Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Lord Evaluates Offerings

Scripture: Leviticus 10:2
And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

Insights: This week we have been learning an overall theme of: Offerings ARE to be Pleasurable to the Lord.  So far we have seen:

·         The Lord Anticipates Offerings
·         The Lord Regulates Offerings
·         The Lord Evaluates Offerings (is what we are going to examine today)

When the Lord evaluated Nadab and Abihu’s offering He found it to be less than satisfactory and as a result he consumed them with fire.  Whenever God has started something new He has disciplined more severely on the front end of the time line.  This sentence does not mean God’s standards become lacks or withdrawn.  What it means is God’s exacting of punishment is held off by His mercy until a later date, but judgment is still the same end result for offering strange fire to the Lord.  The reason the Lord responds on the front end of new things in a harsher manner (from a human perspective) is because God is showing us how seriously these matters really are.  Think about a few individuals in the history of the Scriptures.  Uzzah died when he touched the Ark of the Covenant when David was attempting to bring it to Jerusalem and establish a new place of central worship for Israel.  Ananias and Sapphira died after lying to the Holy Spirit about their financial offering to the Lord.  They told everyone they were going to give the entire amount, but they kept some back for themselves, but told everyone it was the entire asking amount.  When the Lord’s Supper first was initiated several died because they took it in an inappropriate manner.  They were getting drunk on the Lord’s drink and gorging themselves with the Lord’s food and not honoring and remembering the Lord Jesus’ death on the Cross of Calvary.  John warns us there is a sin that does lead to death (1 John 5:16).  In other words, the Lord is not going to allow His children, if they are truly His, to continue to make the Lord and His holiness become a mockery.  In those situations the Lord literally takes a life of one of His children early.  Beloved, I have shared all of these examples with you to help you understand how serious our offerings to the Lord need to be.  We need to let the Lord examine our hearts and if He reveals anything inappropriate, we must repent!

  1. Does the realization that the Lord is the One who evaluates your offerings bring you comfort or anxiety?
  2. Are you in danger of the Lord exacting punishment on you for inappropriate offerings to Him?

Prayer: Father, forgive me for offering strange fire to you.  I truly desire to have my heart and life reflect Your glory.  I want my offerings to be pleasing to You.  Help mold and grow me to understand how I might better serve and obey You.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Lord Regulates Offerings

Scripture: Leviticus 10:3
Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'" So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.

Insights: Let me give you the first two definitions of the word regulate.  The first definition of regulate is: to govern or direct according to rule.  The second definition of regulate is: to bring order, method, or uniformity to something.  The reason I give you these definitions is for you to understand that God is the ONE, and let me emphasize, THE ONLY ONE, who gets to determine what is an appropriate offering of worship to Himself.  In church history, and unfortunately in some places, presently, we experienced worship wars.  For most people reading these Thoughts by Scott you know what I mean by that statement.  Just in case you don’t, however, let me briefly explain.  There have been, and still are, those who think hymn singing and southern gospel styles are the only appropriate and acceptable kinds of music sung in a church.  They believe anything new or modern is irreverent and not appropriate to present to the Lord.  On the other side of the fence were those who thought anything but contemporary music was not relevant for modern worshippers, and therefore, old hymns ought never to be sung.  The problem with both of these thoughts is that man became the arbiter as to what is acceptable to the Lord.  Let me tell you, God likes and enjoys them both.  We have done the same thing with our clothing preferences.  There was a day in which men wore suits and ties and ladies wore dresses and nice hats.  Over time, however, these forms of reverence have shifted and to place an arbitrary external demand on dress is a personal preference issue and not the commands of the Lord.  We need to hear the words of David, “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:16-17).”  What David was teaching us in his confession of repentance was the Lord looks at the heart of the worshipper, not the external performance.  Beloved, you do not regulate the standard, the Lord does!

  1. Do you allow your personal preferences to dictate what you think are acceptable offerings of worship?
  2. Have you come to the place where you understand that the Lord is the only One who is qualified to regulate what are acceptable offerings of worship?

Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times I have dictated the standard of worship.  Help my heart to be pure and blameless before You and offer You the kinds of offerings You desire.  As David told us, You desire a broken and contrite spirit over external forms or expressions of worship.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Lord Anticipates Offerings, Part 2

Scripture: Leviticus 10:1
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.

Insights: Today we give some examples of God’s anticipation of our offerings.  The Westminster Catechism’s first principle is: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and TO fully enjoy him forever.  Let us look to the book of Revelation and observe the offerings of worship that are presented to God in glory for His pleasure.  The scene is found in the fourth and fifth chapters.  The first bringers of offerings to the Lord are the Four Living Creatures (4:8) - day and night they do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME."  The next group is the Twenty-four Elders (4:11) - "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created."  The third example of worship comes from both the Living Creatures and the Elders (5:9-10) - And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.  The third group discovered is the Angels (5:12) - saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."  Then the final group is EVERY ONE (5:13) - And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."  In Madeleine L’Engle’s book Many Waters she describes the voice of God’s creation speaking to humanity during the time of Moses.  Those characters closest to God could still hear creations voice just like we will hear their voice in eternity.  The point is we were created to worship and the Lord God anticipates it.  Beloved, WORSHIP!

  1. Are you longing for the day in which you will be able to worship the Lord ceaselessly?
  2. Until that day, how pleasurable do you think your worship is to the Lord?

Prayer: Father, I so desire to be pleasurable to You.  Receive my worship this day as an offering to You and may it bring you joy, pleasure and satisfaction.  Thank You for such a gift to be able to commune with You and to adore You.  Praise to Your holy Name!  Amen.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Lord Anticipates Offerings, Part 1

Scripture: Leviticus 10:1
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.

Insights: Today and tomorrow we are going to hang out on verse one of this tenth chapter.  Today we are going to lay out the foundation and tomorrow we are going to display some examples.  The imperative part of this verse is the last section, “which He had not commanded them.”  Nadab and Abihu offered what was not commanded by the Lord and by the mere fact they offered what was not commanded gives implication to the fact that something was commanded.  In other words, the Lord did, and let me add, still does, anticipate offerings.  Nadab and Abihu did right in offering to the Lord, but the Lord knows the heart of men.  These two offered something that was in contradiction to the Lord’s heart desire.  Another implication to this statement is they knew what they were doing was not going to please the Lord, but they did it anyway.  Beloved, we must be very careful in regards to our heart.  We must continually come to the Father and ask Him to search the depth of our hearts and to reveal to us specific sins of which we need to repent.  After this repentance, we are then able to offer a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord.  Let me emphasis again, He, the Lord, is anticipating your offering.  May you throughout this day seek His face and serve Him faithfully.  May your offerings bring Him pleasure as He receives Your offering of praise to Him.

  1. What kind of offering are you bring to the Lord?
  2. Have you ever thought about the fact that the Lord is anticipating you bringing Him an offering?

Prayer: Father, may my offering to You be pleasing.  May You be exalted and lifted up on high because of the sweet aroma of my gift of praise to You.  Let everything in me this day bring You honor and glory.  Amen.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Solution for the Church Today is the Manifest Preseence of the Lord

Scripture: Exodus 33:19-23
And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!" Then the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. "Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen."

Insights: Yesterday we learned Moses asked the Lord to allow him to see His glory.  Beloved, I believe this kind of prayer is a kind the Lord loves to answer.  He desires for us, as His children, to grow in our love relationship with Him.  As a result of this desire He moves heaven and earth for us to know Him better.  Think about it for just a moment.  He wanted a relationship with us so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross of Calvary in order to pay our sin debt.  What an amazing display of His heart’s desire for us.  Notice in today’s verses the Lord granted Moses His request and placed him in the cleft of the rock and then passed by and revealed His glory to Moses.  God manifested His presence in order for Moses to know more completely who the Lord God is.  Beloved, I believe this aspect of our verses this week truly demonstrate the solution to the churches problem today.  We need to get our focus so much on Jesus that all of the other stuff that fights for our attention and devotion become insignificant and inconsequential in comparison to the glory of the Lord.  I am so grateful the Lord offers such a relationship to us.  My we take advantage of His love and grow in Him as we strive for intimacy with the Lord.

  1. Have you come to the place where you understand it is all about your relationship with the Lord God and nothing else?
  2. Are you willing to fight for that kind of intimacy with the Lord when there are so many things that try to steal your affections?

Prayer: Father, grow me in Your grace and help me to solely rely on You and You alone for all of my hearts desires.  Because what my heart needs to desire is You and You alone.  May my life reflect Your glory.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Solution for the Church Today

Scripture: Exodus 33:17-18
The LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name." Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!"

Insights: Today and tomorrow will follow the same pattern as Monday and Tuesday’s Thoughts by Scott.  Let me lay the groundwork today and tomorrow drive the point home.  Think back with me over Moses life for just a moment.  He saw the burning bush that did not get consumed.  He watched his staff turn into a snake and then return back to a staff when he picked it up by the tail.  He watched his hand turn leprous and then be healed.  He watched the Lord perform ten plagues.  He saw the fire by night and the cloud by day.  He walked on dry ground through a sea that had parted.  He observed the same sea come crashing down on the armies of Pharaoh.  He tasted the water the Lord had made sweet.  He ate the manna from heaven.  He had walked up the mountain and spoken with God at least two prior times before this conversation.  He carried the two tablets on which the Lord had written ten of His commandments.  We could write of even more exploits Moses had experienced in his walk and journey with the Lord.  I write about all of these events to emphasis the reality that Moses had seen and observed the very glory of the Lord on many occasions.  Yet, when he was before the Lord on this occasion he felt the confidence and conviction that it would be appropriate to ask the Lord for another gift.  Moses’ request was to see the glory of God.  In other word, he wanted to see even more of God’s glory than he had previously known.  Beloved, tomorrow we will expound this thought, but I want you to know that we have already been given the glimpse of the solution for the church today.  May you, like Moses, ask for the Lord to change your desires to wish for Him and His ways.  I pray the Lord will grant this request in all of our lives.

  1. Of what are you desirous?
  2. Do you have the same kind of confidence that Moses had in making your petitions before the Lord?

Prayer: Father, I pray I desire You more than Your blessings.  You are my all in all and I desperately need You.  Let my heart seek after You and You alone.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Downfall of the Church Today is the Blessings of the Lord

Scripture: Exodus 33:2-3
"I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. "Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way."

Insights: For the faithful few that made it through yesterday’s Thoughts by Scott, let me throw you into a tail spin.  The downfall of the church today, in my opinion, is the blessings of the Lord.  Now, before you stop reading my blog and cast me out as a heretic, let me explain.  In today’s verses we see that God has offered His blessing to be on the children of Israel.  He was going to send an angel before them into the Promised Land and drive out all the “ites” of the land.  God was going to give them the land of milk and honey.  In other words, God was going to bless them with all of His blessings, BUT He Himself was not going to go with the people.  I fear that most churches in America have gotten to the place where they want the blessings of God more than they want GOD!  In the verses we discussed yesterday, however, Moses cries out and says (in Scott’s vernacular), “No way God, if You don’t come with us, then don’t send us.”  There has been a “joke,” which is more like a bad commentary on Baptist life that goes back as far as I can remember that goes something like this, “The Holy Spirit could leave the average Baptist church for 50 years and no one would notice.”  In other words, our dependence on the Holy Spirit has become an after-thought and not a necessity.  We want His blessing and approval, but we don’t want Him meddling into our affairs.  Beloved, these statements are a horrific personal assessment of the church.  It is my prayer that FBCBG does not fall into that kind of category.  Rather I hope and pray we are like Moses and the verses we read yesterday.  If God does not go with us, then don’t let us move one inch further.  Let me encourage you to seek the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.  Let Him be first and foremost in your life and do not settle for His blessings without His presence being manifest.

  1. Are you more desirous of the blessings you can receive from the Lord rather than the Lord Himself?
  2. Do you even recognize when the manifold presence of God is absent from Your life?

Prayer: Father, forgive me when I forsake You for the blessings You provide for me.  Let me experience Your grace and let me be wholly aware of Your presence and activity in my life.  Amen.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Downfall of the Church Today

Scripture: Exodus 33:14-16
And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." Then he said to Him, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. "For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?"

Insights: Tomorrow I will expound more on today’s Thoughts by Scott.  Today I wish to lay the foundation for tomorrow’s explanation.  The verses today do not really set the scene, and yet, are pivotal for us to understand what I am attempting to get across.  I believe there is a downfall in the church today.  I think this same downfall can be applied to our everyday experiences.  I believe we are so wrapped up in our wants and desires that we have missed the entire purpose of church and the meaning behind a relationship with Jesus.  In today’s verses Moses is clearly communicating that it is our relationship with the Lord God that makes us different from everyone else in the world.  We, however, have so gravitated toward the things of this world that at times it is hard to distinguish between the world and the church.  As we walk in this gray area it permeates our dysfunction and reveals how fragile our lives really are.  If God’s presence is not central to our lives, then we do not display the very evidence of a life of distinction.  We are called to such a life and we are not showing it to a watching world.  Beloved, tomorrow I will elaborate in more detail what I think has captured the heart of the church, but let me encourage you until then to ask the Father if there is anything for which you have settled as a substitute for Him.  If He reveals anything to you, let me encourage you to repent and seek hard after the Lord God.  Let Him truly be the central and total aspect of your focus and devotion.

  1. Does your life resemble the church and its difficulties?
  2. Are you content to have your life remain in such disarray?

Prayer: Father, forgive me when I let everything else in this world take precedence over You.  Do not let me ever be satisfied with the things of this world.  Always stir within my heart a discontent for the sinful trappings of this life and let me have an insatiable hunger for You.  Amen.

Friday, February 14, 2014

God's Provision is Just

Happy Valentine's Day

Scripture: Exodus 12:12-13
'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments-- I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Insights: We conclude this week with the final aspect of God’s provision and that is His justice.  God was completely just in striking down the firstborn in the land of Egypt.  They had experienced and observed the power of God and yet did not change their lives.  They continued to walk upright and self-dependent.  They believed in themselves and their gods rather in the One True God.  As a result of His incredible mercy he gave them nine chances to repent and they rejected them.  In this final act of judgment God is just in His outpouring of death.  At the very same time, because the children of Israel did believe Him and responded to His commands, they were justly shown mercy.  The same options are available to us as well.  We can either reject the Lord Jesus and His provision of life which is found at the cross of Calvary or we can receive this very same gift.  Pending on which one we choose determines which side of God’s judgment we stand.  We either face the Great White Throne Judgment reserved for all who have rejected Jesus’ gift or we can face the Bema Seat Judgment for those who have been born again in Jesus.  The judgment mediated out at both of these seats of judgment is just.  The issue at hand is what you are going to believe.  You will either believe Jesus or reject Jesus and the choice is yours.  It is my prayer you receive Jesus and receive God’s merciful justice.

  1. Which side of God’s judgment do you stand?
  2. Will you this day receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and be set free from your sin and receive God’s just mercy on your life?

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace.  I do not deserve Your gift of eternal life in Jesus, but am grateful You look at Jesus’ work and not mine.  Because of Your activity Your merciful judgment on me is just, even when it is incomprehensible to me.  Thank You again for Your amazing love.  Amen.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

God's Provision is a Reminder

Scripture: Exodus 12:8-11
'They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 'Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 'And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 'Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste-- it is the LORD'S Passover.

Insights: The fourth part of God’s provision is His reminder of what He has done for us.  If you will notice they ate bitter herbs and unleavened bread.  The animal had to be burned up and nothing was permitted to remain until the next day.  Every one of these aspects of the meal pointed to the past and the pressing on toward the future.  The unleavened bread represented their forgiveness of sin.  The bitter herb represented their years in slavery to the Egyptians.  The burned up meat represented the fact they did not have to bring this baggage of the past with them into their new future of freedom.  These same realities apply to us through Jesus.  We call these aspects our testimony.  In other words, we are able to tell other people what our lives were like before we came to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  At the same time we get to tell them about what our lives are like now as a result of His gracious life change in us.  We do not have to be weighed down by our past sin, but rather we can walk in the freedom found in Jesus.  This past Sunday I challenged FBCBG to ask the Lord each day for the grace to share the love of Jesus with someone this week.  Today’s verses are a reminder of our responsibility to share Jesus with other people and tell them the good news of our salvation.  May God be brought glory because of your faithfulness to Him.

  1. Have you told anyone this week your testimony and shared about God’s grace in your life?
  2. Are you grateful for God’s deliverance from your life of slavery to sin?

Prayer: Father, open my eyes to those around me today.  Help me be ready to share the good news of the gospel with someone who desperately needs salvation.  Give me the boldness and courage to share the truth with them and may You be brought glory.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

God's Provision is a Purifier

Scripture: Exodus 12:7
'Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.

Insights: The third part of God’s provision is His purification of our sins.  In today’s verse we learn that the people sprinkled blood on the doorposts and on the lintel of their houses.  The significance of this act was that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.  God received the people’s sacrifice of the unblemished lamb as an acceptable sacrifice for their sin.  The people displayed their faith in this provision by sprinkling the blood on the doorposts and lintel.  In other words, their obedience to the commands of God proved their faith in His provision of deliverance.  If there was no blood on the doorposts and lintel, then the first born of that household would have died because of their rebellion against the Lord.  The same thing is true for us today in Jesus.  Jesus died on the cross of Calvary in order to shed His blood for our sins.  If we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then His blood literally covers us just as the blood on the doorposts and lintel covered the Israelites sin.  In both of these expressions of love, God is displaying His mercy on us sinful people.  His love is so great for us that He does not wish for any to perish and spend eternity separated from Him; and therefore, He sent His Son to shed His blood for the covering to occur.  If you are of the Beloved of the Lord, then I pray you will display gratitude this day for God’s gracious provision for your life.  May you walk obediently with Him and obey His every prompting in your life just as these Israelites obeyed by placing the blood on the doorposts and lintel.  Have a blessed day in the Lord!

  1. Has Jesus’ blood purified you from your sins?
  2. Have you thanked Him today for His gracious provision of purification?

Prayer: Father, thank You for purifying my life with the blood of Jesus.  May You transform me to such an extent that my life brings You glory.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

God's Provision is Perfect

Scripture: Exodus 12:5-6
'Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 'You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.

Insights: The second part of God’s provision is that it is perfect.  In order for us to understand this we need to recognize that everything about this Passover meal is a representation of what is to come with Jesus.  So, for example, yesterday we learned that God’s provision starts something new.  For these Israelites experiencing the first Passover it was a new calendar.  It represented the start of their physical freedom from slavery.  For those of us born again in Christ Jesus, it is new life.  It represents the start of our spiritual freedom from sins slavery.  Well, in today’s verses we see that an unblemished sacrifice was required for the children of Israel.  In an earthly since, is there truly a “perfect” lamb?  The answer is no, which is why the requirement for the Israelites was an unblemished lamb.  This intentionality of striving for perfection was pointing us to the true perfect sacrifice, which was Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God.  Jesus was truly perfect.  He had no sin of any kind.  He was the only true sacrifice that could have been made by the Father above for the atoning work of our sins.  All that is required of us is to receive the work of this sacrifice by faith.  We receive this gift by praying and asking Jesus to enter into our lives and make us born again.  This birth is a spiritual birth and it truly does make us new, which is what we learned yesterday.  Beloved, this past Sunday I challenged you pray to the Father each morning for Him to give you an opportunity to share Jesus with someone who may be in need of salvation.  Let me encourage you today to ask the Father to prompt your heart and then be obedient to Him and share about Jesus perfect work as the perfect sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.  If the individual comes to know Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior, then you can join with the angels in worshiping the Lord for this new life in Jesus.  Praise and glory to our Lord above forever and ever. Amen!

  1. Are you grateful that Jesus was a perfect sacrifice for your sins?
  2. Have you received the gift of salvation found in Jesus’ perfect word of atonement for you?

Prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus and His work during Easter.  I am so grateful You provided a perfect sacrifice for my sins.  This work of Yours allows me to have an uninterrupted relationship with You.  May I never take for granted this gift of grace.  Amen.

Monday, February 10, 2014

God's Provisions Start Something New

Scripture: Exodus 12:1-4
Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, "This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.”  Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, 'On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers' households, a lamb for each household. 'Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.

Insights: This week we will be looking at different aspects of God’s provision in our lives.  The first aspect of our provision is God’s starting of something new.  In the context of the Israelites this Passover represented their new found freedom as God delivered them from the Egyptians.  As these verses indicate the Israelite calendar begins with this very month.  It announces their independence day from slavery.  The very same truth is found for those of us in Christ Jesus.  Jesus’ work on the cross of Calvary set us free from our bondage to sin.  We are now new creations and freed from our enslavement.  This reality ought to change our lives.  It ought to make us never get over the life change we have experienced in Jesus.  Beloved, the reality is God constantly wants to do new things in our lives.  He desires to take us on new adventures and stretch us outside of our comfort zone.  The only way this stretching can occur is for God to do new things in our lives.  He does this by teaching us new truths about His character and person.  Remember, God is an infinite God.  We will spend eternity learning new aspects of who He is and how He relates to us.  Stepping out into the unknown of new things can be scary and even difficult at times.  I promise you, however, that it is worth whatever the cost the Lord requires of you.  You will always be better off for faithful obedience than you will be for denial and rebellion to the Lord’s commands.  Beloved, walk in newness of life in Jesus and grow in His matchless grace.

  1. Have you come to experience the new life found in Jesus Christ?
  2. What other areas in your life are you needing to experience a new thing because of your growth in Jesus?

Prayer: Father, thank You for new beginnings and fresh starts.  In Jesus I am growing and maturing.  This growth allows me to engage in new areas of ministry walk in obedience with You in unknown venues.  Lord, continue to allow my heart to be pliable to You and Your instructions  Thank You for my new life in Jesus.  Amen.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Our Plea is Repentance

Scripture: Job 42:6
Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes."

Insights: All week we have been building to this climactic point for today’s Thoughts by Scott.  We have seen how God’s perspective and our perspective are in contradiction with each other.  We must come to see our life events from the perspective of the Lord which is always perfect.  We then looked at our humble position before the Lord and His holy position before us.  We also elaborated on that truth and helped us understand that we are called to be holy; as well as, the holiness we display is really Christ in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  So, how do we properly respond to an encounter with God?  We look at our lives from God’s perspective and humbly recognize our sinfulness.  We cry out for His holiness to fill our lives and transform our sin nature into the nature of Christ Jesus.  We perform this transaction of faith in the same way Job did and that is what our verse today presents to us.  How did Job properly respond to his encounter with God?  He repented of his sin.  He retracted his statements and repented with a visual display of brokenness before the Lord by lying down in dust and ashes.  Beloved, the same response is required of us as well.  We must understand that God is just in all He does and we do not always understand.  God never told Job about those two cosmic conversations between Himself and Satan.  He never even gave Job a hint as to why he walked this painful journey.  All God did was question Job about his “vast” knowledge of the universe.  In seeing the Lord face to face as he did, Job understood for the first time that God was sovereign and in control.  Job’s horrific events were not beyond the Lord’s notice or concern.  Job was deeply and eternally loved by the Lord and He did not desire for Job to suffer.  Yet He loved Job so much that He knew Job would be able to go through the trial without blaming the Lord.  We need to respond in the same way, Beloved.  Let us humbly repent of our sin and run to the Lord and let His strength be our sufficiency.

  1. Have you repented of your sin and turned to the Lord?
  2. Are you presently experiencing the joy and peace of being in a right relationship with the Lord?

Prayer: Father, thank You for forgiving me and always being faithful to me.  I sin and fall short of Your standard so often, but You are always quick to restore me when I come with a humble and repentant heart.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

Friday, February 7, 2014

God's Position is Holy

Scripture: Job 42:5
"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;

Insights: Tomorrow we will explain what the proper response to an encounter with God is, but until then, we have one more foundational block to lie down.  In today’s verse we see that Job had heard about God, but he had not actually experienced His presence.  Now, however, he has seen the Lord and that encounter changed everything in Job’s life.  From this point on Job truly understands holiness.  He has seen the glory of the Lord and recognizes God’s holiness and God’s presence is far greater than he had previously imagined.  What we need to understand is that God calls us to holiness.  We, however, are incapable of living out holiness properly.  It is God; therefore, that imputes Christ’s holiness into our lives.  In other words, when the Lord God sees us living out holiness, what He is actually seeing is the Holy Spirit manifesting Himself in our lives and empowering us to be holy.  God is seeing Christ in us.  Beloved, the only reason we are able to see God and recognize His holiness and the only reason we are able to have holiness imputed into our lives is because of the truth we learned Wednesday.  In other words, because our position is humility, we are able to see God’s position of holiness.  Because of our humble position, Jesus is able to do a work in our lives and fill us with His holiness.  It is from this perspective that we are able to respond to an encounter with the Lord properly.  I look forward to sharing this final truth with you tomorrow.  God bless you this weekend and may you worship the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength this coming Lord’s Day.

  1. Have you seen God and His holiness?
  2. Is there anything in your life preventing you from growing deeper in your relationship with the Lord?

Prayer: Father, thank You for letting me know you more and more.  Help me to live a holy life because You are holy and have called me to holiness.  Let me realize that my holiness is really Your holiness imputed into my life.  May my obedience to You and Your will bring You glory.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Our Position is Humility

Scripture: Job 42:4
'Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.'

Insights: Today we move from looking at perspective to observing our position before the Lord.  In other words, because God’s perspective is perfect and ours is imperfect we have no choice but to recognize His superiority over us.  From this realization we come to the fact that for us to grow and mature, we must humble ourselves before the Lord.  Remember, up to this point when God speaks to Job, Job has been rather boisterous in his claim of innocence.  He has basically stated God has been unjust for allowing these calamities to fall on him.  After his encounter with the Lord, however, his tone of speech and posture and position before the Lord radically changes.  Job is now humbled by the Lord and one can picture Job in a prostrate position before the Lord crying out to Him saying, “Lord, instruct me, teach me, I realize I know nothing in comparison to You.  Change my heart and mind to be in compliance and in accord with You.”  God is the only One with the Words of life.  We must humble ourselves, Beloved, and seek hard after the Lord.  If we will enter into our relationship with the Father from this position, I promise you, God will instruct and speak to you.  It is His desire for His children to trust Him and that can only happen from one who is truly humble before the living Lord.

  1. Are you humble before the Lord?
  2. In your position of humility, what has the Lord revealed to you in recent days?

Prayer: Father, thank You for instructing me.  I understand the only true posture for us to be able to hear what You have to say to us in the posture of bowing.  You speak to the humble at heart.  Lord, soften my heart and mold me into the image of Your Son, Jesus, so that I may hear from You.  Open my ears Lord, I want to know You.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Our Perspective is Imperfect

Scripture: Job 42:3
'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' "Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."

Insights: In today’s verse Job is declaring to the Lord that he was the one without knowledge.  He was the one attempting to give counsel to others from a place of ignorance to the big picture.  It is for this reason Job now announces that God’s ways are too wonderful for him and for the third time reiterates his lack of knowledge on God’s plans and purposes.  Yesterday I mentioned in the question section about the trees of pain in our lives and the closeness of our situation that often times makes it too hard to recognize the forest.  Often times when we are that close to a problem we cannot clearly delineated the Lord’s path that He would have us to walk.  In other words, our perspective on the situation is imperfect as human beings.  It is for this reason we need to walk by faith and not by sight.  We need to trust the Lord’s perspective and believe He really does know what is best.  After all, Job realized that God’s ways are too wonderful for him to understand.  Beloved, I believe this truth is one of the most difficult for us as people to accept.  It is often times very difficult for us to surrender to the Lord’s plans even though we know His ways are always best.  We need to deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily and follow Him.  It is very easy to write these words, but it is another thing to live those words out before a watching world.  It is my prayer that we recognize our imperfect perspective and trust the Lord by faith and walk in His perfect perspective.  As we live life this way, may it bring Him glory!

  1. Do you sometimes forget that God truly is in control?
  2. Have your decisions in recent days shown your dependence upon you or upon God?

Prayer: Father, I am grateful You do not get lost in this journey of life.  Thank You for Your perfect perspective, especially in light of my imperfect vantage point.  God, let me learn to trust You completely.  Amen.

Monday, February 3, 2014

God's Perspective is Perfect

Scripture: Job 42:2
"I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

Insights: Last week we looked at The Proper Response to Pain and concluded it was worship.  In other words, we run to Jesus when we are in the midst of our pain.  This week we are concluding the book of Job with The Proper Response to an Encounter with God.  On Friday of this week we will wrap up these Thoughts by Scott with the culminating answer.  Throughout the week, however, we will be laying a foundation which will enable us to put the final piece, which is our proper response to an encounter with God into place.  Having stated these introductory comments, let us jump into today’s verse and the lesson we learn from it.  Job has just had God asking him questions for four straight chapters.  After hearing and encountering God, Job completely understands that God’s perspective on life is perfect.  God can do all things and nothing is going to thwart His eternal plans and purposes.  Job had gotten himself so wrapped up in his pain that he lost sight of God’s sovereign hand that was holding all things together.  We often times wonder why we go through the stuff we go through on this side of eternity.  The better thought, however, is, why not me?  Why ought I not to be the one to experience pain and suffering.  Jesus came to redeem us eternally.  He did not save us to have our best life now as some would purport. Our best life is in eternity with Jesus.  As we learned last week, God trusted Job enough and loved Job enough to allow him to go through this horrific situation.  God knew Job would not sin in his response to suffering.  God is going to bring about His plan no matter what and nothing, not Satan, not me, not you, not anything in this universe is going to thwart God’s plan.  Beloved, we must always keep this perspective in mind as we learn the proper response to an encounter with God.

  1. Do you understand that God’s perspective is perfect?
  2. Have you become so focused on the trees of your problem that you have not been able to see your situation from God’s perspective?

Prayer: Father, I so often get overwhelmed about my problems and pains because I am living the journey out in the present.  Help me to have an eternal perspective on my situations and trust You to know how the end is going to be written.  Your perspective to life is perfect.  Let me grow in Your grace and believe in You for my future.  Amen.