Of all the disciples, only John remained at the cross and witnessed the death of Jesus. Later Jesus came and stood before them, but Thomas was absent. He had said I will not believe unless I can put my hands in the holes where the nails penetrated. Jesus lovingly came and offered Thomas that witness. When Thomas saw Jesus face to face he responded, “My Lord and my God.” [Jn 10:28]
One of the many questions men ask is: can I be sure of my salvation? Am I eternally secure, or can I lose my salvation? “Scripture clearly affirms the fact we are protected by the power of God through faith. Faith brings us into a grace relationship with God as a gift of God through the merit of His beloved Son. We are saved by His record, not ours.” [H. Keathley III]
Although we haven’t had the privilege of visually seeing the holes in the hand of Jesus as Thomas did, we do have the Prophet Isaiah’s and the Apostle John’s words: “I [God] have inscribed your name on my palms.” [Is 49:16] Jesus said: “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” [John 10:29] Each time you close your hands to shield your palms, picture yourself securely enfolded in his.
Today as you wash your hands, fold your hands in prayer, or go about your daily duties, stop and look at your hands and picture your name inscribed on His.
Eccl 7 – 12 After 12 whole chapters of pithy sayings, Solomon finally concludes that all that he has found has little of any value. Only what is done for God will pass the test of time and eternity. He poses the last question by asking us to choose what we will build on. Eccl 12:13-14 Wisdom teaches us that “each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. For God will evaluate every deed, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Paul echoed that same counsel in the first book to the Corinthians, chapter 3. He reminds them that no one can lay any foundation other than what has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. He is the pure and lasting foundation that will weather the storms of life. He is the rock upon which we should build our faith because when the storms of life come, the materials we have chosen will prove to be that which lasts or will fail. He also reminded the Corinthians that each work will be plainly seen and be tested by fire. If we have chosen the suitable materials, they will withstand the fire on “that day” of judgment.
Both authors remind us that what we choose today will either last through eternity or be burned up, even though we will be saved.
What materials have you chosen to add to your foundation?
2 Chron 2-3, 1Kings 5-6 There is a church in a city in Florida that has sat for years untended and unfinished. Whoever was in charge did not seek peace, and today the courts are in control with no resolution. Recalling that image and the backstory is so unlike the story before us today.
David’s life and all he had done sent a powerful message to King Hiram of Tyre. Although a pagan king, he noted that the God of Israel was the God of the heavens. David’s life had left a powerful message that those who seek the Lord will be blessed and be a blessing to others. Although David was a man of war, he sought peace with his people and those nations surrounding him. James’ words come to mind: “And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” [Jam 3:18]. That is the backstory of how God prepared for the new Temple and how God opened the doors of heaven to bless Solomon with materials and men to build it.
There is a life lesson here for us. God uses men to do the work, but first, He prepares the heart. We may not be the one who sees the fruit of our work, but others do. What message will my life leave for those who will follow me?
Proverbs 19 As Solomon sat in his throne room, receiving people, we can see how practical he was at solving their problems and giving wise advice. He noted from his many interactions that poor people were either accepted or rejected by society, much like James saw. He stressed that “Wealth adds many friends, but a poor person is separated from his friend.” [Prov 19:4] He noted that when a poor person came into his presence with a problem, he was often by himself, but friends, family, and acquaintances were by his side if a wealthy person came in. So we wonder why because we often hear this saying: blood is thicker than water. What Solomon was seeing was that money or wealth was the contributing factor, not blood. He noted that it was selfishness on the part of those who were wealthy themselves in these cases. One author said that we as a people are inherently selfish, greedy and we think of self first and foremost.
Remember the rich man in Luke 16:19-31? He had no use for Lazarus in life, but in death, he requested he come and minister to him. How unlike our Jesus who said “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.” [Heb 13:5]
You can tell a true friend because they stick with you through thick and thin. That is Jesus!
Song of Solomon Ch 1-8 The author, supposedly King Solomon, shares intimate details about his life as king, husband, lover, and friend. It may be that he recorded this as one would record a day in their diary. Many scholars differ on the intents and purposes of this letter. However, it is thus inspired by God:
“Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” [2Tim 3:16]
Many have seen to choose the phrase “his banner over me is love” to describe the groom’s intense love for his bride. “Now his banner over her was not, “Clean the house!” or “Try harder next time!”; instead, his banner over her was “LOVE!”
David Colburn sums up for us a perspective on this book in prayer: Lord, your love for those who have accepted Jesus as Lord is beyond any human comparison, but that is the best we can do as we attempt to comprehend it. May I praise you and rest in the encouragement and peace that comes from knowing that you love me with a passion unmatched anywhere in this world.
2Chron 1, 1Kings 3-4, Ps 72 There is a saying these days: what is on your bucket list or what is on your wish list.
Did you ever think God would want to know what is on yours?
After a very long day of celebration fitting for a new king, Solomon retired for the night and as he slept, had a dream. In the dream, he and God conversed about his wish list and what God should do for him. It is interesting that of all that Solomon could have asked for, he did not ask for riches or to conquer his enemies. Instead, Solomon’s mind was on how to govern wisely. Solomon asked God to give him wisdom and discernment to rule these people, for they were many. God was pleased with his request and told Solomon that He would honor his bucket list and also give him what he had not asked for: riches untold and honor surpassing any king before him.
When Jesus walked this earth, he often stopped to engage people in a dialog. He wanted to know what was on their hearts. Jesus didn’t ask them what they thought or how they felt. Instead, he asked them to tell him what was on their hearts, what was on their wish list. God used that same strategy in the dream he gave to Solomon.
If God would come to you and ask the same question, what would be on your wish list?
Leviticus 21 What does it mean to be holy in an unholy world? It means that we stand apart from that which is profane. It means that we see ourselves as saved by His grace and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. It means we are to ask ourselves if we are partnering with those who do not believe. It means we are to come out from among them and be pure, which seems like a strict order as we move and live in a godless society, but so did Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Esther, Ruth, and Jesus.
So back to our question: what does it mean to be holy? It means that we are to remember that we are part of the priesthood of believers only because of the gift of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It means what God gave Aaron and the High Priest as a standard applies to us in our present age. We do it when we present Christ as His ambassadors and implore them to be reconciled to God in the same way we were. It means that we mirror Christ in our walk and talk, and we can only do that when we know God. We know His character, His motives for our holiness, His standards of purity and righteousness.
God has said over and over: you should be holy because I am holy. You are my people, and thus you stand before an unholy world. The question before us is; are we a holy separated people? Only through Jesus can we have the missing puzzle pieces of purity, righteousness, and honor.
Lev 5 “It is all about holiness before a holy God.”
One phrase is repeated in this chapter about sin: “even if he did not realize it…” This is not talking about intentional rebellion, but those sins that we unintentionally commit and then realize. When sin brings guilt we have a choice: we can ignore it OR confess it to God seeking His forgiveness and cleansing.
These Leviticus chapters were written to the Israelites to demonstrate the love and mercy of God upon these unintentional sins and how men were able to seek God’s forgiveness. Then people had to do it over and over and over. Jesus paid it all on the cross once and for all. Both then and now all must seek God’s mercy gift. God wanted us to realize that sin is not just against a fellow citizen, but God Himself. God is right to condemn our sin because He is holy, and He calls us to be holy. Without the sacrifice we stand guilty before God in need of atonement.
Today we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to speak to our heart. We must confess our sin; seek God’s forgiveness; trust that He is faithful and righteous and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [1John 1:9 paraphrase]
Do you need this today? Do not delay but listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Exodus 39-40 Over and over, we read the words: As the Lord commanded. Moses’s obedience to the words of the Lord is significant. In the NT, we read, “if you love me, you will obey my commandments.” [Jn 14:15] Do we realize that just as the Israelites were in bondage to Egypt; we were in bondage to Satan’s ways before He chose us and called us out to be His people? No longer in bondage, now we are to obey what Jesus has commanded, for this is the way “everyone will know … that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” [Jn13:35]
How relevant these words are: “Moses did all that the Lord commanded.” We are to do the same for our Lord Jesus Christ. These three titles of Jesus are used by Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians eleven times.
Lord – Jesus is God in the flesh. When the word “Lord” is added to Jesus Christ it means, you are declaring that He is Lord; He is God.
Jesus – Jehovah is Salvation, the Son of God;
Christ– the Anointed One.
Will you hear these words: Well done thou good and faithful servant when you leave this earth and meet He who is Lord; the author and finisher of your faith because you have done all that He commanded?
Exodus 33 to 35 Prayer is the believer’s entrance into the Most Holy Place of God. The Tabernacle building held the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, which held the Ark of the Covenant. The High Priest passed through the Veil to the Most Holy Place only once a year – the Day of Atonement. The cry of Jesus, ‘it is finished’ tore that Veil from top to bottom so that all may enter. “He entered once for all into the Most Holy Place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured eternal redemption.” [Heb 9:12] The prayers of God’s people are now heard, not through an intermediary, but all are welcome into the most sacred place.
In this most sacred place, we are confronted with the character of God: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” [Ex 34:5-7] In our time of praise to the Most Holy Father, we are comforted and reminded that we are, as He said, “a stiff-necked people” in need of His sovereign grace.
Spend time in prayer today thanking Him for the sacrifice of Jesus so that we may enter His presence, as a people who have been rescued from the coming wrath. [1Thess 1:10]