Friday, March 24, 2017

NEW BOOK AVAILABLE NOW

The new book, The View From My Porch, just became available. I hope that you enjoy it. I sure enjoyed writing it!
You can order it at:      https://www.createspace.com/6940127
As always, thanks for reading,
Don
 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THE QUESTION OF JOB - WHY DO PEOPLE SUFFER?

One of the most ancient of stories in any language is the story of Job. Most people in Christendom know the story well. Job’s wealth was legendary. It is said that he was the “greatest of all men of the east.” However, even before we learn that fact about Job, we are told that he was a “blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

The story of Job is how God allows this wealthy and righteous man to be chastised by the hand of Satan. All that Job possessed was taken away in an astonishing series of disasters. One by one, messengers came to Job to report a catastrophe.

There was first an attack by some nomads of the area. They slew Job’s workers in the fields and took his oxen and his donkeys. The messenger who had come to tell Job of these things had not even finished speaking when one of his shepherds also came to Job with another disaster that had struck. He described a fire that had fallen from the sky and consumed all the sheep and all of the other shepherds. The messenger alone had escaped.

No sooner had this one finished his report, when yet another man burst in with some more terrible news. There had been an attack by the Chaldeans, who raided all of Job’s camels and killed the servants who were attending them. As Job sat in shocked astonishment at this devastating series of reports, still another came. Job’s ten children, for whom he had prayed daily, had all been in the house of the oldest son when a great wind came. The house collapsed on them and killed them all.

Job staggered to his feet, tore his robe as a sign of his anguish, and shaved his head as an indication of his grief. His strength taken from him, he fell to the ground. His reactions to this cursed day could have been many. Most men would have probably uttered curses of anguish. However, of all the reactions that Job might have had in response to all that he had endured, his response was to fall to the ground and worshiped the Name of the Lord.

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord” (Job 1:21 NAS).

But even with all that had already happened to him, Job had not seen the end of the disasters that were to befall him. He was about to endure extreme physical agony.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A SIGN FOR MOSES

I suppose that I, too, would have stopped to investigate the strange sight. Moses, the Israelite who had fled Egypt for fear of his life, was watching the flocks of his Father-in-law in far-off Midian. As Moses walked near mount Horeb, he saw a bush that seemed to be burning, but it was not being consumed by the fire. As Moses approached the bush, he heard the voice of God speaking to him out of the midst of it.

“Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:10-12 ESV). 

This was the call of Moses by God to lead the Israelite nation out of their captivity in Egypt. So demanding and at times so frustrating would this task become, that there may have been moments later in the life of Moses when he wished he had never turned aside from his intended path to see a bush that was burning but not being consumed. Perhaps if he had known all that lie ahead of him he would have hesitated in obeying God even more than he did at the time.

Indeed, when God told him of his plan for Moses to stand before Pharaoh and to go to the Children of Israel to tell them that God had appointed him to bring them out of Egypt, Moses began to argue with God. It was a daunting task. Moses had tried it once before – forty years previous to that time.

Concerning that time forty years earlier, the first martyr Stephen would say of Moses, “He supposed that his brothers understood that God was giving them deliverance by his hand, but they did not understand” (Acts 7:25). Moses probably felt that if the Israelites did not accept him forty years ago, they certainly would not accept him now. 

What Had Happened in Egypt

Friday, March 10, 2017

ANTICIPATING THE DAY

I have begun a new publishing house and this is the first book I am publishing.
Available now through Amazon.com. Direct link below:
 
 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

THE HARLOT

One would think that the writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews could have dispensed with the title “harlot” when referring to Rehab, a woman who had lived in the Old Testament days.
 
After all, when he wrote about “Rahab the harlot,” as he calls her, about seventeen hundred years had passed since she had practiced that trade. And she had done other things in her life– more noteworthy things. In fact, it was one of those other and more significant things about which the author writes:
 
"By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith, Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace" (Hebrews 11:30-31 NIV).
 
The spies of this verse are not the twelve spies that had been sent in to spy out the land shortly after the Israelites made their exodus out of Egypt. That occurrence had happened some forty years earlier. The spies referred to in this case were only two in number, and they went in specifically to spy out the city of Jericho, the same city that Joshua was contemplating when he met with the captain of the host of the Lord.

The Story of Rehab

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ASH WEDNESDAY

If you are in the custom of watching the local evening news, on almost any given evening, you may see a story about some unfortunate family who had just suffered a devastating house fire. Perhaps even some of you have had this experience. As the reporter interviews the family, they are usually standing in front of what was once their home. In the background is the rubble of their building, and ashes. Many ashes.

Ashes are what is left after all that is useful is burned away. After the fire has consumed all that was worth consuming, it leaves the ashes. Ashes are the useless byproduct of disaster. Even the fire refuses these.

To our Ash Wednesday service I brought some ashes that I collected from our fireplace in our home. After the fire has gone out, there are the ashes that remain. These hold no value for me. No matter how many of these ashes that I collect, I could never heat our home with them. They are worthless to me.

Today we as a church are observing Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lent season in the church calendar. The Lent season is the time during the year that commemorates the forty days of fasting in the wilderness that Jesus accomplished before he endured the temptation of Satan.

The Celebration

The commemoration of Ash Wednesday and even the commemoration of Lent is not something that God has instructed us to do, but is purely a church tradition. Thus, like all human traditions, we need to be a little careful what meaning we put into it. If we are holding this service and observing Ash Wednesday out of some sense of duty or to fulfill a requirement, or simply because we have always done it, we are missing the point.

However, if we use these moments together to truly reflect on our relationship with God and with our fellow man, then our observance of Ash Wednesday and of the entire Lent season will be very meaningful.

I would like to give you two things pertaining to the image of the ashes to think about during this season of Lent.