The Way Ahead

The Way Ahead

              

“The Lord knows the way of the righteous…” – Psalm 1:6

There is a man, a pastor, who has come to be precious to me. We do not see eye to eye on some things but his infirmity and my prayer for him has given me a genuine love for him. Philip has become my friend.

He has bravely accepted as his creed: “I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.” I am praying for his cancer as I write.

God knows our way through this day, this week, this month and this year. The word “way” in Psalms 1:6 means, “trodden path.” But Joshua 3:4 reads, “For you have not passed this way before.” If we have not taken this way before, how can it be a “trodden path” for us?

One night, while living in Germany, we had a snow storm. The next morning I watched our neighbor with her two small girls and two neighborhood boys playing “follow the leader” in the snow. The mother went ahead of them as their leader, making a trodden path in the snow. As they followed in her steps the children had no trouble. But when they left the path, they stumbled and fell.

In my life I can follow the Leader…my Lord Jesus Christ. The way ahead is unknown to me…His steps make it a trodden path…for me.

Sometimes my way ahead looks dark…the clouds hang low and the shadows surround me. There is no doubt in my heart that Jesus knows the way ahead. I will keep my gaze on Him and my glance on my circumstances. He knows the way…He is the way.

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January 22, 2014 · 7:27 pm

Pointed Questions

Pointed Questions

 

How long, exalted men, will my honor be insulted? How long will you love what is worthless and pursue a lie?  – Psalms 4:2

We are so uneasy with examinations because we fear what they might reveal. Someone has said that fear can have one of two meanings:

1. Forget Everything And Run or,

2. Face Everything And Rise.

How we respond to God’s questions has great import into His glory being revealed in us. Will I come clean and face God openly and honestly? Will I not “settle” for normal when God has called me to so much more?

I think about George Mueller. Before he was ten, he was already an accomplished thief. The night his mother died he was wandering the streets drunk after a wild night with his friends. He disgraced himself in one school after another. Even in divinity school, training to be a minister of the gospel, he was no better. He was constantly in debt and up to all kinds of tricks and schemes to supply his lack of funds. Aware that no church was likely to call him to a pastorate in his deplorable condition, he tried in vain to reform.

Then God saved him, transformed him, and gave him a ministry. Mueller determined to establish a group of orphan houses and to do so in a way which would strike dumb the voices of atheism in England. He would keep his financial needs a secret between himself and God alone. He concluded that, if he, as a poor man, could receive provisions to carry on an orphan house, it would demonstrate that God is faithful and still hears prayer.

He succeeded. When he died, a very old man, Bristol went into mourning. Businesses closed and employees from companies all over the city lined the streets to witness the passing of one of the greatest men the city had ever known. On churches and cathedrals, flags flew at half-mast and the bells were rung with muffled peals. The Bristol Times said, “Mr. Mueller was raised up to show us that the age of miracles is not past.” Professor Rendle Short, one of Bristol’s foremost surgeons of the next generation said, “My father used to say that during the days of George Mueller, agnosticism did not dare to raise its head in Bristol.”

Facing pointed questions can bring us all to transformation and supernatural living. Is our pride insulting the honor of God? If so, crush our pride, oh God, and break our lives! Are we loving that which is worthless and chasing a lie? Let us turn back to the Lord. He has torn us; He will raise us up.

I appeal to you…as to my own heart today: Examine your heart. Let the Lord ask you the hard questions. Bend your heart to His will.

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January 21, 2014 · 8:18 pm

How Great Is Our God!

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Job 5:9, 11 says, “He does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number…He sets up the lowly on high, and mourners are lifted to safety.”

God’s eye is searching for the humble and hurting…this is good news! Humility and hurt are silent partners in the endeavor we call “life.” They are not partners in morbidity but majesty. To be lifted and lead by God’s hand in our suffering is a marvelous thing.

As the morning mist rolls in over my backyard, I realize that very soon the sun will rise giving this mist a strange and fleeting glory. The power of the light will soon burn away this fog and clarity will come. So it is in my trials…in my life. Burning trials lead me to clarity. Fleeting glory leads me to future and final glory. He will set me on high! I will be lifted to safety! God has been so faithful to me…to us!

“But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause.” (Job 5:8)

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January 20, 2014 · 3:35 pm

When I Meet With Him

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Psalms 21:3 says, “For you meet with him with rich blessings; You place a crown of pure gold on his head.”

It is not theology but personal relationship that screams from the pages of God’s Book. God wants my attention, not my academic accruement! David said there were great benefits in meeting with God:

* You find joy in His strength. (vs. 1, 6)
* You are crowned with riches. (vs. 3)
* You experience life and length of days. (vs. 4)
* God confers majesty and splendor. (vs. 5)
* He gives blessings forever. (vs. 6)
* You receive stability through faithful love. (vs. 7)
* He promises victory over those who oppose you. (vs. 8)
* He fights your battles. (vs. 9-12)

God’s heart is to win our hearts. The Bible is devotional not theological because it is God’s love letter from His heart to ours. Faithful love…who could ask for more? I love Him and long to glorify Him forever; not because of a systematic study of Him, but because I have met Him.

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The Battle Before the Battle

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Psalm 20:1-3 says, “May Yahweh answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of Jacob’s God protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and sustain you from Zion. May He remember all your offerings. Selah.”

David knew well what he was writing about. Battles were a very real part of his life. His situation as a shepherd brought him to his first battle…the lion and the bear. His service as a son brought him to his second battle…Goliath. His sin brought him to a continuous battle so that the sword never left his house. His success brought him to his greatest battles: a battle of “externals” with Michal, as he danced before The Lord and a battle of internals (pride) as he numbered Israel.

One thing David knew about warfare that most don’t today is the importance of the battle before the battle…prayer. Davis prayed concerning:

1. God’s Protection. (verse 1)
2. God’s Power. (verse 2)
3. God’s Purifying. (verse 3)
4. God’s Passion. (Selah)

The things David prayed for here were most important to him. He reveals his heart and experience in facing battles. To survive and thrive demands God’s protection, power, purity and passion. These only come through prayer that places me in His presence. Before I go into battle against the powers of evil, I must make preparation through prayer in the presence of God.

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When a Doubt becomes a Shout!

When a Doubt becomes a Shout!

Job 25:4 says, “How can a person be justified before God? How can one born of a woman be pure?” Job’s friend. Bildad, questioned the possibility of reconciliation with God. Jesus secured the reality of reconciliation. We experience the liberty of reconciliation.
The doubt. No one in the O.T. saw the blood! Sure, Isaiah wrote about the Suffering Servant, but he in no way could see what God’s answer to our sin was. Bildad was banking on self-righteousness but admitted that it was a bust as well. Doubt in this case, is the personality of the lost…those without hope.
The way out. The solution to man’s sin is not in an animal sacrifice, but in a suffering Son. Clean hands and a pure heart come from a bloody cross! Jesus is the way out…He is also the way in and the way through!
The shout. What freedom and joy can come to the human heart when we connect with the Lord Jesus by faith. Saved…from sin and self. Delivered…from death and destruction. Transformed…from enemy to family. The New Covenant in His blood is a shouting contract!
The doubt can only become a shout when we see the way out. Justice yields to joy when we meet Jesus!

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January 28, 2013 · 3:30 pm

Random Thoughts on Brokenness

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“…A broken and contrite heart–these, O God, You will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17

 

Much has transpired since my last entry. The most significant of events in my life has been the School of Brokenness as a result of open heart surgery. In these days of recuperation and healing, God has granted me such grace and opportunity to know Him!

What follows are a few of the precious nuggets of truth the Father has revealed to me in this process. I praise Him for this time and the privilege to place myself completely in His care. Consider these statements carefully and respond if you like….

– Brokenness comes with great loss of what we prize most.

– Brokenness changes your activity, abilities, appetites, agenda, attitudes and allegiances.

– When truly broken, you will not say, “Finally!” because brokenness is not the destination but the beginning point in God’s work.

– Brokenness can be so profound that Heaven is silent for a space of time.

– Brokenness reduces to insignificance the things that had once “driven your life.”

– The target of brokenness is always pride.

– With brokenness, sometimes wounds must be opened, packed, and allowed to heal from the inside out. This can take much time.

– Brokenness brings a gratefulness for others that you only thought you had appreciated.

– The broken way is the narrow way. God hems us in so that the so-called freedom we once knew is gone. The more He works, the less choice we seem to have. From what we want, to what others say, to what oportunity presents itself…those become non-factors. It is only: “Thy will be done.” What a freeing place to be!

– Scars are intrinsically related to the brokenness of God’s people. (Galatians 6:17) No one walks far without marks.

– Separation is a common experience to one who is in the process of brokenness. (Matthew 4:1)

– Brokenness is tear-filled eyes seeing their way clear….at the Cross! (John 9:25)

– Brokenness empowers obedience by slaying self! (Psalm 119:67)

– Most of my life has been measured, planned, and reasonable. Cooking from a “card” is different than cooking from a cupboard. Brokenness is not “operating by recipe.” It is a “without measure” life in the Spirit. (John 3:34)

– Brokenness is God’s repair work for a sin-diseased heart. He gives us the new and takes away the old. (Ezekiel 36:26)

– The treasure of brokenness is a mind-blowing relationship with God! Read Psalm 139:1-5. Wait 5 minutes, then read verse 6.

– Brokenness can only come to a true child of God. It is wondrous work in a willing heart. As in childbirth, there is much pain, but it is not unwelcome to the longing heart.

 

Well, there is part of my journey as of late. I pray that something that I have shared will be a blessing to your heart and cause you to long for the “broken way.” I love you in the Lord and look for His soon return….

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