Room to Move

In its simplest form, the scientific Law of Entropy states that “any system is left to itself will go on to randomness or disorder.” That means that everything in the world will naturally move from order to chaos. You don’t have to take a science class to figure that out. All you need is a basement or a garage. We have both at our house, and I confess that in almost 30 years of marriage and living in two different homes, I have never once gone into either the basement or garage and discovered that they were, without help, more organized or clean than six months before. It just doesn’t happen. My experience has been that if I don’t bribe one of my children to clean the garage or just go down and start sorting through the basement myself, the clutter and mess will soon accumulate to the point that it’s difficult to even walk.

You know, what’s true of basements is also true of our spiritual lives. We don’t just naturally grow closer to the Lord with time. We may desire to stay on track, but if we don’t diligently pray, read God’s Word and apply His truth, we inevitably drift into neglect and gravitate toward spiritual disarray. We easily get sidetracked by the routine of life. Old habits creep back in and former ways of thinking dull our sensitivity to the Lord’s voice. Relationships with others distract us, and before we realize what’s happened, we find ourselves far from where we want to be.

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Nuggets – Crucified with Christ

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:24)

Death by crucifixion was surely one of the cruelest and most painful forms of execution ever devised. Yet, the Lord Jesus “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2); He “hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

But just as He sacrificed Himself for us, we are now privileged to offer our “bodies a living sacrifice” to Him (Romans 12:1). This spiritual sacrifice is actually compared to crucifixion. “Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).

Crucifixion is not an instantaneous death but a very slow and painful death. Just so, the death of a Christian believer to sin does not take place in a moment of special blessing but—as in physical crucifixion—is painful and slow. Nevertheless, it is basic in the truly effective Christian life.

In the book of Galatians, we are told three times by the apostle Paul that the Christian believer should be following Christ in His crucifixion—in crucifixion to self, to the flesh, and to the world. First we are to be crucified to the love of self. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Secondly, we are to be crucified to the flesh, for “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (today’s text).

Finally, we should be crucified to the lure of this world. “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). HMM 

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Be Truly Converted

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)

To be “converted” can mean many things. The Greek word simply means to “turn” or “change directions.” Christian conversion, however, refers to turning away from the whole world system and turning to God through Christ. Similarly, to “repent,” in the Greek, means essentially to “think differently” and, in a Christian context, to change one’s whole thought process from worldly reasoning to spiritual, as centered in Christ and the Scriptures. Genuine Christian repentance and conversion result in having one’s “sins . . . blotted out” and thus true “times of refreshing” from the Lord.

But without real repentance and conversion, there is no salvation. Jesus said: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5), and He also said: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

There are, sad to say, multitudes of men and women who think they are Christians but are not. This is evidenced by the lack of real change in their thinking and living from the beliefs and practices of the world. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Christ Himself has warned that “many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, . . . And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:22-23). Therefore, it behooves all who profess Christ to seriously review their personal belief and behavior in terms of their conformity to the world of men or to the Word of God. As Paul exhorted: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). HMM 

From the Institute for Creation Research

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The high cost of sin: Lamentations 5

Sin is costly. Thank you Lord for the payment for pur sins. May we accept your gift of love and by your grace, sin no more.

Bible in a Year Blog

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Today’s reading: Lamentations 3:37-5.

Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.

According to Charles Finney, sin is the most expensive thing in the universe. “If it is forgiven sin,” he said, “it cost God His only Son… If it is unforgiven sin, it cost the sinner his soul and an eternity in hell.” The people of Judah and Israel found out how expensive it is; they lost everything. Jeremiah saw it happen firsthand and gave a detailed description of sin’s high cost.

Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger. Women have been ravished in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah. Princes have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect. Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.

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Therefore I have hope: Lamentations 3

O Lord you are so good, therefore i have hope.

Bible in a Year Blog

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Today’s reading: Lamentations 1-3:36.

“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” George Iles

Parade magazine told the story of self-made millionaire Eugene Land, who was asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth-graders. He wondered how he could change the lives of these predominantly black and Puerto Rican children, most of whom would drop out of school. Throwing away his prepared speech, he told them, “Stay in school and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you.” Suddenly the students had hope. As one student said, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.”

Jeremiah maintained his hope in spite of the terrible ordeal of Jerusalem’s siege and fall. He witnessed famine, cannibalism, cruelty, and personal attacks against himself. Yet he still clung to his faith in God and the belief that good would return.

I…

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Surrender or Fight? Jeremiah 52

O for discernment to know the difference – to surrender to the enemy or to surrender to the Lord’s will.

Bible in a Year Blog

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Today’s reading: Jeremiah 51-52.

“I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle.” Sitting Bull

We idolize those warriors who fight to the finish and never give up. We call them heroes, though sometimes they are dead heroes. Is it always best to fight, or are there times when it is wiser to surrender?

Today’s devotional is a tale of two kings. First, there is Zedekiah, Judah’s final king. Jeremiah counseled him to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar, but he fought to the end. When defeat was certain he still didn’t give up, but tried to run.

…the Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, and he was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced…

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Walls will fall: Jeremiah 50

Adversarial walls are temporary and will crumble. We are safe in the Lord’s hands despite tauntings and deceptive pull of the world.

Bible in a Year Blog

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Today’s reading: Jeremiah 49-50.

The historian Herodotus claimed that the walls around ancient Babylon were 300 feet high and 80 feet thick, wide enough for two chariot teams of four horses each to pass one another. Another less impressive wall ran inside the great outer wall. Herodotus may have exaggerated, but he accurately represented the awe with which outsiders viewed the strength of Babylon. Yet what is Babylon today but a pile of rubble in the desert south of Baghdad? Jeremiah prophesied the fall of Babylon’s walls many years in advance, even before the fall of Jerusalem’s walls.

“Take up your positions around Babylon, all you who draw the bow. Shoot at her! Spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD. Shout against her on every side! She surrenders, her towers fall, her walls are torn down. Since this is the vengeance of the LORD, take vengeance on…

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Nuggets – The Dreadful Day of the Lord

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” (Malachi 4:5)

This is the next-to-last verse of the Old Testament and so marks the final mention in the Old Testament of the fearsome theme of the Day of the Lord. As the text says, it will be a “great and dreadful day.”

This phrase occurs frequently in the Bible, reminding us over and over again that although God is merciful and longsuffering, He will not remain silent forever. Man’s “day” will end someday, and the day of the Lord will come.

Note some of the other prophecies: “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! . . . the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light” (Amos 5:18). “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:31). “The great day of the LORD . . . is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Zephaniah 1:14-15). “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger” (Isaiah 13:9).

The phrase also is repeated in the New Testament, most awesomely of all in 2 Peter 3:10: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (see also 1 Thessalonians 5:2, etc.).

Without trying to sort out the precise sequences and events associated with all such prophecies, it is obvious that the Day of the Lord is a coming time of terrible judgment on all who have rejected or ignored the God who created them. But God’s faithful believers can take great comfort, for then “the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD” (Zechariah 14:9). HMM 

From the Instittute of Creation Research

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Nuggets – Great Is the Lord

“For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.” (1 Chronicles 16:25-26)

This testimony is in the heart of a great hymn of thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 16:7-36) composed by David when the Ark of the Lord was brought back to Jerusalem. It is a testimony of the unique greatness of the God of Israel, with recurring expressions of gratitude for His deliverances and blessings.

This God of Israel was no mere tribal-god or nature-god, such as Dagon, the fish-god of the Philistines from whose hands the Ark had been delivered. All such “gods” of the peoples of the earth—whether wooden images in a shrine, astrological emblems in the heavens, or mental constructs of evolutionary humanistic philosophers—are nothing but idols (that is, literally, “good for nothing,” “vanities”).

It is Jehovah God who is not only in the heavens but who made the heavens! It is their Creator who one day will “let the sea roar” and “the fields rejoice,” when “the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth” (vv. 32-33).

As Creator and Savior, all His people are exhorted also to “shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations” (vv. 23-24). Because of His power, the world itself “shall be stable [that is, ‘permanently established’], that it be not moved” (v. 30). This “God of our salvation” (v. 35), and the wonderful heavens and earth He created, will be forever. The psalm ends with the exhortation: “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. . . . Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever” (vv. 34-36).

Now, if Israel needed such an exhortation, our modern science-worshiping world needs it still more urgently. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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ATB 46 Kryptonite

Growing up as a child there were so many things that I recall that bring to mind many great memories. As they say life back then was a time of innocence.

Like most kids there were a multitude of things that I did to have fun. One thing in particular that my parents stressed was the importance of reading. Each summer my assignment was to read at least 10 books. It was important to continue to be prepared to start the school year later that summer.

While certainly doing those 10 books each summer, I also recall that one of my favorite sources of reading were comic books. I must say that at one time I had quite a large comic book collection.

There we of course many different characters from those days of my comic books.  Perhaps the most famous of all of the comic book characters was my favorite; Superman. 

Superman I am inclined to say is the most famous comic book character of all time. As we know Superman has been around it would seem like forever. He has become more than just a comic book character. As well there have many numerous television shows and movies depicting as they say the adventures of Superman.

I can still recall part of that tag line of Superman the television series. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, more powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet.      

Superman was the conquering hero. As the comic books and television show unfolded it seemed that nothing would be able to hinder his mission. He was invulnerable; or so it seemed.

For all of his great abilities, with his great powers Superman had a weakness. A weakness which brought him to a point of being in a lot or respects just like an ordinary person. His weakness was kryptonite.

As I go back in time and reflect back on the television shows or comic books, when Superman came in contact with kryptonite I can recall him being weakened to the point where it seemed like he would not survive. Being a child at that time I was filled with fear that this great hero would not make it. But of course in the end everything worked out.

Perspectives change with the passage of time. As it was then as a child I saw the kryptonite as that which of course impacted Superman. Now with the experience of life and a certain level of wisdom that comes via time my interpretation of what that kryptonite meant is that reminder that no matter who the person is, they will have some type of weakness.

As Christians each of us are going to experience our own kryptonite. There will be those things that will impact our daily walk with the Lord. We will experience the challenges of being able foremost to admit to ourselves that yes there are those things that are going to prove to be a particular weakness.

None of us if we are honest want to admit that we are weak. This world that we live in is very quick to paint a picture of those who are weak are to be regarded as flawed and to a certain extent to be looked down on.

These days that we are living in are such that the ongoing misconception is that we as humans are more than enough to deal with the everyday pressures and demands that life places before us. Far too many have fallen for the lie that we are our own end all be all and thus we can conquer the weaknesses and or kryptonite that is around us or within us.

The essence of being Christians in many respects comes down to not just the admission of our weaknesses but the embracing of the fact that yes we are weak and that we need the Lord.  We have learned to accept the reality that we are not able to solve and or even think about conquering those personal weaknesses that we struggle with.

2 Corinthians 12:10 shares with us that therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak then I am strong.

I am reminded also of Paul.  Paul petitioned the Lord to remove the thorn that was in his side.  Paul’s request is one that each of us have made at one time or the other.  To request of the Lord to remove that measure of weakness or kryptonite.  But the Lord’s response to Paul is one that we all have heard from the Lord as well. That His grace is sufficient for you; for His power is made perfect in our weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

We as the body of Christ are not perfect.  And yes we are flawed more than what we may want to admit to ourselves.  But in spite of that which we come against day to day, we know that where we are weak that our Lord is strong, that through and because of Him that we indeed are blessed to know that our savior is always there for us to turn to, that we can always trust in him and we can also depend on him.

To God Be the Glory

Alan T. Black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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