Dear Bible Blog Readers…

Joel 2:28-32a, “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on [My] menservants and on [My] maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass [That] whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.”

I was in prayer with a friend this morning, as we do every Friday, and the Lord laid on my heart these words from the prophet Joel.

Its been quite a year here in the Province of British Columbia, Canada. Not only have we had to contend with the pandemic the whole world is dealing with, but we also had the worst forest fire season on record. We almost lost our home.

Then, we had terrible rains which meteorologists called “an atmospheric river”. We got so much rain along with higher temperatures which melted the snow pack in the mountains and flooding occurred in much of the southern part of British Columbia. Major roads were destroyed, houses lost, and communities evacuated.

I pray that 2022 will be a year of renewal and that the Lord would provide for the world, and for the church, an atmospheric river of grace, mercy, and peace with power, signs, and wonders. May the Holy Spirit be poured out on all who call on the name of the Lord and be saved. God bless.


Who is Lord?…

Read: 1 Samuel 15-17
Marked: 1 Samuel 15:9, But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all [that was] good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

Saul had already shown himself disobedient to God. Samuel tells Saul in verse 3 what the Lord expected him to do, but once again, Saul disobeys and leads the people to disobedience.

They spared the best, all that was good, for themselves. But obeying God is far better than anything this world has to offer. And we see the cause of their disobedience. They were unwilling.

I might want the blessing of God but be unwilling to do things the way the Lord expects. If God be Lord, then I must do as He says, otherwise I make myself or someone else Lord over me.

There’s Joy in Waiting…

Read: 1 Samuel 13-14
Marked: 1 Samuel 13:13, And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.

Pastor Chuck Smith used to say, “If you don’t know something, fall back on what you do know.” I know God takes His commandments seriously.

What He says do, even if He asks you to wait you’re better off waiting than doing what you think should be done. Wait on the Lord to fulfill what He says even if it takes longer than you think it should take.

What is Your Reputation?…

Read: Samuel 9-12
Marked: 1 Samuel 9:6, And he said to him, “Look now, [there is] in this city a man of God, and [he is] an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.”

The reputation of Samuel was well known. He was a man of God. He was an honourable man. He was known for his word.

As a Christian I represent Christ. If others don’t see Christ in me, what do they see? A hard hearted man? A man whose word means nothing? My reputation and conduct will either draw people to Christ or turn them away from Christ.

I must behave differently than the world does. Will others see the difference? It is not enough to say I am a Christian, I must be like Christ and be an honourable man, a man whose word is true, and in whom is the Spirit of God.

No Substitute for God…

Read: 1 Samuel 4-8
Marked: 1 Samuel 4:5, And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.

Israel has gone into battle against the Philistines and lost about four thousand men (V2). In V3 they asked the right question, “Why has the Lord defeated us today?”, but didn’t consider what the answer might be. Instead of turning to God they turned to the representation of His presence among them, the ark of the covenant.

No symbol can take the place of God. We can’t expect to turn God’s favour toward us by worshipping the representation of His presence. That is idolatry.

They shouted till the earth shook when the ark came into the camp. They would have been better off quieting themselves in humility and repentance for their disobedience to the covenant and God’s word instead of continuing in battle without Him.

And so should I. When I suffer defeat I should seek the Lord and not what may represent Him on the earth. Humility, repentance, and reverence will succeed where sin and pride fail.

Knowing the Lord…

Read: 1 Samuel 1-3
Marked: 1 Samuel 2:12, Now the sons of Eli [were] corrupt; they did not know the LORD.

You can wear ornaments, like a cross, and not know the Lord. You can be a minister or a priest, and not know the Lord. You can go to church, and not know the Lord. What we wear, what we do, even what we say, doesn’t mean we know the Lord.

Many call themselves Christian, but only because they grew up in a Christian home or went to a Christian school. But that doesn’t mean they know the Lord. They may profess to know God but by their actions they deny Him; they are abominable, disobedient, and disqualified from every good work (Titus 1:16).

God is love. Therefore, he who does not love does not know God (1 John 4:8). We come to know God through His Word. We come to know God through His Son. We come to know God through the Holy Spirit. When we do what He says, then we can say we know God.

The Value of Following Jesus…

Read: Ruth 1-4
Marked: Ruth 1:16, But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, [Or to] turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people [shall be] my people, And your God, my God.

Choices. We all have them. But how we make them and why we do what we choose depends a great deal, I suppose, on what we value.

Oprah and Ruth both had the same choices; to go with Naomi or return to their own people. Both said they would go with Naomi, yet Oprah decided there was little value in following Naomi after all and returned to her people. But Ruth stayed.

We all have choices, to follow Jesus, or not. Some follow for a time and then return to the life they once knew. But some see a greater value in staying with Jesus and make His way of living their own.

Ruth said, “I won’t turn back. Where you go I will go. Where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”

While we might not immediately see it, there is value in following Jesus. But we won’t realize it till we give up our old ways and embrace the new.

Do Not Turn Aside from God’s Word…

Read: Judges 19-21
Marked: Judges 19:12, But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside here into a city of foreigners, who [are] not of the children of Israel; we will go on to Gibeah.”

In their travels they felt it best to turn to a city of the children of Israel instead of a city of Gentiles. Had they known what was to befall them I wonder if they would have chosen differently.

These chapters are difficult to read. The horrors of what takes place are but one example of how cold and callous our hearts can be. More shocking still is the fact that these were the people of God.

It is terrible when the people of God are more wicked than unbelievers. But that is what can happen to the best of us if we leave the Word of God and live as we want rather than obey Him.

Seek God First…

Read: Judges 16-18
Marked: Judges 16:28, Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one [blow] take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”

If Samson had started as he ended who knows what he might have accomplished? His lust and carnal nature controlled him even though God used him. But this is the first time we see Samson actually praying to God and preparing to do what God had called him to do.

The time to do God’s will is now, not at some later time. I spend too much time fulfilling my own will instead of doing God’s will. If I put Christ first I think I’ll find that J have time for myself too, or the things I think I need to do will slowly fade away.

Will We Learn from Sin?…

Read: Judges 13-15
Marked: Judges 13:1, Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

The Book of Judges is a commentary on the heart of man. No matter how often God saves us from ourselves, like a dog returning to its own vomit, we inevitably return to sin and the rejection of God.

It seems Israel has not learned the lesson. The oppression they experience at the hands of their enemies grows stronger and longer. If I don’t learn the lesson how can I expect favour from God?

He will not leave me in my sin but He May allow oppression to come on me until I learn my lesson, even if it takes forty years.