Don’t Touch!

26 09 2008

As a pastor for over 14 years I always would pick with the people that God allowed me to pastor.  I would often joke back with them and tell them that they could pick back.  I told them they especially could not hit or slap me and I would often quote:  1 Chronicles 16:21-22 (ESV) 21 he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, 22 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”   We would all laugh and they would just pick back at me anyway.

Today I was reading through that chapter again for my quiet time.  It is amazing how you view a verse whenever you see it in its context.  I’m telling you context has killed some good sermons for me in the past.  I saw a verse and immediately a sermon would come to mind.  Then I would go to that verse only to discover that the verse had a totally different meaning when read within the context of the Scripture around it.  Today I read the verse and YES it does say “do my prophets no harm.”  But listen.  The anointed in that Scripture is speaking of God’s children, the Israelites.  They are the ones that the nations around were not suppose to touch.

Well throughout history many nations tried to touch them unsuccessfully.  When I read that verse today I will tell you what came to my mind.  God LOVES his children.  You see that over and over and over in the Scripture.  He LOVES them.  You don’t mess with his children.  Oh yes, he may allow his children to suffer for a season from opporession but he won’t let that be the final word.

I’ve been speaking on the book of Exodus on Sunday mornings during Sunday School.  By the way those messages can be heard at www.graceiam.com.  Well a couple of Sundays ago I read that God told this to Moses for him to relay it to Pharaoh:  Exodus 4:22-23 (ESV)  Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’ ”

Did you read that.  God is telling Pharaoh that if he does not let his child go then He will kill Pharaoh’s.  Well we all know that happened in the final plague.  Now you can look at that negatively and say, “Well I can’t believe that God told him that” or you could look at like this:  God loves his children very much.  He has made a covenant with them.  He has crowned them with his steadfast love.  He is the God “who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, Psalms 103:4 (ESV)”

So please know that when somebody touches you and you are one of his children, then they touch God.  He knows and He loves you.

I’ve always been bad at basebll games with running my mouth.  I know I have made a few moms mad at me before when I have shouted something like, “Why did you do that for!” when responding to a bonehead move by one of our players.  I know that they get upset with me because when the shoe is on the other foot and somebody talks about my son, well that is uncalled for.  It matters when it is your child that they are messing with.

God feels the same way about us.  Don’t forget that.  You are loved.  You are adored.  Nobody should mess with you.
 

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Understanding The Times

23 09 2008

I was just doing my daily Bible reading this morning.  Well I must admit that I’ve gotten slack on it over the past couple of months.  My pastor preached a message Sunday that really challenged me.  No, it was not a challenge to do more stuff.  It was a challenge for more love.  I had to admit as I sat there that my love relationship with Christ had suffered and that I needed to do something about it.  I felt a greater desire to spend time with Him.  There.  That is my confession.

I was reading this morning in 1 Chronicles 12 when I read this verse:  1 Chronicles 12:32 (ESV)
32 Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.

This was part of a list of David’s army.  It got me thinking about how important it is that we understand the times so that we might know what we ought to do.  In this day of economic crisis everbody seems to be so focused upon the world that we live in while spiritually we are going to pot.  I do believe that greed has been the driving force behind this economic meltdown.  In the words of my pastor the golden calf of America is being melted down for us to drink and it does not taste good.

We need leaders and we need followers who understand the times so that we might know what to do.  My prayer is that whoever we elect as President would be that kind of man and he would put those kind of men around him.  In my opinion this is one area that our current president has failed in that he did not surround himself with a strong team.  As John Maxwell says, “You are only as strong as the people who surround you.” 





He swings…he misses!

16 09 2008

I just tend to be the guy who misses opportunities.  I’m not talking about sales.  I’m talking about opportunities to be a blessing in the lives of other people.  Last night I had my chance.  I got home late and before I knew I missed the opportunity to be a blessing to my wife and my son all because I’ve become self absorbed with my manly ability to make a living for my family.  For the first time in a long time we are struggling to get by.  I’ve got to tell you that it hurts because I feel like I got my family into this.  At the same time I know that God is sovereign and He truly is in control of our lives.  I know too that what my family needs at this moment is not just a provider but a leader…a spiritual leader.  My prayer is that I will be that for them.

What did I miss?  I missed the opportunity to tell my wife that we are going to be OK on the finances.  I missed the chance to become her support.  For my son when he came in to share his grades with us I only saw what he missed, not what he had accomplished.  And so I sit here today feeling pretty crappy because I know that I swung and missed.

Today I will get another chance.  Today I get to bat again.  My aim is to hit it out of the park.





Remembering Nick

8 09 2008
Taken from Mississippi Press
Taken from Mississippi Press

The phone rang at 4:00 A.M. on Saturday morning and that is never a good thing especially when it is not a wrong number.  The news was tragic.  One of my good buddies and friend to my son had been tragically killed in an accident.

Nick was the kind of guy that you would not soon forget.  He would make you want to pull your hair out at times because he wanted to stretch the rules out as far as possible but you could never stay upset with him long.  He had a wonderful smooth way of making up with you.  I loved that boy.
I regret so much the fact that I can’t be with the family during this time.  I consider them all good friends.  Nick’s father coached my girl in softball.  His mother was a friend to me and my wife when we needed one the most.  His grandfather and grandmother always treated us like family. 
I got the opportunity to speak to Nick’s mom Saturday morning and all that I could tell her is that I love her and the family and that I would be praying for her.  I reminded that our God is sovereign and that He had a plan that is way bigger than any of us could imagine.  I reminded her that God loves her very much.
It is difficult to take tragedy from God.  It is difficult to take tragedy period.  We want to somehow let God off of the hook when it comes to bad things happening to us.  He doesn’t want off of the hook though.  He wants everyone to know that he is sovereign and not for one minute Friday night did he step off of his throne and allow fate and chance to take over.  We have no problem taking good from God’s hand.   We shouldn’t have a problem with taking bad.

There is a passage in the chronicles of Narnia, when Jill one of the characters is approaching the only stream in Narnia, wanting a drink. And when she gets there, Aslan, the great lion, is guarding the river.

And she is frightened by it. And she’s trying to find out whether she’s safe or not. And she says to Aslan, “Do you eat little girls?” And his response is, “Little girl, I’ve consumed kingdoms, and peoples and worlds.” And she continues to try and negotiate with him to make sure it’s safe, and he won’t give her any comfort. And finally she says, “Well, I’ll have to go find another stream.” And he says, “Little girl, there is no other stream.” My friends, there is no other God.

 

This is the God that we have.  You’re not going to be able to go and find another god that’s safer, another god who’s more manageable, another god who is more domesticated. There is no other God.

He is the sovereign God of heaven and earth; and the only thing that you can reckon with in the midst of trouble, is that He is good. He is sovereign; you may not understand what He’s doing, but He is good.

 

Don’t forget that when God sends tragedy your way.  He is sovereign but He is good.  He will work your tragedy for your good in time.