Friday, March 14, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 3/14/08

Acts 7:2-5
2 To this he replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 'Leave your country and your people,' God said, 'and go to the land I will show you.'
4 "So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child.

We were talking about Abraham in our Bible study on Thursday night. It is amazing to think that he set out without even knowing where he was going, just based on the Word of God. It is even more amazing as we see just how much he trusted God and His promises, even though many of them never came true during his lifetime. Abraham is held out as an example of faith that we can and should emulate. Where is God asking you to go? What is He asking you to do? He will be faithful to His part. Can you show the same kind of faith in Him that Abraham did?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 3/13/08

Hebrews 12:26-29
26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27 The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our "God is a consuming fire."

Do you ever have those days when everything seems a little shakey? Consider these words from Hebrews. As created things we can sometimes find ourselves shaking and quaking and not firmly planted. But if we place ourselves in God's hands, He will keep us firm in those times. Look at Psalm 94:18 - 18 When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me.
And also at Psalm 94:22 - 22 But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
God is rock steady and our refuge in those times when we are not. Run to him when you feel the shakes and the quakes in life.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 3/11/08

1 Corinthians 16:10-11
10 If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 11 No one, then, should refuse to accept him. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.

I got to tell you that I really like Timothy. I can really relate to him in a lot of ways. I have been doing a sermon series at church through the book of 1 Timothy, but I hadn't remembered this verse until I read it today. Timothy had some problems with confidence and courage it seems. Paul frequently encourages Timothy in his two letters to him and here we see that he asked other people to help Timothy as well. This is something we can all do for our brothers and sisters. Do you know what your best friends weaknesses are? Do you actively seek to help him/her overcome those things? As believers, we should be quick to help each other in our areas of weakness.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

From the Pastor's Desk Column for 3/10

In last week's column, I mentioned the Ten Commandments as an example of God's standard. It is amazing to think that what was once so foundational to our nation and its laws is now cast off and almost unknown. I ran across an interesting story a couple of years ago regarding the symbols of the Ten Commandments at the Supreme Court of the United States. There are six depictions of Moses and/or the Ten Commandments at the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., but apparently the latest tourist information attempts to pass off most of these representations as references to the Bill of Rights. This is not intended to be a political column, rather I wish to address the trend to move the Ten Commandments out of the public eye.
I saw a man on the street type of video a few years ago that showed more people who could name ten different brands of beer than could name the Ten Commandments. If it weren't so sad, it would be laughable. There has never been a point in human history where God said that these commandments weren't valid. In fact, they still serve a very valid purpose. These commandments show us the character and nature of God. They show that He is holy and just in a way that we simply do not measure up to no matter how hard we try. What we see when we look into the Bible is first and foremost a glimpse at the reality of why we are the way we are. I believe that the Ten Commandments have been pushed from the public eye mainly because they make us uncomfortably aware that we don't measure up to God's standard. In fact there is no way that we ever could. It seems like the most common phrase I hear as a reason for a mistake being made is that, “I'm just human”.
There is one human being in recorded history who never made a mistake. His name is Jesus Christ. He was more than “just human”; He was God incarnate. This is the time of year when we celebrate the fact that He did something for us that we couldn't do for ourselves. He lived a perfect life and then put Himself in our place, on our behalf, before God. Because He didn't break the commandments of God, He was able to take the punishment for breaking them in our place. He paid a debt He didn't owe for you and for me. Next week, we will look at the resurrection of Jesus as the best attested event in human history.

I think I am going to be sick

Since when did the Southern Baptist Convention start listening to Al Gore? I ran across this article that makes me nauseous a few minutes ago about the Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change. This comes out as spring approaches after some record-breaking snowfall in the Unites States no less. I am just sitting here in stunned disbelief. I have met two of these signatories; I was even a member of one of the churches whose pastor signed this thing. There are plenty of scientists who say that this whole thing is sheer hysteria, and even though I was born in the 70s, I still remember that it wasn't that long ago we were bombarded with the "danger" of a coming ice age. Nevermind that there is good evidence that much of the hysteria is based on bad data from bad data collection methods. What bothers me is that this is unnecessary on the whole. It makes me evermore glad to be a Southern Baptist, since this has no effect whatsoever on my church or any other church that doesn't want to pay it any mind. And shouldn't we be reading our Bibles anyway before we listen to science. God is in control here and He is much bigger than my minivan or hairspray can. This earth isn't going anywhere or doing anything until He says so. Props to Joseph Farah for pointing out Genesis 8:22: "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." So put that in your climate change panic case and close it. I will leave you with this to put it in perspective.
Psalm 8:3-4
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

Do we seriously think ourselves so big now that we can destroy what God has put together? Get real.

More Than Bread Devotional

Malachi 2:17
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words.
"How have we wearied him?" you ask.
By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?"

We live in a world that tries to blur the lines of right and wrong. In fact, many prefer to make up their own standard of right and wrong based on anything from their personal feelings to a pleasure derivative calculation equation to you name it. The truth is that any system of right and wrong that has no objective basis is doomed to failure. God has provided a standard for us and He has the authority to make it stand. It has proven to be timeless and true. We should be confident to state what is good or evil based on God's standard of judgment without reservation. Be bold to call evil what it is. The God of justice is ever-present and His judgment is coming soon.

Monday, March 10, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 3/10/08

Genesis 12:6-7
6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great
tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the
land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I
will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had
appeared to him.

As some of you may already know, my sister Gina is traveling to
Israel this week. I was thinking about the land and nation of Israel
and its reminder to us even today that God is faithful to His
promises. Think about it. He promised Abraham that his offspring
would live there in that place. They have lived there for a long
time and continue to live there to this day. Always remember this
one thing. God is faithful. You can take it to the bank. If you
ever have doubts about His faithfulness, just take a quick glace at
the people of Israel, living today again in the promised land.