Fourth Day

The Fourth Day

 

39  Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?… 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth,…

John 11:39-40; 43-44a

 

Whenever we read the Bible, we should ask questions. Why did Jesus say this? What did Jesus mean when He used those words? Why did Jesus wait four days to raise Lazarus from the dead? Why not three days? Or just one day?

Jesus always had a reason for what He did, how He did it, and when. In this case, waiting until the fourth day meant there was no doubt that Lazarus was dead. The Jews believed a person’s spirit or soul lingered around for three days after the person’s death. The spirit was trying to re-enter the body, hoping it would come back to life. There was to be no doubt with Lazarus. No one could claim Lazarus had any sense of life still within him. Lazarus was dead, and there was only one thing that could change that – the Hand of God through the words of Jesus.

Mary, Martha, and others would see Lazarus come back to life in only one way – through God for the glory to God. There would be no doubt. And many came to believe in Jesus.

Does it ever seem like God waits for the “fourth” day to answer your prayers? You want God to solve your problem on the first day you pray to Him. We don’t like to wait even two or three days. But God sometimes waits until all hope seems lost. We try to solve the problem ourselves, but we can’t. When our situation becomes so desperate that we know there is no hope, then God can move in and show us that nothing is impossible with God. We just have to stop trying to do things on our own, and trust in God. We must allow Him to work in our lives the way He wants to. Not how we want Him to.

As we approach this July 4th, we think back on what this country has gone through for the last 241 years. We have survived wars, depressions, disease, and even ourselves.

But it seems like nothing is going in the right direction anymore. The government doesn’t’ seem to work. Terrorists seek to destroy us. Christians are under constant attack. We have taken God out of our schools, our work, our homes, and even some of our churches. The situation seems hopeless and impossible. Maybe it’s time to quit trying to solve this country’s problems ourselves, and turn it back over to God. Maybe it’s time to start trusting in God, and believing that nothing is impossible for Him. We don’t have to wait for the “fourth day” every time.

© Charles A. Kalkomey

July 2, 2017

 

Kenya 2016

                                                   Kenya 2016!

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Across the rolling hills of shiny green and gold,

There are so many stories that can be told,

About how the hearts of all were touched,

And how each one of us was loved so much.

 

 

The things we saw, they are hard to explain,

And why part of our hearts there still remain.

Their lives are so simple but yet full of joy,

Even in the smiles of each girl and each boy

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In this rich brown dirt they somehow survive.

The crops and the animals the land does provide.

The little things we find on our packed shelves,

They don’t even know to think about for themselves

 

Most people walk to wherever they need to go;

To market, to school, to home and church also

A matatu, a bike, or car is available for a few,

But most just walk here to there, like the animals do

But the sun begins to set in that great western sky.

It’s now time to leave; it’s time to say goodbye.

Yet in the still of our minds we still hear the sound

Of the soft praises to God from the hills all around.

 

Their hunger for God draws out all we have within,

And it’s their love and their joy that refreshes us again.

For sharing of God’s love and His truth with them all,

Blesses us more than we bless them, in no way small.

 

We are so amazed at this simple life that they live,

But blessed by the love from their hearts they give.

If those back home could feel the hunger for God here,

Maybe they’d think more of Him than of things so dear.

 

Each time we come a little piece of us we leave behind.

Old friendships grow deeper, a new friend we do find.

But what never changes with each time that we are here,

Is God’s love is the same in Kenya, as it is everywhere.

 

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

August 30, 2016

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Separation On The Cross

46  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Matthew 27:46

 

The above Scripture gives us some of the last words Jesus spoke from the Cross. Has that last dying question from God’s own Son ever bothered you?

In Matthew 26:38-39, on the night that Jesus was betrayed, Jesus went to a garden to be alone with the Father. He asked if there was any other way to do this, let it be so. But if not, that the Father’s Will was to be done.

Jesus had said many times that He was going to be betrayed and He would die on the Cross. He also said that He would rise from the dead and live again. He said this indirectly as when He referred to destroying the “temple” and rebuilding it in three days. He also said it very plainly and directly so there was no misunderstanding as to what He meant.

So Jesus knew from the beginning that He was going to suffer and be nailed to the Cross. He knew that He was going to die, and He knew that He would rise again to live forever. Jesus knew there was going to be an Easter Sunday. He knew there would be a Resurrection Sunday. So what was it that He expressed concern about in the garden? What was it that He didn’t want to experience if there could be another way?

Perhaps the answer to that question lies in Matthew 27:46. Before Jesus died, He took on Himself all our sin. The One who was sinless had to lose His divinity to be filled with our sin. And when that happened, God could no longer look down on Him. God will not tolerate sin. So at that moment on the Cross, something happened that had never happened since before the beginning of time – Jesus was separated from God.

That is what Jesus did not want to experience if there was another way. He accepted the beatings and torture. He accepted being nailed on the cross. But He knew what separation from God meant. He tells us that in Luke 16 in the parable of the rich man and the poor man. Jesus didn’t want to experience that separation from God.

With all that Jesus knew about what was coming on that Easter Sunday, His brief separation from God was but a flash of time in the scheme of eternity. But even that brief moment was not something Jesus wanted.

Not accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, never developing that intimate relationship with God, will mean an eternity of separation from God. If Jesus was telling us that even a brief separation of God is not something we should want, then why do we ignore the eternity of separation that awaits those who don’t worship and serve God?

Once we make sure our relationship with God is in order, we must remember Jesus’ words to share the Gospel with all those we encounter. God desires that no one experience that eternity of separation, but that all would live with Him in eternity. Jesus’ last words from the Cross should convince us to fulfill His commandment to teach all the world to observe all that Jesus taught; to show all the love of God. Because of Easter morning, Jesus lives; and we have the promise that we, too, can live forever with God the Father in eternity.

 © 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

March 26, 2016

Fellowship and Relationship

31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:32-33

 Fellowship is defined as “companionship; friendliness.” Relationship is defined as “a connection between persons by blood; the state of being related.” There is a difference in fellowship and relationship. We may use the two interchangeably, but there is a difference.

A person may not fellowship with one or both of their parents, or a parent may not fellowship with a child. They may not ever call them or visit with them. They may not even spend holidays with them. But a relationship exists. Regardless of what happens, or doesn’t happen in life, the fact that a child was born of two parents results in a parent-child blood relationship that can never be erased. Nothing can ever change that fact.

When we are born again in Jesus Christ, we enter into a very special relationship with God. The question becomes, do we fellowship with God?

We can try to ignore God. We can avoid talking to Him. We can stop worshipping Him. We can choose not to spend any time with God. We can decide not to be in fellowship with God.

But if that is the path we have chosen, that doesn’t mean the relationship to God goes away. He offers us every opportunity to come back into fellowship with Him. Why? Because of the love He has for us as our heavenly Father.

We are born as one of God’s children. When we accept Jesus Christ into our life, we enter into a deeper, special relationship with God. And that will never change. That relationship is a blood relationship as well, for Jesus shed His blood on the cross to reconcile us to our heavenly Father.

One more thing. When we break fellowship with our earthly parents, the pain and bitterness that usually develops can be so deep, that forgiveness is hard to come by.

That’s where God is different. Regardless of what we have done or where we have been, God is calling us back into fellowship with Him because of the relationship with Him. He is willing to forgive us if we will simply confess our sin, repent of our past wrong-doings, and come back to Him. He doesn’t hold a grudge. He loves us unconditionally. He waits for our return, just like the father waited for the prodigal son.

So if your fellowship with God has been lacking, or even non-existent, it is never too late to come home. God is waiting, but it’s your choice. Your relationship with God has been paid for on the cross. So what are you waiting for?

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

March 19, 2016

Peace in Life’s Storms

27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

 

There was a news story lately about a cruise ship that sailed out of port with the idea that they could outrun a storm that was brewing in the open waters.  The ship’s captain didn’t win that race and the passengers were in the ride of their life.

If you saw some of the cell phone videos that made the news, you saw just how violent the storm was. I guess the good news is the ship was built to withstand such a storm, but I wouldn’t want to have to go through a storm like that.  Things on the ship were tossed everywhere. There was certainly no way that the people could sit and eat, much less the wait staff carry trays of food.  Trying to walk on the ship to get anywhere was out of the question.  People were hanging on to anything they could find while trying to stay out of the path of furniture, dishes, and the like sliding all over the place.

But as rough as that ocean was, deep down under the surface of the water it was calm and peaceful.  The sea creatures didn’t know anything about what was going on with the ship and passengers.  All was well deep down.

This world is a rough place.  Life will toss us around just like on the cruise ship, and we struggle to find something just to hold onto.  

Jesus knew the time was quickly coming when He would die and leave His disciples for a while. He knew they would be tossed about by those of the world and even their own minds.  So Jesus left them the best thing He could – His peace.

Jesus had taught them to live in peace.  Now He left the gospel of peace with them to be preached to all of the world.  There was peace in His shed blood as Jesus gave His life to reconcile man back to God.

This was an internal peace that is deep down inside of us.  It is an eternal peace that can never be taken from us.

Jesus came in peace (Luke 2:14).  He lived in peace, and He left His peace with His disciples, and with us.  Through the Holy Spirit we have the Comforter, and if the Holy Spirit is within us, then down deep inside we have a peace that this world can never take from us.  On the surface, things may be rough, but inside of us we have the peace that Jesus gives.

I’m not suggesting you avoid taking a cruise.  Just remember that storms happen, and you might get tossed around a bit.  But keep the peace that Jesus left for all mankind within your heart, and the storms of this earthly life can’t separate you from God’s love and presence in your life.  Happy sailing!

 

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

March 12, 2016

First In Your Life

9 What a man’s heart deviseth his way: But the Lord directeth his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

 

Where is Jesus in your life? Is He first? Or just when you need Him?

As you drive down the road of life, is Jesus riding in the trunk of your car? You let Him out on Sunday morning, but as soon as you leave church, you put Him back in the trunk until next Sunday.

Or perhaps Jesus is at least riding in the backseat. But, do you treat Him as simply a “backseat driver” and you view Him more as a series of interruptions as you are trying to live life the way you want to.

Or, maybe you let Jesus ride in the front seat as a passenger you at least talk to. You tell Jesus about what is going on in your life, but your focus is still on the “road of life” as you drive. Regardless of what Jesus says, you are still in charge.

The place we want to be is letting Jesus get behind the wheel and drive. Our trust needs to be in Jesus. He must be the one in control.

Is Jesus first in your Finances?

Is Jesus first in your Interests?

Is Jesus first in your Relationships?

Is Jesus first in your Schedule?

Is Jesus first in your Troubles?

If we can say that Jesus is first in our finances, interests, relationships, schedule and troubles, then we can honestly say that Jesus is in our life. But He still may not be in the right place.

We must always be prayerful about our relationship with Jesus. We must always be positive about the potential that exists in our life with Jesus in control. We are simply stewards of everything that God has and wants us to have.

Proverbs 16:9 is about the heart of someone who is righteous and thinks of the way he or she should go; someone who desires to walk in the right way; someone who is led by the Spirit and the grace of God. If we will be like that, then we won’t make wrong turns; we’ll go safely and surely through all of life’s troubles and difficulties, to His Kingdom and see His Glory.

To do that, we must always have Jesus in the driver’s seat in the “car of our life.” He must be first in everything; first in our life. With Jesus in the driver’s seat we will arrive at the destination God has prepared for us.

Take your hands off the steering wheel and turn it over to Jesus. Be led by the Spirit. You will experience a much better ride.

 

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

February 27, 2016

Hero to Zero and Back!

28 And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

Judges 16:28-30

The story of Samson in Judges 13-16 is one of the interesting and colorful stories in the Bible. Chosen by God before birth to begin Israel’s deliverance from Philistine control. Born to parents well past the child bearing age (that seems to be a pattern of God in the Old Testament), he was to be a Nazirite all of his life, abstaining from wine and grape. He was also never to cut his hair.

Samson had a physical strength that no one could match. He tore a lion in two with his bare hands. He slew 1,000 Philistines with the jaw bone of a donkey. He judged Israel for 20 years in the days of the Philistines.

But Sampson had a weakness for a pretty face. Just like Moses, Abraham, David, and everyone else in the Bible, except One, Sampson was not perfect. Yet during his faltering, God continued to use him in His Plan. Samson was still being used to free Israel from Philistine domination.

Samson’s impressive strength and his weakness for the ladies caused him to eventually rely on his own strength instead of God’s. He became prideful. There was a spiritual blindness that came over him. He forgot from where his strength really came.

Finally, things caught up with him. Delilah seduced him into telling her that his strength came from his long hair. So while Samson was asleep, they shaved his hair. No longer the strong one, the Philistines subdued him, gouged out his eyes, and made sport of him.

Samson finally realized the truth. His strength was not in his hair. That was just a sign of his obedience to God. Yet, despite his stumbling, he returns to God’s Plan for Israel’s deliverance. Weak, unable to see, being mocked by his captures, he calls out to God. God is still with him, answers the prayer, and, with the strength he knew before his fall, Samson takes out more Philistines at that moment than all other times put together.

Samson was chosen by God to be His leader of His people. Yet he didn’t do everything right. But God didn’t abandon him. When Samson understood where his real strength came from, and his focus returned to God, his strength was restored and he continued in his calling. Once a hero, he had, in his eyes, become nothing. Then in one final moment, he was once again the “hero” God meant for him to be.

God has a call for you, since before you were born. And just like everyone else, you haven’t done everything God has called you to do, and you’ve done some things you weren’t supposed to do. You may think you have completely failed God, yourself, and others. But God is still with you. He is still calling you to return to where He has always planned for you to be. He still has work for you to do for Him. He still believes in you, even when you don’t.

But the point to remember is – your strength is not in your hair, or your wit, or your intelligence, or what you can do. Who you are, and what you can do, comes from God. Your strength comes from God. It’s what we do to bring Him the glory and honor that makes us who we are; who we were meant to be.

Don’t let a spiritual blindness keep you from seeing the truth about who you are in God’s eyes. Your strength comes from God, and Him alone.

 

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

February 21, 2016

Promoted By God

23  Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him. … 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

Genesis 40:23; 41:40

 

At times in our lives, we experience some cold, hard winters. Things don’t look so good, and we are not sure what the next year, the next month, the next week, or even the next day is going to bring. We wait for the things we are believing in, the things we have faith in, to come just as promised by God.

Those who are dedicated gardeners will soon be getting their seed catalogs for next spring. As they look through the pages of pictures of flowering plants and colorful vegetables, they place their hopes during the cold of winter in those packages of seeds that they will plant in the spring. Their trust is in the quality of those seeds to produce the same flowers and vegetables that they see in the pictures. The seeds are planted, and watered and watched, all in the hope that one day, without announcement, a small green plant pops through the soil and grows into the “promises” shown in those catalogs.

Joseph was doing what he believed was the right thing to do. He was true to God. He believed in all of those seeds of God’s promises that had been planted in his life. Yet, he was thrown into a pit by his own brothers, sold into slavery, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and forgotten. But Joseph never stopped believing in those seeds of God’s promises.

Then, all of sudden, Joseph is called into the presence of Pharaoh. There was a dream to interpret, and God came through again. Without planning, without announcement, Joseph finds himself thrust into the number two position in all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Spring had finally come! All of those seeds of God’s promises that were planted into Joseph’s spirit suddenly grew into what God had planned for Joseph from before he was born.

We don’t know what the next day will bring. God won’t usually announce what great thing He is going to do next in our lives. The promotion God has coming for us will come when God’s timing is right.

So we must not forget about all of those seeds planted in us by God’s Word. They may still just be “in the ground” waiting for “spring” to arrive. But one day, when we least expect it, that promotion we have been waiting for will come. And, like those plants that started with just a seed, but produced the corn, lettuce, beans, or whatever we planted, we will enjoy the harvest of God’s promises planted in our lives.

© 2015 Charles A. Kalkomey

October 18, 2015

Whose Banner Are You Flying?

14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. 15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi: 16 For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Exodus 17:14-16

 Israel was in another battle; this time against Amalek. Moses sent Joshua out to the battle while he stood on top of a hill. Moses still had his rod, and he lifted it up to the heavens. As long as he did that, Israel was winning. When he got tired and lowered his arms, Amalek prevailed. So Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms, and Israel won the battle.

To memorialize the victory, Moses built an altar. He named the altar “Jehovah-nissi” which is translated “the Lord is my banner.” This represented Moses holding up his arms as a banner. It can also be appropriately applied to Jesus Christ, who is both altar and sacrifice, and He is our priest who is lifted up as a banner, a standard, or ensign in the everlasting Gospel. It is Jesus who gathers souls unto Him, enlists them under Him to prepare for battle, and encourages them against this world’s spiritual enemies.

Standards, banners, or flags are used to represent many things. In the Queen’s palace in London, the Queen’s standard is flown to show that she is indeed in the palace. When a passer-by does not see her standard, it is known that the Queen is not in.

When someone sees or hears you, whose standard or banner are you “flying?” Can others see Jesus at “home in your heart” by the banner you lift up? Are you following Jesus into spiritual battle and showing others the way to go? The Lord must be the banner we raise that shows that we follow the one and only true God, and we are a part of His army.

One more point. Prior to 1964, Kenya was a colony of England. The British flag flew over Kenya. On December 12, 1964, the Republic of Kenya was recognized. The British flag came down, and the Kenyan flag was raised. Both flags could not fly over this new independent nation.

Similarly, we can’t raise up two different banners. We cannot raise up the Lord’s banner one day, and then the world’s banner the next. We either show one or the other. At one time or another, we all “flew” the fleshly banner of this world. But when Jesus touches our heart, that banner comes down, and His goes up!

So whose banner are you flying?

© 2015 Charles A. Kalkomey

October 4, 2015

No Time To Be A Standing Army

2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

1 Samuel 17:2-3

 Just before we are introduced to Goliath, the scriptures paint a picture of the scene. Israel was gathered by the valley of Elah, and was set in battle array against the Philistines. The Philistines were on the mountain on one side of the valley. Both armies were on a mountain side with the valley between them.

But notice what else verse 3 says. The “Philistines stood on a mountain” and “Israel stood on a mountain….” The armies were not engaged in battle. They were both standing around, looking at each other.

Goliath steps forward and taunts Israel. He asks them why they are standing around in battle array (verse 8). For forty days Goliath scared the Israelites, and God’s chosen were dismayed (verse 11).

Sometimes we find ourselves standing around when we should be doing something. There are times when we need to be still and wait on God. But there are also times when we need to act.

We are God’s hands and feet. We are called to action. There is a spiritual battle going on around us, and standing around doesn’t engage the enemy in the fight.

David understood the call to action. And he wasn’t concerned about the fight, because he wasn’t fighting by himself. “This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand;… (verse 46).

So David took all that he had into battle – a sling shot and five smooth stones. You see, God can do much if we will bring to Him what we have, no matter how little it may seem to be to us.

Don’t get caught standing around looking “across the valley” at the enemy. There is a time to engage in the fight. And remember, we don’t enter into the battle alone. God is with us. He always has been. He always will be. And He will use just what we have to accomplish His plan. We just need the faith to trust Him, always.

 

© 2015 Charles A. Kalkomey

September 27, 2015