« February 2003 | Main | April 2003 »

The day the sun stood still

Posted by: David Carroll

Joshua 10:12-14 (NKJV)

Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: "Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon."

So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies.

Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.

It takes a simple faith to believe that God stopped the earth from turning for a period of time just so Joshua could finish his battle with the Amorites. If you have any scientific training, you are pushed to the very edge of your credibility to be able to swallow this miracle of God. I know that God can do this, after all He is God, but what about all the physics of stopping and restarting the rotation of the earth revolving at about a thousand miles per hour? Wouldn't that be felt in a major way by those on the earth?

Think about this however, how much harder is this miracle than the seemingly "simple" miracles like turning water into wine, or causing a blind man to see, or multiplying bread and fish to feed the five thousand. If you can believe in those, and I do, then it should be no harder to believe in this one. Once you get past that, your faith becomes very simple like a child's again.

Mark 9:24b (NKJV)

"Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

Loose lips sink ships

Posted by: David Carroll

Proverbs 13:2-3 (NKJV)

A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence.

He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.

Many times I have said something and then later remembered what I said and I just cringe in anguish at the thought of having done that and wished I could have taken those words back. Someone was explaining this principle to a group of children once and used a toothpaste tube as an object lesson. He told the children to squeeze some toothpaste out on to their hand and after they had done so he asked them to put it back in. Well you get the point, it can't be done and if you try it just makes matters worse. On radio call in shows they have like a fifteen second delayed broadcast so that if someone says something inappropriate, they can bleep it out. I could use something like that. Of course the thing to do is to think carefully before you say something. That's just good advice even if you are not inclined to say something inappropriate.

One out of a hundred

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 15:7 (NKJV)

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

The parable of the Lost Sheep shows how God will go after even one who is lost. Perhaps you have heard it said that if you were the only one on earth, Jesus would have died just for you. I used to wonder if that were really true but this parable puts away any doubt about that. Look at how heaven rejoices over the salvation of a single person!

By the way, lest you think you may be one of the ninety-nine who need no repentance, see the following verses:

Isaiah 53:6 (NKJV)

All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Romans 3:10-12 (NKJV)

As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."

Bragging on yourself: not a good idea

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 14:11 (NKJV)

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

This truth Jesus speaks here is easy to demonstrate. I know I have felt like I was not getting the "credit" I deserved and have taken matters into my own hands. Now I cringe when I think of the embarrassment that has caused me before. That's practical advice but there is a deeper spiritual truth here. Rather than waiting on others to exalt you, we should wait and look forward to that affirmation from God: "Well done my good and faithful servant"

In rare cases I have experienced how it is to maintain an attitude of unworthiness, not false humility but a genuine understanding of my having been just a fool used by an all powerful God. It was clear to me, that although others might try to commend me, I could just point them to God.

1 Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV)

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

Matthew 25:23 (NKJV)

His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

God's desire versus our choice

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 13:34 (NKJV)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

Here is Jesus praying and lamenting over the people of Jerusalem. He desired them to come to God as would be demonstrated by their acceptance of God's prophets. Sadly however, because of their freedom of will given by God, they rejected God and His prophets and Jesus too.

This is a mind boggling thought that the sovereign God would not achieve his desire but He has a higher, more important desire, and that is to allow man freedom to choose Him or not. The necessary consequence of this is the possibility of sin, wickedness, evil in the world. A coerced choice for God is no choice at all.

Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)

... choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

A whole heart for God

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 78:72 (NIV)

And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.

King David had a whole heart for God. Yes, he faltered and sinned terribly in the situation with Bathsheba. But he sincerely repented of that and received God's forgiveness. David was weak in the flesh as we all are. But when it came to his relationship with God, David was clearly devoted to and in love with his Lord. That is my heart's desire that I might be like David, having a heart completely dependent upon and devoted to God.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

The Minister's Absolute Commitment

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 9:58,60,62 (NKJV)

And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."

But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

I don't think Jesus is not talking about salvation here but rather being called to fulltime ministry for Christ. The first answer was to a person who had not received a call from Jesus to follow but was expressing a desire to do so. Jesus in essence discouraged him by telling him what the costs were. The second and third times, Jesus had given a clear call to follow but the person was halfhearted in his commitment. Jesus makes it clear; commitment to Him comes before any other desire.

Becoming a fulltime minister for Christ will be miserable if you have not received the call from God to do so. To do so would be to attempt it with your own power dooming the mission to failure without God. It is also a miserable life for the one who has received a call but wavers in his commitment. Blessed is the one who receives a call from Jesus and follows Him with his whole heart.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

To really live, you must die

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 9:23-24 (NKJV)

Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

What a paradoxical statement. Such a truth cannot be seen by a simple reading but only by a deeper understanding of what Jesus is saying.

If I put myself first, then the best I can have is whatever I can muster up for myself which is not a lot. After many attempts, I know by experience that my efforts don't amount to much. However if I put Jesus first then the best I can have is whatever He can provide which is anything and everything. My way leads to frustration and ultimate death. Jesus way leads to fulfillment and the abundant life.

John 15:5 (NKJV)

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

Even the wind and the waves obey Him!

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 8:24-25 (NKJV)

And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!"

Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, "Where is your faith?"

And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, "Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!"

The disciples had an imperfect understanding of who Jesus was. The bible says they marveled. We should marvel too at such power but it should not surprise us that the one who spoke the worlds into existence should be able to calm the storm.

Speaking of calming the storm, Jesus can calm any storm, even the storms in our personal lives. By trusting him, we can know that our fate is in the hands of a loving and wonderful savior who has the power of creation and with whom all things are possible.

Colossians 1:16 (NKJV)

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

Do parables expose or hide?

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 8:10 (NKJV)

And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that 'Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.'

You've heard it many times before when a speaker wants to further explain and clarify his message, he will say: "Let me illustrate..." Jesus purpose with parables was not so. For Jesus, parables were meant to conceal the truth from the uninitiated and to reveal deeper truths to those who had believed.

Jesus said not to "cast your pearls before swine." This means that you should not give things of great value to those who are incapable of appreciating them. He is not saying do not try to reach these people with the truth. But rather, if they do not respond to the simple truth of the gospel, they will never respond to the deep truths of God.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

Saturated with Truth

Posted by: David Carroll

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NKJV)

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

To be "In your heart" means to be at the center of your innermost being. Your primary job as a parent is to impart truth to your children. Why talk small talk when you can talk about the things of God. God's truth ought to permeate every part of your life. Before you go to sleep, God's word should be your last thoughts. When you wake up, you are reminded of your Creator. Everything you touch is part of God's creation. Everything you look at should be filtered through the lens of God's truth. When people come in to your house, it ought to be self-evident whom you serve. Your primary mission as you go out into the world ought to be as a witness to God's work in your life.

Good only comes from good

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 6:43-45 (NKJV)

For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

I have heard my pastor say that if you want to find out what a person is made of, just jostle them up and see what spills out.

So true that is. The bible also says that there is no one good but God. So if I am to be good where will the good come from? Well it must come from God. He does that by coming to live in my heart. I pray now that when I am jostled, that Jesus will spill out.

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Psalm 51:10a (NKJV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

Does God hear my prayer?

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 66:18 (NKJV)

If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

There are an astonishing number of promises in the Bible that God will answer prayer. What a tremendous motivation that is to pray. There are also a handful of verses that indicate that there are hindrances to prayer. One of them is sin. To regard iniquity in my heart means that I know that it is there but I am not willing to repent of it. How could God possibly answer my prayer when I am in such a rebellious state?

Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The Cities of Refuge and the Avenger of Blood

Posted by: David Carroll

Numbers 35:25 (NKJV)

So the congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall return him to the city of refuge where he had fled, and he shall remain there until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.

God instituted a strange law that the Israelites setup six cities to which a person could flee to safety if he had committed an accidental murder. The kinsman of the person murdered would be the Avenger of Blood, but he could not carry out his vengeance while the person was in the City of Refuge. Only if the person left that city could the avenger take his vengeance. The strange thing is that when the high priest of that city died, the person who committed the manslaughter would be free to return to his home without consequence.

Why did God put this in the Bible? We can see elements of this in our own judicial system: protection by the courts, trials with defense and prosecuting attorneys, etc.

The Cities of Refuge have a deep theological meaning. We are all guilty of the death of Christ because of our sin. But we were born sinners and in that sense we could not avoid our guilt. But what is our refuge? Jesus is our City of Refuge and being in him, we are saved from the Avenger of Blood, the judgment of God. Jesus is the great high priest who died for us. His death represents the cancellation of sin for those who have fled to Him as their refuge.

One final thing: the six Cities of Refuge were to be conveniently located so that they would be easily accessible from anywhere in the land. So too, Jesus is easily accessible, so that anyone may come to him from anywhere at anytime.

Romans 8:1a (NKJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus

The evil spirits know who He is

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 4:33-35 (NKJV)

Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him.

I find it interesting that the demon spirits are not deceived. They know who Jesus is and they are subject to Him obeying instantly when Jesus commands them. I wish many people I know were as knowledgeable of truth and as subject to authority as the demons are.

Satan has authority over this world which he acquired when Adam gave up the authority God had originally given to him. But God still has authority over all of creation. God, being the righteous sovereign he is, allows Satan to run his course. However, God defeats Satan and defends his holy Name, not by wiping Satan out, but by being both righteous Judge and by taking upon himself the penalty of our sin. This makes it possible for both justice to be satisfied and for us (sinners declared righteous by God's own sacrifice) to live with Him in eternity.

Romans 3:23-26 (NKJV)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

Power, mercy and reward from God

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 62:11-12 (NKJV)

God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.

We live in a power hungry world. God should only have to say it once, but power is from God and mercy is from God too. No need to trust in anything else; this is the only power and mercy worth having. I'm am so glad that God has chosen to use His power to exercise mercy.

We have been taught to know that salvation does not come as a reward for our works. Salvation is not earned; it is a gift we simply receive by faith. However, scripture clearly teaches that there is a reward which will be "according to our works." The reward I hope for is from the mouth of my Savior saying "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Matthew 16:27 (NKJV)

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Harsh truth

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 3:7-9 (NKJV)

Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

John the Baptist did not mind speaking the plain truth. He was not out to win friends, but he certainly did influence his enemies.

This is the period of time in which God puts Israel aside because of their unfruitfulness, and begins the age of grace based on the work of Christ on the cross. The ax was laid to the root of the tree about to be cut down. But even though God has laid Israel aside at this point, He is not through with them yet. There is a day coming in which the believing remnant of Israel will be raised up.

Romans 11:25-27 (NKJV)

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins."

The silent years

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 2:52 (NKJV)

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

The bible says very little about Jesus' childhood except for the time when He was twelve and was discovered missing by his parents and found in the temple "about His Father's business." We don't see him again until he was thirty years old and began His public ministry which lasted three years. What went on in the meantime? The only clue we have is this verse above. Jesus was a perfect man. He was fully God and yet fully man too. He is the God-man. This verse tells us he grew mentally (wisdom), physically (stature), spiritually (favor with God), and socially (favor with men).

The bible says that He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. What a wonderful truth this is. By becoming a man, God is able to fully relate to us. More importantly, He is able to become our kinsman redeemer.

Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

A promise is a promise

Posted by: David Carroll

Numbers 23:19 (NKJV)

God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

When God makes a promise, you can count on it. Man can and will disappoint you but God is faithful and true. He has promised us many things in his Word: abundant life, heaven, answers to prayer, peace, rest, rich rewards, understanding and wisdom.

Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV)

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."