Category Archives: Meditations

Danger Increases in the Silence

Sermon Introduction for Job 2:11-3:26:

We enter a new scene. Job is alone. Satan is gone. The children are gone. The possessions are gone. The wife is more than likely gone. The whole community, including his extended family, have abandoned him. Little kids spit at him. All that is left are memories. You can’t easily erase those. You could wish the memories to be taken like the rest but it will not work. The darkness seems to illumine the memories. The silence seems to make the voices you are hearing louder and louder. Death would be a mercy at this point. You think the immediate trauma is the hard part. Yet the shock seems to aid the sanity. The insanity comes in the wake of the days that follow…when you are alone. No wife to talk to. No children to check on. Silence.

Applications:

  • Even with people around it can be lonely and painful. Mere presence does not replace relationship and fellowship.

  • Don’t over expect on days like this day. Don’t take everything they say too seriously. Yes, Job really wished the day of his birth to be cut off. Yet, during their conversation his tone changes. This is the initial outburst of a hurting man. Wait them out. Be patient. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Conclusion:

Jude 1:24-25

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

(If you are familiar with Job, you know that he is declared blameless and he is not in the meeting or in the presence of God. Here Jude says Jesus is able to keep you from stumbling and present you to God blameless. I think it is an amazing connection to see and believe!)


God’s Slow, Steady, and Wise Hand!

One year ago today, the Lord began stirring in me a desire to move to another church. Granted, I cannot explain how this “stirring” works. This stirring is like feelings. They can’t be trusted. This stirring could or could not be from the Lord. Therefore, it must be tested. John tells us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (I Jn 4:1). I think “spirit” is partly “feelings.” So, your feelings need to be tested with scripture.

The main point I want to make in this post is slowness. We live in a world that wants, whatever it is, immediately! A dear brother pointed out to me that God is content to work in decades, centuries, and long periods of time. The entire Bible begs this point. I don’t say these things as one who does not struggle with the temptation of wanting things to happen quickly. Nor am I saying that some things don’t need to happen quickly. They do. However, waiting is often not an option for us.

I have a journal entry to show how God worked “slowly” with me and all the others involved. In fact, that slowness is still part of the scenario. I see this slowness as healthy and good. May God grant me [us] patience and mercy through this transition.

Journal Entry September 20, 2013

While praying yesterday morning, I prayed part of Psalm 69 “Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink.” I began to think of moving my family to Davis Memorial. I imagined what it would look like for my family to be there. I really was encouraged by the thought. I need more evidence that I should do this. My feelings are not firm foundations. Actually, they can be “mire.” We will see how the Lord might lead and confirm.

Our first Sunday at Davis Memorial was July 9, 2014. I became convinced early on. The evidence was slow. I ran it by my wife first. It took time for her to see it, but she did. I ran it by the pastor of Davis Memorial and it took time for him to see it, but he did. In time, I hope the members of Davis Memorial will see it.

I am aware that some of the members might read this. If you do, do not feel rushed. Take as long as you need. I hope you are encouraged by this post to wait on God. Also, I hope to reveal more of the process and reason for moving in later posts. If anything, I hope you see this was not a spur of the moment decision. Also, don’t see my process and understanding of this without error. I trust that God was working things out long before and He is still at work now. To God be the glory forever and ever!


Illustration of Grace

A story told by one of our elders during members’ class. Of course, all illustrations have their limits but this is very helpful:

Pretend that someone came into my house and killed my only son. If as he was fleeing, I took a shotgun and chased him down and killed him, we would call it revenge. If, [however] I called the police and they arrested him and he was sent to prison, we would call it justice. If I went to the jail and told him I forgave him and did not hold anything against him, we would call it mercy. If I forgave him and got him out of jail and took him home and adopted him into my family and he became my son with all the privileges of sonship and full inheritance rights, we would call it grace. That is exactly what our Lord did. We killed His son and yet He forgives us and adopts us into His family with full inheritance rights. Amazing grace!

~Jason


Still Believing!

Journal Entry Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I am still believing today! I am sure I will be tomorrow and the next…not because of me but because of Christ. I need you O God my salvation again today, for my soul is sinking. I feel like letting go. But for some reason I don’t. Therefore, I say to my soul “Why are you downcast? Hope in God, for I will again praise Him.” Waiting….

 

Rise up, be our help and redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness!  


The Temptation of More

The title could lead you in multiple directions. So, I need to begin by stating what I mean by “more.” I’m sure you understand what it means to be tempted. You could think from the title that the temptation is about “more” stuff! And that is a common temptation. It is one that needs to be subdued. However, the “more” I speak of is more ministry.

I am going to quote from my journal. The date was September 2, 2013. At that time, I was a member of a church waiting for God to open a door for ministry.

I was renewed yesterday (Sept. 1, 2013) to press on today! O Lord, renew me today that I might press on tomorrow. A quote that was helpful to me: “Nobody made a greater mistake that he who did nothing because he could only do a little” (Edmund Burke). I look at my life and think I am doing nothing for Christ (wasting my life). Yet the enemy would have me believe and desire more, more, more. More, for me, has not come. Therefore, I am tempted to stop what little I do if I can’t have all that I want. O how subtle! Father help me be faithful with the small ministry. May it bear much fruit! May I be content. Grow me in grace. Forgive me for giving in to the “more” temptation. It was consuming me. Lord, if you never give me more than I have right now, I will still follow you.

May I hear from your word today!

Today is a different day. It has much more. I still your grace!

~Jason

Here is something I heard from the word that morning:

From 1 Samuel 26, we again see David patiently waiting for the throne. Though David had lost his place in Saul’s kingdom, he had not lost his place in God’s Kingdom. David was doing nothing for God while hiding from Saul. Yet, God was at work in David. He was being prepared for what was to come!


Prayer and Providence

Reading through 2 Samuel reminded me of the topic-Prayer & Providence-because there is an example clearly stated in the text. I think it would be helpful to draw your attention to this. Of course, some want the systematic theology answer. However, others are helped by narrative display. I hope you will be enriched to pray and trust that God is at work. Here are the texts:

But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.” While David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and dirt on his head. David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,’ then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel. (2 Samuel 15:30-34)

Of course, both Ahithophel and Hushai became Absalom’s counselors. As you can see, David asked the LORD to turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. He then asked his friend Hushai to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel with his own counsel to Absalom. However, what else is going on? Where is God in this? We get an explanation a couple of chapters later.

 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom. (2 Samuel 17:14)

Here we see what David had prayed for and sought means to achieve was also ordained by God for a purpose. You may struggle with one side of this issue or the other but here both are present. Both are true. Therefore, we should pray and trust (not completely understand) that God is at work.

Just this morning, I asked my son to do something  that involved reading. He replied, “But I can’t read.” I said to him, “That is not true. You can read. Just because you can’t read everything does not mean you cannot read. If that is so, then I cannot read.” Same goes for this argument. Just because you do not completely understand this does not mean you cannot pray or cannot believe that God ordains. See it here in His holy word and be encouraged!


Amazing Grace

Joseph (a type of Christ) was sold into slavery by his brothers to save them. Jesus was nailed to a cross by his brothers in order to save them. He  died to save. If he saved his life he could not save ours too. As Joseph’s brothers, unknowingly, bowed down to him and then his identity was revealed, so too everyone (even those who pierced him) will bow down to Jesus. A cross should have been reserved for us. We should have been thrown into a hole and sold into slavery. Yet amazing grace is that the Innocent One took the death we deserved and we the guilty go free. Amazing Grace!


Sifted But Strengthened

In the text below I am so glad of the “when” instead of an “if.” This is huge for us as believers. For if Satan is sovereign there would be no mercy. His intent is to kill and to destroy. Yet, he is subject to Jesus who is sovereign. One might ask why does God who is sovereign allow Satan to remain? My first statement would be, “He will destroy Satan.” However, for now God has a purpose for him. In this text, God uses Satan to strengthen Peter and Peter strengthened his brothers. Satan demanded but his demand is limited by the sovereign Lord. Not only does Jesus limit the demand, He prays for Peter and had determined that he would not be destroyed. For Jesus says, “when” not “if” you turn again. But for now there will be sifting and interceding for the strengthening of the saints.

Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

1. Take courage that Satan is not sovereign

2. Take courage there is purpose in suffering

3. Take courage that Jesus intercedes for His own

4. Take courage that God alone is all-powerful and sovereign


Abounding in Hope!

In the Word this morning, encouragement spread through my mind as I read these words:

Romans 15:1-13  We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.  3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”  4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,  6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.  8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,  9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”  10 And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”  11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”  12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”  13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Trinity highlighted)
Observations:
1. Thankful for those who bear with me in my weaknesses.
2. Thankful for Christ who did not please himself.
3. Thankful that my reproaches fell on him…Praise be to Your Name!
4. Thankful for the Scriptures giving me hope.
5. Thankful that the God of endurance and encouragement grants endurance and encouragement.
6. Thankful for unity among the body…this is glorifying to God. (Be encouraged! Don’t think unity is a small thing.)
7. Thankful that tomorrow (hopefully) a family will be visiting our church and they will be welcomed as Christ has welcomed us…this is glorifying to God.
8. Thankful for God keeping His promises and we have the Scriptures to confirm this (three examples given) which leads to hope and perseverance. Therefore, praise the Lord!
My prayer for you is the same as Paul’s: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, for our hope is in the Root of Jesse, Jesus Christ our Lord!

Teaching My Children Mercy!

Recently I was preaching in our county jail and trying to explain the gospel and its various implications. I told them what Jesus did on the cross was “Substitutionary Atonement.” Of course, they were not familiar with this theological truth, nor did I expect them to understand it. That is why I was there explaining the gospel right?
You might be thinking, “I thought this post was about teaching his kids mercy.” Well, the following is how I taught my daughter mercy and the previous is the context to which I used the teaching of my daughter to explain the gospel. So, I have two agendas here. One, to help you teach your sons and daughters mercy (showing them the gospel) and proclaiming the gospel to others; whether that be through experiences at home or however.
Now, the teaching of mercy. The other day one of my daughters broke one of the rules in our home. The one who received the breaking of the rule came to me in order to inform me of this violation. So, I called the one who broke the rule to come and speak to me about it. She was quick to admit her wrong and I was thankful for that. Nevertheless, she was less reluctant to admit her need for punishment. I began to explain how God cannot look over sin. He is holy and just, therefore he must punish sin. So, I asked her, “If your brother hits you, do you think it is necessary that I punish him for hitting you?” And she replied, “Yes!” Again, I asked, “If your sister takes your toys away from you, should I punish her?” Again she emphatically replied, “Yes!!!” Now I turned the question to her, “Is it fair that I let you get away with no punishment for breaking the rule you have admitted to?” She then (with understanding) replied, “No, I do need to be punished.”
With that having been established, I then proceeded to teach her mercy. I explained to her that mercy is NOT getting what you DESERVE. But, in order to remain just (like God) someone must take the punishment for the crime. So I began drawing conclusions about this foundation. I indicated that she had admitted the breaking of our rules. She agreed that God is holy and just and cannot NOT punish sin. (I know I used a double negative but it was needed.) And she understood her need for punishment.
In light of this, I then moved to the substitute. I told her that I was going to take the punishment for her and that she would be the one who was to deliver the punishment. It broke her heart that I was to receive the punishment for her sin and that she had to do it. Human pride rose to the surface as she discovered my innocence and her guilt. She did not want to do it. She wept with tears as she lightly tapped me with our paddle. I then began to tell how Jesus Christ had done this for her sin and if she placed her trust in him, for her punishment, she would be saved.
As I shared this with the guys at the jail, they sat there with amazement and hopefully a clearer understanding that God had to punish sin and he did on his Son. But, it is not yours unless you repent and believe in Christ. We will see as I twice a month preach to these guys.
So, have you ever shown your children mercy (the gospel)? Do you now understand the gospel better…substitutionary atonement, propitiation? Maybe you yourself need to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. In him you will find mercy. In him you will have your sins forgiven and receive his righteousness. Praise be to God for reconciling himself to us!