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A Book of Remembrance

Posted by: David Carroll

Malachi 3:16 (NKJV)

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name.

I have always viewed this verse as the people who were faithful to God having fellowship with each other then writing a book about all the things God has done for them as a keepsake. That is a good thing, like keeping a journal of your spiritual journey with the Lord. In fact, the Old testament is really just that, a history of God's dealings with the Israelites. But looking at this verse more closely, I realize that it is God writing the book in this case. Of course with the inspiration of scripture, God wrote the bible too. But I see this as a special book. The verse says that it was written "before Him" which I take to mean in his presence. And the occasion was that God had listened and heard the people speaking to each other about spiritual matters. He was pleased and this book represents God's awareness of everything we do. This book however will be used to judge our works, not for the purpose of deciding our fate, but rather for the purpose of reward.

Revelation 22:12 (NKJV)

"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.

Keep the Faith

Posted by: David Carroll

Malachi 2:13-16 (NIV)

Another thing you do: You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, "Why?" It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

"I hate divorce," says the Lord God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the Lord Almighty.

So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.

You've have heard the common salutation "Keep the Faith." I haven't heard it much in recent years but twenty years ago, it was quite common. What we meant by it was similar to what we mean when we say "Hang in there" today. Keep believing, keep trusting; know that it is going to work out. I find it interesting that God uses this term in speaking of marriage. Actually He says it in the negative "Do not break the faith." Marriage is a covenant relationship. That is why we call them marriage "vows." It is a promise to be faithful. The other person can "keep the faith" knowing that you can be trusted. By not being faithful to your promise, you have "broken the faith." Divorce happens not because "we just don't love each other anymore." It happens because one or both are no longer trustworthy. It is a broken faith. This is no lightweight matter. God says he hates divorce.

I suppose about half the people I know, maybe more, are divorced and remarried. If you are divorced it is because of sin and unfaithfulness. Are you then ruined, no longer fit for God's service? No more so than any sinner and we are in that category. God can use you but it will be through brokenness, repentance. You can never escape the consequences of sin in this life. But you can escape the burden of it. From this day forth, do as God says, "Guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith."

He's making a list

Posted by: David Carroll

Revelation 20:15 (NIV)

If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Christmas season is coming up and we hear the familiar tunes again. I keep hearing in my head "He's making a list and he's checking it twice." You know, the naughty and nice thing. We'll I can tell you, I probably deserve to be on the naughty list. I am reminded of the times I've slipped up and let my tongue get unruly, and the times I've suppressed the leading of the Holy Spirit to do the right thing. I'm talking about recently too. The list this verse is talking about is a different type of list from Santa's however. You can't call it the "nice" list because there are some really bad dudes on this list, or at least they used to be really bad. I'm not really bad but like I've already confessed, I'm not so good all the time either. The difference is, that I don't enjoy being bad. My pastor once said, that now that he's saved, he sins all he wants to...he doesn't want to anymore. The biggest difference in this list from Santa's is that once you get on this list you don't get off. That's called security, the eternal kind.

OK, so I've been beating around the bush. After hitting you with this verse, I wanted to lighten things up a little bit to keep you around long enough to read this far. You've already read the heavy stuff and I'm reminding you of it now. There is a time limit to get on this list. It's called life. You may have lots left or you may have just a few more hours. Thrown into the lake of fire, that's a terrible consequence of not getting your name written in the book of life. You know what it takes--surrender. Give it up, give your life over to Christ. Let him be Lord and master of your life. Trust in the promises of God, you can find them in the Bible. The bible calls the promises exceedingly great and precious. Escape the wrath that is to come. This why it is called "being saved."

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

Posted by: David Carroll

Revelation 19:11-16 (NKJV)

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

This must be the most stirring description of the second coming of Jesus Christ in the Book of Revelation. I find myself like the kid at the movies standing up to cheer the hero who comes to save the day. This hero is faithful and true, but he is also fierce with wrath.

I remember when Jesus was about to be taken away by the Roman soldiers there in the garden. It felt wrong; I was with Peter wanting to resist this wrong arrest. Remember how Jesus said he could call down twelve legions of angels if he wanted to? I wanted Him to do it so badly. Well, here it is, and it is so right. Of course, reality will be different. I can cheer now reading it but then I will be laying down prostrate in sheer awe and worshipful terror.

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.

Like a Breath

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 144:3-4 (NIV)

O Lord, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

On a cold winter's morning, step outside and exhale. Your breath shows up like a puff of vapor that lasts for a couple of seconds. That is our life; a couple of seconds compared to eternity. What can a person accomplish in that time? Actually what we do in that time is eternally significant. It is in that period of time that we decide that God is indeed interested in us, and most importantly that we are interested is Him. You see, God is a gentleman, He will not force himself upon us, if you don't want to spend eternity with Him, then you won't.

Who will not fear?

Posted by: David Carroll

Revelation 15:4 (NIV)

Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed."

There are many who do not fear God now. There is coming a day however when God is revealed in an awesome display of power and might. This chapter of Revelation speaks of the end of God's wrath and here in this verse we see that even God's wrath is a righteous act. It is easy to go through life and not be aware of God's omnipresent nature. The book of Revelation is all about a clear revealing of God. Many atheists complain that if there were a God, then why doesn't he show himself. From what I can tell however, such an appearance would be too much for unrighteous beings to withstand. God alone is holy and righteous. Of course, when I speak of the revealing of God, I mean the revealing of Jesus Christ who came the first time as a servant laying down his own life for us. He is revealed in his second coming as mighty king exercising judgment. The first time only a few recognized him and believed him. The second time everyone will believe because there will be no doubt.

Romans 14:11 (NKJV)

For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess 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.

The door of my lips

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 141:3-4 (NIV)

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.

Jesus said it is not what goes into a mouth that defiles a person but what comes out. The book of James chapter three says that the man who can control his tongue is a perfect man able to control his whole body. I remember an illustration given to children in Sunday school. The teacher brought a tube of toothpaste to class. He asked the kids to squeeze some out onto their hands. After several of the boys gleefully carried out his instruction, the teacher told them to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Of course, they made a worse mess trying but failing.

We do that with our words. Once they spill out it is nearly impossible to undo the damage. I am praying this prayer of the psalmist now. How easy is to get caught up is all the offerings of the world! I pray that all my conversation be pleasing to the Lord.

War in Heaven

Posted by: David Carroll

Revelation 12:7-9 (NIV)

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

The only glimpse we have of the origin of Satan and demons. Here we find they were angels who rebelled against God. This must have happened recently after God created the world because we are first introduced to the serpent in Genesis three when he beguiled Eve. I believe the following verse is a description of Satan.

Isaiah 14:12-15 (NIV)

How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.

I believe Satan was perhaps God's top angel of the rank of Cherubim who attended to God in his throne room in heaven. He was such a magnificent creature, that he got the big head. Thus began the sin of pride which is the root of all of our problems.

My favorite verse about Satan is the next verse however. Now we fear him as we would an evil giant. But one day when we see him for who he truly is (or has become!), we will see how silly it was for us to fear him.

Isaiah 14:16 (NIV)

Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: "Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble...?"

Two Witnesses

Posted by: David Carroll

Revelation 11:3-7 (NIV)

And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.

The two invincible witnesses of Revelation are fascinating and there is a great deal of speculation as to who they were. Actually they were only invincible until they finished their message. There are many things to ponder from this passage. What do we know about these men?

There were indeed men and not angels since God calls them men and they were mortal eventually. This gives rise to the idea that as a Christian, you only live as long as God has something for you to do. Once your mission is complete, God takes you home. This also implies that if you are misbehaving and giving God a bad reputation, he might take you home like a mother takes a bad boy home from the birthday party. The boy is still a member of the family but it was time to take him out of the party before he did some real damage.

These two witnesses had the ability to stop the rain. We learn in James chapter five that Elijah stopped the rain for three years. This is one of the reasons that people think Elijah may be one of the witnesses. It stands to reason too because Elijah never died. He was "taken" up to heaven in a whirlwind. That feels right, otherwise he would have had to die twice. This way he only dies once, in this chapter of Revelation.

But what about the other guy? Most would say it is Moses perhaps because in the book of Jude the angels and demons contended a bit over his body. But that gives me a problem because it does not fit so nicely with the idea only dying once. Moses died on Mount Nebo in the land of Moab in the last chapter of Deuteronomy.

So who could it be then if my contention is to hold true for both witnesses? The only other man I know of in the Bible who never died was Enoch, one of the pre-flood patriarchs. Enoch is an interesting character too. The bible says he walked with God and that he was "taken" when he was 300 years old (a young pup compared to his other patriarchal family members). Genesis chapter five never says he died like the other patriarchs.

Makes sense to me, Elijah and Enoch, the two witnesses who never died their first time on earth so that God could use them again in a mighty way in the last days.

The bad news

Posted by: David Carroll

Zephaniah 1:2-3 (NIV)

“I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD.

“I will sweep away both men and animals; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. The wicked will have only heaps of rubble when I cut off man from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD.

I am nearing the end of my daily read the Bible through in a year program. I find myself in a territory of the scriptures where there is not a lot of make you shout for joy kind of reading. I am talking about prophecies of the coming judgment. The world is heading toward a consummation. The above verse speaks of complete destruction of all living things ass well as the destruction of all of own creations. Can this be true? Would a loving, merciful God do such a terrible thing? Remember, this is not the first time God has done such a thing. When I think of this event, I find I go through several progressive sets of feelings.

First, I check up on myself, mostly out of fear, to see whether I am ready. Having assured myself of the promises of God regarding my own condition of salvation, I then begin to worry about my loved ones and friends. I feel confident in the safety of my closest family but as the circle widens, I begin to cringe with concern. Finally I am moved to the place God has been taking me all along, the realization that I am an ambassador for Christ having the message of reconciliation which is able to save us from the wrath that is to come. I am not called to hang a shingle around my neck that has “Doom is coming” on it. Rather, I am to be a light. I must witness lo what God has done in my own life. I’ll tell them what my destiny is. Should I tell them what theirs is if they don’t do likewise?

Yet will I rejoice

Posted by: David Carroll

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls-Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

There are good times and there are bad times. When times are bad, we pray for good times. When the good times come, we rejoice and pray thanks to God.

But what about when the bad times linger on and on. And it seems God does not hear our prayers. Do we get discouraged?

Spurgeon said:

"I think that health is the greatest blessing that God ever sends us--except sickness, which is far better. The season of sickness is the schooling of the soul. More of God is unfolded then, and more of His truth is learned, than perhaps in any other circumstances."

When times are bad, to whom else can you turn? Peter said to Jesus, "But Lord, where else can we go? You have the very words of Life."

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

His Love Endures Forever

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 136:1-9 (NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. Who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. Who made the great lights--His love endures forever. The sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. The moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.

Well, there is nine verses and nine times we hear that His love endures forever. Wait, there are twenty six verses in this chapter and every one of them say His love endures forever. I believe I am getting the picture.

But why does His love endure forever? It is because His love is unconditional. There is nowhere you can go, or nothing you can do to escape His love; it does not depend on you.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Posted by: David Carroll

Micah 5:2 (NIV)

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

There are over three hundred specific prophecies regarding the birth, life, and manner of death of the Messiah. In order for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, God had to put into Augustus Caesar's mind the idea to leave a census in which people had to be counted in their ancestral city even if it meant traveling and much hardship. It certainly meant that for Joseph and Mary who lived in Nazareth, a northern city of Israel, to travel to Bethlehem, a southern city.

Lift up your hands

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 134:1-2 (NIV)

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.

I must admit, I feel a little timid when I worry about whether I should raise my hands in praise to God while worshiping. IA only happens when I see a few others doing so. My church is not given to such. Reading this verse, I am convicted to be only concerned with my personal worship and desire to magnify the Lord. I know that closing your eyes helps somewhat to get your focus off others and on God. On the other hand corporate worship ought to be just that, a body of worshipers acting in concert. Regardless, I should not feel any hesitation worshipping my Lord.

Luke 9:26 (NKJV)

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.