Archive for February, 2010

Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him. Judges 10:6

Quotes For Today

“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words…When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint”

“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?”

These would be such precise assessments of today’s youth, had they not been penned well over a thousand years ago. The first quote is attributed to the 8th century Greek poet Hesiod and the second to the 5th century Greek philosopher Plato. Apparently there is nothing new under God’s sun. Things have not changed one crumb, except to say that there are now billions of people in the world making the perversity appear a billion times worse. We should not be surprised. In the Book of Judges the Lord raises up deliverer after deliverer and each time, the children of Israel repeatedly do evil in the sight of the Lord. If we weren’t so culpable ourselves, we might be shocked.

Why Does This Happen?

Well the short answer is that we’re all sinners, however for the born-again believer, that excuse no longer floats. A true follower of Christ Jesus; one who is enveloped in the components of the faith, should know better. So what happened with Israel? In their case they were recurrently guilty of what we’re so often guilty of: complacency. God would save them, there would be peace in the land for forty years or so (the length of a generation), and then the next generation would fall away into idolatry. Why? Because the previous generation kept their faith to themselves; they were self-satisfied and made little or no effort to carry on the oral traditions of their faith. God warned them (and He warns us today) that this would happen…

When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest–when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage… Deuteronomy 8:10-14

We Have an Advantage

Today, we have Israel’s example recorded for us in God’s word. Back in the day, Israel relied on their own oral tradition. Not an excuse mind you, but nevertheless, they did not have the Bible to refer to. I only mention that fact as a reminder—the Christian has God’s Word and His Holy Spirit living inside of us. It does make you wonder why we make the same brainless errors though.

And the children of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray.” So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord. Judges 10:15-16

The Good News

Like I said earlier, nothing much has changed through the years—God’s formula is still the same: confess, submit, and repent. Confess our sin, submit to the consequences (and there are always consequences), turn away from sin and turn towards Jesus Christ with an obedient heart. Ladies and gentlemen, we serve the God of second, and third, and fourth, and…chances. A horrible experience is the best teacher, but it does not have to be your experience.


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The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart– These, O God, You will not despise. Psalms 51:17

God works within the realm of man’s impossibilities so that He will get all the glory, but don’t think for a moment that our Lord is a glory-monger. The reality is that God knows if we get any credit, any fame, any honor, others will tend to follow us and that in time we will stumble and consequently trip up our followers. In His holy simplicity our Father says, “Just follow me and there will be no mishaps.”

The story of Gideon exemplifies this principle. Gideon’s army is one-fourth the size of the enemies one hundred and thirty-five thousand. The Lord ultimately narrows the field to just three hundred until the Israelis are out numbered four hundred and fifty to one. Historically, it’s the not the first time drew upon this ratio; God’s prophet Elijah faced the same odds.

I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 1 Kings 18:22

Back to Gideon

As directed by the Lord, Gideon gives these three hundred men a trumpet, a torch, and a jar, and says…

“Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do: When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!’ ” So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers–they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing–and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” Judges 7:17-20

A Leader Leads

The Apostle Paul made a similar declaration when he proclaimed, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,” in 1 Corinthians 11:1. The fact of the matter is true leaders lead by example and as directed by the Father through His Holy Spirit. But what I really like about this passage of scripture is the Biblical illustration it provides; a formula, if you will, regarding how a Christian dynamically lives out his or her faith. Believers can easily envelop themselves within the symbolism represented in the verse. Read the Judges passage again and consider these three New Testament references:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us…The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 2 Corinthians 4:7; Psalms 51:17a; Matthew 5:16

We are these earthen vessels, being formed by God from the very dust of the earth, having His own breath blown into us. We have not formed ourselves, we have been formed as a jar upon the Potter’s wheel, only to be broken; born again as it were, so the Master’s light; our light that we willing have received, might shine forth into a darkened world. Humbly, we obediently submit ourselves to the process and in so doing are abundantly blessed. Is that your testimony?

No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. Luke 11:33

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Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the grove that is by it ; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night. Judges 6:25-27


Israel has fallen into a predictable pattern: an era of faithfulness, followed by a period of faithless-ness, followed by a time of sorrow and repentance. Our faithful Lord hears their cries and raises-up Israel’s fifth judge (or deliverer), Gideon. The text suggests that Gideon is a timid man not given to controversy, but incredibly, in the midst of a Christophany, Jesus says of him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

Two things should leap out of that passage. First, that the Lord sees Gideon (and the Christian for that matter) in his future condition; as being robed in His righteousness—it’s not Gideon’s power and fearlessness He sees, but His own. Secondly, the verse reminds us that in our Christ-liked-ness, we too should view others as the He sees them.

Ministry Begins at Home

We have likely all heard it said that any ministry of Jesus Christ begins in the home and we see this doctrine beautifully illustrated in today’s opening text. Before Gideon is handed the reins of his delivery ministry, he must first deal with his own household—his father Joash is a worshipper of baal. Everything associated with this false god had to be destroyed, including the place of worship—the grove of trees where the altar stood.

Despite his terror, Gideon takes action. It matters not that he took ten men with him to accomplish the feat or that he did it beneath the cover of night—what matters is that he obeyed the Lord. That tells me that our Father affords us a little leeway when we set out in our obedience. Would Gideon have received a greater blessing if he did it himself in broad daylight? Perhaps, but what seems to matter more to the Lord is that we get it done and when it comes to cleaning house, there is nothing of more vital importance for the Christian who desires to be used of the Lord. Just ask Moses…

And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met (Moses), and sought to kill him Exodus 4:24

We all know how the Lord used Moses, but many of us have forgotten how the Lord was ready to do him in because he neglected his own household. Thankfully, his wife Zipporah stepped-up and fulfilled the duty of her husband. If she had not, Moses’ journey would have ended right there and then. Again we are reminded that our ministry; any ministry, begins in the home.

I remember periods in my life when ministry pursuits stalled and almost every time it was because I was neglecting either a personal (sinful) issue of my own or a particular (sinful) matter that was continuing in the household. It is my testimony that when the domestic blockages are dealt with, everything else flows divinely. And when they don’t, it’s a sure sign I have a spiritual clog at home.

And Gideon is Blessed!

The men of the city; these worshippers of baal, arose early the next morning and were outraged. Somehow they determined that Gideon, the son of Joash destroyed their altar and meeting place and sought to kill Gideon. However, Joash stands-up for his son, telling these men essentially, “If baal is a real god, then let him defend himself.” What joy must have filled Gideon’s heart to hear his father’s encouraging words. I suspect that there came a point in Gideon’s life where he looked back on the incident and thought to himself, “What was I so worried about—God is faithful!”

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…Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Romans 6:6-7

Before we were saved, we were bound by satan’s power; we were powerless in our efforts to abstain from sin; we were held captive by the sin we embraced. However, this magnificent verse from Romans tells us that what Christ Jesus did on the cross broke those bonds and rendered satan powerless; he is incapacitated—all he can do is bark his deceitful commands. We see this plainly illustrated in this story from the Old Testament in the book of Judges:

And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; do not fear.” And when he had turned aside with her into the tent, she covered him with a blanket. Then he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a jug of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him. And he said to her, “Stand at the door of the tent, and if any man comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there any man here?’ you shall say, ‘No.’ ” Judges 4:18-20

We might recall that Sisera was the Canaanite commander who was fleeing from the Israeli army and sought refuge in the tent of a supposed ally. His actions make him a wonderful illustration for our old man; the one which once reigned supreme over us. Sure, he can speak authoritatively, but his words are without power. The fact that the Lord used a woman to finish him off expresses for us today just how powerless satan is for any child of God.

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:11

For those who are in Christ, the old man is dead; accept this reality, fully understanding that satan has lost his power and control. This is what we reckon to be so! The enemy lays there on the floor, helpless as Sisera rolled-up in a rug, only able to speak as if he still had some kind of authority. The fact of the matter is that if we sin today it is because we chose to listen to and obey a powerless, defeated enemy.

Then Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. Judges 4:21

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…The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods. So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs. Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel… Judges 3:5-8

A Picture of Disobedience

Israel was at peace in the Promised Land when the Lord allowed a remnant of their enemies to flood back into the territory. God permitted such a thing to occur not to punish Israel, but to test them. Specifically, the Lord wanted to see if they would keep the His commandments. As fate would have it, Israel failed miserably.

At this juncture some might protest this wasn’t very fair of God, especially since being omniscient, He knew Israel would be unsuccessful in this test. The fact of the matter is that Israel brought this ordeal upon themselves when they failed to entirely destroy these enemies when previously directed to do so. Essentially, they were now reaping what was earlier sown—God is not mocked.

But of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 20:16-18

An additional reason our Father allowed this scenario to play out is for our example. It is an absolute truth that experience is the best teacher, but God persistently tells His children, “But it doesn’t have to be YOUR experience.” Frankly, when we dwell amongst the enemy, give our sons and daughters away to them, and ultimately adopt their evil traditions, we have no excuse—the Christian knows beforehand where these things lead. For Israel, their insubordination (in this case) led to eight years of captivity. Likewise, when we disobey, we too walk ourselves into the identical predicament.

Salvation is Not Lost

When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. Judges 3:9

If you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, your salvation is not in jeopardy if you opt for this path of disobedience. As far as the Lord is concerned, all our transgressions are forgiven, even the ones we have yet to commit. To employ the Lord’s mercy all the sinner need do is repent—turn away from the perversity and turn towards the Healer. When this occurs, our Lord is faithful to deliver us—we are assured that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)

So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died. And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. Judges 3:11-12

There is a critically important application being taught here. Why after forty years did Israel slip back into their evil ways? I submit to you that this saved generation did not pass along the lesson to the next generation. It reminds me of the modern Christian who is quite comfortable in his saved-state but refuses to share the Good News with anyone else. He’s found the cure, but selfishly hoards the remedy. Sure, his salvation is intact, but look at the casualties he leaves behind. Likely the cruelest thing a Christian can do is keeping Jesus Christ all to himself.

At this point I cannot help but ponder the situation in Haiti, a nation where the majority practices voodoo to some degree. Folks, we have found death’s cure in Christ Jesus and we have an obligation to share it. If we don’t, the Christian still goes to Heaven, but how, on that glorious day, can we look Jesus in the face and not be ashamed for our silence. Personally, I don’t want to be in that number.

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Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

An Email, an Open Door and Disobedience

Less than forty eight hours after the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, I received an email from my daughter’s principal at Calvary Christian School—he and others from the church were going to Haiti. They were looking for donations, not volunteers, but I figured it never hurts to ask—so feeling led by the Holy Spirit, I did.

He responded promptly and advised me that the decision was not his, but one of the elders from the church. He gave me the number and I quickly called. I was told I could go if I could get an airline ticket—he added that there was little chance of that happening because of the crisis—the airlines to the Dominican Republic (the only way into Haiti) were sold out. I hung up the phone and immediately began searching for a flight. Almost instantly I found a flight and saved it while I called him back.

“I have a flight!” I told him.

My First Mistake

As I told him my good news, I sensed in the tone of his voice that he rather I did not go. He didn’t say I couldn’t go, it was just the impression I received. Led by my emotions (and not the Spirit), I asked him what were his thoughts on my going. He convinced me to wait for one week when another team would be going. It pained me, but it seemed to make sense—I had essentially talked my way out of going.

After the longest week I ever endured, the news came that I could not be a part of the next team—it was going to be all medical and pastorial. It was then I was nearly certain I should not have bailed on the previous opportunity—God opened a door and I slammed it shut. I was then told I would be on the following week’s team. The only problem was that team-two came back with a negative report–apparently there were giants in the land.

I questioned their faith, but the Lord quickly convicted my heart, “Where is your faith David?” He asked.

Spiritually I struggled. Was God telling me to step-out in faith like the priests who placed the soles of their feet in the raging Jordan River before God heaped up its waters or was I to patiently wait on the Lord as the psalmist proclaimed. I discerned from the Lord I was to go to Haiti by faith, but alas, my counselors were advising me otherwise. Honestly, it was agonizing.

Another Door

From the very beginning of these events, a friend of mine gave me a name, an email, and phone number for a young, Christian, Haitian man living in Port Au Prince. It sat on my desk for 3 weeks before I called him. At first he too was hesitant, but I convinced him that I was responding to what the Lord had placed into my heart–all I asked of him was a safe place to lay my head at night. He indicated he was willing to provide this, so I ordered my non-refundable airline tickets.

A Hiccup

Twenty four hours before I was to leave for Haiti, I emailed, I telephoned, and I Facebooked my new Haitian friend with my flight and bus information. No response.

“Now what?” I asked of the Lord

And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:29-32

I sensed the Lord was telling me now what He was telling me all along—to just go to Haiti as a willing vessel and He would provide all that I needed. This time I was determined to obey and in so doing would confirm one of two things: I was hearing the Lord speaking clearly to my heart ~or~ I was totally misinterpretating what I was hearing.

God Reveals Himself

“Lord, once in Haiti I will be completely powerless; I present myself to You to be used as You see fit,” was the prayer I repeated over and over on the plane to the DR. I continually looked over the comforting Bible verse my friend Ruth gave me an hour before I left for the airport:

Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you Deuteronomy 11:24-25

I exited the plane in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic and went to retrieve the 130 pounds of supplies I had brought along—friends had donated over $2,000 with which I was able to purchase twenty tents. These were stuffed into three duffle bags along with medical supplies and tooth brushes that were also donated. It was midnight in the DR and my plan was to sit in the airport till daylight and take a taxi to the bus for the ten hour trip to Port Au Prince. There was still no response from my Haitian-host-to-be.

The first thing the Lord provided was a free luggage cart. I loaded it up and went to find a seat. Outside of the luggage carousel area I sat in the fast-food dining area. I cradled my head in hands and was prepared to wait the six of seven hours until sun up. As I offered some praises to the Lord for bringing me safely this far, I was approached by a young lady.

“Do you need a ride?” the she asked.

It’s not what you think; this young lady was holding a YWAM sign and had been searching arrivals for the folks who had signed on to serve with that ministry. In reality, she initially thought I was one of those people. I explained to her that I wasn’t and was waiting for morning to take the bus. She said they had a bus packed and ready to go to Port Au Prince now—and I could go if I wanted to. Is our God amazing or what!

I loaded my gear onto the bus and we headed back to the YWAM base camp in Santo Domingo. As it turned out, the bus in question would not be going to Port Au Prince after all, but to St. Mark for a medical mission. Not to worry I was told, there were two men at the base camp who were going to Port Au Prince.

Sugi and Somi

The YWAM leader introduced me to my ride, “This is Sugi and Somi, and they’re going to Port Au Prince. They can take you where you are going.”

Both Sugi and Somi were Indonesian pastors living in California and Texas (respectively) and they were serving with a ministry called World Harvest. I told them about my situation and it was agreed that if I could not make contact with my host in Haiti, I could join forces with them to minister to the needs of the Haitian people.

The Lord was proving Himself over and over.

I tossed my supplies into their rented van and we set out for the ten hour journey to Port Au Prince. Sugi and Somi had made arrangements to stay with another ministry and we followed behind their bus. When we finally crossed the border, I discovered that my phone which was supposed to work in Haiti didn’t. I was now unable to make contact with my host. Sugi and Somi were stuck with me, but I see now this was the Lord’s plan all along—to just step out in faith and He would provide all my needs.

The Lord blessed me beyond what I or anyone deserves and in turn we were able to be blessing vessels for Him to the Haitian people. I had traveled to Haiti before and I confess on that trip I was scared, but this trip was different. I felt safe and secure in the loving arms of my gracious and merciful Father. Even when swarmed by masses of people trying to possess the water or food we were distributing, I always felt His protection around me.

Continually through this journey, the Lord demonstrated His faithfulness and I can tell you that I came away from Haiti feeling more blessed than the people we came to be a blessing too–I am always amazed by the Lord’s multi-tasking abilities. Everyone I met on this trip was of the same mind and opinion; Americans and Haitians alike. God is better than anyone deserves and we need to share that truth with everyone we know or meet.

Post Script

As a body of believers, we (I) need to be more sensitive to what the Lord through His Holy Spirit is trying to accomplish through our brothers and sisters in Christ. While it is true that common (worldly) sense dictates going to Haiti without much of a game plan is foolishness, it is only irrational if the Lord hasn’t directed you to do so. Sadly, in light of the Lord’s obvious and enduring hand upon the entire journey, I suspect there will likely be Christians who will still assert I should not have gone.

I cannot help but be reminded of the twelve spies Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land. Ten of them recorded a fearful report of giants in the land, but two of them, Joshua and Caleb, proclaimed these words…

Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Numbers 14:9

Every giant that the world lays before us has the potential to be spiritual nourishment to our bodies—these giants; any giants are akin to Wonder Bread for the Christian who is led by the Holy Spirit–they are our bread. Let me not be the one to quench the Holy Ghost in my spiritual walk or the walk of anyone else ever again, Amen.

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…If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

The Way of Escape

While walking through the streets of Haiti, or sharing a meal at base camp, or as I lay in bed at night, I could not help but ponder, “What’s the solution to Haiti’s problems.” Haiti needs a sound government, a solid infrastructure, and a stable economy. They need leaders of industry and commerce to step-up to the challenge of investing in their nation. They need roads and sewers and running water and workable soil to farm. Haiti needs all these things and so much more, but the reality is that Haiti needs Jesus.

Think about it; without Jesus Christ, what is the relief effort really affording the typical Haitian? We can clothe, and feed, and house these souls in need, but to what end; to make them more comfortable on this earth before allowing them to slip away into hell? Our Lord would not have us offer temporary salvation, which is why everything that is done in Haiti or for Haiti, must be intertwined with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

From an eternal perspective, any relief effort that excludes the Gospel propagates the lie that tells each and every non-Christian, “Don’t worry; you’re going to be okay.” Eternally speaking, it is the cruelest thing a person could convey. At the very least, all secular relief efforts should be combined with those espousing Jesus Christ as the enduring remedy.

Having said that, I discovered my efforts in Haiti were largely secularized because I was unable to speak the language. I found some who spoke English and handed out many Christian-Creole tracts, but I realized the critical importance of being partnered with native pastors who could convey the Gospel message. What a blessing it is to know that long after I left, there will be Haitian pastors ministering to both the physical and spiritual needs of this great nation.

What YOU Need to Do

When this tragedy struck, so many of us were very quick to make a donation towards the relief efforts, but this is not enough. Christians, we need to give something on a regular basis. I would encourage every believer who is reading this now to affiliate themselves with any Christian ministry whereby they could give at least once-a-month. It makes no matter what amount you give and to what ministry you donate, but do it and have it automatically withdrawn so you will not forget.

The sad truth is that America is quickly forgetting Haiti; it is yesterday’s news. The media has set Haiti aside because the news must be fresh and exciting in order to promote advertising slots and relief work (in their eyes) does not sell. In a very real sense we are allowing the media to determine what is important to us; all the more reason why I implore you to search out a Christian ministry where you can give at least once a month.

The Work Has Begun

I chose a good day to leave Haiti; if I had stayed I would not have been able to do any work—the entire country was shut down for three days of prayer. As we drove through the streets of Port Au Prince to the bus station, we found the roads clogged with people walking to local churches or open areas where the Good News was being proclaimed. Where these places were packed beyond capacity, people overflowed onto the streets and plopped down to listen and pray. I have heard reports of thousands repenting and giving their lives to Jesus Christ. In order for Haitians to rise above the ashes, this must continue ~and~ these people must be discipled in their new faith.

All of this makes satan and his demons very mad. Non-believing factions will be rising up to combat the Christian relief and restoration efforts. For the non-believer, satan is a powerful adversary, but for the Christian he was rendered powerless by what Christ Jesus did on the cross at Calvary, therefore the body of Christ must not submit to the secular position; we must be resolute in our determination to bring the Gospel message at any and all cost. The people of Haiti’s singular hope must be in Christ alone.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13


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And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Judges 2:14-15

But Didn’t God Just Say to Israel….

“I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you.’” Judges 2:1b

God has not, nor will He ever rescind His promise to Israel and I firmly denounce anyone, Christian or otherwise, who suggests God is somehow through with the Jew. The Lord has unmistakably declared here, and many other places in the Bible, that He will never go back on His word. However, God is also clearly asserting that there are severe consequences for those who choose to sin. That Godly principle applies to both the Jew and the born-again Christian.

As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly. Proverbs 26:11

As an illustration we find a faithless Israel (in the first Book of Judges) disobeying the Lord. God told them to drive-out the Canaanites, but instead (on several occasions) allowed them to remain in the land as long as they paid taxes. In other words, rather than obey God, they saw an opportunity to profit from their circumstances; “Why fight, when we can make money,” they probably thought. As a result [God said] that these enemies would be a perpetual thorn in their side. Look around Israel today and we see just how true God’s word is.

The application for the Christian is exactly the same. We are saved—that is God’s promise to us, but in our disobedience; i.e., our choosing to sin, we heap consequences upon ourselves. Unless we repent, these consequences will plague us until the day we die. Yes, by the righteous blood of Christ our sin has been washed cleaned and we are forgiven, but our consequences will linger.

Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Judges 2:16

Sin angers God; not because the activity is bad [necessarily], but because sin is bad for us. Our Father loves us and wants us not to suffer needlessly. However, having said that, God allows the consequences of sin to fester in that in them we might be brought to a place of humility; a place where we might say, “Enough is enough,” and return fully to the Lord of mercy and Grace.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Ever Heard This Lie?

“God will never give you anything you can’t handle”

Many read the 1 Corinthians verse and erroneously come up with that unfortunate paraphrase. That is not what the passage implies—God does not ever put us in a position where we must rely on our own strength. A more accurate summary of the verse would be that, “God will never give us anything that He can’t handle.” In other words, we find our way into a mess, a trial, or a temptation, and it is God who will always make the way of escape. If the Christian chooses not to escape (like we see Israel doing in the second Book of Judges), then we wallow in our despair not being of much good to the Lord or anyone else.

I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the Lord, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not. Judges 2:21-22

As far as Israel is concerned, the Promised Land will always be theirs—nothing they do or don’t do can revoke God’s directive. The same can be said for a Christian’s salvation—short of one hundred percent rejection of Jesus Christ on every level (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit), our salvation is intact. If however we opt to sin in our salvation, we can know with certainty (as Israel is our witness) that our sin will find us out and we will be perpetually plagued with the consequences of those sins—God will use the enemy to bring us to a place of repentance. It almost goes without saying that if we don’t want these kinds of trials in our lives, then we should not sin.

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For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:10

Israel had returned from Babylonian exile and the Lord elevated leaders to rebuild the Temple—Ezra was one of these leaders. Ezra was a scribe and priest; a descendant of the first high priest, Aaron. The Talmud records that Ezra had the entire Pentateuch memorized, he wrote 1st and 2nd Chronicles, Psalm 119, and that he was one of one hundred and twenty men who established, as led by the Holy Spirit, the canon of the Old Testament. An incredible man, but…

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:10

In the verse we see four distinct things that Ezra did in preparation for his service to the Lord: he prepared his heart, he delved into the Word of God, he determined himself obedient, and he did what he was told. Admirable and desirable traits for a believer we would say, but do we recognize God’s hand in Ezra’s function and discipline? We should, unless of course we desire to operate carnally. Consider the workings of Ezra’s faith and these Biblical complements

Preparing the Heart

Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear… Psalms 10:17

Bible Study

For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10b


…For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13


But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:26

I share these particular things this morning because they convict me. I often get so wrapped-up in what I do (willingly) for the Lord forgetting that without the Him, my efforts are futile—without the Lord I lack the capacity to bless Him.

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