Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Daily Listener...

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 8-9 / NT + Proverbs 8

"Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.” - Proverbs 8:34-36
"Take it one day at a time". What does that phrase really mean?  We use this counsel regularly to encourage those who are struggling with the troubles of life. But, do we practice it every day, come sunshine or rain? And how do we take each day? Do we greet every morning with anticipation, watching and waiting at the door of God's wisdom? Blessings belong to the daily listener.

The Lord gives wisdom daily. Not weekly or monthly, but daily. Receiving his wisdom is like placing bricks in a wall. When we build a cathedral, we must do it one brick at a time. When we build a life, we must do it one day at a time. And the materials that we use will determine the ultimate quality of that life. Blessings belong to the daily listener.

How do you begin your day my friend? Are you so rushed in the morning hour that you have no time to watch and wait on the Lord? Do you try to make up for lost days once a week? Take... no, make the time every day to seek the Lord's wisdom in his Word and in prayer. Be still, and know that he is God. Blessings belong to the daily listener.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 10 / NT +  Philemon

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Our Hiding Place...

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 7 / NT + Psalms 32-33

"Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah" - Psalm 32:6-7 
It's going to rain this spring and it might possibly come down in torrents. Nearby communities may be flooded with rivers and streams overflowing. We have lived in four places over the years where flooding has taken homes and lives. Every time the storms come, anxiety runs high. When the mighty waters rise, we need a hiding place.

Early in this psalm David reflects on a forgiven life that is restored to fellowship with God. He builds up to the comforting result of finding security in God's unfailing love. There is no storm or trouble that will overcome the child of God when they rest in him. When the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. He will always be protected because the Lord is his hiding place.

Where is your protection from the floods today? Will the troubles of life take your song away? Pray, while the Lord may be found and see that he will protect you and surround you with songs of deliverance. When the waters rise, find rest in the One who is your hiding place.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 8-9 / NT +  Proverbs 8

Monday, March 27, 2023

Using His Power?

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 5-6 / NT + Titus 3

"This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." - Titus 3:8 
Our house is wired with electricity. It's great to have all the power we need for light, cooking, repair work, entertainment and overall comfort. The power is always just a plug away, but if we don't use the power what good is it? Having the power is only as good as using the power.

Titus 3 tells us of God's saving work, in which the Holy Spirit is poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ. Every believer is empowered with the very presence of God. We have all that we need to live for God and devote ourselves to doing what is good. The power is always just a prayer away, but if we don't use his power what good is it? Having his power is only as good as using his power.

Doing what is good comes from careful and thoughtful planning. We have the power, but do we have the devotion? What are you planning to do that's good today? Remember, having his power is only as good as using his power. 
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 7 / NT +  Psalms 32-33

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Fully Trusted...

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 4 / NT + Titus 2

"... but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive." - Titus 2:10

I used to take my van to Frank's garage whenever it needed repair. I also bought gas from Frank, even though his price was a little higher than other stations. Why in the world would I do such a thing you might ask? It's simple; Frank was friendly, honest and he did good work. He never replaced anything on my van that didn't need replacing. I was attracted to Frank's garage because he could be fully trusted.

The church grows when believers are genuine. Paul knew that being the real thing had to be seen in the work place as well as the worship center. The message of Christ is exciting, joyful and hopeful; it's full of promise in every way. But if the world can't see it working in the believer's life, they will never be attracted to Christ. They need to see that God's people are genuine and can be fully trusted.

You are being watched my brother and sister in Christ. When you think your employer and fellow employees, to whom you have witnessed, have turned a deaf ear, they are watching you. They are looking for the real thing and if they find that you are genuine in your daily conduct, they will be attracted to Christ, because you can be fully trusted. 
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 5-6 / NT +  Titus 3

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Led Astray...

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 3 / NT + Titus 1

"For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain."- Titus 1:10-11

A number of years ago a friend took a trip to New York City. While she was there a street vendor sold her a wireless phone for the house. When she returned home and opened the box, she found a number of rocks nicely wrapped in Styrofoam. She had been deceived and sold a box of rocks. She was led astray.

There are those in the church community that are selling boxes of rocks today. They are religious charlatans. They talk well and are winsome in their appearance, but they are deceivers at heart. The outside looks good, but their teachings will ruin whole households. They do all this for the sake of monetary profit. Those who are not careful will be led astray.

Time and again we are reminded in the New Testament to be spiritually discerning. We are counseled to tag those who teach error and rebuke them. We may be encouraged to be tolerant in many ways, but when it comes to the gospel message, we should only accept sound doctrine. "Hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught" (vs. 9) and you won't be led astray. 

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 4 / NT +  Titus 2

Friday, March 24, 2023

All at once...

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 2 / NT + Proverbs 7

"With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life." - Proverbs 7:21-23
The day of high pressure salesmen still lives. They will do their very best to sell you a car, a TV, new windows for your house and onward the list goes. They look for your weak spots and they surreptitiously seduce you to buy, buy, and buy. With smooth talk you are lead to believe that you need and should have whatever they're selling. You may resist, but if you're not very careful, you will make the purchase... all at once.

Temptation to sin is a lot like the high pressure salesman. It comes with smooth talk and seductive prodding. You're never told that the price of sin is devastating to the soul. The gleam and glitter is highlighted with skill and keen strategy. Your weak spots are played upon and you're led to believe that it will all be good. You may resist, but if you're not very careful, you will fall into sin... all at once.

Be very careful my friend. Be very prayerful as well. Temptation comes knocking every day with new and better offers that are intended to catch you off guard. May you be prepared with the words of Joseph in Genesis 39:9, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" Because, if you don't "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." (Ephesians 6:11), you will surely fall into sin... all at once. 

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 3 / NT +  Titus 1

Thursday, March 23, 2023

His Cupboard is never bare...

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 1 / NT + Psalms 30-31

"How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you." - Psalm 31:19
My sweet wife is an extraordinary manager of our home. She shops carefully and faithfully stocks the shelves with good food. She has a "Costco" card and shops there regularly, filling the cabinets with all that our family could possibly need for weeks to come. She stores up for those she loves.

The Lord doesn't need a "Costco" card. His goodness is great and he has closets and cabinets filled to overflowing with his goodness. Those who revere his Name, who love him in heart and take refuge in him, will find that he bestows his goodness with tremendous generosity. The Lord has stored up for those he loves.

Never fear my friend, the Lord's cupboard is never bare. Come to him in faith, with love and reverence in your heart, and you will find an abundance of goodness beyond your greatest expectation. His shelves are overflowing with all that you need for the journey ahead. Take refuge today in the One who stores up for those he loves.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 2 / NT +  Proverbs 7