Children with Special Privileges

Quentin would die as a fighter pilot in World War I; Ted became a highly decorated soldier who saw service in both World Wars; Archie became a businessman; Kermit grew up to become an adventurer and soldier of fortune; and Ethel served as a nurse in France during World War I and later became involved with the Red Cross.

As children they had a very unique experience in common. They had access to the Oval Office of the President of the United States! Can you imagine?

They are the children of President Theodore Roosevelt and his wife, Edith . (See Photo)

As believers in Jesus Christ we have access to the throne room of God! We are the children of God through a second birth.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16 NLT

As a child of the King, we have special privileges.

1. We can come BOLDLY into God’s throne room at any time. This does not mean arrogantly, but confidently. We are his child!

2. We can receive MERCY when we mess up. We all mess up. With a genuine sorrow for the sin and full intent to turn from it we will receive his forgiveness and mercy.

3. We can find GRACE when we are weak, incapable, and need resources, which is just about all the time.  These grace-gifts are given freely to His children. We have not because we ask not.

Freedom to stroll into the Oval Office to consult with a sitting United States President seems like nothing compared to the privilege we actually do have to boldly enter God’s presence any time we choose!

Our Father, what an amazing privilege to write these words knowing you see and hear them. Thank-you we can come into your very throne room boldly and confidently as your child. Please have mercy on us in our sins. Please provide all we need to serve You effectively and faithfully.

Love and Boldness

My TV consumption has dropped considerably. I watch an occasional football game and some news.

I recently watched one of the new detective dramas. The underlying tone disturbed me. “Hate crimes” provided the theme.

Now I believe prejudice is a sin. Eliminate it from your attitudes and actions! But, to me, it is obvious that this “hate crime” legislation is the foundation in America to persecute Christians. In fact, it already is.

If I disagree with someone does not mean I hate them. But now, in America, if I disagree with the abortion law, then some define me as a hate-monger. If I say that homosexuality, adultery, or pornography are not good lifestyles, then some define me as having a “phobia.”

Society’s treatment of first century Christians “scattered” them. That means they fled for their very lives! Their society defined them as haters of Caesar and haters of Judaism because they loved the Lord Jesus Christ..

America is quickly moving back to this barbaric attitude that condones the imprisonment and even killing of Christians.  To love God more than this world, stand for salvation in Christ alone, and call sin a destructive force will increasingly cost us more.

As a nation, we have moved back to the secular attitudes the early Christians knew in the first century. Peter and Paul in the New Testament faced these situations with courage and spoke the gospel story of Jesus Christ.

Don’t lose hope! Jesus still changes lives! The love of God in John 3:16 is still the center of the gospel.

What was true for the Psalmist centuries ago is still true for us today!

O Lord, how many are my foes!

Many are the rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill.  Psalm 3:1-4

Our Father, the tide is shifting just as you prophesied in Your Word. Keep us confident in You. We believe in Your Son Jesus Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We believe every knee will one day bow to Him. Thank-you that you love us and live in us. Fill us with boldness and love.

 

Don’t Give Up!

What if God gave us the desires of our heart? Could we define what our heart’s desires are?

The list would likely become very long.

  • Stop the tide of militant Islam in our world.
  • Heal a disease or injury.
  • Give a few more months of life to the dying.
  • Free the captive and persecuted Christians enduring severe persecution.
  • Bring my neighbor, grandchild, or friend to salvation.
  • Save my child’s marriage.
  • Ignite a wave of revival and spiritual awakening.
  • Heal the consequences of my sin or my loved one’s sin.
  • Stop the evildoers from robbing our freedoms.
  • May our nation be obsessed with repentance and revival instead of sexual expression in all kinds of perverted ways.
  • Make me happy.
  • Grow our church.
  • Bring thousands more to saving faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
  • Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Psalm 37 gives hope! Meditate on these verses for a few minutes:

1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!

2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will act.

God wins! Keep doing the little things you can do here and now. Fret not. Don’t worry. Don’t envy the seemingly successful evildoers. They will wither away soon. Trust in the Lord. Be faithful. DELIGHT YOURSELF IN THE LORD! Commit your way to Him. God will act!

Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up. Share the transforming power of Jesus Christ in spite of the growing antagonism in our secularized society. Jesus changes lives!

Our Father, forgive us for fretting. We commit ourselves to DELIGHT in You! We pray for spiritual awakening and revival in our nation and in our world. You are our only hope and salvation. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Look Out the Window

Take-off was a rush! I never dreamed that the initial thrust would set me back into my seat the way it did. In no time we were off the ground quickly gaining altitude.

As an adult I experienced my first ride on a commercial passenger plane. I felt like a kid. The thrill of take-off put butterflies in my stomach.

Then came the view! I couldn’t stop looking out the window at the patchwork below me. Seeing things from thousands of feet above the earth gives a whole new perspective!

I thought to myself, “God sees the world like this all the time, yet he knows me personally!”

Our Father always has the big picture perspective for our lives, disasters, sins, set-backs, diseases, and celebrations.

Jeremiah told his countrymen who had just been carried off to captivity to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says he LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

We often see this verse on plaques . It is certainly an encouraging verse. It is one I meditate on when I get discouraged.

But the context is a horrible situation of defeat and exile! Jeremiah tells them in chapter 29 in a letter to settle in, build homes, have lots of children and grandchildren, and make the city prosperous and peaceful, because you will be there a long time, seventy years!

Are you going through a disaster or an exile now? Perhaps your disaster has already lasted a long time. Or maybe it is just beginning.

Remember God has the 35,000 feet view even though you can’t seem to see 3 feet in front of you. God’s really does have the big picture.

Honor and love your Father in Heaven in the middle of your chaos. He indeed knows the plans He has for you! He wants your good, not disaster.  So whether He delivers next week, years down the road, or in heaven, He will come through! The LORD is still your hope!

Look out the window.

Our Father, thank-you for the hope, assurance, and confidence that you never lose control of this universe, this world, and the circumstances of our lives. Fill us with hope in the midst of our exiles. Help us to live faithful lives honoring You inside our disasters.

Hello Friend!

The two words just don’t seem to go together. What in the world does ‘friend’ and ‘fear’ have to do with each other? We don’t normally think of ‘fear’ when we think of a ‘friend!’

My best friends in high school, Carl and Tony, do not make me think of being afraid. I think of some happy times together, times we got in trouble together, and standing in for each other’s weddings.

But David, the psalmist, says:

The LORD is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. My eyes are always on the LORD, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies. Psalm 225:14-15 NLT

A healthy respect and holy fear for the awesome Creator of the universe and Redeemer of our souls from hell is the prerequisite for friendship with the LORD Himself.

Who could be a better Friend? It is amazing God would or could be our Friend?! Certainly we can easily see Him as our Judge, Creator, and Master.  But could He really be our Friend?

The perfect Son of God, Jesus, who is always in perfect union with the Father said:

I no longer call you slaves because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. John 15:15 NLT

Isn’t that just like a friend, to confide in you all the intricate details of one’s life! Jesus says we are his friends and has told us everything the Father has told Him. Wow, what a friend we have in Jesus. That reminds me of a song!

A line in the great hymn by Joseph M. Scriven written in 1855 says:

Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Jesus is our friend if we have a healthy, fearful, holy, reverent trust in Him! Walk with your Friend today!  Talk with your Friend today!

Our Father, we gladly bow before you in total respect and reverence. Thank-you for confiding in us as your friend through Your Son Jesus. We commit ourselves today to walk and talk with you as our Friend.

Mighty Mouse, Superman, & the Road Runner

Cartoons fascinated me as a child. The make-believe world of animated characters, creatures, and super-human stunts still grab the attention of my grandchildren today.

Does anyone remember the Roadrunner dropping an anvil on the coyote? Or do you remember Mighty Mouse flying through the air at supersonic speed and punching the villain in the nose?

I vividly remember as a child wishing there really was a Superman or a Mighty Mouse to come at just the right moment and rescue people from their impossible circumstances!

This morning I read this wonderful promise:

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. Psalm 18:30

It was written by David in praise to God when God rescued him from Saul and his army. But the description David gives of God rescuing him would be a challenge for any animator.

Check this out this imagery in Psalm 18:

Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the mountains shook; they quaked because of his anger.
Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
10 Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind.
11 He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.
12 Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him and rained down hail and burning coals.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies; great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused.
15 Then at your command, O Lord, at the blast of your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.

The Holy Spirit inspired David to write this! We have our hero!  We have our rescuer! He is our Lord!  He is our God. Whether He rescues us from our here-and-now circumstances of life as He did with David or He rescues us ultimately in heaven, He is our hero!!!

Our Father, thank-you when you rescue us, heal us, or get us out of the messes we or someone else make. You are a great and awesome God beyond our imagination. Fill us with faith today in You. Whether our enemy is a physical illness, a human terrorist, an Ebola, a spiritual attack, or a discouragement, please give us the faith of David to face it knowing You are always with us.

 

I Love My Dad

He was a strict disciplinarian while I was growing up. Yet he was very generous as well! My Dad is 79 years of age and lives in Glenwood. He takes care of dozens of cattle, plays golf, and goes to the Sale Barn (the cattle auction) every Thursday. He served as a Deacon at First Baptist Church in Glenwood for 40 years before requesting to became inactive due to health issues.

Yes, he generously gave his discipline and his gifts. I knew he had a standard for his oldest son to meet. I knew quickly and painfully when I didn’t meet that standard. Yet I remember vividly on the evening on my birthday one year when he brought home a brand new, red Western Flyer 26-inch bicycle with the plastic streamers coming out of the handle bars, chrome fenders, and lots of shine! Years later, he paid for most of my college and seminary education! So generous!

Yet I remember one little flaw.  He said he would get me a baseball glove when I got a certain age. I don’t remember the exact condition I had to meet to get it. He forgot too. I just remember he promised a new baseball glove. I never got it. A friend had loaned me his old glove. That glove was a good one, broken in, and worked just fine! I used it for years until it was stolen.

That’s such a minor thing now. But as a child, it seemed like a big thing. An adult said they’d do something and it didn’t happen. (Dad, if you are reading this, I love you and hold no grudge!)

But here’s the deal: words can be so fleeting. Promises can be made and so easily broken. Politicians promise all kinds of things and don’t deliver. A parent tells their child something and then forgets to deliver.

So I am greatly comforted by the words of Jesus when he promises that everything He said is true.  Without a doubt, without a forgetful moment, without a flaw, His words will happen!  Everything he predicted WILL come to pass! What an assurance!

Our perfect Savior, our Lord Jesus said:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35 ESV

Our Father, thank-you for sending Jesus. Thank-you for the assurance that every word you spoke through your Son will happen. We praise you for never forgetting what you promise. Our confidence in You grows as we read and meditate on Your word. This planet with its land and oceans and sky will pass away, but Your words will not! Praise Your Name!