1 Look Up
"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2
We just finished a devotional series on Bible Study. One of the types of Bible Study we mentioned was a word study. For the next few days I want to look at different thoughts using the word "up". We can "lift up" our prayers to the Lord. We can "cheer up" those who are down-hearted and "build up" our Christian brothers and sisters. We can "suit up" in Christian armor and "stand up" for what's right. Let's begin with "look up". Our Psalm above says, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth." When we need help we can look up to the Lord. When storms come into our lives we can look up to the Lord. With all the sorrow and heartache in the world it is good to know that we can look up to the Lord and find peace and comfort.
2 Wise Up
"And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee," Luke 15:17-18
Years ago people used the phrase "wise up" when someone did not know what was going on or understand a situation they were in. I haven't heard the expression in years, but it came to my mind after hearing a sermon preached from Luke 15. Preacher Bo Wagoner talked about how different preachers have preached on the Prodical Son, the Father in the story, and even the Elder Brother. You may remember the story. The younger son asked his father for his inheritance and he left home and wasted it all. After he became helpless and hungry, he "wised up" and went back home to the Father. Preacher Wagoner said that he was going to preach on the fourth character of the story. Look at verses 14-16, "And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." In the 15th verse we read of the "citizen of that country". The preacher said this person well represents the devil. He had plenty, for even during the mighty famine, he had fields and herds of swine. The young man worked feeding the swine but still did not have enough to eat. Young people are often inticed to go out in sin because the devil makes it look so good. And just as the young son "joined himself" to this man, the devil pulls people away from the Lord as going to a far country. He makes sin look good, but there is nothing good about sin. If the devil is pulling you away from the things of God, then "wise up". I Peter 5:8-9 warns us, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." "Wise up" and go to the Father's house.
3 'Fess Up
"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." Romans 10:9-10
On the Home page we saw how we need to "Look Up" to the Lord God, Creator of the heavens and earth. He is the only living, true God. Yesterday we saw that we need to "Wise Up" to the sin in our life. Today we see another old phrase spoken by people in my grandparents' generation, "Fess Up". Once we recognize the Lord Jesus as the Way of salvation, and understand that we have sin in our life and that sin must be paid for, the next step is to confess our sin to the Lord. We read in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." It's that simple. No matter how deep in sin we are, the Lord can lift us up and cleanse us if we will confess to Him and ask Him to save us. Trust Him and find a new life in Christ!
4 Speak Up
"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 10:10-11
We are adding to our thoughts yesterday. We saw that we are to confess our sin to God, and today we want to focus on telling others about Christ. We should not be ashamed of our salvation as we read above in Romans 10:11. I Peter 3:15 states, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" We should speak up when someone asks us about our hope and inner joy. Jesus shows us this in Mark 5:19-20 "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel." We can begin by telling our friends, and then we need to tell others. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
5 Stand Up
"And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." Ezekiel 22:30
We talked about speaking up, and today we are going to talk about standing up. The 22nd chapter of Ezekiel speaks of the wickedness of the people and verse 30 shows how bad the world really was. "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." The Lord could not find someone to "stand in the gap", or "stand up" for the Lord. There is much wickedness in the world today. When God looks at us, does he see Christian men and women who are standing up for what's right? Imagine the strength of men and women standing arm in arm, marching forward for the cause of Christ. The older ones die and leave a gap in the wall of strength. Are there men and women of the next generation moving forward to "stand in the gap"? I have always liked the verse found in Daniel 1:8, "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." It is time for us to purpose in our heart not to live in sin, and take our stand for what's right.
6 Add It Up
"Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" Matthew 19:27
We have been talking about accepting God's free gift of salvation and how we should speak up and stand up for what's right. Today let's look at some of the benefits we receive when we become a child of God. We could praise Him through eternity just for giving us a home in heaven and delivering us from burning hell. We may not be as blunt as Peter and ask straight out, "...what shall we have therefore?" But, we need to realize that the apostles left their homes and families and even their occupations to follow the Lord Jesus. Let's look at a few of the blessings and see some of the things that add up in our lives once we are saved.
We have everlasting life…
“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
We have an advocate…
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” I John 2:1
We have a Father…
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:6&7
We have a Comforter…
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16&17
We have forgiveness…
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” Ephesians 1:7
We have a home in heaven…
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were no 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 14:2&3
We have the Word…
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105
We have the power of prayer…
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3
We also have love, hope, joy, peace, and so much more!
7 He Went Up To Pray
"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone." Matthew 14:23
When my boys were growing up they liked to play and watch basketball. I would often hear them describe someone by saying, "He has ups!" Sometimes in televised games shots are shown in slow motion, and the basketball players seem to float up to the basket and just hang in the air. We are going through some of the "ups" in the Bible for our devotional theme. Today we see that Christ went up into a mountain apart to pray. Jesus had preached to the multitudes and fed the five thousand, and He must have been tired, but He saw the need to spend time alone in prayer with God the Father. We don't have to go up on a mountain top to pray, but we could sure use some time alone with the Lord. We need to lift our minds up to God and set aside time to close out the things of the world and focus on the things of God. We can bow our head and heart as we lift our prayers up to heaven.
8 Grow Up
" As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" I Peter 2:2
You have probably heard the term "born again". We see the explanation of Jesus in John 3:3-7. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." Peter was writing to the early believers to help them grow. " As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" (I Peter 2:2) Just as parents want to see their newborn babies grow, Peter wanted to see the young Christians grow in the Lord. We see this again in the last verse of his second letter. "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (II Peter 3:18) Are you growing in the Lord? Do you have more Biblical knowledge than you did when you got saved? Is your faith stronger? Read the Word so that you can grow in the Lord.
9 Wake Up
"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm118:24
Monday was President's Day and I did not have to go to work so I slept a little longer than unusual. The curtains were drawn closed in my room, so I couldn't see how bright the sun was shining. Once I got up I rushed about trying to make up for the time I had spent sleeping. Susanna is getting married in 6 weeks so we had several things that we planned to do. We had a wonderful day together and could surely agree with the Psalmist, "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." That was a fun day! I should wake up every morning with the same enthusiasm. God gives us each new day and we should use each one for His glory and rejoice and be glad. Let's strive to wake up and give each day to the Lord and glorify His name in all we do.
10 Lift Up
"Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me." Psalm 25:1-2
Lift up. There are many things in our lives that we lift up every day. We begin our day by lifting ourselves up out of bed. We lift up food and drink to our mouths for nourishment. We lift up our clothes and shoes to get dressed. We lift up pens or pencils at work or school. We go through each day lifting these things without even thinking about them. David said in Psalm 25, "Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee:" Do we lift up our soul to the Lord with complete faith? David also said in Psalm 63:4 "Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name." In Isaiah we are told to lift up our eyes to God.
"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 faileth." (Isaiah 40:26) And in Lamentations 3:41, "Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens." Jesus said, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28) These are wonderful verses to remind us to lift up our soul, our hands, our eyes, and our heart to God. And don't forget that we can also lift up our voice in praise to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
11 Cheer Up
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
We are living in troubled times. But, in reality, couldn't every generation since the exile out of Eden make that statement? Today we have automobile accidents, but years ago they had runaway horses and dangerous paths. Many today are fighting against cancer or some other deadly disease, but there have always been plagues and epidemics of sickness. Stormy winds and stormy seas are not new to our generation. No one is free from trouble all the time. Jesus understands our trouble and tells us to "...be of good cheer..." "But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." (Matthew 14:24-27) We can also find comfort in His words in John 14:1-3. "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." Cheer up.
12 Build Up
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves." I Thessalonians 5:11-13
We see two expressions of building up one another in these few verses. The first phrase, "comfort yourselves together, and edify one another" seems to tell me that we are to build up our Christian friends and family. We can help our troubled friends through trials and hard times, and lift their spirits with comforting words and deeds. The next example points to those who have Christian authority over us as it tells us to "esteem them very highly". Do you know the workers in your church? When was the last time you complemented your church musicians? How often do you tell your pastor or Sunday School teacher how much their preaching and teaching helps you? Do you really appreciate that little elderly lady who shakes your hand and says, "I'm praying for you"? Don't give out artificial complements that have no meaning, but work on building up one another. Christ loved us and gave Himself for us while we were yet sinners, and surely we can let His love overflow our hearts and spill over into the lives of our Christian brothers and sisters. A few kind words go a long way in lifting up a troubled soul.
13 Go Up To Bethel
"And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went." Genesis 35:1-3
Let's back up a few chapters to remember an old familiar story of Bethel...
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it… And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not… And he called the name of that place Bethel… And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:… and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” Portions of Genesis 28:12-22
The story of Jacob’s Ladder, that reached up to heaven, took place as Jacob was running from his brother Esau, after he had tricked him of his birthright and blessing. Jacob named the place, Bethel, which means “the house of God”. He vowed a vow to God and continued on his journey. After he served Laban for twenty years God said, “I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.” (Genesis 31:13) So Jacob started on his journey back to Bethel and on the way God changed his name to Israel, which means, “prince of God.” He may have gotten a little side-tracked on the way because we read again in Genesis 35:1-3, “And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.” We all go through times of distress. Many times when we cry out to God, we make vows to Him and He answers our pleas. Then, along the way we often forget our vows. God reminded Jacob to go back to Bethel, back to the house of God. Have you made vows to God that you may have forgotten? Are you faithful to the house of God? Have you given Him your tithes, or kept other promises you might have made during times of distress? It’s time to go back to the house of God. Put away the “strange gods” in your life that have come between you and God. Clean up your life and your garments, and find your way back to Bethel. Many times people say they don’t feel as close to God as they once did. Well, God is still right where you left Him. Go up to Bethel and the altar of God.
14 Don't Give Up
"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 40:31
I received a forwarded email last week with the subject line, "You are it." I opened it up and read it so I could see what this person thought I was. The message was about being strong. As I read it I thought "No, I'm not strong." I have the same insecurities and weaknesses as everyone else. There are days when I feel like giving up. But I can turn to Isaiah 40:31 and find strength. "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." Do you feel weak and weary? Can I encourage you today? Don't give up. Keep on doing the right thing, even when you don't think anyone cares or notices. Keep on serving the Lord. Don't give up. Put your hope in the Lord He will give you strength. "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD." (Psalm 31:24)
15 Reach Up
"And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour." Matthew 9:20-22
We heard from our son last week. They have more than 20 inches of fresh snow. He is getting over the flu and my daughter-in-law has H1N1. Meredith also has a fever so she may be coming down with the flu, too. My heart aches for them. There are so many miles between us, it makes me feel helpless. My daughter is looking for a house, my younger son is looking for a career, and again, I feel helpless. I went to bed one night last week praying for my children, and the many other friends and family members who need help and I woke up singing "Let Me Touch Him" by V. B. Ellis. The chorus ends with the words, "Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus, So that others may know and be blessed." As those words went over in my mind, so did the story of the woman who knew if she could just reach out and touch the hem of Jesus' garment she would be healed. I can't help my children with their problems but I know someone who can. The Lord encouraged me that I could reach out and touch Jesus because He can help them. He is the Great Physician who can heal them of their sickness. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so He surely can find a small partial acre and house for Susanna. He is the beginning and the end, and He can help Josh find the right career for his time here on earth. As I bowed on my face and prayed to my loving Savior my heart reached up and touched the hem of His garment and He gave me peace that He can, and will meet the needs of my children. Do you know someone who has a need? Reach up and touch Jesus with prayers that only He can hear and answer.
16 Lay Up Treasure In Heaven
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:19-21
Where are your treasures? I see so many devoted parents giving their all to prepare for their children's future... their future for the next 50 or 60 years. They teach them how to dress, how to walk in the right circle of important people, and how to lift themselves up above their peers. Many parents hold back no expense to give their children whatever it takes to succeed in life. It makes me wonder what these parents are doing to prepare their children for eternity. When we stop and think about it, what are we doing to prepare for eternity? Are all of our treasures here on earth? Remember this parable of our Lord Jesus in Luke 12:16-21.. "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." Jesus went on to say, "Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?" (Luke 12:27-28) Don't put too much faith in your job or the riches of this world. You could lose it all tomorrow. Put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and lay your treasures up in heaven.
17 Prayed Up
"Pray without ceasing." I Thessalonians 5:17
There was an older preacher who used to say, "Stay prayed up." Do we "pray without ceasing" as the verse above tells us? Or do we pray only when we need something? As parents, we would not like it if our children only spoke to us when they needed something. We would feel greatly unappreciated if they only came to see us or called when they were in trouble and needed help. But, on the other hand, if they visit and call often and spend time with us when things are going well, we are happy to help them when life gets a little tough. Do we talk to the Lord daily and read His Word regularly? We need to "stay prayed up" in the good times so we can have peace in the bad times. There may come times in our lives when we don't have the words to pray. I went to work yesterday and found out that I am losing my job. My department is being replaced. I have bills to pay just like everyone else. But, the Lord gave me sweet peace way down in my soul that He will take care of me. My Bible reading this morning carried me to Psalm 103:1-2. "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:" I am also reminded of Psalms 68:19, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah." The Lord has always supplied our needs and He gives me peace that He will never forsake me. I may lose all the benefits of a job that I have had for almost 14 years, but the Lord continually gives me benefits daily. When we keep our hearts in tune through constant prayer, He is only a prayer away.
18 Pluck Up
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;" Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
A few years back we looked at A Time For Every Purpose from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. During that study I did not really use this portion of scripture, "a time to pluck up that which is planted." After a heart-stirring sermon Wednesday the Lord brought me to this verse. The preacher read his text from Hebrews 12. Let's look at verses 14 and 15. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;" Did you see the root in these verses? The sermon was on the Root of Bitterness. We don't mean for bitterness to take root in our lives. It starts by just a small seed of envy, or anger, or jealousy and it grows and takes root. Notice that our verse states, "lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you..." "Trouble you." When we have bitterness in our heart against someone else they usually don't even know it. The bitterness robs us us our joy and hinders us in our Christian walk. We need to pluck up the root of bitterness. I have to confess, sometimes I get bitter. I need to stay on my knees more and ask the Lord to give me love for people and even more love for those who are harder to love. My thought for today is that while you are sowing seeds of the gospel message, don't forget to pluck up those roots of bitterness.
19 Pay Up
“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” Ecclesiastes 5:4 & 5
Many of our family and friends have been sick with the flu since the beginning of the year. My nephew was sick a week or so ago. I called several times to see how he was doing and he sounded very weak on the phone. I work near Krispy Kreme and doughnuts are a special treat for him so I told him that when he got better I would take him some doughnuts. After several days in bed, he finally started sounding like he had some energy back and I could tell he was getting better. I told my sister today that I would bring the doughnuts over after work. She told me that I didn't have to do that, but I told her that I had promised Tyler I would bring them and I would not break a promise to him. Our verse above reminds us to pay our vows to God. The Bible tells us that it is better not to make a vow than to vow and not keep it. This is extremely important in our vows to God, but I believe we should also use this principle in our daily living. Sometimes things come up unexpectedly and we have to change our plans, but we should not make promises to others when we don't plan to follow through and keep our word. Think back over the last few days, or months and "pay up" on your promises.
20 Upside Down
"Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?" Isaiah 29:16
I went to work Friday morning and a file with problems was on my desk waiting for me. Before I could get those problems resolved, a couple more issues came up with two more files. By noon I felt like I was in a whirlwind and I did not know when or where anything would come down. With so much coming at me at once, I feel like my life has turned upside down. But even so, I am just the potter's clay. My God is trying to mold me and make me into a vessel He can use. Sometimes we are prone to question God, but the Lord God made us according to His will and He is still on His throne. My life is not in chaos, but my life is in the hands of my loving Savior, day by day, step by step. I do not believe that things "just happen" but I believe that my God is in control of my life. I need to keep the faith and keep trusting in Him. And even when my life feels upside down, I can still look up and know my Redeemer lives and reigns in my life.
21 Show Up
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
Today is the Lord's day and as we continue with our "ups" it is appropriate for us to look at the term, "Show Up". When the faithful members of your church meet for Sunday School, are you there? Are you present to hear the church bells ring for worship service? Do you "show up" for the evening worship service and mid-week prayer meeting? Do you share David's enthusiasm in Psalm 122:1? We can find spiritual help, Biblical instruction and fellowship with one another when we "show up" at church. Let's say with David, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD."
22 The Creek's Up
"And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)" Joshua 3:15
"And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before." Joshua 4:18
As we went to church Sunday evening and crossed over the bridge near the house I said, "Ooh, the creek's up." It had rained all afternoon and the rising water moved rapidly. I thought about this story in Joshua. The Children of Israel had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and they were finally getting ready to cross over Jordan and the water was over the banks. Joshua 3:1 and 2 tells us that the people came to Jordan and lodged there 3 days. I can imagine the people waiting, hoping that the waters would rescind, but verse 15 tells us that the Jordan was overflowed all the time of harvest. Rising flood waters move quickly and it must have seemed impossible to the Children of Israel that they could cross over Jordan. Let's read more of the story... "And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan." (Joshua 3:13-17) Today I want us to see that nothing is too hard for God. He can give us deliverance even when the flood waters rise up all around us.
23 Toss Up
"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
We have been looking at the many ways we use "Up" in our lives. As the ACC teams continue with their basketball games, I was reminded of "Toss Up". Each game begins with a jump ball, as the referee stands between two players to "toss up" the ball. The phrase is often used to describe two teams which have an unpredictable outcome. Many sports have a coin toss, and a quarter is "tossed up" to determine the outcome of the play. When we think of a "toss up" we think of something that can go either way. The term is used quite often in the world of sports and I am afraid that many people have the same idea about eternity. We need to realize that where we spend eternity is more than a coin toss, heads we win, tails we lose. We don't have to just "think" or "hope" we are going to heaven when we die. Many believe that if our good works outweigh our bad works we will be okay when we die. They are equating the value of eternity to that of a coin toss in a game. We are familiar with John 3:16, but how often do we read verse 18? "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." If we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we are saved. If we don't believe, then we are lost and on our way to hell. It's not that we will be lost, but we are already lost. Don't think of eternity as a toss of a coin. If you don't know the Lord as your Saviour, you are already on the losing side. Won't you ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sin, and save you? You can be on the winning side and have everlasting life.
24 Up, Up, Up,... Down, Down, Down
"And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead." Mark 9:2-9
When Micah, my grandson, started learning to walk he liked going up and down the three steps between my washroom and kitchen. Mike or I would hold his hands to steady him and we would say, "Up, up, up" and turn around and say, "Down, down, down." He was very content to follow this little routine over and over again.. He also enjoys sitting on the floor at the top and throwing small bouncy balls and tennis balls down the steps. We learn at a young age that things go up and things come back down. In our scripture above we see the disciples go up the mountain with the Lord and we see them come back down from the mountain. There are times in our lives that we feel like we are on a mountain, when things are going well and we rejoice in our Lord and Savior. But, we don't always live on the mountain. Troubles and trials can come up suddenly and we find ourselves down in the valley of despair. There are many winds blowing in my life today and I feel overwhelmed. In troubled times we can find help in these words of Paul. "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." (II Corinthians 4:8-10) If you are on the mountain say like Peter, "...it is good for us to be here:" If you are in the valley, don't despair. Keep looking up and the Lord can lift you up.
25 Make Up Your Mind
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:31-36
Preacher Andrew Little used this as his text at church last night. He talked about how the children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt and how they pleaded with God and He heard their cry. God brought them out of Egypt with a mighty deliverance. Just a short way into the wilderness they wanted to return to Egypt. “And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:11-12) God had shown His great power in their deliverance and given them freedom, yet they spoke of returning to a life of bondage. In our verse above, from John 8, Jesus said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” When we receive salvation Jesus cleanses us, and washes us, and sets us free from sin. When we commit sin, we do not lose our salvation, but we are turning back to the bondage of sin, just as the children of Israel said they wanted to go back to the bondage of Egypt. We need to make up our mind not to live in the bondage of sin. When Daniel was a young man he was taken captive by the Babylonians and was in bondage to them, but he was not a slave to sin. I have always liked the verse found in Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel made up his mind and “purposed in his heart” to serve his God faithfully.
26 Caught Up Together
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” I Thessalonians 4:13-18
Mom called early Thursday morning to tell me that a dear Christian friend passed on to glory in her sleep. We had Family and Friends day at church Sunday and her family was with her. She was at church Wednesday night and it never entered our minds that it would be the last time we would get to talk to her here on earth. Even though she was in her mid eighties she did not have any major health problems. She was one of the sweetest ladies I know. She always cared so much about others and let her light shine for many years. One day I will see her again, along with my Dad, and grandparents, and many others who I know are in heaven today. We can find comfort in knowing that when we trust Christ as our Savior, He prepares a place for us in heaven. When the Lord returns to call His children home, we will all be caught up together in the clouds. So, whether I go through the clods or through the clouds, I know that one day when my life is over I will see my Lord and Christian friends in heaven for all eternity.
27 Stir Up The Gift Of God
"To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." II Timothy 1:2-7
Faith. What is faith? We find the answer in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Paul commends young Timothy for his faith. He tells him to "stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Are we overcome with fear... fear of the future, fear of the unknown? Do we let the problems of this life rob us of our strength, our love and inner peace? We can talk of faith when everything in our life is going well, but the sudden jolts of life may cause us to doubt. Are those the times when we need to "stir up" our faith? I have been praying about several things and I get discouraged when I don't see an answer to my prayers. I thought about this today and rolled the idea of faith round and round in my head. Then I remembered this verse in Hebrews 11:1. If I "see" how God is working in my life and the lives of my loved ones, then where does "faith" come in? Faith is believing, even when we don't see. My Bible tells me that God is faithful. I can trust in Him and believe in Him. He will take care of my problems. There is nothing too hard for God. It is during times like these when I cry out like the father in Mark 9:24, "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
28 Dry Up Those Tears
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4
I cry easily. I can just think about something sad, or even something really happy, and I have to wipe the tears that roll down my cheeks. Betty's funeral is today. I know that she was a great Christian lady and has reached her home in heaven, but talking about her and knowing that we will miss her brings tears to my eyes. The Lord has promised that there will come a time when there will "be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain..." That is a wonderful promise. God will wipe away all tears from our eyes, just as a mother gently wipes away the tears from her dear child. Until that day, remember that God loves you and He sees all your tears. "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" (Psalm 56:8)
29 Listen Up
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:22
If you stood on the sidelines of an important game you might hear the coach say, "Listen Up!" You could probably hear teachers say, "Listen Up" in classrooms across the country. When someone uses this phrase it is because he has something important to say. Well, the Lord has important things to say to us. Over and over in the book of Revelation He repeats, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Let's look at one of the messages to the church. "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." The Lord is waiting just outside your hearts' door. He wants to talk with you and fellowship with you. Isn't it time you decided to "listen up" and hear what He is trying to say?
30 Spring Up
"For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;" Song of Solomon 2:11 & 12
I had a really hard day at work today. I found out two weeks ago that I had two months left on my job before my department will be replaced. Each day seems to come with more problems than the day before. After a long day, I finally got back home and as I got out of the car I saw a spring flower that had come up. Just seeing the flower brought a smile to my face. Springtime is here. Winters may bring cold, dark days, but spring comes around again just as God has promised. "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22) God is still in control. No matter how big my problems may seem, I serve a God who holds the universe in His hands. And a greater comfort to me, is that I serve a God who holds my life in His hands. Enjoy the springtime and say with the Psalmist, "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)
31 Clean Up
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow... Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:7 & 10
When I think of spring, I think "Spring Cleaning". When the children were small and the house had been closed up all winter, I enjoyed having the children help with spring cleaning. I would have them take books off the bookshelves and dust them all. They would carefully clean all the pottery that they made in school for Mother's Day and Father's Day. We would take one room at a time and open windows to let in the fresh warm air, and sunshine would fill the house. When I began working at a full-time job, outside my house, I had less time for such detail and cleaning was not such a priority. I just got too busy to clean. Now my house is dirty and cluttered, but I am planning to do some old-fashioned spring cleaning this year. Do you think our lives get dirty and cluttered living in this old sinful world? When we get busy, do we neglect our Bible reading and prayer? Let's do some good, old-fashioned soul cleaning. Let's turn to another scripture and pray with the Psalmist in Psalm 139:23 & 24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." The Son is shining and it's time for some "Spring Cleaning".
32 Dress Up
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life... She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.” Proverbs 31:10-12, 21, & 22
Susanna's getting married soon and we have been busy with all the preparations. We just had her bridal portraits made and it was so much fun to see her all dressed up in her long white dress and her hair curled around her face. We have spent the last six months getting ready for the wedding. My mom did a great job altering the dress and making the purple dresses for the bridesmaids. My sister, Karen, is creating magic with the white and purple flowers. It is good to see it all come together. Soon the big day will be here and we will all get dressed up and Susanna will walk down the aisle with her Dad and she will walk out with her new husband. We are trying to go over everything in our minds to make sure we have everything ready... and as I thought about that today, I thought about how we have been getting ready for this day more than six months. She has been training to be a wife and mother most of her life. She enjoyed playing with her play kitchen and dolls when she was little. When she got a little older she began helping me in the kitchen and enjoys cooking. She knows how to clean and do the laundry. She has a kind heart, and loving spirit and is a blessing to many. Yes, we have been doing a lot to prepare for her big wedding day, but God has been the center of her life and He has helped her prepare for her future.
33 Dig Up
Today I am looking back to an entry from last summer...
"And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel; thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you." Joshua 7:10-13
After the victory of Jericho, Israel came to the little city of Ai and they decided that only a few should fight against it. Thirty six men of the children of Israel were killed and they fled from Ai. Joshua fell on his face to the Lord and prayed and the Lord told him to get up because "Israel" had sinned. Now, if you read the chapter you will see that Achan sinned, but the people as a whole suffered. I was not able to attend the morning services of youth jubilee this year but I heard that Preacher Mike Soop brought a good lesson on the story of Achan. He talked about having sin in our lives that we need to dig up. Achan had buried the "accursed" things that he had stolen under his tent. (Did you notice how many times the word "accursed" is used in this chapter?) Preacher Soop talked about how these stolen items were of no good to Achan. He could not spend the silver or gold. He had not been to Babylon. He could not wear the Babylonish garment because everyone would know that he had stolen it from the battle. He had tried to hide the sin in his life. Preacher Soop explained that some of us have sin in our lives and we are trying to hide it. We may have bad habits that we try to hide. We may have things that don't really belong to us and we can't use them or people will know we took them. Preacher Soop gave all of the people at youth jubilee that morning a small plastic shovel to remind them to dig up the sin in their lives and confess it to the Lord. We not only hurt ourselves by trying to hide our sin, but we also hurt those around us.
34 Time's Up
"And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:" Revelation 10:5-6
My sister called today and she was so upset. A friend went to have surgery and when she came back home she did not look well. Her daughter talked with my sister later and told her that when the doctor tried to do the surgery he found that she had cancer so bad they only give her 1 to 5 days to live. My sister is so distraught because her friend does not want anyone to know about it, so she can't try to comfort her. Most of us don't know when the hour will come that our time is up. Sudden illness may strike any age. Many lose their lives in automobile accidents every day. Are you ready to meet your Maker? We shall all bow before God one day. The verses from Revelation above speak of when there will "be time no longer". Those in heaven will live forever in a wonderful place. Those who have not trusted in the Lord Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour will spend eternity in hell. You can know where you will spend eternity. First, you must understand that you are a sinner. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) And, all sin must be paid for... "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 confess your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you, then you can be saved and know that you will be with Him when time is up. "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)
35 Lighten Up
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." I Peter 5:7
Are you heavy laden with burdens? Do you feel that you are sinking low? When you feel like no one cares, look up to Jesus, because He cares for you. He can lift your heavy heart and lighten your load. Here are a few more verses that may give you encouragement.
"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." (Psalm 55:22)
"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." (Matthew 11:29-30)
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6)
"I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." (Psalm 40:1-4)
36 Keep It Up
"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
We often get discouraged and sometimes we may be tempted to quit doing the right thing. When the Lord walked here on this earth, "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." Can I encourage you today to keep the faith? Don't turn your back on the Lord. Keep on keeping on. Remember the words of Psalm 30:5, "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Are the temptations of this world getting you down? Find help in I Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." God is faithful. Keep on following the Lord. Stay faithful. I am reminded of the story Jesus told in Matthew 25:14-28. "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." Keep on keeping on. It would be so good to hear the Lord say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
37 Suit Up
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" Ephesians 6:10-18
We have been looking at different "Ups" in the Bible and today we at looking at "Suit Up". Whether we like it or not, we are on the battlefield. These familiar verses warn us of the enemies, but they also provide the suit of armor that we need to stand. My favorite portion of these scriptures is the end of verse 13 and the beginning of verse 14, "...and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore,.." Those simple words often keep me on my feet. When you are standing on the Word of truth, fighting strong in the battle and you don't think you can take another step, stand your ground. Stand firm. Just as Moses told the Children of Israel in Exodus 14:13, "Stand still." "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever." Suit up, fight the fight, and stand your ground!
38 Offer Up
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." I Peter 2:5
In the Old Testament,when people were under the law, they had to offer up sacrifices to pay for their sins, as we read in Numbers 28:2. "Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season." The New Testament opens with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ who was given as our sacrifice. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 9:27-28) We do not have to offer lambs as burnt offerings, but we can offer up sacrifices to our God.
"Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD." (Psalm4:5)
"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 3:10)
"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." (Hebrews 13:15-16)
"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)
39 Laid Up Or Burnt Up???
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21
"For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, Because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (I Corinthians 3:9-15)
Paul tells us in I Corinthians, "Wherefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (I Corinthians 10:31) We are saved by grace and not by works, but we are saved "unto good works." "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10) When we do all for God's glory we are laying up treasures in heaven. The other works that we do will be burnt up. So, our question today is, "Will your works be laid up in heaven or burnt up?"
40 Hush Up
"Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
This is one of my favorite verses. Just as I often told my children to "Be still" when we were sitting in church, God is telling us to "Be still." How much do we really want to know God? Here is the secret... "Be still and know that I am God." We pray and ask God to speak to us and guide us, but do we sit still and quietly listen for His answers? We live such busy lives, it is good to take time and "Be still" from time to time and listen for God to speak to us. We can do this as we pray and read His Word. Turn off the noises of this world and quietly listen for God. When we know God, we will exalt His Holy Name.
41 The Lord Binds Up Our Wounds
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
When the Lord Jesus walked on this earth He healed many people. "Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." (Matthew 11:2-5) God still has power today to heal. The verse from Psalms 147 above also reminds us that Jesus heals the broken heart and binds up our wounds. "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." (Matthew 9:36) Jesus has compassion on His children. Are you broken hearted? Go to the Lord in prayer. When you feel like no one cares, remember that the Lord loves you and cares for you. "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (I Peter 5:7)