What is the Right Advice in Times Like This?

Psalm 62  Do you find it hard to wait? David was in a desperate situation. Jesus was nearing the end of his earthly life, and he told the disciples to stay alert and watch lest you fall into temptation. How often do we fail to stay alert and ‘wait?’ How often do we fall asleep like the disciples or try to manipulate circumstances as we see fit? The irony is that God knows our past, present, and future. He knows the very hair on your head, and He knows each heart, whether it is single-minded or double-minded. David was busy waiting, not knowing when his adversaries would arrive on the scene. Like David, Jesus was busy praying, but the disciples were asleep. Is this our pattern too? 

In his waiting, David noted that his enemy was like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence, but God was His stronghold. Years earlier, Nehemiah also heard the taunts of the enemy: “Even what they are building-if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!” Neh 4:3 At desperate times, we need to take our concerns to God. David reminded himself: ‘wait in silence for God only.’ 

Therefore Beloved remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding, and focus on the God who never fails.

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Check-Mate

isaiah 36 37 ckmate2ajpgIsaiah 36-37 In the 30’s Al Capone ruled Chicago. He taunted those who did not want to pay him for protection and if they didn’t, he took note and sent his thugs to “take care of the problem.” Sennacherib was the Capone Hezekiah faced.  His thugs were Rabshakeh and his contingent. They mocked God and repeated “Capone/Sennacherib’s” words: “what is your source of confidence….in whom are you trusting.”  They surmised that Hezekiah would then be shaking in his boots and succumb to their threats. Hezekiah’s advisors Eliakim and Hilkiah indeed returned to Hezekiah with their clothes torn as a sign they were demoralized just as Rabshekah had hoped.  But, instead of compromising and yielding to their demands, as he had done before, Hezekiah took the letter with its demands to the Lord in the Temple. Isaiah the prophet told him because this time he sought God’s help,  He would bless him. God would put hooks in the jaws of this “Capone” and send him packing back to his home country but not before God would provide evidence that He alone was God.

God gave Hezekiah three principles that teach us truths about how to live in a “Capone” world. Vs 31: remain steadfast—Paul said much the same in 1Cor 15: 58. Secondly, take root where you are; Col 2:7 firm in your faith and thirdly bear fruit; Matt 3:8 that proves your repentance.

Checkmate: God will have the last move.

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Left in Charge

1tim and isaiah stand firm2Many times when I was a teacher I would have to step out of the classroom for period of time for differing reasons. As a parent this was often true as well. In stepping out they often  leave  with  these  words  “I  am  leaving  you  in  charge.”  How  does  that  statement  sit  with  you?  Do  we  really  understand  the  implications  of  those  words?  Do  we  realize  the  consequences  if  we  do  not  live  up  to  those  words?  As  we  open  ITimothy  we  find  that  Paul  essentially  has  left  Timothy  in  charge  and  he  does  so  because  Timothy  has  proven  to  be  trustworthy,  he  is  reliable,  he  is  loyal  to  the  core.  He  is  thus  a    “true  child  in  the  faith.”  It  is  because  of  this  Paul  has  written  this  letter  to  encourage  Timothy  to  “hang  tough”  for  the  wolves  that  he  predicted  are  already  at  work  in  Ephesus  seeking  to  destroy  the  foundational  principles  of  the  faith. Paul  notes  that  his  predictions  are  coming  to  light.  Timothy  has  been  given  a  huge  task  and  he  must  remain  strong  and  be  steadfast.

Beloved,  Christ  has  put  us  in  charge  of  passing  the  baton  on;  we  have  been  given  the  huge  task  to  remain  strong,  steadfast  as  the  winds  of  culture  seek  to  drive  us  from  true  doctrine.  There  are  wolves  amongst  us  and  we  must  be  discerning  and  wise  as  serpents  and  harmless  as  doves.    Isaiah’s warning  long  ago  to  King Ahab is as applicable to us as well:  “If  your  faith  does  not  remain  firm, then  you  will  not  remain  secure.” Beloved, Paul’s  charge  is  before  us:  “dear  brothers  and  sisters,  be  firm.  Do  not  be  moved!  Always  be  outstanding  in  the  work  of  the  Lord,  knowing  that  your  labor  is  not  in  vain  in  the  Lord.”

How  are  we  doing?

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