Nov 4, 2015
Casting Crowns – Good Good Father
When you let God to take over for everything, it always results to great things
Nov 4, 2015
Casting Crowns – Good Good Father
When you let God to take over for everything, it always results to great things
The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. Psalm 29:7
Many years ago a friend and I were fishing a series of beaver ponds when it started to rain. We took cover under a nearby grove of quaking aspen, but the rain continued to fall. So we decided to call it a day and run for the truck. I had just opened the door when lightning struck the aspen grove with a thunderous fireball that stripped leaves and bark off the trees, leaving a few limbs smoldering. And then there was silence.
We were shaken and awed.
Lightning flashes and thunder rolls across our Idaho valley. I love it—despite my close call. I love the raw power. Voltage! Percussion! Shock and awe! The earth and everything in it trembles and shakes. And then there is peace.
I love lightning and thunder primarily because they are symbols of God’s voice (Job 37:4), speaking with stupendous, irresistible power through His Word. “The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning . . . The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace” (Ps. 29:7, 11). He gives strength to endure, to be patient, to be kind, to sit quietly, to get up and go, to do nothing at all.
May the God of peace be with you.
Calm my spirit in the storms, Lord. Grant me Your peace and the strength to walk through this day.
Faith connects our weakness to God’s strength.
“Love what you do, and you will not work a day in your life,” goes the saying. But we don’t always get to do what we like or labor alongside easy-going people. Any job—even a well-loved one—has low points and tasks that feel like drudgery. Our attitude, then, cannot be based upon the work itself or our feelings; rather, it must reflect our position as God’s children. We would be far wiser to adopt a new maxim: “Work for the Lord you love, and you will be fulfilled every day of your life.”
We get the most out of our work when we view ourselves as servants. That, however, is not the perspective of modern culture, which teaches us to seek power and respect for self instead of toiling diligently for those who are in authority over us.
When it comes to our attitude about work, here is the principle as taught in God’s Word: “In all things obey those who are your masters on earth” (Col. 3:22). Biblical obedience isn’t merely an outward show with inward grumbling and resentment. Rather, it is a true commitment to the welfare of the employer.
God’s children are called to be His servants. Since we spend significant amounts of time at a job, much of our service will be done there. As employees, we are to apply the biblical principles of obedience and sacrifice, because whoever our human boss may be, the Lord is the ultimate authority overseeing our actions. He wants to observe us practicing righteousness at work and in all areas of our lives.
“For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” (Psalm 116:8)
This is the beautiful testimony of the psalmist when the Lord answered his prayer: “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul” (vv. 3-4). The Lord does, indeed, deliver our souls when we call upon Him for salvation in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Divine deliverance, however, is more than deliverance from death and hell. “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD . . . shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11). “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4). God delivers us from the penalty of our sins, from death and hell, right now, and then from all our sorrows and tears in the age to come, delivering us even from all the effects of sin forever.
But He also delivers us right now from the power of sin in our lives, which would otherwise come again to cause our downfall even after we have been saved. Many a fearful Christian, afraid that he is unable to hang on to the Lord, needs to know that it is the Lord who hangs on to him! “For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” (Psalm 56:13). Our Savior, who died for our sins and rose again for our justification, promises this. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall [anyone] pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). HMM
Sarai therefore proposed to Abram that Hagar should become his secondary wife. This was a very usual custom in those days, but it was not a commendable one, and it was an unbelieving act on Sarai’s part to propose it. It is not always easy to patiently wait the Lord’s time. We are all too apt to run to expedients of our own; as if the Lord needed our help to fulfil his promises.
Thus those we love best may be the means of leading us astray. The father of mankind sinned by hearkening to his wife, and now the father of the faithful follows his example.
It was Sarai who proposed the arrangement, and now she upbraids her husband for. it. It is of no use to lay the blame of our faults upon others, for if we step out of the straight path we shall be sure personally to smart for it.
Thus Sarai was first unbelieving to God, next unkind to her husband, and then cruel to her servant; so one wrong step leads to others. Unbelief sins, and produces other sins. Even this holy woman was not without infirmity. “There is none good, save one, that is God.”
She did not say where she was going, for she did not know. Let each of us ask himself. “Whither am, I going?”
No one could use such language as this but the Angel of the Covenant. Here is a proof of the inspired declaration, “My delights were with the sons of men.”
First, God sees us; and then, by his gracious visitations, he leads us to look after himself.
The well of the living One, my Seer;
But this was not, as he had hoped, the promised heir; on the contrary, he became the occasion of much trial to the family. When we call in legality to help grace, or sight to assist faith, we miss our object, and ensure for ourselves no little sorrow. The whole scene is a painful one, and should warn us that even in a gracious household sin may sow dissension, and cause heartburnings and distress.
Quick as the apple of an eye,
O God, my conscience make!
Awake my soul, when sin is nigh,
And keep it still awake.
Oh may the least omission pain
My well-instructed soul;
And drive me to the blood again,
Which makes the wounded whole!
2 Timothy 2:4
Have you ever wondered, How do I know if I’m becoming too materialistic? How do I recognize when natural possessions have become too important to me?
Today let’s answer those questions! In Second Timothy 2:4, Paul wrote, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life….” The word “entangleth” in this verse comes from the Greek word empleko. This Greek word can be used several different ways, but it is often used to describe a person entangled in his lower garments or a person who is caught in some type of vine.
For instance, this is the same Greek word that is used in Matthew 27:29 to describe how the Roman soldiers assembled Jesus’ crown of thorns! That verse says, “And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head….” The word “platted” is this same Greek word empleko. It may be the clearest and best example of this word in the entire New Testament.
Think for a moment: How did the soldiers “plait” a crown of thorns? The soldiers took vines loaded with sharp, dangerous thorns; then they carefully wove together those razor-sharp, prickly, jagged vines until they formed a tightly woven, dangerous circle resembling the shape of a crown. It was this kind of crown that the soldiers violently shoved down upon Jesus’ head in Matthew 27:29.
What I want you to see is that this word “entangleth” describes something that has been woven together. By using this word, Paul tells us that, as committed Christians, we don’t have the privilege of getting too involved or intertwined with matters that are relatively unimportant in light of eternity.
The word empleko was also used to describe a runner whose garments become entangled in his legs. Although the runner was running a good race, his floppy, dangling garments have now become ensnared and entangled in his legs—and as a result, they break his pace and hinder his race. So here we find that the word empleko Paul uses in Second Timothy 2:4 can also describe someone who has become ensnared or entangled in something and thus hindered.
This means that Second Timothy 2:4 can be translated:
“No one serving as a soldier permits himself to get entwined, ensnared, and entangled in the affairs of this life….”
But now let’s go back to the question about materialism. There is nothing wrong with owning nice things. In fact, God wants to bless us with nice things. But we are not to allow material possessions to become so ingrained in our hearts that they become the central focus of our lives. Our souls, emotions, and desires are not to become so ensnared, entangled, and caught up in the things of the world that we become meshed together with them.
How do you know if you’ve become materialistic? How do you know if natural possessions mean too much to you? Well, could you give them up if the Lord asked you to? Or have they become so woven into the very fabric of your life that you are now entangled in them? Only you and the Holy Spirit know the answers to these questions.
Do everything in your power to keep the temporal things of this world in the right perspective. Keep them in your hands but out of your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas of your life that need to be “untangled” and brought back into balance. Then after He speaks to you, it’s up to you to STAY untangled from those natural affairs of life!
Lord, I ask You to help me keep my heart free from the things of the world. You have called me to be a committed and focused Christian soldier. I cannot permit anything to ensnare and entrap me, thus distracting me from the good fight of faith You’ve called me to fight and win. You are the revealer of the secrets of men’s hearts, so today I am looking to You to reveal to me any areas in my soul where I have allowed something to entrap me so greatly that it threatens to eliminate me from the fight.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I boldly declare that my heart and soul are free to follow Jesus Christ! My worldly possessions are in my hands, but they are not in my heart. I will remain free of materialism, worry, and other worldly concerns, and I will stay focused on the task Jesus Christ has assigned to me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
“Circumstances don’t make or break a man… They simply reveal him.”
CIRCUMSTANCES: Are you surmounting yours or allowing them to get the best of you?
According to Psalm 84:5-7 the OVERCOMERS OF CIRCUMSTANCES have four characteristics:
1. They draw their strength from God:
“How blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee… ” (Verse 5)
When you purchase a new automobile there are two ways to get it off the lot. Push it or drive it. Many Christians push their way through life, never tapping into the energy source that is rightfully theirs: Jesus.
2. Their heart is 100% given over to God:
“In whose heart are the highways to Zion!” (Verse 5)
Here is a person with a single purpose: The highway to Zion. The highway to heaven. This is the pilgrim with blinders on, headed in one direction: Zion, his eternal home.
3. They overcome and even change their difficult circumstances:
“Passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a spring, the early rain also covers it with blessings.” (Verse 6)
Baca is a place of weeping, sorrow, sterility and possibly death. In this barren environment these “OVERCOMERS OF CIRCUMSTANCES” “make it a spring” of water, a source of refreshment, a place of hope and beauty. Rather than being overwhelmed by their circumstances, they change them for good!
4. They become stronger and stronger until they cross the finish line.
“They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion.” (Verse 7)
These OVERCOMERS OF CIRCUMSTANCES “gain new strength, (mounting) up with wings like eagles. They… run and not get tired… walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
And they all make it: “Everyone of them appears before God in Zion.” (Verse 7)
So, we have a choice: To live “under” the circumstances or rise above them.
What are your circumstances revealing about you? Are they making you or breaking you?