Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Dad

Last week, we said goodbye to one of the dearest men I've ever been blessed to know: my Dad. Dad went home to be with the Lord last Saturday after a long illness. I had the privilege of eulogizing him. I wanted to share this in honor of LD Cannon today.

 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot.
The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
                             Psalm 16: 5, 6

As I considered how to best eulogize the man I call Dad, two things came to mind. The first was this verse in Psalm 16:6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
When Steven Jobs, the founder of Apple Computer passed away he was one of the wealthiest men in the world. Someone asked, "How much did he leave?" The reply came back, "All of it!"
The second thing was a conversation I had with dad in which he told me about a chat he had with my niece, Jennifer. I think Jen was about 10 years old. She asked dad, "Grand dad, are you rich?" Then he said he thought about that question; "are you rich?..." 

I have a goodly heritage. 

 I heard about a man who actually believed the purpose of the funeral was to read the will. We'll not do that today. But let me share with you today what LD Cannon did leave for us.

First, he left us a very rare and very valuable work ethic.
Dad was born into abject poverty the son of a share cropper on a cotton farm in Arkansas. My grandfather died when dad was only three years old. He was raised by a step father who, by all accounts was a very harsh man. Dad dropped out of school in sixth grade to work the cotton fields. At 15, he moved to Dallas, Texas to live with his older brother. He worked in job shops by day, and went to trade school by night. He worked! Dad was never one to lay around. He always had a job; often two jobs to take care of his family. He was blue collar, working class people. He passed that work ethic on to us. That's how two people who didn't even graduate from high school raised 3 kids; all with college degrees, all in professional fields. Years ago, during a phone call, one of his cousins was asking about the family. He said, "Well my oldest daughter is a high school teacher, my middle daughter is in the insurance business and my son Pastors a church in Kansas City. She replied, 'It's no surprise your kids did o.k. LD. You and Alma always worked like Trojans. And work, they did!

That brings me to the second thing LD Cannon left us; a priceless set of family values.
Dad was working in a machine shop that was across the street from a hat factory. There was this girl working at the hat factory that caught his eye.  She was asked if she would go on a date with him, she told a friend, "That boy's a smart alleck he'd be the last boy on earth I dated." True enough, He would be the last boy on earth she dated. They were married April 29th 1949. Mom and Dad dedicated sixty three years to one another in marriage. The thought of my family splitting up never crossed my mind. I never wondered when dad was coming home. He was a husband and a father who took his commitment seriously. We learned that marriage is a commitment. Its really not a surprise, and its not a coincidence that their three children have had strong long-term marriages. We came by it honest. Mom said one time, "We never considered divorce ... murder, maybe, but never divorce

Yes! The third thing we inherited was a valuable since of humor.
We laughed as a family. Times were not always easy, but we had our laughs. Dad had a dry kind-of back handed since of humor. I remember asking him one time if I could borrow a chain saw. He said, "I don't have one, but what do you need one for?" I said we were clearing some land at our church to build a parking lot. Being a protective mother, Mom said, " YOU"RE not gonna be using a chain saw are you?" I said yes. Dad blurted out, "Boy, you better be careful with those things. You're only 21 and  I didn't use one o' them 'til I was 12." Mother gave him that look; the look only mom can give; the look I'm probably getting right now.  We grew up knowing how to laugh.
You see how, there was wisdom in his back-handed wit! When I turned 40, I spoke to my dad about it. I jokingly said it was too late for me to become a famous country singer. He said, Aw, son, you could have made it big if you had stuck to that."
I said, "Really? You think so?" Dad said yeah! Yer 40 years old now. If you had gone into country music, by now, you'd have 5 gold records,  3 ex wives and you'ld already be out of drug rehab! Then you could go sing Gospel in Branson!
See, there was perspective in that humor.

I believe the most important thing Dad gave us, was a his beautiful simple faith.
My dad was raised in a very legalistic religion; a religion that would send you to Hell for the slightest infraction. He found, as with all  religion based on works,  is always impossible to merit. But that girl he married was a Baptist preacher's daughter. When the time came, Papaw shared with dad the simple truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for our sins. It was not a religion, it was a relationship! I have a picture in my office of my grand father baptizing my dad in a river. I have a recording of my dad testifying of how he, as a young man placed his faith and trust in Christ. He shared that simple faith with us: the Faith that teaches, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 

His favorite Bible verse was Matthew 11:28-30. I heard him quote it many times. 

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

That is the Gospel that I preach today.  He gave us that faith. 

"Grandad, are you rich?" He told her this:  "Well, I got a nice place to live; I got food on my table, I don't want for anything. I got great kids, and wonderful grand children. I got more than most people I know, so in that since, I guess I am rich."
Dad left us so many things: a strong work ethic, a since of commitment, a since of right and wrong; a dedication to family; a since of humor, a strong and simple faith. This is what my dad left to all those who's lives he touched. And if this is what we have received as the children and loved ones of LD Cannon, then we are truly very rich indeed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our Conversation is in Heaven
(From a sermon preached June 10, 2012 at Hope Baptist Church in Bettendorf, Iowa)

For our conversation is in heaven; 
from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Php 3:20
You're not from around here, are you?
I get that a lot here in Iowa. People catch onto my slow Texas drawl purty quick up in these parts. Why? because of my conversation. In this passage, the Apostle Paul uses the word "conversation." This is not simply our speech. It refers to our life style; our manner and custom. 

One of the difficulties we face as Christians in America is that we are Christians in America. We measure everything against our freedoms, our customs our "manner of life" which we have enjoyed being citizens of the most prosperous and free nation on Earth. We see our liberty being threatened and our way of life in danger of being lost to a socialist "nanny state" that controls all that is subsidizes, and subsidizes more and more each day. 

If we are not careful we will lose sight of the fact that, though our Christianity has been allowed to flourish in this free society, it is not a product of that freedom. True Christianity and Christian values existed long before America did. We get spoiled thinking that Christianity has given us our prosperity; it has not. Our prosperity is the result of a free society, and not all Christians have that.  Granted, our free society is due, largely to those founding fathers who sought to build a biblicly based society. I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said, "A true democratic republic cannot exist unless founded on Christian values." But that free republic is only the fertile soil in which the Christian church has prospered.

We Christians are spoiled in America. 
We are spoiled in that we believe that our view of Christianity, our lifestyle, is indicative of what Christians have enjoyed throughout history, and it is not. The majority of Christians throughout history and even today have never experienced the liberty we have as Americans. Most Christians in the world are a poor and persecuted lot. Many are familiar with starvation, illness and poverty because many live in countries where that is the norm. If we as Americans point to our brand of Christianity and tell others around the world, "This is how it ought to be!" we are sending a scewed message to the world. Our missionaries are not to go and change society, they are to go and enlighten the hearts of men with the Gospel of Jesus Christ: to produce citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, not to "Americanize" them.

I am convinced more and more each day that we must get our eyes and our hearts adjusted to a "Kingdom world view." When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done." The Kingdom of which He spoke was not America! I love America! I love the freedoms I have here. She is truly the greatest nation on Earth. I am convinced that is because we were founded on biblical principles. But the Bible does not protect or promise my religious freedom, the Constitution of the United States does. And we know governments change. 

We need our conversation to be in Heaven again. I've heard it said that some people are so 'heavenly minded, they are no earthly good. The Apostle Paul, in Philippians 3:18  condemns those who "mind earthly things. I am reminded of the old hymn that we still sing occasionally in our services:

This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through. 
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. 
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door 
And I can't feel art home in this world any more."

Americans have heard so much preaching on America, they forget about Heaven.  Consider for a moment all the Scripture says we have in Heaven!

Our Father is in Heaven
Mt 6:1* Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Mt 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Our Savior is in Heaven
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Our relations are in Heaven
1Th 4:13-15 ¶ But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
Heb. 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Our riches are in Heaven
Mt 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Mt 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Heb 10:34* For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Our inheritance is in Heaven
1 Pet. 1:3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
 4* To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
 5* Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Our reward is in Heaven
Matt. 5:1 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
 12* Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Our Hope is in Heaven
Col 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

Our reservation is in Heaven
Php 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Re 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

We are ambassadors for Christ here on Earth
2Cor 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Heb.  11:16* 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.

I truly believe God's people can be no earthly good unless we are heavenly minded. Do you know your reservation is in Heaven? Have you, by faith placed your trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sin? If you are not 100% sure you will go to Heaven when you die, please do not hesitate. Christ died on the cross to pay your sin debt and through Christ you can receive that free salvation. Confess to Him your sin and trust Him today. Make sure your reservation is made. If you have questions please contact me at my e-mail address: and I will gladly assist you in understanding the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is your conversation in Heaven?  

Thank you for reading

Sunday, April 22, 2012

God Knew Where He Would Find You.

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;

and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee,

and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5

For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.

Psalm 103:14

For He remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

Psalm 78:39

In the 1800's men went out west and built their farms and ranches. Many times they would do this as single men, or they would go as married men and lose their wife in this rugged new world. So to get a wife they would go to organizations located back east to help them find a bride. Thus the advent of what came to be known as the "Mail order bride." Now if you think the idea of meeting a spouse by mail is odd, consider the following statistics (sources sited):

5% of Internet users have paid to use an online dating service. (Pew Internet Cash for Content Study - December 2010)

17% of couples that were married in the last three years met on an online dating service. (Chadwick Martin Bailey Study - April 2010)

1 out of every 5 singles in the United States have dated someone they met online (Chadwick Martin Bailey Study - April 2010)

Online Dating is the third most popular way for singles to meet, behind school/work and friend/family member. ( Chadwick Martin Bailey and Study - April 2010)

Imagine what it was like having a wife show up you had never met. Imagine travelling across the country, which took weeks back then, to meet your husband! Would you go through all that not knowing what you were getting?

Now let me translate that illustration into this truth about your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. On this day, this date, God wants to do something great an wonderful in your life. He wants to use you. He wants to forgive you, bless you and give you victory over the trial you are in. Ultimately, God wants to be glorified through your life. Some would say, "But my life is not what it should be. I have failed. I've messed up. God cannot do with me what He has done with others. I have too much baggage." God is not surprised by your baggage. He knew where He would find you!

My wife and I have six children; all adopted, five of which came out of foster care. When we took custody of our first sibling group of three, the state of Texas sent us a banker's box full in files of information on these kids and their background. We had medical records, court records, police reports, psych evaluations, (mostly wrong) placement hearing records and state reports. Under the laws of Texas, the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, (TDPRS) had to divulge all information they had available to adoptive parents. This box of nearly 2000 pages of info on the kids was all they could tell us. I learned in the first year, that was about one tenth of what there was to know about my children. We had no idea the "baggage" with which they came.

When you come to Christ He knows all about your "baggage." The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet. God told Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."

God said, "Before you were ever born, before you were completely formed in the womb, I knew you. I had a plan for you way back then."

He knew from the beginning your condition, your past your failures , your sin, your experience. In other words, He knows what He is getting. God knew where He would find you. He knew what He was getting when He called Jacob the "con artist" and changed his name to Israel, "Prince of God." God knew what he had when He used Rahab the harlot and Ruth, the gentile Moabite widow. Look closely at Scripture and you will see both of these gentile women in the lineage of Jesus Christ. He knew what he was getting when He found Saul hiding behind the cattle; when He found Gideon hiding in the threshing floor and when he found Moses hiding in the wilderness.

God knew what he was getting when he reached out to the crippled man at the pool of Siloam, to the woman at the well and to the thief on the cross. God was not caught off guard by the arrogance of Peter, the religious zeal of Paul, the fearfulness of John or the doubtfulness of Thomas. And God knew what He was getting when He reached out to you.

The late Dr. Curtis Hutson used to say, "Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurred to God?" God knows us! He knows our failures, our past, our sin. God knows what He is getting.

This is all part of God's divine plan for you!

He found you in sin with a plan to forgive you.

He found you in your grief with a plan to comfort you.

He found you in your sickness with a plan to heal you.

He found you in you loneliness with a plan to walk beside you.

He found a you in your weakness with a plan to make you strong.

God knew where He would find you. Now let Him take you where He wants you to be. Let Him do the cleansing and the healing. Let Him change you. One Pastor I know will say to the congregation, "Come as you are, but leave changed." That is the work of grace in the life of a sinner. As a Pastor, I might be surprised by what I find in the life of a person, but God is never surprised. God knew where He would find you.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Out of Weakness Made Strong

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak,

and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong,

waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Hebrew 11:32-34

"There is so much more I would do for God if I were ..." and you fill in the blank. So often, God's people are stymied, dettered, even crippled in this thing we call faith. "I desire to walk closer with God, do more, do greater but I can't because of ...." and you fill in the blank.

There are two things in play here: the objective and the obstacle. Whatever the objective is, I want to focus on the obstacle.

The obstacle might be a past failure, a sin habit or simply some perceived inability. Whatever the obstacle, we can refer to it as our "weakness." We know our failures. We know what stands in our way. People spend thousands of dollars going to "motivation speakers" trying to figure out how to overcome their weakness. That may have some positive results but there always seems to be another "weakness" crop up that needs to be conquered. I have good news! Being a faithful, faith-filled Christian is not about being strong! Its about being weak!

Hebrews chapter 11 is often referred to as the "Hall of faith;" a chronicle of great people of God doing great things because of their great faith. But these are not great because of their faith. I read the names in this chapter and think, "great faith? Really? Abraham lied about his wife to Abimelek to keep from being killed. Moses killed an Egyptian and ran off in the desert for 40 years. Noah got drunk! David ran from his own son and hid. Gideon gave us the phrase, "putting out a fleece" because he did it repeatedly after God spoke to him. Now, before you think I'm judging, let me say these were all great men; not because they had great faith, but because they had faith in a great God! These were men of weakness and flesh just as we are. The key is not overcoming weakness, but rather what God did in it. Let me give you a few facts to help change your outlook.

God knows how weak we are.

For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.

Psalm 103:14

Our Creator deals with us as we are. We are fallen creatures. We have nothing to bring to the table and say, "Here ya go LORD! This is what You need to do great things!" No. We are dust. I know the positive thinkers won't like it, but we are nothing outside of the grace of God. He knows our weakness and He is o.k. with that! That IS good news!

Our weakness, not our strength, shows our faith.

My former Pastor, Dr. Bob Smith used to say, "If you can figure out a way to do it on your own, it's not faith. Faith is not the lack of doubt or weakness. Faith is when the doubtful and the weak act, trusting God. Four times in the Psalms, David the great fierce warrior prayed, "Help me." 15 times, he prayed, "save me." And four times in the Psalms he prayed, "hide me." Does that sound like a man without weakness. No. It sound like a man who has God as a source of strength. The father of a sick child came to Jesus asking for healing.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Mark 9:23,24

Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. To me, that is one of the most moving statements in Scripture! Isn't it great to know that there is help for our unbelief; that unbelief is a qualification and not a disqualification for crying out to God?

God relies on our weakness.

The Apostle Paul was used or the Holy Spirit to pen 13 books of the New Testament. He was highly educated. God used him in great ways. But Paul does not glory in his abilities. He glories in his weakness.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations,

there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

1 Corinthians 12:7-9

God's strength is made perfect (completed) in our weakness. That is why Paul says, " Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." What good is an all powerful God if He has no one to for whom He can be strong. Where is He glorified in the lives of His children if we would "rather do it ourselves?"

You can have faith because you are weak.

Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6:25-30

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;

nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns;

yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven,

shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

When I am convinced that I cannot do it, then I can more easily depend on Him. We find ourselves weak while trying to be strong. If we would lay our weakness before God the He becomes our strength and the Object of our faith.

You cannot understand faith unless you are weak.

Faith is depending on Him. You will not depend on anything else if your own strength is sufficient. The danger of our own strength is the inability to see our weakness for what it is. If I know I am weak then I know I need help. When I am weak, trusting God makes more since to me. That is when I know I must trust God. It is necessary to be weak to show my faith, because if I am weak, then I am compelled to lean on Him.

You cannot be saved unless you are weak.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly

Romans 5:6

If you think you can be good enough, or religious enough, or generous enough to earn Heaven and the forgiveness of sins, you are sadly mistaken. Christ died on the cross to redeem us from sin's penalty. There is no other way to attain this thing we call salvation. We are too weak! If you have never trusted Christ as your personal Savior you must come to Him; not as a good person, or a church member or by some religion. We must turn to Him and Him alone for salvation. Have you trusted Christ as your Savior? Come to Him right now. Repent and confess your sin to Him. Pray trusting only Christ for forgiveness. Only in Christ will you find the strength to be free from sin's penalty. If you have any questions about this, e-mail me at

Thank you for reading

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Moving Past the First Commandment

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is

the first commandment of all?

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Mark 12:28-34

This is Valentines week. We will hear much this week about love and romance. I preached today in what Jesus called the first commandment. Three times in Scripture Jesus was asked by different men, what is the first commandment. His answer is out of Deuteronomy.

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Deut. 6:5

Why is this the first commandment?

Why does every other law and every other prophecy in Scripture hang on these two commandments as Christ said they do? The answer is actually simple. It is the difference between a religion and a relationship. It is the difference between service and servitude. The difference is one word. Motivation.

We Independent Baptists are a narrow-minded lot. We are black and white when it comes to right and wrong. Many times we are told that a lot of rules on children will drive them to rebellion. Often it seems that is the case. On the other hand I see parents with very strict rules whose children children grow up to be faithful dedicated Christians. What is the difference? I believe the difference is motivation.

A young Pastor once asked an older Pastor, "How do I raise good kids?" His answer; "teach them every day to love God more than anything else."

If my motivation for "following the rules is so I won't get in trouble then as soon as I get out from under the authority I will throw out the rules. But if my motivation is love then the rules are not a chore. They become an opportunity to express my love.

David expressed this so well in Psalm 119, the Psalm dedicated to law:

Ps 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

Ps 119:10* With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

Ps 119:34* Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Ps 119:165* Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Ps 119:174 I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.

The law was not a chore to David; it was a delight.

The night Christ was being tried, Peter denied Him three times. After the resurrection Jesus confronted Peter. He asked him the same question three times. The question was not, "why did you deny me?" It was not, "do you still believe in me?" The question was, "Lovest thou Me?" Peter had to settle the love question. History tells us as an old man Peter was crucified upside down. That was at his request because he felt unworthy to die the same death as Christ. One cannot read the book of Act without seeing that Peter settled the love question.

If I love God then every other "rule" is a way to show it. The first and foremost command is to love The LORD with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. If we devote ourselves to that one command above all else, if we, as God's people treat prayer as a private meeting with our most Beloved, if we pour over the Scriptures like a love letter from our Bridegroom instead of a book of rules and stories, then, and only then will we understand devotion, dedication and discipleship.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God! It all hangs on love.

Thank you for reading

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wait on the LORD

Wait Upon the Lord

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalm 27:14

We read these verses and ask the question, "What am I waiting for?" Why does God expect me to wait? How will I know when my waiting time is over? In studying these passages I found myself weak in an area of my walk with God. This is a weakness I suspect I share with many. I do not like to wait. But when the Bible speaks of waiting it is not speaking about "standing in line. I want to help you with this concept.

What does it mean to wait on God?

There are basically four concepts involved in this word "waiting" in Scripture.

1. To wait on means to look eagerly for, to anticipate

The image here is to wait for the arrrival of a someone. To look forward to an event. It might be a special holiday or a package in the mail. We all know what it is to anticipate what we know is coming. Now apply that to the spiritual. Do you look forward to spiritual things, or do you dread them. Are they a chore?

Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things. Jer. 14:22

This is Hope ... Hope is faith in His promises.

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:5

This is not, "I hope so" hope. This is that "Blessed Hope;" that absolute assurance that only God gives.

2. To wait on means to dependence upon.

It means to rely on. To count on or put confidence in. Friday is payday. I count on it. If I went to work all week, and on Friday they said, "sorry! we aren't giving out paychecks any more." How many of us would come back on Monday? Not me! There are people I can rely on to be there for me, and there are people I can rely on to be unreliable. I am counting on God to deliver, to forgive to supply.

This too is faith. Faith in His character

Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.

Psalm 59:9

The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.

Psalm 145:15

3. To wait upon means to linger

Imagine two young lovers just who can't say good bye over the phone. Each one is waiting for the other to hang up. Or, Standing on the door step, they spend an hour saying goodbye. I remember when my beloved bride and I were dating. We acted this way. No wonder our friends said we were sickening. When we first got married, I would leave for work in the morning. Terri would act as if she wouldn't see me again for a month. We wanted every moment to last forever. We wanted to linger just a little longer.

Do you feel that way when you have you devotion time? Do we treat prayer time as just another scheduled event? "Well, I got that out of the way I can go about my business now!" How sad that we seldom have that desire to linger in His presence. The Christian who is waiting on God does not grudge picking up his Bible, he grudges putting it down. My time with the Father is precious. I'm jealous of anything that keeps me from it!

This is fellowship. How sad it is to allow it to die in our relationship with the Father

4. An unusual definition of this word from the original text is to "bind together to be collected."

The image here is of a servant serving in the field. The servant knows the master will soon return. He loves the Master and desires to please him. So he is busy about the Master's work. When I go to a restaurant with my beloved bride we will have a lady or a gentleman come to out table and say, "Hello, I'm you waiter; I will be serving you tonight. Why do they call it them a waiter? They are waiting on, or serving me to my desire in hopes of a good tip! (By the way; I'm a good tipper.)

Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us. Psalm 123:2

This is service. I wait upon my Heavenly Father by serving Him in His field! (And He's a good tipper too.)

Here are some Bible promises connected waiting.

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Psalm 37:9

Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.

Psalm 59:9

The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.

Psalm 145:15

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40: 31

Learn to wait upon the LORD! Hope in Him. Linger with Him. Rely on Him. Serve Him. Wait, I say upon the LORD!

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