August 31, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO GUIDE AND PROVIDE (part 2)

Gideon: Beauty For Ashes

Text: Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

III. COMMANDING AND DEMANDING
Judges 6:12,14,16
God believed in Gideon, long before Gideon believed in God and what God could do through him. In Exodus 4:1-12 we observe that Moses had a difficult time believing God, but we see the LORD says to Moses, “…Cast it on the ground…” (Exodus 4:2b). This was in reference to the rod in his hand. Then the LORD said to Moses “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say” (Exodus 4:12). The truth is if we will do what God tells us to do, we will find the power is given to us by God to accomplish his purpose. In Acts 26:16-18, we see Paul is chosen by God to be the apostle of the Gentiles. I love the way our Lord addressed this matter in Acts 26:16, “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.” If we get up and stand up to the commands and demands of God, He will reveal and supply our every need.

IV. THE CONFIRMATION AND THE REVELATION
Judges 6:17-24
There is no doubt now that Gideon is talking to a power greater than himself, but he just needed to know it is the LORD. So Gideon makes a sacrifice and the LORD received it. And God is revealed to Gideon as He who is peace and He who gives peace.

V. PURIFYING AND CERTIFYING
Judges 6:25-32
Before we attempt to clean up our neighborhood it is important that we first clean up our own backyard. And here we see Gideon casting down the altar constructed by his father and the grove of worship that was beside the idolatrous altar. The men were afraid who went with Gideon, but in this matter Gideon was fearless. Happily Gideon’s father stood beside his son. And when the wicked men of the city called for Gideon’s death, his dad said in essence, let Baal if he is a god, do something about it himself.” And he nicknamed Gideon, “Jerubbaal,” meaning “Let Baal plead.” Gideon a nd his house are now in a right standing with God ready to be used of God. II Timothy 2:21, “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

August 30, 2018

Since I was a child, one of my favorite preachers has always been Dr. Johnny Pope. We have been privileged to have Dr. Pop many times at Kerwin and will be having him many times in the future, Lord willing. Every once in a while Dr. Pope will send me what he would call a short sermon. I get these periodically from him and when I read this when I wanted to share this with those of you that have been following these devotions every day. I know this will be a blessing

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO GUIDE AND PROVIDE

Gideon: Beauty For Ashes

Text: Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

One of the most unusual stories of how God uses a man and how God guides a man is found in the book of Judges. Gideon, the reluctant champion of Israel is chosen by God to lead Israel into a glorious victory. Romans 15:4 comes to mind when I think of this story, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
By means of introduction into Gideon’s call to be a judge, I bring to your attention:
The chastisement of God- Judges 6:1
Israel’s response- Judges 6:2
The havoc that ensued- Judges 6:3-6a
Israel’s correct response- Judges 3:6b
The Message from God- Judges 3:8-10
The Messenger God is chosen- Judges 3:11

I. CHOSEN BUT FROZEN
Judges 6:11
Fear drives a person to do strange things. Fear of man and the events of life place a person in bondage. Christ is the bondage breaker of fear. Romans 8:15, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Hebrews 2:15, “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

II. POUTING AND DOUBTING
Judges 6:13,15
I marvel at the patience o four Lord with us. Too many tomes we picture our Lord with a proverbial “Sword of Damocles,” just waiting to judge us n the least slip up. But here we see in Psalm 86:15, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” We see in Romans 2:4 a beautiful truth, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” We see God’s goodness in longsuffering is to get us to the point of repentance and acceptance to Him and His plan.

August 29, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO LEAD AND TO LOVE

Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Ever since I was young, I have always liked the contrast between chocolate and vanilla. Maybe because my dad loved chocolate and my mom loved vanilla. I love chocolate cake with vanilla icing. I love black and white cookies. I like sundaes with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce over it. I like the combination better than I like either on their own. Ok, maybe I have put too much thought into this.

Verses ten and eleven are kind of vanilla and chocolate together. I love the contrast. I love that we serve a God that is strong (vs10), and gentle (vs11). We serve a God that rules (vs10), and feeds (vs11). We serve a God that judges the unjust (vs10), and yet lovingly carries His sheep (vs11).

Don’t you love these verses. What a God. He rules and reigns with power and might. Yet, He gathers, feeds, and gently carries His precious sheep in His bosom. He rules creation, and yet gently leads the young believer. I remember:

* Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

While pondering that verse I also remember:

* Luke 15: 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

It is amazing that we serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But to me, it is unbelievable to think that very King died for me, feeds me, carries me, provides for me, and loves me like a shepherd to his sheep. We are so blessed today!

August 28, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO OPEN ANYTHING

Isaiah 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come…… he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert

“The ears of the deaf shall be unstopped”
Can you imagine all of this unfolding in Heaven? Individuals that have never heard a singing voice, a singing bird, or an instrument played, will suddenly hear the heavenly hosts sing. To hear for the first time, and that first time is to hear the voice of our Savior. God will open eyes and God will open ears. God still does that, by the way.

“Then shall the lame man leap”
God has restored “sight”, God has restored “sound”, and now God is restoring “strength”. The lame man shall jump like a deer clearing a fence. We have some friends in Maryland who have a son named “Thomas”. Thomas is my buddy. Thomas has been confined to a wheelchair his entire life. Thomas cannot speak clearly, he cannot walk, he cannot play sports, and he cannot “leap”. Thomas is always at church, and Thomas loves the Lord. Because Thomas is in a large, almost horizontal wheelchair, I call him “Thomas the train”. When we all get to Heaven one day, Thomas is not going to be in a wheelchair. He will not need it. He will be able to jump like a deer. ‘How do you know that?’, you might ask. Because God said so. Which brings me to the next promise.

“The tongue of the dumb sing”
I may not be able to understand everything Thomas says right now, but I will understand him when We get to Heaven. Thomas will be singing praises to God. So, God has restored
“sight”, God has restored “sound”, God is restoring “strength”. And now God will restore “singing”. God is able to open things. God can open eyes, ears, and mouths. In fact, this verse tells us that God can open rocks in the wilderness and bring water, and God can open up the sands of the desert and bring forth streams. The point is, God can open anything. He can open your eyes when you can’t see, He can open your ears when you refuse to hear, he can open your strength when you cannot go on, and God can open your heart when it has become closed and hardened.

“Be strong”, and “fear not”. Whatever needs opened, God can do it. “Your God will come”. “He will come and save you”.

August 27, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO OPEN OUR EYES

Isaiah 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come…… he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Jesus always changes things when He shows up. These verses are wonderful reminders of what eternity will be like with Jesus. Notice first:

“The eyes of the blind shall be opened”
Fanny Crosby is one of the most blessed, impactful, well known hymn writers in history. Of course, as you know, she was blind. She gave this quote one day:

“I could not have written thousands of hymns if I had been hindered by the distractions of seeing all of the beautiful objects that would have been presented to my notice.”

Then she wrote:
Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my savior am happy and blessed;
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with His goodness lost in His love.

Maybe a blind person can see Jesus better than seeing people can. All I know is that when we get to Heaven, the Lord is going to open every blinded eye and replace them with perfect sight. How special for Jesus to be the first person you actually “see”. May I ask a question today? Do you see Jesus today? Do you see His creation in nature? Do you see His sovereignty in your circumstances? Do you see His grace in your life? You do not have to be blind for God to open your eyes! A good prayer to pray today as you go about your business is this:

‘Dear Lord, please open my eyes today. Help me to see others for what they can be, help me to see myself for what I was before you saved me, and help me to see You for who You are and always will be. Lord, today, I need to see.’

August 25, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO HELP ME TO BE STRONG (part 2)

Isaiah 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

The first thing that we were told that we need to be reminded of when fear invades our life, is to “be strong, fear not”. This brings us to the next promise that this passage teaches us.

“YOUR GOD WILL COME”
Doesn’t He always? What a promise! I am here to encourage your fearful heart today. Your God will come. When you feel all alone, your God will come. When you don’t know what to do, your God will come. When things are out of your hands, your God will come through. You may not see a Him, or even feel Him at times in your life, but He is there and will strengthen you.

He “will come with vengeance”.
God has been patient. God has been ridiculed, criticized, degraded, demeaned, and cursed. But when Christ returns to rule and reign here on earth, He is coming with vengeance. You and I have no need to fear. We have no need to be bashful, timid, and scared. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords and when He comes, no one will be able to defeat him. There is no doubt about it, Jesus will avenge His Holy Name.

He will come “with a recompense”.
This means that He will come with a reward. Don’t be afraid my friend, Jesus is coming again, and He will reward our service to Him. That should motivate each of us today. I don’t know about you, but I want to do something to be rewarded for.

* Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

“He will come and save you”
And guess what, Jesus did just that. There’s no need to be fearful dear friend, Jesus conquered death, He can help you with your problem. He hasn’t failed us or left us yet, why would He start now? I encourage you today, “Be strong, fear not”.