Archive for June, 2021

Your Unexplored Gold Mine

In Queensland, Australia some poor workmen tried to eke out a living on their plot of land. They lived in poverty, not knowing that there on Mount Morgan beneath their feet was one of the largest gold deposits in the world. They lived in bread lines with gold of inestimable value being theirs.

Many Christians live as spiritual paupers because they fail to mine their greatest asset —- prayer.

Trials and tribulations are gold mines from which we get some of life’s greatest treasures.

Often we pray: “Lord, when am I going to get out of this?,” instead of “Lord, what am I going to get out of this?”

Helplessness is rarely seen as a blessing. When it is realized, it often drives us to prayer, which otherwise might have been neglected.

It often appears we are surrounded by unimaginable blessings which come disguised as overwhelming obstacles. Prayer is the means of taking advantage of those unimaginable blessings.

Prayer gives us the ability to face the unfaceable, to bear the unbearable, to pass the breaking point without breaking.

Scripture reminds us, “You have not because you ask not.”

I sometimes pray, “Lord, you taught me to ask, and I am about to do so, leaving the result to you.”

Remember, prayer is not a supernatural credit card, an opiate to tranquilize nervous Christians, a campaign to persuade God to do something, or a magic wand to keep evil away.

Keep in mind respectfully the one to whom you are praying.

Be mindful of in whose name you are praying. To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray what you believe Jesus would pray were He there praying; You are His proxy.

Young Robert Louis Stevenson said to his mother, “You can’t be good without praying.” She asked how he knew. He said, “Because I’ve tried.”

If you are not praying you are staying.

Don’t harbor a secret sympathy for sin.

Now get out there in your spiritual gold mind and start digging — pray.

Bee, Bee Bumble Bee, Don’t Be a Bee

We were having lunch at Mt. Vernon, the former home of George Washington, when I noticed an exhausted bee futilely buzzing against a window. I had read that bees only take enough “fuel” with them to get to where they are going and to get back. If they get trapped in a car or against a window they could die. However, if sugar were dissolved in a spoonful of water and offered, it could sip and be reenergized. I tried it and it worked. He buzzed around and came back and stung me. Ingrate. How like a bee are we? We get depleted, defeated, or discouraged and the Lord renews us. Then we forget to say thank you. Remember, “thanks” is a prayer also.

Are you there now, about out of fuel and needing to be renewed? Are you afraid you just can’t hold out or overcome your problems?

Don’t subscribe to this old axiom, “When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.”

Instead rely on the truth in this statement by George MacDonald who wrote,

This is a sane, wholesome, practical, working faith. That it is a person’s business to do the will of God; second, that God Himself takes care of that person; and third, that therefore that person ought never to be afraid of anything.”

In light of that we can say to the Lord, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

Accept this invitation from the Lord, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

That is good news, but notice in the statement by MacDonald “it is a person’s business to do the will of God.” Get involved in doing it and you can be assured He will keep His part of the deal. Then rather than being an ingrate, glorify Him.

God’s Judgment of Nations

This post is offered in answer to the many who have asked whether God judges nations. In search of the answer, the Bible was my source.

In working on a computer there is a background screen enabling a clearer view. Let God’s love be your background screen. 

The primary city on which these thoughts are based is Nineveh in the country of Assyria. The source is the little Old Testament book of Nahum. It opens identifying God’s disposition.

“The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked.” (Nahum 1:3) He is not a capricious God. There is a pattern that precedes His judgment: God warns, God waits, God acts. 

That was the pattern used by three prophets who wrote of cultures God judged: Nahum against Assyria, Obadiah against Edom, and Habakkuk against Babylon. Ezekiel Chapters 25-28 gives a list of nations God had judged to that date. The Philistines are noted as an example: “I will execute great vengeance on them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance on them.”

This pattern of God’s patience is noted in the New Testament. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9) This takes into account some will discount and make light of warnings.

Scripture warns of serious consequences that result from disobedience. This is heavy: “If you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandments of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.” (II Samuel 12:15)

Inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial are these words of Jefferson:

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

My conclusion is that God does judge nations, all nations.

I am going to personally take heart in this promise. “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)

God is not selfish and overbearing in wanting obedience. He wants us to be obedient for our own sake as well as His. He set the standards for good and evil and knows the consequence of both. It is to our advantage to be obedient because inherent in such conduct are blessings. At variance with this is the fact that disobedience has intrinsic in it the seed of spiritual and moral debilitation and ultimate destruction. Disobedience is not just bad, it is simply bad for us. God desires our best, therefore He appeals for us to be obedient.

My favorite verse in Nahum is 1:7, “The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.”

This is perhaps the most serious post I have ever written. It is done with the prayer that it might make the issue clear and be met with a positive response.

There is a grievous aspect to national judgment. Within a population consisting of mostly disobedient people that comprise an ungodly nation are some godly people. Collateral judgment falls on them also. The good are victims of the discipline deserved by the bad. Even then their God loves them and will give them spiritual blessings to sustain them.

The Search for Happiness

Finding true happiness apart from fulfilling service in Jesus’ name is as impossible as finding a black palomino. Our society tends to cause a person to turn inward rather than turning loose. Doing so results in stagnation rather than flowing with life. Created to give of ourselves, many have instead become emotional statuary looking for a pedestal. Remember, a faith that works is a faith that works.

A servant temperament more than any other makes for a productive person. When this beautiful principle is elevated to apply to our Lord, it takes on an even greater meaning.

The more we depend on the Lord, the more dependable we find Him to be. The more dependable we find Him to be, the more we depend on him. The breakdown is that we want Him to prove Himself dependable before we depend upon Him. That is like saying to a stove you give me heat and then I will give you fuel.

Focus on who He is.

He is not a rabbit’s foot to rub for good luck.

He is not a spare tire to be used when all else fails.

He is not a parachute to enable us to bail out when we are about to crash.

He is not a humorist to entertain us in our melancholy moments.

He is our Lord and Master.

An athlete would not call a person coach and not run the plays he calls.

An employee would not call a person boss and not obey his will.

A soldier would not call a person commander and not do his will.

Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) Consider that as if He is presently asking you that question.

Albert Schweitzer, a lettered man with a servant temperament, said, “The only ones among us who will be really happy are those who will have found how to serve.”  

Have you found it? If not, are you willing to look for it – starting now?

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

You Have Potential

You have potential. Regardless of your past successes or failures, you have potential. Lift up your chin, your fallen gaze, and your slumped shoulders, take a deep breath and consider an example of untapped potential, perhaps not all together unlike you. You have potential, believe it.

God delivered the somber news to His people Israel, “Moses is dead.” 

Joshua’s moment had come. He was thrust into the leadership role, bringing with him memories of all his past failures and criticism. Evidently he was looking back on Moses and his monolithic leadership and feeling very inferior.

Have you ever felt that way? Many adults carry with them into adulthood memories of their failures and putdowns. 

In saying “Moses my servant is dead,” God was saying, “Joshua forget your past failures – you are my man.” It was time for Joshua to admit God’s great investment in him. He must now put the past behind.

In effect God was looking Joshua straight in the eyes and saying “You have potential.” The same is true of you, regardless of past failures and criticism.

Jesus put it this way, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Paul expressed it, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13, 14)

Think for a moment of God’s investment in YOU.

If He could use a second grade follower to lead His people that proves He can use you and thankfully me. Us!

That should give you pride. There are two kinds of pride. One is egotism, arrogance. There is no room for that. The other kind is the kind where you are ashamed not to be your best.

Pause and pray, “Here I am Lord, use me.” Leave the result to Him.

He will give you grace for the disappointments, strength for the trials, and hope for the end of life.

Now go out there and live up to your potential. Enjoy!