Monday, January 28, 2019


Mark 15:43 “He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the Kingdom of God.” - Message Translation


The Message Translation describes Jospeh of Arimathaea as “one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the Kingdom of God.” (Mark 15:43)

I am challenged today to live expectantly, on the lookout for God’s Kingdom. First of all I am challenged to live my life today anticipating the sound of the trumpet. I want to be looking for the return of my King. When I live looking for the coming of my King it changes my system of values. Earthly things begin to dim when I am living in the light of heaven.

When I live expectantly, looking for the Kingdom of God it changes my character. The return of Jesus has always been a motivator toward holy living. In 1 John 3:3 the Holy Spirit inspires John to write, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (KJV)

But I am challenged by another thought. Am I on the lookout for activities of the Kingdom of God that are occurring around me? Sometimes I can be so busy looking for what I perceive to be the big kingdom stuff that I miss Kingdom activities. God may be at work, but I miss it because I am not looking for Him in the affairs of my daily life.

Today, I want to not only be looking for Him to come to set up the eternal Kingdom (come, Lord Jesus) but I also want to be expectantly looking for the Kingdom happening around me.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Whose Hair Do You Pull?

Whose hair do you pull? Ezra in 9:3 of the book bearing his name has been told of the sin of the people (especially the leaders). The ESV says, "As soon as I heard this ... [I]
pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled." One scholar observes how different Nehemiah responded to a similar situation in Nehemiah 13:25, "I confronted them ... and pulled out their hair." Here are two practical observations. God used two different men with entirely different personalities. He still does. Secondly, while the responses were different neither was wrong. I need to be "appalled" at sin on a personal level. Intercession and brokenness over the sin of society needs to grip us. Sometimes though we are called to to confront the sin and to spiritually pull out the hair of the one living in it. Leaders need to preach on sin. I would suggest we pull out our hair though before we start pulling out the hair on another head or beard.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

When God Wanted to Shut Down the Church

I have been praying for the last 30 minutes or so. I was reading this Scripture from Malachi 1:10 in the BBE version, "If only there was one among you who would see that the doors were shut, so that you might not put a light to the fire on my altar for nothing! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of armies, and I will not take an offering from your hands."
The Expositor's Bible Commentary makes the following rather pointed commentary. "God, once again speaking of himself in the first person, wished that the temple would go out of business. As long as it was not serving as a meeting place for God and man, why should any perfunctory and self-deceiving rituals go on it it? Not only were the sacrifices ineffective, but the priests and the people were lulled into thinking that their deeds were winning God's approval. So why not shut the temple doors and be done with what was for priests merely a nuisance? The thought may be applied to present-day churches that have ceased to be places where people worship in spirit and in truth and are merely meeting places and nothing more. It would be better for them to close down that to continue misleading those who think that what they are doing pleases God. He could hardly have spoken his mind more clearly than he did in the last part of verse ten: "I am not pleased with you ... and I will accept no offering from your hands."
May the Spirit of the Lord never come to the place He says to us "You may as well quit what you are doing because it offends me and I will not be a part of it." Many good deeds are being done by many groups. May it be that the church never loses sight of our primary call and purpose.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Extravagant Worship

2 Samuel 6: 16 And when the ark of the Lord came into the town of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looking out of the window, saw King David dancing and jumping before the Lord; and to her mind he seemed foolish.

In describing the reaction of Michal to the worship of King David upon the entrance of the ark into the city of God the BBE says, "to her mind he seemed foolish."

And so extravagant worshippers still often appear to others. Does the worship of another seem foolish to you? Remember, they are not worshipping you. The question is not does the worship seem foolish to you but how does it appear to the One to whom the worship is directed?

The extravagant worshipper must not seek to offend others but must simply be so captured with the object of His love that the opinions of the others simply fails to enter the equation. The "Davids" must know their worship will always be "foolish" to the Michals of this world.

What was it that appeared to specifically annoy Michal? The BBE says it was his "dancing and jumping before the Lord." It seems the demonstrative worship tends to create more disturbance than the silent variety.

When Your People Rebel Against You

1 Samuel 30: 6 And David was greatly troubled; for the people were talking of stoning him, because their hearts were bitter, every man sorrowing for his sons and his daughters: but David made himself strong in the Lord his God. (BBE)

David is greatly troubled. First he is facing personal tragedy. His own wives have been taken captive by the Amalekites. Secondly the people were talking about stoning him.

Every leader will go through moments where the people they are leading will rise up against them in some fashion. It is important we understand why the people do what they do. The people were lashing out at David from their own hurt. Their hearts were crushed over the perceived loss of their families. Personal crisis will often cause people to strike out at the leadership. It is also important to note these were the men who were following David but the concerns of their family were of greater concern to them that loyalty to David. Family wins out over most relationships most of the time. Therefore do not expect people to support you at the expense of their family.

How are you to respond in those situations? David made himself strong in the Lord. Do not always be needing for someone else to pick you up. Make yourself strong. But understand this strength is found in your personal relationship with your Lord.

When the Crowd is Right

2 Samuel 18:3-5

Normally the leader sets the pace but from time to time the leader needs to bow to the wisdom of the group.

David said, "I will do whatever seems best to you."

He had planned on taking the lead in the coming battle but the people recognized quite correctly that on this occassion it was best this great military leader remain off of the front lines.

We must not let our stubborness keep us from hearing words of wisdom that come from the lips of others. Sometimes God's voice does come through the wisdom of others.

Lay your will down and accept His will regardless of how that revelation comes.

It is important to be able to discern when these times come. The wisdom from the crowd was based on two things. First it was based on the good of the Kingdom. Secondly it was based on the good of the leader.

The crowd was not limiting David's leadership. They were protecting both him and the Kingdom. The leader must look beyond his own ego to determine if the wisdom of the crowd is for their convenience or for the good of the Kingdom.

In this verse another reason for David to remain off of the front comes through. His own emotions were clouding his wisdom. He, as a father was quite concerned over the welfare of his son. He had forgotten that son did not share the same concern for him.

Had David gone to the front line he would have preserved the one creating the rebellion. Unless Absalom had a change of heart this action on David's part would have only delayed the inevitable.

A leader cannot allow his personal situations to cloud his vision. He must see what is best for the people he is leading.

There is no way to mitigate the pain the leader will feel when the welfare of the people being led and the welfare of the leader's family are in conflict

When Crisis Cuts Off Promotion

Jeremiah 45: 4 This is what you are to say to him: The Lord has said, Truly, the building which I put up will be broken down, and that which was planted by me will be uprooted, and this through all the land;
 5* And as for you, are you looking for great things for yourself? Have no desire for them: for truly I will send evil on all flesh, says the Lord: but your life I will keep safe from attack wherever you go.

When Crisis Cuts Off Personal Glory

Baruch is receiving both a promise and a caution or a warning in this prophetic word through Jeremiah. First comes the caution  or the warning. Don't expect personal greatness or security during this coming time of tragedy. Baruch is not to be concerned about developing his own ministry and personal fortunes during this time.

The promise is the Lord would keep him safe in the midst of all the terrible things that would befall the nation. Even if he was taken as a prisoner to another country the Lord would be with him and keep him alive.

The time in which one lives presents both opportunities and difficulties. Personal goals may be required to take  back seat because of larger public issues.

As followers of Jesus we still live within the context of the time we live in. World War II interrupted the lives of believers in the same way it interrupted the lives of non believers. Some will never rise to great personal heights because the situations in which they live will not permit it. However they can still be used of God in those situations. Noted politicians are speaking about living for a cause greater than yourself.

Secondly even in adverse international situations you can have the promise of Divine protection.