Calamity’s Cause – Lamentations 3:37-42

Handling-Problems-Good-Morning-This-Is-God“Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins? Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, We have sinned and rebelled, and you have not forgiven us” (Lamentations 3:37-42, NLT).

The book of Lamentations is attributed to the prophet Jeremiah. The context for the book is the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

Continue reading

Hold On! Part 2 – Hebrews 12:28-29

HoldOn“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29, HCSB).

In Part 1 of this meditation on grace, we saw how the Hebrews writer assembled an argument showing that God’s grace demonstrated to us through Christ is superior to the Old Testament law and temple worship because Christ was its culmination.

So, the new covenant is superior to the old because now we enter into God’s presence through a relationship or covenant based on receiving His grace through Christ (what the Hebrews writer called approaching Mt. Zion), not on adherence to the law (what the Hebrews writer called approaching Mt. Sinai).

When we receive God’s grace through believing in Christ as our Savior, we must hold on to it! And then, the grace of God becomes the source of our strength for serving God and His Kingdom.

Continue reading

Hold On! Part 1 – Hebrews 12:28-29

HoldOn“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29, HCSB)

Have you ever walked over some rocks that weren’t firmly set in the ground or on a wobbly platform or a floor with rotting wood. Or maybe you’ve been in an earthquake where you could feel the actual ground beneath you moving.

Whenever our footing becomes unsure, our first instinct is to grab something that seems more stable and hold on.

The Hebrews writer points out that in the past, in the Old Testament, when human beings encountered God it was a terrifying experience. When the law was given on Mt. Sinai, even Moses was terrified and trembled at God’s appearance (vs. 21).

Continue reading

Heavenly Discipline – Hebrews 12:10

discipline“But he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10, ESV).

Just as our earthly parents disciplined us and we respected them for it, so God disciplines us and we should respect Him as well.

God’s discipline proves that He considers believers to be his children.

Continue reading

The Road From Faith to Faithfulness, Part 2: Happy Endings – John 4:46-54

Faith_Sign“Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son lives.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living… and he himself believed and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee” (John 4:50-51,53-54, NASB).

In Part 1 of this meditation I compared and contrasted the predicament of the royal official in this story imploring Jesus to heal his dying son with my own pleas for God to heal my dying wife of terminal cancer.

Continue reading

The Road From Faith to Faithfulness, Part 1: The Destination – John 4:46-54

Faith_Sign“Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son lives.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living… and he himself believed and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee” (John 4:50-51,53-54, NASB).

While Jesus was in Cana of Galilee, a royal official from Capernaum approached Jesus and asked Him to come to Capernaum and heal his son who was dying. Rather than accompanying the official the twenty miles to Capernaum, Jesus declared the boy was healed: “Go, your son lives” (vs. 50) and the man believed the words that Jesus spoke and returned to Capernaum on his own.

Continue reading

When God Whispers – 1 Kings 19:9-15

GodWhispering“Then the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ … Then He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.’ At that moment, the Lord passed by…but the Lord was not in the wind…the Lord was not in the earthquake…the Lord was not in the fire… And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ ‘ … Then the Lord said to him, ‘Go and return by the way you came to the Wilderness of Damascus.'” (1 Kings 19:9-15, HCSB).

I have unpacked the verses in this passage to illustrate a lesson that God was trying to teach the prophet Elijah. But first a little background information is needed.

Continue reading

Deeply Rooted – Jeremiah 17:7-8

tree_by_river“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”  (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT).

The prophet Jeremiah paints a beautiful word picture to describe people who lead lives of faithfulness to God!

Continue reading

Give Me That Old-Time Religion – Jeremiah 6:16

Old-Time-Religion“This is what the Lord says: Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16, NLT).

God, through the prophet Jeremiah, chided the people of Israel and Judah to repent and warned them of the terrible consequences that awaited them if they refused. He admonished them to follow the tried and true ways of God’s laws, which would lead to rest for their souls.

Continue reading

What Really Matters- Romans 14:16-17

whatmatters“So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:16-17, ESV).

According to the Apostle Paul living in God’s Kingdom is not about doing good. It’s not about formulating a set of rules and regulations for good behavior. It’s not about finding happiness or success.

Continue reading