Answers to Life's Questions

Nov 30, 2006 at 23:08 o\clock

Winter

Postings this winter will be less frequent.  Please click on http://dondegr8.tripod.com/id4.html or http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/ to read some useful answers to life's questions.

Nov 30, 2006 at 02:08 o\clock

Marching Orders

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference:
Psalm 143:1-12 

Morning Marching Orders

Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning, for in Thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk for I lift up my soul unto Thee.

In today's modern, rushing world, many of us have all we can do to get out of bed in the morning and get to work on time. Often our schedule appears to preclude the possibility of morning devotions. Yet under the old dispensation of the law it was the duty of the priestly tribe of the Levites to rise at dawn and give thanks and praise the Lord (1 Chronicles 23:30). We are not under the dispensation of the law, but as New Testament priests (1 Peter 2:5,9) we too should begin the day with God. If we do, we will have a keen sense of His presence with us throughout the busy hours that follow.

This great truth was obviously known by David. One of the most enjoyable verses to come from his pen is Psalm 143:8, "Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in Thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee." In this morning prayer David made two requests: to hear the lovingkindness of God in the morning, and to know the way in which he should walk throughout the day. These two requests bear a definite relationship.

David wanted the lovingkindness of God to engage his thoughts and affections early in the morning. If other thoughts get into our hearts in the morning, we may not be able to burn them away throughout the day. Prayer and praise, reading and meditation will influence our minds for hours throughout the day. Lovingkindness is a favorite theme of David. Simply, lovingkindness is love that shows kindness. By deeds and words it is God living through us to a hurting world. That's the kind of life David wanted to live. The Lord's lovingkindness is our all-sufficient source of joy. Such joy can be sought elsewhere but found only here. It is the divine joy that sweetens every bitter experience of life and makes even those that are sweet, sweeter still. It binds every wound and is the balm for every hurt. It is little wonder that David sought such an experience early in the morning. With that kind of start, what must the rest of the day be like?

The old expression is here very applicable, "Well begun; half done." David began his day well by seeking the Lord and His lovingkindness. Half the battle of a successful day was already won. He continued to ask the Lord to show him the way he should walk throughout the day. Frequently the path we determine to be logical for our daily walk is not the path designed by God. We must keep the same close touch with Him hour after hour that we began with Him in the morning.

Speaking of his mountain-climbing experience, nineteenth century preacher George Barrell Cheever commented on this verse: "The whole valley is surrounded by ranges of regal crags, but the mountain, apparently absolutely inaccessible, is the last point which you would turn for an outlet. A side gorge that sweeps up to the glaciers and snowy pyramids flashing upon you in the opposite direction is the route that you suppose your guide is going to take. So convinced was I that the path must go in that direction that I took a shortcut, which I conceived would bring me again into the mule path at a point under the glaciers; but after scaling precipices and getting lost in a wood of firs in the valley, I was glad to rejoin my friend with the guide and to clamber on in pure ignorance and wonder."

We are tempted to walk our own way when we have no other resource. But as Christians we have a higher resource than our mind. We have the resource of the lovingkindness of God, which can be ours every morning if we but seek it. We should never attempt to walk alone throughout the day and to chart our own course when we have the ability to tap the resources of heaven in the morning and receive our marching orders for the day, marching orders that are always designed to lead to victory. How foolish it is to neglect to seek the Lord in the morning and have to walk without Him the rest of the day.

MORNING HYMN
Thou my everlasting portion,
More than friend or life to me;
All along my pilgrim journey,
Saviour, let me walk with Thee.

Nov 11, 2006 at 19:21 o\clock

Glory to God

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference:
Judges 7:1-25 

Glory to God

Then Jerubbaal who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

Natural man has a penchant for trying to explain away God. The theory of evolution was developed in an attempt to remove God from the arena of creation. Liberal theologians have attempted to demythologize the Bible in order to remove the miraculous works of God from it. Man does all he can to explain naturally the divinely originated phenomena in our world.

God has always been aware of man's desire to usurp His position and authority. Frequently in Scripture can be found accounts where God places men in deliberate situations so they must recognize that their deliverance is solely of Him. When God removes the possibility of any natural explanation, man is left with the inevitable conclusion that God is in the miracle business. Such was the case in our Scripture today.

Israel was assembled and ready for battle. Already the fight had been stayed two days by the dewy and dry fleece so that Gideon could receive a token of God's presence with them. Now the fight was to be delayed again.

On the morning following the second test with the fleece, Gideon and all the people with him "rose up early and pitched beside the well of Harod" (Judges 7:1). Anxious for the battle, they had already moved into military position when God told Gideon he had too many people in His army. Jehovah wanted to be certain that Gideon, as well as Israel and the nations watching, would understand that Israel had won the battle by the hand of God. Therefore he instructed Gideon to command any of the 32,000 troops who were afraid to return home from the front. Much to the surprise of Gideon, 22,000 admitted their fear and retreated. Surely if a battle was won by 10,000 Israeli troops against 135,000 Midianites (Judges 8:10), this would indicate that the victory was the Lord's. But again Jehovah surprised Gideon by indicating that these 10,000 troops were still far too many.

Gideon was to take the troops to the spring of Harod for a strange and severe test. The soldiers were divided into two groups, those who lapped water as a dog and those who dropped to their knees to drink. Whatever the purpose of the test, only 300 soldiers were selected for Gideon's army.

Next God instructed Gideon to go with his servant, Phurah, down to the perimeter of the Midianite encampment and eavesdrop on the Midianites. They overheard one soldier telling another of his dream about a cake of barley bread that rolled into the Midian camp, against the king's tent, and flattened it. His fellow soldier interpreted the dream that this was none other than the sword of Gideon and that God was about to deliver Midian into Gideon's hands. So evident was it that this dream and the interpretation had both come from God that Gideon immediately returned to the host of Israel and said, "Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian." Three hundred men defeated the entire Midianite army and the glory belonged entirely to God.

We must never shy away from impossible situations. When the odds seem least favorable for our success, that is when God can gain the greatest glory from our success. Large armies are not as admirable as dedicated ones. The recruiting slogan of the United States Marine Corps includes the words, "A few good men." God is looking for the same. Will you be one today?

MORNING HYMN
On ev'ry hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array;
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray!
Salvation's helmet on each,
With truth all girt about:
The earth shall tremble 'neath our tread
And echo with our shout.

Nov 4, 2006 at 19:10 o\clock

God's Mercies

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning 2
Scripture Reference:
Lamentations 3:1-36 

Morning Mercies

It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness.

The book of Lamentations may be the saddest writing in the ancient Near East. Composed of five chapters, each chapter is an elegy, almost a funeral dirge. Each of these elegies is sad beyond description. The whole of the book of Lamentations is a poem of pain, a symphony of sorrow. Lamentations has been called the wailing wall of the Bible, and so it is. The tears shed with each distressing chapter only increase as the Lamentations progress. There is but one bright spot in the five lamentations. This bright spot is our devotional for today.

In the midst of the most monstrous dirge of despair the prophet Jeremiah issues a remarkable testimony to the breadth and the force of divine grace. The black clouds which characterize the Lamentations are not universal; there is a minute break in those clouds through which the brightest sunlight streams forth. The penetrating rays of Lamentations 3:22-23 find their way through the chinks and crannies of the deepest dungeon. In the midst of his despondency over the destruction of Jerusalem Jeremiah sees a ray of hope which depicts the unceasing mercies of God.

Although we have no claim on God's mercies, and although they are altogether undeserved, nonetheless they never cease. We have done much to provoke God and give Him cause to cut off His mercy in our behalf. We have abused His mercy, ignored His mercy, even at times ungratefully accepted His mercy. Still, while God's mercies may not always be visible, they are always present. The mercies of God may change their form, as the morning light varies from the evening light, but the mercies of God will never cease to give their light. Even chastisement is mercy in disguise; and frequently, under the circumstances which make chastisement necessary, it proves to be more merciful than if God had not chastised us at all.

In the ray of sunlight presented by Lamentations 3:22-23 we learn that not only are the mercies of God not consumed, "They are new every morning," proving the great faithfulness of God.

There is great novelty in human life. Each day brings to us new and difficult problems, new and exciting challenges. God's mercy is ever-present, but the form it takes is ever-changing. God adapts His mercy to our immediate needs of each day. His mercies are not chiseled in stone but are vital and vibrant. We need not exhume the antique mercies which God showered on Moses, Jeremiah, or John. God's mercies on our behalf are fresh and alive today. As God renews His world by greening it every spring, so too He refreshes and invigorates His people by renewing His mercies to them every morning.

With every new morning nature offers a tribute of praise to God's mercy. The sun rises; the birds sing; the trees sway in the breeze. Shall we alone be silent and ungrateful? Shall the Christian, who has the most reasons to praise God for His mercy, be slow to acknowledge that God's mercy is renewed to him each day? Will we allow the natural creation of God alone to praise its Creator?

No matter how dark our day may appear to be, let us remember this with Jeremiah, "It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).

MORNING HYMN
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!