Sunday, July 28, 2013

Not My Fault

Not My Fault
July 29, 2013
Romans 14:12  "So, then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God."

It is easy to blame someone else; it makes us feel better to pass the buck.  We like to justify our actions until it seems right in our own eyes.  We can lie to ourselves and convince our own minds that what we are doing is the right thing.  But deep down inside, if we are honest with ourselves, we know who is to blame for some of our problems.  While it is easy to say it is not our fault, it is still our responsibility if our actions prove we were involved.  People have been trying to pass the blame since the beginning of time.  Remember Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?  Adam was quick to tell the Lord that his wife was the one who gave him the forbidden fruit.  He said it wasn't his fault.  The Lord is not fooled, however; He knows everyone's actions and everyone's heart.

The older brother of Moses, Aaron, should have known better than to try and pass the blame.  Remember that Aaron was the mouthpiece for Moses.  Aaron was with Moses at every turn during the Lord's miracles.  Aaron witnessed the Lord's power first hand and had proof that the Lord was to be feared.  If anyone should have respected the Lord's instructions and commands, it should have been Aaron.  But Aaron, like Adam in the Garden, was quick to pass the blame even when caught in the act, red-handed.

When Moses was up on the mountain top meeting with the Lord, the Isrealites were left unattended.  Well, they were left with Aaron in charge.  Moses was gone a long time so the Israelites told Aaron to make them a god, in order to worship it.  Aaron instructed them to turn over all their gold to him and he would make them a golden calf to worship.  He did so, producing a graven image to bow down and worship, telling them it was their god.  Moses came down the mountain to see the Israelites worshipping the golden calf and was shocked at the sight.  He confronted Aaron about it, enraged with disgust.  Listen to Aaron's response.  "You know how prone these people are to I threw [the gold] into the fire and out came this calf."

Wow, talk about shifting the blame for Aaron's own sin.  He blamed it on the crowd and blamed it on the fire, but he alone was responsible for overseeing the production of the golden calf.  He basically said it was everyone's fault but his own.  You and I do this same thing.  We find others to blame in order to justify our own actions.  We blame our circumstances, our spouses, our parents, our friends---everyone but ourselves.  We are the only ones who are going to be held accountable for our actions, no matter who put us in the situation.  We WILL be held accountable; it is just a matter of time.

Our accountability will be before the Lord some day and no one will be standing by your side when you give your side of the story.  Your spouse and your friends will not be there.  The Lord will ask you what happened and you will not be able to tell Him it was not your fault. He sees passed your lies and knows what is in your heart.  He will not be fooled by your response.  No amount of smooth talking will convince the Lord when you've been caught in the act.  You can lie to yourself all you want but the Lord will bring it all to light one day.  It is time to start taking responsibilty for your actions.  Everything you do is your fault, even if you'd like to believe that others have led you to it.  You can choose this day who you will serve.  You will either obey the Lord's instructions or not.  There is no middle ground.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Gen 3:12, Ex 32:1-25, Josh 24:25, 1 Sam 16:7, Ps 33:13, Pr 21:2, Daniel 7:9-10, Rom 14:10-12, 2 Cor 5:10

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Put to the Test

Put to the Test
July 22, 2013
Exodus 16:4  "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.'"

No one likes tests. A test is an opportunity to fail so we avoid them at all costs.  Unfortunately, though, we do not get the option when it comes to being tested by the Lord.  Whether you want to admit it or not, the Lord will test you in your lifetime, probably more than once or twice.  You may not realize it at the time, but you if think long and hard over past periods of your life, you will realize the Lord was testing you.  The Lord WILL test you, trust me.  He tested the Israelites and was extremely open and honest about it.  He told them what the test was and what it would take to pass the test.  One particular test was in the gathering of the manna that fell from Heaven.

The Israelites were in the desert and did not have an available food source.  The Lord decided to provide them with manna from Heaven to sustain them.  A daily provision was on the ground for them in the morning and they were to gather the exact amount needed for that day.  There was an exception, however, and that was on the day before the Sabbath.  It was permitted to gather two days worth of manna so they would not need to work on the Sabbath.  If they gathered too much, however, and held it over until the next day, the manna became full of maggots.  For some reason, the Lord allowed the manna collected on the day before the Sabbath to stay fresh for one extra day only.  In this way, the Lord told them He was going to test them.  He wanted to see if they would follow His instructions; He wanted to see if they would follow His instructions and trust Him in His daily provision for them.

The Israelites were just like you and me, they were tempted to collect a little more and store it away like a squirrel.  The selfish and greedy tendency kicked in and they tested the Lord's requirements, gathering more than they were instructed.  They discovered that the manna became full of maggots when they did not follow the Lord's instructions, not trusting in His daily provisions for their sustenance.  It was such a simply and easy thing to do, but they failed at it just like you and I fail at it each and every day, not listening or trusting in the Lord.  He gave them an easy assignment, one day's worth, one to practice with on a daily basis to build their trust in Him.  It was an opportunity for Him to see what they were made of and for them to see His daily provision, teaching them they could depend upon Him.

You've experienced the Lord's instruction and provision in the past, is it enough for you to trust Him in your future?  Did you learn; did you pass the test?  Like the Israelites, the Lord is testing you, giving you the opportunity to learn His character and know that you can trust Him if and only if you follow His instructions to the letter.  You know what His instructions are for your life, but maybe you haven't been following them.  It is time to prove to the Lord that you can follow His instructions and give Him the opportunity to prove His faithfulness to you in return.  You will never be void of His testing.  He tested Abraham, the Israelites, the Apostle Peter, and even Jesus.  If you successfully pass the test, proving to the Lord your knowledge of Him, then life will be so much easier with one less test to re-take.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Gen 22:1-3, Ex 16, Deut 8:2-16, Lk 4:1-3, 2 Cor 13:4-6, James 1:3-12, 1 Peter 4:11-14, Rev 2:10

Sunday, July 14, 2013


July 15, 2013
Revelation 4:8  "Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings."

In the last book of the Bible, there are many unique scenes describing Heaven, the Lord, and what happens in the Lord's presence.  One particular scene depicts four beasts, also sometimes called angels.  These angels have six wings and their bodies are COVERED with eyes.  It says that these four angels encircle the throne day and night, non-stop.  Why in the world would these four creatures need so many eyes, even under their wings?  It does not say what they use those eyes for but we can make an educated guess.  The four beasts have faces, so the eyes on the front of their heads would give them sight as to what direction they are flying.  The multiple eyes are not for alerting them of possible air traffic control problems.

If you look elsewhere in the Lord's creation, there is another creature with many eyes: a spider.  I'm not comparing angels to spiders, however we do understand why spiders have so many eyes.  They use different eyes for different levels of clarity and distance.  Certain eyes are used for alerting itself to things in its presence, no matter where it is located.  It is difficult to surprise a spider or keep something from its view.  Some eyes have greater magnification so it can see amazing, almost infinite detail.  My guess is these creatures encircling the throne use their many eyes to study the Lord, to fixate upon His countenance, on His majesty.  They encircle the throne, keeping all available eyes on the Lord, viewing the details of His infinite glory with great clarity and magnification.  The reason I suggest this is due to their audible response after viewing His majesty.

These four creatures cry out, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."  In the Bible, when a word or phrase is repeated three times to describe something (like Holy, Holy, Holy), it is calling it the very essence of that thing, the embodiment of it.  The angels with many eyes fixated on the Lord cry aloud day and night, after gazing upon the Lord, that He is the embodiment of Holiness, the Almighty who existed before the world began, the one who is Almighty in this current age, and the one who will be Almighty in days ahead.  The angels can see all these things with their eyes.  They are focused on Him, studying every facet and angle, discovering the truth of the Lord's character and being.  They come to a simple yet complex understanding of the Lord.

My question to you is what have you discovered after gazing upon Him?  What do your eyes tell you about Him?  What do you have to say about the Lord and His character and His being?  Are you studying Him with great intensity or are your only two eyes focused upon yourself?  If you did study the Lord in earnest detail, what would you discover?  Would you come to the same conclusion as these four creatures, that the Lord is the embodiment of Holiness and that He is Almighty even during this present time in your life?  Sadly, you and I don't view the Lord like this.  We see Him as a Santa Claus, we see Him as a distant magician, we see Him as an elusive myth.  We never have discovered what those angels discover about Him every day, that He is so much more than we are willing to see.  It's time to open your eyes and truly discover the Lord.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Is 40:12-14 & 18-31, Rev 4:6-11, Rev 5:11-14

Sunday, July 7, 2013


July 8, 2013
Numbers 20:10  "He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, 'Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?'"

Moses was an amazing leader; no one would deny that.  He was an effective administrator, he had an intimate walk with the Lord (one that has never been paralleled today), and he was lauded as being the most humble man that ever lived.  There are few leaders who could be compared to Moses.  Moses did not necessarily have an easy life, but he lived out an excellent example of a successful Christian walk.  Except for one thing.  Moses had an anger management problem.  His anger problem was a big enough deal to make him ineligible for his earned earthly blessings.  Moses deserved a few good things in his life; he worked hard enough to receive them, but his anger management problem removed his eligibility to partake of the Lord's promised blessings.

The earthly blessing Moses forfeited was his future life in the Promised Land.  Remember that Moses was leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt, then out of the desert into the territory promised to them by the Lord, the land flowing with milk and honey.  But Moses did something that made the Lord decide he couldn't live in that land.  Moses was instructed to speak to a rock in order to provide water for the Israelites.  When at the place prescribed, he got angry with the Israelites, angry enough that he struck the rock with his staff instead of speaking to it as directed.  This frustrated the Lord and so He removed Moses' eligibility for the Promised Land.  It seems a little harsh, one moment of regret removed all the good Moses had done, making him ineligible for the blessing.  But I would suggest the moment at the rock was simply the last straw for the Lord's patience with Moses' anger issues.

Recall that Moses killed a man in his earlier years, the reason he left living in Pharaoh's house in the first place.  Moses was 40 years old when he got angry enough to murder a man for abusing his fellow Hebrew.  Many years later, when Moses was 80, he went back to Egypt to lead the Israelites.  On one specific occasion, in Pharaoh's presence just before the last plague upon Egypt, the Bible says that Moses burned hot with anger in his dialogue with Pharaoh.  Then when Moses was 120 years old, he struck the rock with his staff out of his anger with the Israelites.  The point is, Moses didn't get rid of his anger problem at 40, he didn't learn by the time he was 80, and still had anger issues at 120.  You'd think by age 120 Moses might not be so short tempered.

Moses' refusal to deal with his anger management problem is what removed his eligibility to enter into the promised land.  While you may not necessarily struggle with anger, I know you have a specific area of your life that is a significant weakness for you.  Maybe it is faith, maybe it is envy, maybe it is pride, this list could go on.  I strongly believe that your refusal to deal with this problem, though, is hindering your earthly blessings, however successful you are in other areas of your life.  The Lord wants a complete and whole package in His children and that includes the weakest area of your life as focal point for success.  You might be disappointed in your lack of blessings received to date, but maybe it is your fault.  The Lord is holding back your blessings because you have held back from submitting those weaknesses to Him.  It is time to get help with your area of struggle; admit you have a problem and get help.  Start by confessing it to the Lord and allow Him to lead you on the path to success in those areas.  He will help you if you ask Him.  The Lord does not want to hold back your blessings; it is not part of His plan.  But He will do whatever it takes to get your attention.  Don't remove your eligibility like Moses.  Receive all that the Lord has promised you.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Ex 2:11-14, Ex 11:4-8, Ex 32:19, Num 20:2-12, Pr 3:12, Jer 29:13, Matt 6:33, James 1:5