by Pastor Mike
Great coaches push us to new heights and they do so by demanding more from us than we thought we had. Coaches are essential to team sports, but more and more we are discovering their value on a personal level as well. However, when a coach helps one person at a time we usually call him or her a personal trainer. Maybe you have had one for a fitness program.
And just maybe you need one when it comes to the faith program.
Let me call your attention to Elizabeth, the virgin Mary’s cousin. (I apologize for the jolt back to the Christmas story.) When Mary arrives at her home, both newly pregnant by divine miracles, the seasoned Elizabeth coaches Mary with respect to faith. And we can imagine the import of it. Mary is a teenager. She has just been given a weighty assignment from the Lord. One that is bound to have great personal ramifications (i.e. she is pregnant and is not married). Great excitement must be mingled with hidden fear (i.e. perhaps the reason for her escape from Nazareth for a few months). What she needs is a boost to faith. And that is precisely what she gets from Elizabeth.
KJV Luke 1:45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
Notice two important lessons with respect to faith.
1) She is blessed. Elizabeth already had blessed her the moment she walked through the door: “Blessed are you among women; and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Lk. 1:42). But now she is particularly blessed (declared happy or well-off) because she did something – she believed God. (That’s the coach shouting, “Way to go! That a girl!”)
2) Next, Elizabeth gives her the basis of faith. Faith is the settled conviction that God will perform everything He said, just as He said. (That’s the coach telling us why we are doing what we are doing. We do what we do, because God always delivers on His Word.)
If you had a personal faith trainer today, he would tell you, “You are blessed simply for believing God. You are on the faith team. And while the rest of the world may cast a sneer in your direction, you are on the faith team and that’s the team that wins. And so keep on believing. Don’t cast away your confidence that God will do what He says He will do. What He did for a teenage virgin so many years ago, He can do for you too! You will see God make good!
“Dear Lord, help me to listen to the personal trainers who encourage me to believe. Help me to count myself blessed because I do believe. And Lord, rid my soul of doubts that you will make good on Your Word. Thank you for allowing me to be on the faith team. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
What Advantage Then? – February 5, 2014
by Pastor Mike
As a youngster in rain-laden central Pennsylvania, unwanted rainstorms often hampered our playtime. Sometimes, my siblings and I would stand on our front porch and try to sing the rain away, “Rain, rain, go away. Come back another day.” Rarely did our singing do any good.
Christians see plenty of rain too: unexpected bills, unruly kids, unresolved turmoil, unfulfilled dreams, etc. Sometimes these difficulties disturb Christians who think that God should be smoothing the road for a safe and happy journey. Yet that thinking doesn’t square with Scripture.
KJV Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous:
So what’s the point? If the righteous suffer many afflictions like everyone else, what advantage is there to following God?
There are actually two answers I want to give you from Psalm 34:
1) God promises to deliver the righteous from their afflictions (34:19). The wicked have no such reason for hope.
2) But there is an even greater reason. God promises to redeem the righteous (34:22). Things in this life may not shake down the way you expect; but that’s okay for the believer, because he is banking on the next life any way. To say it differently, I’m not a Christian for the rub it gives me in this life, but for the security it provides in the next life.
The rain may keep falling for awhile in your life, but one day it WILL go away . . . when you wake up in one eternal day.
“Dear Lord, help me to smile through the rain knowing the advantages that are mine. Help me to trust you while the skies are gray. I thank you that a bright, new day is not far away. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Things both Big and Small
by Pastor Mike
What should I do with my life? Whom shall I marry? Where should I live? When we think of “the will of God” we typically think of the big decisions of life. Perhaps we spend too much time contemplating the “biggees” of life and fail to consider God’s will in the routine of daily life.
Notice how Paul prays for the Colossians:
KJV Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
That sounds like a good prayer, praying for the knowledge of His will. “Now we are getting somewhere. If God would only help me out with some “biggee” that is weighing on my heart.” Not so fast. Notice how the next verse reads:
KJV Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing. . .
When it came to knowing God’s will, Paul was interested that believers “walk worthy of the Lord.” Now consider that a bit more closely. The word walk suggests a daily thing. And the word worthy suggests living in a way that pleases God. In other words, knowing God’s will is about knowing what God expects/wants from me on a daily basis. It’s about ordering my life in things both big and small so that I am doing things His way and pleasing Him in everything.
I’m afraid that many times Christians spend too much time chasing God down about the big decisions of life: “Whom should I marry, I didn’t marry the right person. I shouldn’t have gotten that divorce. I took the wrong job. I should never have moved here, etc.” The result is that they think their lives so messed up that they can never amount to anything for God today. Oh, please get this: God has a will for your life this very day. You may not know how to fix the big things in your life, but you can please the Lord in the “small things” that concern your life this day. Things like:
- How to please God in your relationships at home (Col. 3:18-21).
- How to please God in your workplace (Col. 3:22-4:2).
- How to please God in your responsibility to share your faith with others (Col. 4:2-6).
I would venture to say that these are the more important matters when it comes to knowing and doing the will of God.
“Dear Lord, help me not to get caught up in big things that I miss knowing and doing your will today. Give me a hunger to know what Your Word says so that I can do what most pleases You. Please fill me with the knowledge of Your will. This I ask, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
by Pastor Mike
Funny, isn’t it, how we rate Christmases by how much is piled under the tree, first as kids and then later as parents as we attempt to do for our kids? Yet, one of my most memorable Christmases was one in which there were no presents under the tree. Instead, lying across the hearth of the fireplace that Christmas morn lay 5 navel oranges, 5 king-sized Reese’s peanut butter cup packets, and a .22 caliber rifle that my dad took from his own gun case to give his boys. (Financial hardships had made it a difficult year for my parents. There were no presents to open.)
With all that Madison Avenue does to convince us to buy this time of year, it really takes work on the part of Christians to keep the focus where it belongs . . . on the Lord and not on things. Perhaps this verse can help.
KJV Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
The size of my Christmas is meaningless compared to the blessing of the Lord. It is His blessing that gives me another day of life, the privilege of family, the security of eternal life, and the satisfaction of soul that comes from fellowship with Him. No wonder Solomon says “he addeth no sorrow with it.” With these, there is no guilt from overspending, no anxiety over whether it’s the right gift, no frustration with standing in return lines later.
There’s much to like about this season of the year, but none more important than the blessing of the Lord. Cut back on the gifts if you must, but make sure the focus stays on Him. Otherwise, there will be a leanness in the soul, no matter how much lies under the tree.
“Dear Lord, thank you for the greatest of all gifts. Thank you for Jesus and all the riches I have because I have Him. Keep me (my home) from rating Christmas by things and instead help me to revel in the riches you have already given. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Playing with Fire – December 4, 2013
by Pastor Mike
Playing with fire is dangerous because fire is destructive. The smallest spark can turn a tranquil forest into a raging inferno. An unattended pan on the stove can turn dinner into a disaster. And so we read that God uses fire to try our faith and we wonder if anything good can come of it.
KJV 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
The very thing you think will be the ruin of you is the very thing God uses to refine you.
Perhaps you have had the opportunity to watch the sculpting of blown glass. The craftsman pulls the molten glass from the fire with a long hollow tube and with his breath begins shaping it into the form he wants. Similarly, God takes you through the fire so He can gently shape you into the form He wants. In this way, the fire increases the value of your faith. In fact, Peter says that “fire-blown” faith is even more valuable than gold.
No one likes heat, but no one in God’s family escapes it. Your “fire” will be different from my “fire.” (Funny how we lust for someone else’s fire, as if we know better than the Master Craftsman how much fire we need.) But if we allow the fire to do its work, we will become a showpiece of faith, set up for display when the Master Craftsman returns.
“Dear Lord, I accept from you today “the fire” you have allowed in my life. Do what You must to increase the value of my faith. I want to do more than endure life. I want to be one of Your showpieces. Thank You for only sending what You know is best. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Following Orders – November 27, 2013
by Pastor Mike
Science is fascinating! The universe holds a thousand mysteries that point directly to the brilliance and the beauty of Almighty God. Whether peering into the outer reaches of the universe or probing the depths of the sea, new discoveries point to the orderliness of all that God has made. In fact, science would be useless if it weren’t for the fact that nature follows predictable patterns: planetary motion and plant reproduction, for example. Everything that was made follows orders. That’s what makes the study of science possible.
KJV Psalm 119:90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. 91 They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
Notice that verse 91 says that “they (the earth and everything in it, v. 90) continue according to thine ordinances.” Can I say it this way: they all follow orders? The verse says that “all are thy servants.” Everything in the earth does what God tells it to do. Everything, that is, except man!
Mankind seems to be the only irregularity. In all the vast universe, we are the only ones to have rebelled against the orders, to have done our own thing, to have gone our own way. Oh, the amazing patience of God! How embarrassing it must appear to have these AWOL servants in an otherwise orderly universe. Imagine the fits it would give a military commander to watch one segment of his troops march out of rank.
This is the way we all appear to God until we encounter His grace. Salvation restores us to the ranks and recommissions us to be His servants. And that means we live to follow His orders.
“Dear Lord, forgive me for going AWOL and wanting my own way. Forgive me for serving myself and not You. I acknowledge you again as my Creator and I pledge to be Your servant. I’m ready to follow orders. How can I best serve You today? In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Camping with God – November 20, 2013
by Pastor Mike
I am not much of a camper. . . can’t say I like sleeping in tents. I’ve done it . . . might do it again, but it is not something I draw pleasure from. A warm bed and a hot shower have much more appeal. I guess I’m a city boy at heart.
And so was Abraham. When God called him sometime around 2000 B.C., he left the city of Ur, part of the Sumerians civilization. Historians tell us that there were flushing toilets, hot and cold running water, and other “modern” conveniences in that city. What did he receive in return? Tents!
KJV Hebrews 11:9 By faith he [Abraham] sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles [tents] with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Abraham gave up city life for a campsite. Even when he got to Canaan, there were cities. Lot lived in one, but Abraham stayed in his tent. Why? Because tents were a God-given reminder of his temporary status, that he was a “stranger and pilgrim” (11:13).
Unfortunately, we’ve lost something of this. We have come to expect that God’s job is to provide modern conveniences like cozy houses, comfy beds, and predictable employment. And when He doesn’t (or at least not in the way we expect), we get just a little annoyed at Him. But if you and I get too comfortable here we would never long for that “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” You see, the longings of your heart that are not quite satisfied here are a reminder of your temporary status. You are not supposed to settle down here.
I’m not suggesting that you sell your house and buy a tent. Rather look at what you possess as temporary, because it is. And live for the city which is to come!
“Dear Lord, thank you for those unsatisfied longings that remind me that I am not supposed to settle down here. Forgive me for thinking that just one more thing here will satisfy my heart. Grant grace to keep my eyes focused on the city which is to come. This, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Forward Look – November 13, 2013
by Pastor Mike
As a freshman in college, I was carless and therefore at the mercy of finding friends who could give me a lift. For the first year, I attended church with my roommates, brothers and owners of a ‘70-something Dodge “boat.” Being desperate, I compromised on style and gladly accepted a ride, as long as the younger of the two brothers wasn’t driving. When he was behind the wheel, he spent more time looking out the rearview, than he did out the windshield. It seemed that he was more concerned about where he had been, than where he was going. Some Christians are like that!
KJV Hebrews 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
Abraham persevered in faith because he kept his eyes on what was ahead, not what he had left behind. When God called him to leave his country, he left; but he didn’t immediately make it to the Promised Land. Instead, he waited in Haran until after the death of his father Terah (Genesis 11:31-32).
To some extent every believer repeats a similar journey. Having been called by God, we turn our back on the present world to embrace the world which is to come. But being possessors of eternal life doesn’t mean we have reached our final destination. We too are “holding in Haran,” until God calls us to Himself.
Has heaven seemed more like a distant country, as you are trample through the dust of daily life? Maybe things have never felt more difficult than since you became a Christian, or started back to church, or deepened your commitment/service to God. Every time you step out for God, you can be sure you will face the temptation to go back. But, the people of faith anchor themselves in the promise of God and keep a forward look. It’s the only way to look, if you expect to make your destination!
“Dear Lord, thank you for calling me to a better country. When I face the temptation to give up and turn back, help me to focus again on what is to come and remain faithful to You until I sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the heavenly city. This, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Serving Feet – November 6, 2013
by Pastor Mike
“Hello, is this thing on? (sounds of tapping on a microphone) Hello, I’m Mat. I confess I get walked on most every day. Just about no one gives me a second thought. I wait outside most homes where I serve the feet that trample me. And despite the abuse of having dirt squished into me, I stay where I am day after day to serve all I can.”
KJV Hebrews 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant . . .
We know Moses as the great prophet in Hebrew history. He was sent on special assignment by God to confront the pharaoh, to call down the plagues, and to carry God’s people up out of Egypt. And there is no question but that he was faithful!
How? By being “a servant.” The great prophet had a house, not a literal dwelling somewhere. The word house refers to the charge he had from God (see v. 6), the people he had been assigned to serve. And he was faithful in his charge, because he was a servant.
What a dirty job! He got walked on regularly . . . reamed out by grouchy, complaining people most every day. His leadership challenged, his decisions criticized, his sanity questioned. Yet he kept on serving the feet that trampled him.
You have a house, perhaps a home you sweep or a job you keep. And in your daily charge, it is likely that you will get walked on, reamed out and criticized by people depositing their dirt on you. You could get bent out of shape, have a personal pity party . . . or remember that you have a house, a place where God wants you to serve.
“Dear Lord, I want to be faithful, so help me to be a servant today to those that pass my way. It will not be easy to take the abuse and I will want to speak out. Help me then to quietly do my job, to serve, even if I’m not noticed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Safely Home – October 30, 2013
by Pastor Mike
Three people perished yesterday south of Casa Grande during a nineteen car pile up on Interstate-10 during a sandstorm. Despite all effort to the contrary, they didn’t make it safely home.
At the end of the day, we all want to make it safely home. But alas, there are no guarantees . . . Or are there?
KJV 2 Timothy 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Paul closes his last recorded words in the NT while in the clutches of Rome. Shortly after 2 Timothy ends, Paul will be beheaded by Nero, as tradition goes. With the prospect of death looming in the background, he says, “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom.” Here’s a paraphrase: “Take my head, if you will. I will hold my head erect in the kingdom of heaven.”
Paul faced death with confidence about his destination. He’s not alone. Remember three Hebrew friends and a furnace (Daniel 3), or Daniel and the lions (Daniel 6), or how about Stephen and some stones (Acts 7). Each made it safely home! Each in his own way.
This is our confidence too. Men and women may intend to hamper us, humiliate us, or hurt us, but none can keep us from our destination. The world’s worst can’t keep us from heaven’s best! And that’s true because “He is faithful that promised” (Hebrews 10:23). You won’t make your destination because of how skillfully you navigate life or how strong your faith is, etc. You will make it, because the Lord says so.
So no matter how steep your journey today, how trying the other “drivers” with whom you work or live, remember you will make it, safely home.
“Dear Lord, thank you for this promise. When evils come across my path today, help me to remember you knew all about them and still you promised to get me safely home. Let me live this day confident that nothing can keep me from my final destination. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
The Real World – October 23, 2013
by Pastor Mike
Some people perceive Christians as being unable to cope with “the real world.” By homeschooling or sending their children to private schools, Christians are said to be sheltering their kids from “the real world.” When pastors preach, all their religious mumbo jumbo seems distantly related to “the real world” in which we all live. Are these perceptions accurate? Do Christians need to come back down to reality?
1 Timothy 6:19 is astonishingly relevant to this discussion. (Allow me to quote from the NAS, which better reflects the original in this verse.)
NAS 1 Timothy 6:19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
The Scripture encourages us to take hold of “life indeed.” The word indeed means really or truly. This “real life” has to do with the “the future,” as the previous phrase clarifies. In other words, “the real world” is not this life, but the life which is to come (1 Timothy 4:8).
Christian, you must live for “the real world,” not the one of concrete and mortar, of continents and oceans, but the one awaiting you on the other side. Right now, you live in a fantasy world. The things which appear very real, substantial, and lasting here are like “a vapor which appears for a little time and vanishes away” (James. 4:14). Trying to find satisfaction in this world is like “grasping oil with your right hand” (Proverbs 27:16).
I bet you have discovered this world is full of cold, harsh realities like pain, heartache, and tragedy. Christians (and most non-Christians) who live for this world, end up sorely disappointed and/or frustrated. But you don’t have to be! If you will shake your head clear and regain your bearings . . . you weren’t made for this world. You are made for eternity. And that is a world much more real than the one you perceive with your senses today.
“Dear Father, forgive me for undue concern with the temporal world before me. Through my present difficulties, help me to see the permanent world which is my destiny. And may I never apologize for investing in ‘the real world’ that lies beyond. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Top Dog – October 16, 2013
Every team has a challenger and every field, its contest; but there can be only one champion. And we call the one who edges out the competition, the top dog (at least for that year). And yet the contest is close; the top dog wins by a few seconds, a few scores, or a few strokes. But not so with the Competitor I’m about to show you.
KJV Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
This “Head of the Church,” Paul says has the preeminence (“holds the first place”) in everything. Notice the repetition of “all things” in the immediate context.
- He created “all things.” v. 16
- He existed before “all things.” v. 17
- He holds “all things” together. v. 17
- He is the firstborn from the dead v. 18 (first among all those resurrected)
- He possesses “all the fullness” of God v. 19
- He reconciles “all things” to Himself. v. 20
Whether it’s creation, resurrection, or reconciliation, there is not one thing over which God’s Son doesn’t hold first place. If it’s the Olympics, He brings home all the gold medals for the Kingdom of heaven (in fact, no silvers or bronzes are issued either). If it’s the Masters, no other golfers show up. If it’s Daytona, He finishes the race before any other driver gets his car started. God’s Son is so far out in front that no one has a chance of catching up to Him.
In most competitions, competitors have an equal chance of winning. Not so in the contest of the ages. There isn’t even a close second. Christians are not dualists. We do not believe in a close fight between good and evil with Christ “edging out” the forces of evil to take the lead in the last leg of the race. Oh, no! There has never been a contest. Jesus Christ is the top dog in the universe. And He can’t lose!
That means, if we belong to Jesus, we will win. We may have some struggles for a time, but we cannot lose. It’s okay to look at your Champion today and relax and smile. The competition isn’t even close!
Greatness – October 9, 2013
by Pastor Mike
So you are big stuff? You have been promoted in the company. You are the only one in the state with your credentials. You have been invited to teach a conference on home management. Your son/daughter graduated with honors. Your chest swells, your head lifts, your feet feel a little lighter. Chances are you find your worth in an achievement you or your children have made. Maybe we are looking in the wrong place.
KJV Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Greatness is not measured by who knows about me, but rather what I know about God. How we turn this on end. Even Christians, tend to think their significance lies, in how good a Christian they are or in what they do for God. In the words of a southern favorite, “Look away, look away, Dixieland.” Look away from yourself! It’s not about you. Greatness is knowing the great God. And the more you know Him, the more satisfied with life you will be.
I matter because God loves me. Notice the word lovingkindness heads the list. This is God’s committed or never-quit love. And He delights (takes pleasure) in this love. This is what should cause my chest to swell, my head to lift, and my footsteps to be lighter. I know this God. We dialogue daily. And even better, He knows me.
“Dear Father, forgive me for looking in the wrong places for significance. Help me to get to know You better and find my worth in who You are. Thank you for delighting in me. I love you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Day of Delight – October 2, 2013
by Pastor Mike
Sheer delight. I know what that looks like. It is eyes the size of saucers as you hand each child a cone loaded with his favorite ice cream. While every day doesn’t taste that sweet, parents do want to treat their kids to happiness from time to time . . . and so does God.
Perhaps you’ve wondered, “If God loves me, He sure has a funny way of showing it!” You are not alone. Israel had to wonder the same thing when the prophet Isaiah warned of coming judgment. But as the gray clouds formed, there was still a trickle of sunlight.
KJV Isaiah 62:4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah [“my delight is in her”], and thy land Beulah [“married”]: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
We love Isaiah for the hope it records. Yes, darkness does roll over the people of God from time to time, but behind every storm cloud there is a sun waiting to shine.
Perhaps you are in a desolate time in your life. Maybe you even feel forsaken. That is not the end of the story with God. He doesn’t leave His own miserable. You may be stranded in a desert, but there is an oasis just over the next dune. And when you get there, your hardships will soon be swallowed up in a river of delights God has planned.
“Dear Father, I do feel as if life is desolate right now. Things I anticipated or expected have not come to pass. The clouds have rolled in over my soul. Help me to remember that You love me and that there is a day of delight coming. Until such time, help me to remain faithful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Mighty through Me
by Pastor Mike
We know God is capable of amazing things.
· He can make people walk on water (Matt. 14:28-29).
· He can raise the lame to walk (Acts 3:6-7).
· He can restore the dead to life (Acts 9:39-40).
Peter not only witnessed these miracles of Jesus. He was in the middle of them. He performed them! God gave Peter an exciting/exhilarating ministry. Even after Jesus had gone to heaven, Peter was performing mighty acts for God.
But alas, that was then and this is now. That was Peter and it is not us. Perhaps you let yourself believe that because of the day in which you live, the people to whom you minister, or the person that you know yourself to be, that no mighty works can still be done. The days of God’s might must now be over. If so, you need the following verse.
KJV Galatians 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
Let me help you see the point. Read the verse this way: “for he that wrought effectually in Peter . . . the same was mighty in me . . .” The very same God who had been mighty in Peter had been mighty in Paul. And it is just as true for us, because God is no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11). What He has done for one, He can do for anyone. (Now I’m not talking about walking on water or raising the dead, for these were limited to the apostles according to the New Testament. But there are many other evidences of God’s mighty working.)
What I’m getting at is that we need to stop writing ourselves out of the divine script, stop telling ourselves that God can’t: can’t answer my prayers, can’t lead a soul to Christ through me, can’t impact my generation. All of these “can’ts” have a common source: our enemy. God still can. He could in Peter’s day! He could in Paul’s day! And praise God, He can do it for you and me in our day!
“Dear Father, forgive me for writing myself out of the divine script. I want to be used in greater ways for you. Let me believe that You are alive and well and just as mighty today as ever before. Let me be a vessel through which your mighty power flows to my generation. In Jesus’ name.”
Help Wanted–September 11, 2013
by Pastor Mike
We’ve all seen “Help Wanted” signs hanging in a shop window. It tells us something: the management needs help; the shop needs additional employees.
I bet there are times in life when you need help . . . that you feel like hanging out a “Help Wanted” sign? Before you do that, you’ll want to take a closer look at the following verse:
KJV Psalm 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
At face value, it appears that the second part of this verse teaches that if you do right you will be saved (in the sense of justified before God). That meaning of course does not agree with numerous verses to the contrary (Rom. 3:20; 4:5; Gal. 2:16, etc.). Our efforts at doing right do not merit the favor of God. God does not erase our bad deeds because of our good deeds.
The problem here is reading the New Testament meaning of salvation back into the Old Testament. The word salvation in the Psalms simply means deliverance or rescue without any thought of the atoning work of Christ. In other words, the psalmist is declaring that God helps those who conduct (“conversation”) themselves rightly (“aright”).
Now that is a truism we must grasp. If we expect God to come to our aid, then we must be committed to doing right. God isn’t going to help those who are resistant to His ways, who don’t care to play by the rules. But the moment you “right” yourself to His law—not neglecting something you know to be wrong—why then you should expect the God of heaven to come to your aid.
Dear Father, look at my ways. Am I ordering my steps aright? If there is anything in Your eyes that does not meet with your approval, would you please reveal it? . . . Because I don’t want to go a single day without your help!