David, as the anointed King of Israel, had many enemies. Among them was Saul, who remained enthroned as King. Saul was jealous of David, and sought his life. However, scripture reveals that God providentially protected David. In 2 Samuel 22, David acknowledged that help:
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence” (2-3).
Continue reading » An Anchor of the Soul
People generally recognize the positive impact of prayer. What is not always understood is why prayer is such a positive thing. Our national leaders during tragic times call for and express thanks for prayers offered. Many of those same leaders do not believe in God, or have no faith that God intercedes in men’s affairs. For many, prayer is simply a way of saying, “I’m thinking about you.” It is an expression of sympathy, and is appreciated for that reason alone. Caregivers may go so far as to suggest that prayers offered can have a placebo effect; a bit like chicken soup, it can’t hurt.
Continue reading » God Hears, and Answers!
This past week I posted a short video about the use of profanity that came as close to going “viral” as probably anything I will ever submit to Facebook. Since Tuesday the video has been viewed about 2,200 times, shared by over 50 people, and liked and commented upon in much greater numbers than typical. It seems the article touched a nerve. I thought I would reprise the general message in this article, and offer a few more thoughts.
First, note that profanity is defined by Webster as “an offensive word” or “offensive language.” Cussing has become much more common in our society. This is a symptom of the coarsening of our culture, and does not excuse the use of such words. Any individual who considers himself polite and respectful should refrain from using profanity. When speaking in “mixed company” or in the presence of those you do not know well, it is very possible that profane words will offend.
Continue reading » Our Caged Canary
When an obstacle impedes progress, one of two possibilities emerge. The obstacle either prevents success, or the obstacle is defeated, with success realized despite its challenge.
Many serious spiritual obstacles can be defeated through determination and persistent effort. Josiah, the young king of Judah serves as a wonderful example in this. His challenge was to overcome the evil influences of his father and grandfather. Those men were evil idolaters, who led Judah in rebellion against God. Josiah ascended to the throne at the age of 8 years. Scripture reveals that he “did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (2 Kings 22:2). He removed the idols his predecessors had put into the Temple, and restored true worship to the Lord. And, as ruler of Judah, he “made all who were present in Israel diligently serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not depart from following the Lord God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 34:33).
Josiah was a unique king. “Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him” (2 Kings 23:25). However, we too can overcome any spiritual obstacle that may beset us, if we “turn to the Lord” with all our heart, soul and might.
In Exodus 3 we read of God’s conversation with Moses, from the midst of the burning bush. Moses was understandably hesitant to take on the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. He asked “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (11). In response, God did not seek to stroke the ego of Moses. Such was not needed. It was enough for God to say, “I will certainly be with you” (12). It didn’t matter who Moses was, with God’s help he would be successful in his task.
Continue reading » “I Will Certainly Be With You”
This past week I came across an article that was being shared on Facebook. It was a nice, “feel good” article. The article was reporting on a recent visit to the metroplex by movie star Kevin Costner. It seems that he had rented a car and was traveling west, when he had a flat on his rental car near Weatherford. He was grateful that several complete strangers stopped to help him change the tire. He noted that such friendliness is rare, and not to be found in Los Angeles.
Problem is, the story was a hoax, as many such posts are on the internet. Some such false reports are very destructive, as lies are told, retold and spread, often to bolster a particular political position or point of view. Too often, Christians participate (often unintentionally) in spreading such lies.
Continue reading » Think Before You Share!
In Jeremiah 51, Jehovah proclaimed the ultimate destruction of the kingdom of Babylon. Though it was yet to happen, that judgment of God was sure. “‘Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘That I will bring judgment on her carved images,
And throughout all her land the wounded shall groan. Though Babylon were to mount up to heaven, and though she were to fortify the height of her strength, yet from Me plunderers would come to her,’ says the Lord” (vs 52-53).
It does not matter how powerful the nation may be, how large the army, how explosive the arsenal, God’s will is done. In every age and in every place, when men trust in their own might to stand against the righteous God of heaven, they are doomed to destruction. Paul said, “And He [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17:26).
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). God judged Babylon because she was an idolatrous and evil kingdom. “Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her. And they shall be weary” (Jeremiah 51:64). This is an important lesson that our own nation needs to hear and learn to avoid the same fate.
“So you, by the help of your God, return; observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually” (Hosea 12:6).
It is hard to be patient. This is especially so when you perceive injustice. While you are striving to be good and righteous, the ungodly prosper. The Psalmist knew this, and counseled:
Continue reading » Wait On Your God