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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Blocking the Light

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

"It ought to be just about time," I thought, as I noticed the clock showed 10:00. I had been watching the lunar eclipse for the last hour, and knew it should be reaching its peak now. Stepping outside, though, I was struck not by the moon itself, or the interesting image of the eclipse. Rather I was struck by the darkness. The blazing light of the full moon was truly "eclipsed", and the darkness was almost palpable as I stood looking at the darkened moon.

As I understand it, an eclipse is caused by the earth coming between the sun and the moon. And when the world gets in the way, the light of the moon is blocked... and the darkness can be felt.

Jesus said we Christians are to be the light of the world, and that our light should shine in darkness and point the world to the Savior. Is your light shining brightly in the night of this world? Or is the world dimming your witness?

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Friend from Berea

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)

Cringing inwardly, I heard my Christian brother's voice rise in both tempo and tone as the conversation turned to politics. Not a fan of our current leader, he let loose with a string of comments that left no doubt of his vitriol. I tuned him out for a moment and hearkened back to a conversation at my kitchen table years earlier. But back then I was the one saying unkind and negative things about a president. Blushing with shame I told my friend of that incident in my life, and how the Lord had convicted me about it with this verse Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people. (Exodus 22:28). I also mentioned that according to the Bible, God is the One who puts men or women in positions of power, including the oval office: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)

Hearing this, my friend at first was argumentative, bringing forth that favorite of American heresies "I don't think that's what that means... that's not what it means to me!" So I dropped it and we went on to other topics...

... until about 30 minutes later when my friend, who had been getting quieter and quieter said, "What was that verse in Romans you mentioned? "Romans 13:1," I replied, and watched as he walked to his bookshelf and pulled down his well-worn Bible. Soon he was deep in contemplation as he thought about what the Bible says in that verse.

What a picture of Berean Christianity! He heard what was said, but then went to the Bible to make sure it was true.

Are you that honest with Scripture... that open to its teaching... that willing to let it change your actions and thoughts? May God make us all Berean Christians!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Slow Pokes

I left myself more time than usual today, assuming the roads would be bad for my morning commute. I was not disappointed. Some stretches of road were pretty terrible. I found that the highways were glares of ice, while the back roads weren't quite so bad. So after a few white-knuckled minutes of slithering helplessly, I pulled off onto the back roads for the remainder of my trip. I was just congratulating myself on the strategy when I noticed I was approaching the car in front of me rather rapidly. I slowed. Then I slowed some more. Soon I found that I was traveling only 20 MPH behind somebody who obviously didn't realize (as I did) that this road was perfectly clear.

Doesn't that just drive you nuts? For the next few miles I stared at the back of that slow poke as we crept along at walking speed. It was a Kia Sportage. That is burned into the backs of my retinas from having stared at it so long.

But as I was fighting the impulse to glare at the person, or shake my fist, or honk my horn, I was reminded of Psalm 37:23, which says "The steps of a man are ordered by the Lord." I pondered that for a bit and remembered that that includes not only the direction of the steps, but also the speed.

Perhaps God was protecting me from something down the road. Or perhaps He just wanted me to slow down for a while. Regardless of why, He was directing my steps. And He directs yours. Let's trust Him today to guide us where He wants us to go, and at just the speed He wants us to travel.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Storms of Obedience

Strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)

One of the unexplained events in the book of Acts is why young John Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:13). Could it have been because of their trials on the island of Cypress? A sorcerer named Elymas tried to prevent Paul and Barnabas from preaching to the Roman official. Maybe John Mark wondered if their mission was truly in the will of God.

It's natural to think that obedience leads to tranquility. But just the opposite is often true: Obedience to God can result in trials. Storms often come because we have been obedient, not disobedient. That was certainly true of those in the New Testament. The four Gospels and Acts recount one attack and obstacle after another upon those who were wholly committed to fulfilling God's calling. Every follower of Jesus should get this matter settled up front: The deeper we go into the kingdom of God, the more likely we are to be resisted.

If you are obeying God and in a storm at the same time, you are following in the footsteps of the heroes of the faith.

(From Dr. David Jeremiah's daily "Turning Point" email.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Stress Eraser

Junk email is a fact of life these days. Consider the advertisement I received today for a marvelous new product called the StressEraser. The advertisement reads, "The StressEraser is a personal, portable, biofeedback device that won a major medical industry award for helping individuals achieve 'physiological, mental, and emotional relaxation' without prescription medications."

Wow... sounds impressive. The ad goes on to describe how one uses this palm sized electronic marvel: "Step 1 - Place your finger in the pulse sensor. Step 2 - Synchronize your breathing to the Breathwave display on the machine. Step 3 - In a few minutes, your mind will feel calm and relaxed." Amazing! All this for just $300.00! (Plus shipping, of course.)

Would it surprise you to know that you don't need such a device? You probably already have a stress eraser. It's called the Bible. And nothing can relieve the problems of life quite like a few minutes within its pages. "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." (Psalm 119:165)

Try this today, when stress threatens to overwhelm:

Step 1 - Place your finger in your Bible.
Step 2 - Open it and synchronize your mind with the words of God.
Step 3 - Enjoy the peace that passes all understanding.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Dog is Barking

Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. (2 Thessalonians 2:18)

In yesterday's worship service, we learned that prayer for the salvation of all men is a matter of first importance in our local church. I will therefore that first of all... prayers... be made for all men. (1 Timothy 2:1) Do you have a friend, neighbor, co-worker on your heart today? Do you have somebody you believe does not know the Savior, and for whose eternal soul you fear? Pray today, and everyday, for their salvation. It is a matter of first importance.

But there is another matter we must pray about. On two separate occasions in the last week I have heard people say that while they were trying to serve God faithfully, they felt the oppression of Satan trying to stop them. Just as Paul said in the verse above, "Satan hindered us."

That should drive us to our knees, for prayer is a weapon that can defeat this great enemy. It should also encourage us and renew our resolve. Satan fights when the church is storming the gates of hell. As one person said, "Dogs don't bark at parked cars."

The dog is barking at Randolph Christian Church, because the car is out of park, and the pedal is to the floor! Satan wants to hinder us. Will you pray today that he will not succeed?

Friday, February 1, 2008


Several interesting things are happening this week:

Saturday morning at 10:00, we have the opportunity to live out Jesus' words when He said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." We will be serving meals to the needy at the Haven of Rest in Akron. You can join us - just meet at the Haven of Rest at 10:00.

Sunday morning, in the adult Sunday School class, we'll continue our discussion of the end times, concentrating on how what we've learned about Christ's second coming should change our daily lives. Come prepared for a lively discussion!

And then, Sunday morning after the worship service, the organizational meeting for the Secret Sisters will be held in Fellowship Hall. Bring your information forms, and your appetites - soup and salad! While that meeting is going on, those waiting on wives may travel to the pastor's house for pizza and pop. We wouldn't let you guys go hungry!