simple truths that lead us day by day, pointing us in the right direction. If you don't know where you are going, speak up. Ask the Lord to give you direction, and He will lead you in the right paths.
34 How Could That Happen?
"Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?" Proverbs 20:24
As a parent I have probably asked my children in a very discouraged tone, "How could that have happened?" There were even very sad times when they asked me, "How could that happen?" I remember 25 years ago when we left our car at the shop for some work and the owner called Sunday morning and asked, "Did you come by and get your car?" My husband said, "No", to which he replied, "Well, somebody did... I'll call and report it." We could have responded in anger, "HOW COULD THAT HAPPEN?" but, instead it was more of a confused, bewildered, "How could that happen?" We did not understand why or how our car was stolen, but we did see it as a time to buy another car. There are many things that happen in our lives that we don't understand. If someone has a miraculous recovery even the doctors may question unbelievingly, "How did that happen?" In our verse above, Solomon tells us, "Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?" Joseph, in the Old Testament, could have questioned why his brothers sold him to be a slave. He could have asked why he was thrown in prison when he had done the right thing. But he kept the right attitude, even at his father's death. "And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. and he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them." (Genesis 50:18-21) We also read in Proverbs 3:5 & 6, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." The next time you are prone to ask, "How could that happen?", maybe you need to just look to the Lord and trust in Him, and not try to understand,... just have faith.
35 How Can We Escape If We Neglect So Great Salvation?
"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by the angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? " Hebrews 2:1-4
We have often talked about salvation and here we see another question regarding salvation. These verses tell us that the angels were accountable for their wrong-doing and verse 7 tells us that we are "...a little lower than the angels..." So we can see that we will certainly be accountable for our sin. I also notice in these verses the word, "neglect". We often think of people who don't believe in God and those who "reject" Christ as the ones who end up being lost through eternity. But this verse doesn't say "reject". We don't have to openly deny knowing God to continue lost in our sins. If we hear the Word and let it slip by without asking the Lord to save us, we are neglecting the Word we have heard. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23) You may believe that there is a God in heaven. You may do works in his name. But if you have not asked the Lord to save you, you are doing the works in your own merit. I have heard ball players give God the glory for a winning game, but doing works in His name is not enough to save a person. Just believing that there is a God will not save you. James said, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19) Once again let's look at these familiar verses in John 3, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18) Please don't neglect God's Word.
36 Where Are The Nine?
"And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?" Luke 17:12-17
This is a story that is often taught to children to show them the importance of saying, "Thank you". But children are not the only ones who should show thanks. If you are graduating this month, you may have received gifts from special people in your life. Make sure you send them "Thank you" notes to show them how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness. This is also the time of year when many have their wedding ceremonies. If this is your special time and you are receiving wedding gifts, again, don't forget to send "Thank you" notes. Always remember to show thanks for people who do special things for you. And don't forget to give thanks to God for all the many things He has done for you. We have a special day of Thanksgiving in November, but we need to be thankful throughout the year. Don't be like the nine who continued on their way. Always take enough time to give thanks, to God, and to others in your life.
37 Where Is The Lord God Of Elijah?
"And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof, And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over." II Kings 2:8-14
Elijah was a great prophet. He was so great that some people thought that John the Baptist was Elias, or Elijah (John 1:21) and others thought that Jesus was Elias, or Elijah. (Matthew 16:14) Elisha was a young prophet who ministered to Elijah. When the ministry of Elijah was over, Elisha wanted a double portion of the spirit of Elijah. He asked, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" We need God's presence in our lives. God has not changed down through the ages. We can still serve the same God that Elijah served. We can also ask the question, "Where are the Elijahs and Elishas of the Lord God?" We need young preachers who will serve the Lord in spirit and in truth. I can look back through the years and think of many men and women who were good Christian people who have gone on to heaven. And just as Elisha stepped up to the bank of the Jordan River, we need young people today who will step up and take their places in service for our Lord. Are you serving the Lord God of Elijah?
38 Where Could I Go But To The Lord?
"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." John 6:66-69
Many of the followers of Jesus turned away, but Simon Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." Our family and friends may turn away from us. We may feel deserted and alone. We may even stray away from the Lord. But we can always count on Jesus to be there. He said, "... I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20) J. B. Coats wrote a song in 1940 that we used to sing in church when I was young. The words still come to my mind when I feel lonely and discouraged.
"Where could I go? O where could I go? Seeking a refuge for my soul. Needing a Friend to save me in the end, Where could I go but to the Lord?"
Do you need a friend? Jesus is "a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24) Don't turn away from the Lord. There is really no other place to go.
39 Where Can You Find Wisdom?
"Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it. Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone... As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire. The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold." Job 28:1, 2, 5 & 6
Job had been a wealthy man. Maybe he had searched and found silver veins in the earth and maybe he had servants that worked with gold, iron, and brass. He knew where to find these precious valuables. He knew that bread, a daily need came out of the earth, and also sapphires and beautiful jewels also came from the earth. He also knew that there were places that no one knew of. "There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it." (Job 28:7 & 8) But then he asks, "But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it... No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies... neither shall it be valued with pure gold. Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?" (Job 28:12-20) Job knew the value of wisdom. I am glad that he went on to tell us where to find wisdom. "God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof." (Job 28:23) "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." (Job 28:28) There it is. Here is the answer to our question. Where can you find wisdom? "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10)
40 Where Is Your Faith?
"And he said unto them,Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered..." Luke 8:25
Sometimes our fears can shake our faith and cause us to doubt. Sometimes our problems may shake our faith. Preacher Daniel Key preached at our church about John the Baptist. "And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight." (Luke 7:19-21) John had preached of the coming of Christ, he had baptized many. Even as he baptized Jesus he heard the voice of God the Father and saw the Holy Ghost descending like a dove. John had already heard of all the wonderful things Jesus was doing (vs 18) but now he has been cast into prison. He waited day after day for the Lord to come and minister to his needs, but Jesus never came. He must have been discouraged as he looked at where his ministry had been to where he was now. As his faith wavered he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, "Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?" The disciples witnessed many miracles of Jesus in that one hour. But when not even a witness is enough, God gives us His Word. "Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame wolk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." (Luke 7:22 & 23) Jesus knew that John knew the scriptures, "Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." (Isaiah 35:4-6) He gave John the Word. When you feel that your circumstances have locked you up in prison, of finances, of sickness, of fear, and the witness of others can't lift you out, turn to the Word. Where is your faith? Only Christ can lift you up. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2) "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..."
41 Is There Not A Cause?
"And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" I Samuel 17:28 & 29
When a young child asks a question and you don't have the time to explain or the child isn't old enough to understand the answer it can sometimes be easier to answer, "Because". As children get older they begin to reply, "'Cause why?" And if they are still too young to understand the reason, they may be satisfied with a "Just... because". But we all reach an age when we really want another answer than, "Because". David's father sent him to the battle with food for his brothers. When he got there he saw and heard the Philistine giant, Goliath, defy the armies of Israel. This champion of the Philistine army stood against Israel morning and evening for 40 days. David's oldest brother gave all the wrong answers as to why David had come. "And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" Do you ever feel like saying that when your older brother or sister 'jumps on you'? When someone misjudges you, don't you want to throw your hands up and say, "What have I done now?" David turned the question around to them, "Is there not a cause?" David told King Saul that he would fight Goliath. "And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth... Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee." (I Samuel 17:34-37) David had a cause. The Philistine had defied the armies of the living God. Do you have a cause? Many do work for charities because they believe the charities are "a good cause". Some give donations to "a good cause". What is your cause? We need to stand up against evil for the cause of Christ. We have a righteous cause. David said in Psalm 35:27 & 28, "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long." God may not call on you to overcome giants, but we can all tell of His righteousness to others. That is our cause.
42 Is A Candle Put Under A Basket?
"And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?" Mark 4:21
We also have these sayings in the book of Matthew. "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16) I have a few candles and on rare occasions I will burn them for their fragrance. I also keep some handy for emergency lighting when our power goes off. We were without power for several days a few years ago during ice and snow storms. I lit several candles and put a few in front of mirrors to reflect the light even more. We have a wood stove that we used for heat and cooking so the loss of power was not as bad for us as for some who had no source of heat. It was really quiet and relaxing to sit in the candlelight without the noise of television, computers, and electronic games. Jesus is the light of the world and we are to reflect His light just as a mirror reflects the light of my candles. If you put a candle under a basket, it will hide the light. It will also use up its source of oxygen, and grow dimmer and dimmer until it eventually goes out. Are you letting your light shine? Can others see Christ in you? We have a warning in the book of Revelation. "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil:... and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured,... Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." (Revelation 2:1-5) Let your light shine.
43 Wilt Thou Not Revive Us Again?
"Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" Psalm 85:6
Yesterday we saw God's warning to the church at Ephesus, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." All their good works were listed in verses 2 and 3, but they had left their first love. Have you left your first love? Have you grown cold in your heart in your relationship with God? First of all, we need to remember. "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen." Remember how much God loves you that He reached down and saved you from a life of sin. Remember where He brought you from. Next we see that we are to repent. "Repent, and do the first works." If we truly want revival in our churches we need to seek it and ask the Lord as David did, "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" We need to remember, and we need to repent. Revive us again, O Lord.
44 Who Can Tell?
"Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?" Jonah 3:9 & 10 and 4:1-4
Every morning as I go to work I pass a huge bus manufacturing plant. When I was younger I thought it looked like a yellow sea and the buses rolled in and out as waves in their different stages of production. One morning as I passed several in line to be delivered I could see the county names painted in black letters on the sides of the buses. I thought about all the states, counties, and even schools represented by this vast yellow sea. Then, looking above the names I saw the windows and I thought about all the individual children represented by each seat and window... multitudes of children. God spared Nineveh and Jonah became angry. The last verse in Jonah tells us of God's love for the children. "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" (Jonah 4:11) He said there were 120,000 people who did not know their right hand from their left hand. My uncle, Larry, is back from Iraq. He has such a love and compassion for the children there. He went to the brick yard and he said the children begin working as soon as they are old enough to carry a brick. They grow old there and that is the only life they ever know. His troop gave them book bags and small gifts. Larry is home for the summer, but he has volunteered to go back overseas. He feels that they are helping in making life better for the children. Today is Memorial Day. Today is a day to thank God for the freedom you enjoy. Men and women have died to give us the freedom we have. You may agree or disagree that our armed forces should be overseas. Whatever your stance, pray for them. Pray for the children. God spared Nineveh in His great love and mercy. We can say today, that God has also spared us because of His great love and mercy. Take time to remember and thank Him!
45 What Has Hindered You?
"Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" Galatians 5:10
Do you ever find that when you start something it's easy at first, but then you get tired of it or bored with it and quit? Maybe you tried to learn to play a musical instrument, or a new sport and you were so excited, but you soon found that it was going to take a lot of practice. Or maybe you started a new exercise program and you started getting into shape, but then you stopped losing weight and you just got tired of working out every day. Think back to the excitement you felt when you first got saved. Remember how you wanted to work for the Lord? What has hindered you? When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Colosse he included salutations from those with him. "Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you." (Colossians 4:14) But when he wrote to Timothy he said, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and departed unto Thessalonica..." (II Timothy 4:6-10) Paul finished his course, but he said Demas forsook him because he loved the world. Hang in there. Don't quit. Don't let the things of this world hinder you from serving Christ. Keep the faith.
46 What Do You Want From The Lord?
"And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way." Mark 10:46-52
Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ? When you were blinded by sin, did you call on Him to save you? As blind Bartimaeus called out we see that he was perceptive in calling out "Jesus, thou son of David." He knew who Jesus was. He was also persistant, he kept calling. Jesus asked Bartimaeus a simple question, "What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" Bartimaeus asked to be given his sight. Don't be ashamed to call out to Christ. Some Christians are ashamed to even ask the blessing on their food in public, but this man called out to Jesus even when the people told him to be still. He called out for mercy and Jesus stood still. He took time for the blind man. Aren't you glad that Jesus always has time for you? We also see a change in Bartimaeus. After he received his sight he followed Jesus in the way. Are you following Jesus in the way?
47 What Do You Want?
"In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead... Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?" II Chronicles 1:7, 8, & 10
What do you want? There were several years in school that we had to write stories on what we would ask for if we were granted three wishes. Of course, all our stories were make-believe for there are no magic lamps or wishing wells. But God appeared to Solomon and said, "Ask what I shall give thee." "And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like." (II Chronicles 1:11 & 12) Do you want wisdom? James 1:5 tells us, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Jacob asked God to bless him. (Genesis 32:26) Elisha asked for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah. (II Kings 2:9) And as we saw yesterday, Bartimaeus asked to receive his sight. (Mark 10:51) What do you want? Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:7-11) I believe God wants to bless His children. But remember, Jesus also told us to lay up treasures in heaven, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21) And "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?... But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:25 & 33)
48 Which Is The Greatest Commandment?
"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:35-40
God gave Moses and the children of Israel Ten Commandments written in stone. The very first one is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:3-6) As God was giving Moses the law, the people were making an idol to worship. The children of Israel could not keep all the commandments so they offered sacrifices to pay for their sin. After the many years under the leadership of Moses, Joshua was chosen to lead the people. The 24th chapter of Joshua gives his last charge to the people before his death. "And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good." (Joshua 24:19 & 20) Joshua tried to warn the children of Israel. We also cannot keep all the commandments and the law. Jesus came to be our sacrifice and sin-offering. We are not under the law, but under grace. But we still serve a holy, jealous God and we should put Him first and love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. That is our first and greatest commandment.
49 What Does God Require?
"Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Micah 6:6-8
When we go to school in our early years we have requirements that we have to meet. We learn the rules of getting along with others. We gain knowledge not only in book learning, but gain an understanding of what is required to go forward. Through our high school years we learn what is required to go on to college or to work. In our jobs we are expected to show up on time, dressed according to the work we do. We have requirements in every aspect of life. Micah asked what the Lord requires. Does God require us to offer thousands of rams or rivers of oil? Jesus became our sin offering and sacrifice once for all. What does God require? "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Do justly. Proverbs 20:7 tells us, "The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him." How's your integrity? God requires us to do what's right. Love mercy. Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." (Matthew 5:7) I heard a preacher say, "Grace, is getting what I don't deserve, and mercy is not getting what I do deserve." Walk humbly with thy God. In humbleness we bow before God for salvation. God hates pride. If you look at the seven things God hates in Proverbs 6:16-19 you will see that the number one thing is a proud look. Take time to stop and think about these things God requires. Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.
50 Can You Hear Him Now?
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" James 3:14-16
This verse is from the book of James, who also said, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was." (James 1:22-24) Can you hear what God is telling you to do? Are you doing it? One day last week I ran some errands on my lunch hour and picked up my lunch, going back early to eat it at work. When I got out of my car a man in a wheelchair was trying to cross a busy road from our parking lot. I went in to work and God told me to go back and help him across. I went back out and helped him cross the road. I gave him my lunch and that freed my hands to push him. I also wanted to give him some spiritual food so I gave him a tract and told him God loved him. He said, "I know He does, I wouldn't be here today if He didn't." He talked to me about 15 minutes about God and the scriptures. I missed a small meal that day, but I would have missed a blessing if I had not heard God speaking in that still small voice to me and obeyed.
51 Are You Weary?
"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:28-31
I want to apologize for not making any changes on the Web Site for the past week. We just returned from vacation and I did not have access to a computer while I was away. We all get weary in our work and even from the stress of our daily duties. It is good to go on vacation and rest from our labors. The prophet Isaiah gives us these words to remind us that God, in all His power and greatness never grows weary. "To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one that faileth." (Isaiah 40:25 & 26) Even the young faint and grow weary, and often fall. But God never grows weary or fails. Aren't you glad that God doesn't need to go on vacation? He is always God. He is forever strong in power. And when we lean on Him, we have this promise... "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." If you have a chance to take a vacation this summer, that is wonderful. Take time to rest your body and your mind, but if you want to renew your spiritual strength, "wait upon the Lord." And rest assured in the truth that He never gets weary.
52 Is There A God Beside Our God?
"Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God... Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any." Isaiah 44:6 & 8
With Father's Day just ahead, I wanted us to look at some of the questions asked by our heavenly Father as we finish up our Bible questions. Here in the book of Isaiah God asks, "Is there a God beside me?" and continues with the answer, "yea, there is no God; I know not any. They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed." (Isaiah 44:8 & 9) I also like the comparison of idols to those who make them in the book of Psalms. "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them." (Psalm 115:3-8) Do you know the one and only true God? He is the only God that can save you. Again in the book of Isaiah we read, "For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else...there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else... the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow..." (portions of Isaiah 45:18-23)
53 Can Two Walk Together?
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3
Many people are "into" walking now. It is said to be great exercise. A friend and I used to walk during our lunch hour when we worked in the same building. After she left I stopped walking because there was no one else who wanted to walk, no one was in agreement with the idea of walking. If you are going to walk with someone you need to be in agreement with them. It would not be very fun to walk with someone and argue the whole time. We can also look at walking together as a way of life with someone. A husband and wife need to be in agreement on major issues in order to "walk together" in unity. Business partners also need to be in agreement to carry on a partnership successfully. How about our walk with God? We know the story of Enoch. "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:24) His fellowship with God was so great that one day as they walked together, God just let Enoch walk on to heaven. To walk with God we need to be in agreement with God. We can read of the sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8) When Adam and Eve sinned they broke their communion with God and they could no longer walk in the garden with God. There are many verses that tell us how to walk with God. "(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)" (II Corinthians 5:7) "...walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1) We can walk with God, and we can also walk with our brothers and sisters in Christ. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:7) One last thought... when we walk with God through life, He will walk with us through death. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)
54 Cannot I Do With You As This Potter?
"The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel." Jeremiah 18:1-6
I have always wanted to work at a potter's wheel. I think it is amazing to watch someone take a lump of clay and see it transformed into a beautiful and useful dish. As the potter works with the spinning ball of clay the hard bits and pieces are removed to make a better vessel. Not once has the clay ever told the potter what it wants to be. The potter makes the clay as he wants, whether it is to be a cup or a plate, or a beautiful vase for flowers. If the clay is too rough or dry to work with and the vessel is marred then the potter can start all over again. God is our Potter. We are just as a clump of earth and God molds us and makes us into a vessel He can use. Over and over He takes away the rough bits and pieces in our lives. When we gripe and complain about the way things are going in our lives we are really complaining to God. We also read in Isaiah 45:9, "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?" God knows what is best for each of us. When we realize this and let Him mold us and make us into a chosen vessel for Him, we will become useful and beautiful in His sight.
55 If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:28-31
These are some powerful verses. Preacher Ray Vaughn used these verses as his opening text at our weekly prayer meeting and the message was just what I needed. Romans 8:28 is a wonderful verse to memorize. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Many times things happen in our lives that aren't good. Pain and sickness, sorrow and despair, tears and frustration, can bring us to our knees before our God. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. That is when we need to keep this verse in our heart and mind and realize that "all things work together for good to them that love God." All these things work in our lives for a purpose. Verse 31 is also a good verse to commit to memory. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" The next verse explains why we can trust this truth. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Trust in the Lord. When nothing seems to be going your way and everything seems to be going against you, keep trusting in the Lord. I have typed these verses to put near my desk at work. If you would like to have a copy to remind you of God's promises, go to Romans 8:28.
56 Will A Man Rob God?
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings... Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Malachi 3:7-10
Most of us would not think of robbing our friends, or even our enemies. But God told the children of Israel that they had gone away from Him and robbed Him. He makes them this promise though, "Return unto me, and I will return unto you." Isn't that a wonderful promise. Many times we stray away from God, but He is still there, waiting for us to come back to Him. We may also forget to give our tithes and offerings to Him. When we don't give a portion back to Him, we are robbing God. And here God gives another promise, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,... and prove me now herewith... if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Take this challenge. We can't out-give God. He will always give us more than we deserve.
57 Do You Honor The Father?
"A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you..." Malachi 1:6
We should always honor our fathers. This is the first commandment with promise. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." (Ephesians 6:1-3) Today is set aside as a special day to honor our Fathers. It has been three years since my Dad died. I would love to be able to tell him once more how special he was to me. Don't forget to tell your father "Happy Father's Day". And even more importantly, don't forget to give honor to your Heavenly Father. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (I John 3:1 & 2)
58 Have You Prepared Room For The Lord?
"And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels." Genesis 24:31
My grandmother once told me that they used to hang their straight-back chairs on the wall. That would give them space in the room for her mother to spread out the quilt she was working on, or to place other things that needed mending. When someone came to visit they would lift the chairs down off the nails that held them, and they could sit and fellowship around the wood stove. When Abraham's servants went to find a bride for Isaac, Laban "prepared the house", and offered water for them to wash their feet, and gave them a good meal to eat. Have we prepared our hearts for the Lord to dwell within? Are we giving our best to God? The Lord wants to come in and fellowship with us. Sometimes I am afraid that we have hung our chairs on the wall to make room for other things in our lives. We have filled up all our time and space with other things so much that we don't have time for fellowship with the Lord. The Lord wants to fellowship with us. He said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) Make room in your life for God. Take your chairs down off the wall and sit in fellowship with the Lord.
59 Doth Not He See My Ways And Count All My Steps?
"Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?" Job 31:4
One of the big things in getting enough exercise is making every step count. I have seen the pedometers which can be worn all day to count your steps. You are to set goals and increase the steps you take. Well, God doesn't need a man-made gadget to know how many steps we take. Job said, "Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?" David said, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret,... Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." (Psalm 139:14-18) God knew us from the beginning. The next time you feel all alone, and you think that nobody cares about you, remember that God sees all your ways and loves you. When Jesus was telling the disciples how much God cares for them He said, "But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered..." (Luke 12:7) It is amazing. God knows us, all our faults and failures, yet He loves us.
60 What Manner Of Man Is This That Even The Wind And The Sea Obey Him?
"And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Mark 4:37-41
This story has been taught and preached to all ages, from the small children, to the adult congregations. I have heard it preached from the perspective that Jesus can calm the storms in our lives. I have also heard messages on the lack of faith of the disciples and of our lack of faith today. But in reading this familiar story again, God has shown me the last phrase of the verses, "even the wind and the sea obey him". We serve a holy and powerful God that commands the wind and the sea and they obey. When they landed on the other side, a man filled with demons came to Jesus. Even the demons obeyed the voice of our Lord. "And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. (Mark 5:12 & 13) Later in the book of Mark we read that He rebuked a fig tree and it withered away. (Mark 11:12-21) In the book of Jeremiah we see that the Lord put boundaries on the sea and the sea stayed within those boundaries. But do you know what creature does not obey the Lord? Mankind. Let's look at those verses in Jeremiah. "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone." (Jeremiah 5:21-23) God in His great mercy gives man a choice. The winds and seas obey Him. Don't you think you should too?
61 Who Do You Go To For Advice?
"And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My finger shall be thicker than my father's loins." I Kings 12:6-10
After the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam, became king. The servants went to him and told him that if the king made their service easier they would serve him. The king asked the old men and they advised him to listen to the people and they would be his servants forever. King Rehoboam then asked his peers for advice. They told him to be harder than King Solomon had been. Unfortunately, Rehoboam listened to his friends and the people rebelled and went back to their own homes. Who do you go to when you need advice? Your friends may be able to give you advice on what kind of radio to buy, or instructions on using modern electronics. But when you need 'down to earth' advice on living, an older Christian, who 'has been there' can give you better counsel. We often look at older people as having 'old-fashioned' ideas that are 'out of date'. But in reality, many of those 'old-fashioned' ideas were handed down for generations and have stood the test of time. We have been looking for a car and have been to several dealorships over the last few days. Tonight, a young salesman came up and began his sales-pitch. My son leaned over to me and said, "I like the older salespeople better, they know what they are doing." I like young people. Four of them live in my house. But wisdom often comes with age. So the next time you need advice, it may help you to ask someone who has already been there.
62 Do You Have Questions?
"And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built... and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom." I Kings 10:1-8
The queen of Sheba took all her hard questions to King Solomon and he answered every one. She was amazed at his wisdom and wealth. King Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. When Solomon asked for wisdom, God told him, "Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee." (I Kings 3:12) We can learn from Solomon's wisdom in the book of Proverbs. We can be wise. "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels." (Proverbs 1:5) Look into the book of Proverbs and pray for wisdom. God can give you answers to the questions you have.
63 No More Questions
"And after that they durst not ask him any question at all." Luke 20:40
If we read of this same account in the book of Matthew we can see the progression. Beginning in Matthew 22:15, "Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk." They asked him about giving tribute to Caesar. "But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?... Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way." (Matthew 22:18, 21 & 22) The next verse tells us that the same day the Sadducees also came to Him with questions and "they were astonished at his doctrine". (verse 33) "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" (verses 35 & 36) Jesus answered all their questions and even asked them questions. "And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more question." (verse 46) We have looked at many questions in the Bible and there are many more, but whatever your question, Christ has the answer.