Tag Archives: United States

Standing at the Precipice of God’s Judgment

Friday, January 6, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Isaiah 1-6

The Book of Isaiah is the first prophetic book in our yearlong “Read-Thru the Bible” challenge. The prophet Isaiah lived in the 8th century BC during the final days of Israel before the armies of Nebuchadnezzar conquered the nation and the Jews were taken captive to Babylon.  His prophetic ministry was directed to a rebellious people who had maintained an outward formality of religion; however, whose hearts had turned to idols and rejected God and His Law.

Isaiah stands out as the foremost among the Old Testament prophets; however, in his lifetime his people viewed him as a traitor. He was a fearless preacher, courageously confronting the sins of Judah’s kings and boldly calling the Jews to repent.  His preaching was powerful, his style soaring, and his prophesies vivid.

isaiah-5-20Isaiah foretold the judgment of God in a series of “Woes” pronounced against the nation should the people not repent of their sins (Isaiah 5:20-23, 26-30). In a parallel to our own day, the first “woe” condemned the nation for rejecting God’s Laws leaving the people with the dilemma of no moral absolutes. We read:

Isaiah 5:20 – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Such is the condition of our nation and world. I will illustrate with one example, “Gay Marriage”. Our nation’s leaders, judicial courts, secular schools and liberal churches have rejected God’s definition of marriage, condemned those who embrace the biblical and historical definition of marriage between one man and one woman, and now promotes the lunacy of men marrying men and women marrying women (Romans 1:26-27)! Condemning moral virtue, our society has embraced wickedness and depravity.

A second “woe” describes the people as unteachable.

Isaiah 5:21 – “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent [wise, shrewd] in their own sight!”

Paul’s letter to Christians in Rome described the same in these words, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

A third “woe” illuminated the narcissistic nature of the people and the “pay to play” sin of 21st century politicians.

Isaiah 5:22-23 – “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine [drunkards], and men of strength to mingle strong drink [boasting of their drunkenness]23 Which justify [acquit] the wicked for reward [bribe], and take away the righteousness [innocence; justice, rights and liberties] of the righteous from him!”moral-absolutes

I close with a fourth “woe” stated by Isaiah of himself.  Shaken by a vision of the LORD sitting on His heavenly throne (Isaiah 6:1-4), the conviction of his own sinfulness overwhelmed the prophet:

Isaiah 6:5“…Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

When God asked, “Who shall I send [i.e. to preach to the nation], and who will go for us?” Isaiah answered God’s call, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

A Prophetic Portrait of World War III

ww-iiiWednesday, January 4, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Psalms 1-2

Psalm 1 is a contrast of two lives: the “blessed” man (Psalm 1:1-3) who walks in the way of God’s Law and prospers and the “ungodly” who defy God, oppose His Law, and “shall perish” (Psalm 1:4-6).

Psalm 2 is known as a “Messianic Psalm” and is a prophetic utterance regarding the person and Second Coming of the Messiah Lord Jesus Christ.  Notice the opening verses of Psalm 2 are a prophetic portrait of a World War that is yet to come (Psalm 2:1-3).

Psalm 2:1-3 – “Why do the heathen [the nations of the earth] rage, and the people imagine [ponder; speak; declare] a vain thing [empty; worthless]?
2  The kings of the earth set
[stand; withstand] themselves, and the rulers take counsel [consult] together, against the LORD [Jehovah; Eternal, Self-existent God], and against his anointed [Messiah], saying,
3  Let us break
[break down; pluck off; tear away] their bands [bonds; chains; shackles] asunder [break down; tear away], and cast away [cast down; fling] their cords [ropes; chains] from us.”

armageddonUnlike World War I and World War II that pitted the nations of the earth against one another, the war described in these verses gather the armies of the nations of the earth against God’s people (“His anointed”) and the King of Heaven (“the LORD”). (Psalm 2:2)

What is God’s response to man’s universal rebellion?

Psalm 2:4 – “4  He that sitteth [dwells; inhabits; abides] in the heavens shall laugh [scorn; mock; hold in derision]: the Lord [God] shall have them in derision [mock; scoff; sneer; deride].”

What folly that man would dare think he is able to assail the throne of the King of Heaven! The psalmist declares the Son of God, the only “begotten” of God the Father, will reign in Jerusalem [“my holy hill of Zion”] (Psalm 2:6-7).

Psalm 2 concludes with an invitation to sinners and a promise to saints:

Psalm 2:10-12 – “Be wise [understand; prudent; act wisely] now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed [disciplined; corrected; taught; warned], ye judges of the earth. 11  Serve [do; work; worship] the LORD with fear [dread; reverence], and rejoice [be glad; delight] with trembling [fear]. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry [displeasure; enraged], and ye perish [die; fall] from the way [journey; path], when his wrath is kindled [burns; consumed by fire] but a little. Blessed [Happy; i.e. prosperous] are all they that put their trust [confidence; hope; i.e. find refuge] in him.”

psalm-2-12My friend, the world is raging and the rulers of the kingdoms of the earth give little regard to the God of Heaven; however, God in His grace is extending an invitation to lost sinners to humble themselves, hear His Word, and turn to Him.

The saints of God rest in this promise, “…Blessed [Happy; i.e. prosperous] are all they that put their trust [confidence; hope; i.e. find refuge] in him” (Psalm 2:12).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Israel’s Right to Her Own Land

unTuesday, January 3, 2017

Daily Bible reading assignment: Joshua 1-5

Recent national and international events have stoked the fires of animosity for Israel as a nation and the Jews as a people. A recent vote of the United Nations Security Council condemned Israel for settlements on lands deemed by the UN as illegally occupied territories, lands captured by Israel when Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan attacked her in 1967 during a conflict known as the “Six Day War”.   Although the United States had the power to veto the resolution condemning Israel, the Obama administration abstained from the vote and in effect gave tacit support of the condemnation.israels-enemies

The intrigue of the debate is fascinating and tragic when one realizes that historically there is not and has never been a nation of Palestine or a Palestinian people.  The Muslim population in today’s Israel is for the most part Syrian and Lebanese.  The irony is some claiming a land of Palestine deny the historical claim of the Jews who occupied the land as their own for millenniums.

In today’s devotional (Joshua 1-5), God set the boundaries of the land of Israel for the Hebrew people. We read:

Joshua 1:1-41  Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,
2  Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3  Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4  From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast [boundaries].

tribes-of-israelGod defined Israel’s boundaries as the mass of land between Lebanon in the north and the “wilderness” or desert of Arabia in the south; from the river of Euphrates in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.  Defined as the “land of the Hittites”, an ancient people known elsewhere as the Canaanites, Israel was to drive the Hittites out of the land, a people who would eventually be assimilated into the tribes of Arabia.

 

While all the ancient tribes and nations are a footnote in history, a testimony of God’s person and sovereignty over the nations of the earth is the existence of an ancient, distinct people we know today as Jews.  Israel’s existence and prosperity, however, was dependent upon the people obeying God’s Law.

Joshua 1:88  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Sadly, the testimony of history is that the nation of Israel failed to keep God’s Law.  Israel’s existence in the 21st century is a testimony of God’s longsuffering and, in spite of Israel’s rebellion, His promise to keep His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:7; 17:1-8).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“What can you teach a scorner?”

sneer, scornReading today’s proverb, Proverbs 22:10, prompts me to ask: “What can you teach a scorner?”

My answer – Nothing! Absolutely nothing!

Solomon’s assessment agrees with mine own when it comes to dealing with a scorner.  In two earlier proverbs, the king writes:

Proverbs 9:7-8 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame [trouble; disgrace; abuse]8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee [see you as an enemy]: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”

Who is the scorner?  By definition, he is a man or woman who disdains the Truth and the bearers of truth.  He resents rebuke and despises any who would correct him.  A scorner has a calloused heart and his manner is often subtle, but contentious and quarrelsome.

Because you can neither teach nor correct a scorner without inviting his abuse and hatred, what must one do when confronting him?mocker

Some might suggest we reason with him. Others, that we would be patient, loving and forgiving.  Let us set aside our opinions and go to the final authority on dealing with a scorner—the Word of God.

Proverbs 22:10“Cast out [drive out; expel; put away] the scorner [mocker; scoffer; mock at sin and judgment, i.e. consequences of sin], and contention [strife; discord] shall go out [depart; come to an end]; yea, strife [judgment] and reproach [shame; confusion; disgrace; dishonor] shall cease [desist; fail; stop].”

Solomon’s advice, inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17) is simple and direct—Drive the scorner out!

Notice the twofold benefit for heeding Solomon’s advise to confront the scorner and drive him out of your fellowship—“… contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.”

Too many pastors, church leaders and Christians are unwilling to accept the reality that their failure to confront a scorner is not only a dereliction of duty; it also allows the infestation of a spiritual cancer that will potentially destroy a church fellowship.  I have known good people who take the side of a scorner, sympathize with his cry and fail to support those tasked with the burden and responsibility of dealing with him biblically.

Proverbs 22-10I part with another of Solomon’s proverbs stating the responsibility and benefit of addressing the scorner:

Proverbs 19:25 – “Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.”

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith

“We Shall Stand” (part 1of 2)

Memorial Day

Today, Monday, May 30, 2016 is the day these United States pay tribute and reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.  Before you rush out into activities that give little time for reflection, permit me an opportunity of challenging you with questions I put before my church family on Sunday.

How can we, the living, repay the debt we owe for the liberties we have inherited?  How can we express our gratitude to those who died defending the sovereignty of our nation?  What can we give in memory of those who gave their all that we might be free?

soldier's widowMany will answer those questions quoting John 15:13;  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  Indeed, a wonderful verse of self-sacrifice that acknowledges Christ is the model of sacrifice, in that He “commendeth His love for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

But what is the practical application of that verse to the questions I proposed?   What can we give in service to our country?   What can we sacrifice to preserve this nation and the freedoms others bought with their own blood and lives?

We must cherish our liberties by standing our ground against all who threaten them!

We must embrace and exercise our freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States:  Freedom of Religion; Freedom of Speech; Freedom of the Press; Freedom of Assembly; Right to Bear Arms; Right of Equal Justice; Right to own private property; and Freedom of Petition to request our elected representatives oppose proposed laws or request protection under the law on our behalf.

We must sacrifice our time, talents, and strength to stand and defend our liberties!   We must refuse to be silenced by those who would shout us down.  We must remember that, contrary to the actions of our elected officials and federal government agencies, these United States are a Republic, not a dictatorship!

freedoms

We must recognize the greatest threat to our nation and freedoms is not Islamic terrorists, but our own government.   

For more than a half-century, our public schools and secular colleges have indoctrinated America’s youth in a liberal, socialistic ideology.  Our children are woefully ignorant of our nation’s history and know little about the sacrifices of those who have gone before them.  Inflaming a rebellion against their elders that is often a natural passing of youth, secular schools, activists preachers (i.e. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson), liberal politicians, spineless conservatives, and the encouragement of liberal media have fostered a generation of youth that reflect the thoughtless mob rationale of Brown Shirt Nazis and Communist youth threatening to usher in an era of anarchy inflamed by our own government.  Given the immoral trajectory of our nation and its betrayal of God’s Law and Commandments, our government and society threaten to silence us all if we do not awaken.  I am afraid the “Silent Majority” of the early 1980’s has become the emaciated “Moral Minority” of the 21st century and the proponents of wickedness have risen to the highest offices in our nation.Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has become a terror to Constitutional Law and the Commandments of God.   The Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and its decision to legalize “same-sex marriage” in June 2015 were direct assaults on traditional marriage and family.  Added to the moral erosion of America is President Obama’s mandate to open restrooms, showers and locker rooms to those declaring they self-identify with the sex opposite their biological gender.  The president’s action is not only morally reprehensible, it is a declaration of war on the moral innocence and character of our children.  Evidencing the maniacal extremity of the left is the threat to withhold federal funds from school meals programs if schools do not comply with the president’s edict!

Wake Up America!  The President’s heavy-handed enforcement of his ideology against school children should send a warning to every American—the government will inevitably crush us all if we remain silent.

(part 1 of 2)

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

Muslim Invasion of Europe

invasionTo my knowledge, I have never used this blog site to direct the reader to a sermon I have preached; however, I would like to invite you to listen to the introductory remarks I shared with the Hillsdale church family this past Sunday morning, November 22, 2105.

You will notice in my remarks I was careful, almost plodding in my comments.  It is not my intent to be controversial, but to challenge our people to think biblically regarding the ongoing Muslim invasion of Western Europe and its threat to the United States of America.

Please paste the link below into your browser and it will take you to the audio recording. My remarks are in the first 15 minutes of the recording.

http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Dr._Travis_D._Smith

With a shepherd’s heart,

Pastor Travis D. Smith

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Psalm 10:1-11 – Is This The Portrait of a 21st Century Politician?

RNC debatePsalm 10:1-11 – “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
2  The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
3  For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
4  The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
5  His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
6  He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
7  His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
8  He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.
9  He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.
10  He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
11  He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.”

DNCPerhaps it is the constant barrage of media coverage, political rants, broken promises and primary debates that paints today’s psalm as the perfect portrait of the majority of politicians and office holders in our day.  Make no mistake; the wicked and their evil ways (lies, deceptions and oppressions) are the curse of this nation and sadly, our leaders epitomize who we have become.

David opens Psalm 10 with a plea for the LORD to intervene and save him from the plots and plans of his enemy.  The king asks two questions:

Psalm 10:1 – “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble [anguish; distress; adversity]?”

In the hour of his crisis, David wondered why God was slow to intervene on his behalf.  The LORD seemed far away and the wicked prospered, but the righteous felt abandoned by the God they loved.  Wrestling with his lack of faith and despairing, David made his case concerning the character of the wicked, his heart, ungodly ways, deceitful words and fraudulent manner.  With the exception of my amplification of a few words, I will allow the scriptures to paint the portrait of the wicked in what I believe is an apt description of the majority of leaders and politicians in our communities, cities and nation’s capital.

Psalm 10:2 – “The wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] in his pride [arrogance; haughtiness] doth persecute [pursue; chase] the poor [lowly; afflicted; needy; weak]: let them be taken [captured; taken hold; seized] in the devices [inventions; plots] that they have imagined [devised; purposed; conceived].”oppress the poor

1. Motivated by his pride and arrogance, the wicked are oppressors of the poor and needy (10:2a).   Realizing the design of the wicked was to “persecute” the unfortunate, David prays they would fall victim to their plots and plans.

Psalm 10:3 – “For the wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] boasteth [praise; glory; celebrates] of his heart’s desire [longing; satisfaction], and blesseth [salute; praise] the covetous [greedy], whom the LORD abhorreth [despise; rejects].” 

2. The wicked are proud and, contrary to their promises and courtship of the poor, are driven by carnal desires and lusts (10:3a).

3. The wicked praise the covetous and greedy souls the LORD abhors (10:3b).

Psalm 10:4 – “The wicked, through the pride [arrogance] of his countenance [face; anger], will not seek [ask; follow; search] after God: God is not in all his thoughts [plan; purpose].

4. Lifted up with pride, the wicked rejects the revelations and knowledge of God, neither seeking nor following Him (10:4a).  The wicked refuses to consider or ponder the divine’s person, plan or purpose (10:4b).

Psalm 10:5 – “His ways [journey; road; course of life] are always grievous [travail; twist; writhe in pain]; thy judgments [manner; sentence] are far above [lofty; elevated] out of his sight: as for all his enemies [distress; adversary], he puffeth [scoff; to kindle; set aflame] at them.

5. The ways of the wicked are “grievous” and, regardless the platitudes of hope they might raise with lofty promises, they care nothing for others and perpetuate their wicked aspirations on the grief and sorrows of those less fortunate (10:5a).

6. Spiritual blindness is the affliction of the wicked that refuse to see or believe the judgments of God will come to pass (10:5b).

arrogance7. The wicked “puffeth” at their adversaries; dominated by pride, they scoff and sneer at those who oppose their plans and devices (10:5c).

Psalm 10:6 – “He hath said [answered] in his heart [mind; understanding], I shall not be moved [removed; carried; fall down]: for I shall never [never ever] be in adversity [distress; harm; injured].

8. The wicked boasts “in his heart” he is too big, too wise, too powerful to fail (10:6a); he foolishly asserts he will never suffer the consequences of his sin or be brought to justice (10:6b).

Psalm 10:7 – “His mouth [speech] is full of cursing [oaths; swearing] and deceit [false; guile; treachery] and fraud [oppression; cutting]: under his tongue [language] is mischief [trouble; sorrow; wickedness] and vanity [iniquity; sin].

9. The wicked are arrogant and their speech threatens those who oppose them (“full of cursing”); they are deceivers, liars and thieves (“fraud”); their tongues, like a venomous serpent, strike those who oppose them inflicting trouble and sorrows (10:7).

fundraisingPsalm 10:8 – “He sitteth [dwells; inhabits] in the lurking places [ambush; lying in wait] of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder [slay; kill] the innocent [guiltless; blameless]: his eyes are privily set [covered] against the poor [poor; unfortunate].”  [i.e. he lacks a charitable heart]

10. The simple and naïve fall victim to the wicked who lie in ambush (“lurking places”), plotting and planning to entrap innocent souls to destroy them (10:8a).

11. The wicked are uncharitable and mean-spirited (10:8b); often courting the favor of the poor and needy without regard for their misfortune.

Psalm 10:9-10 – “He lieth in wait [ambush] secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait [ambush] to catch [seize; ] the poor: he doth catch the poor [depressed; afflicted; needy], when he draweth [draw out; drag; seize] him into his net [used in catching beasts]. 10  He croucheth [crushed; break], and humbleth [bow down; cast down] himself, that the poor [entrenche in poverty] may fall by his strong ones [might; i.e. swipe of powerful paws; ].”

crouching lionLike a lion waiting to attack the straggler and weakest of a herd or flock, the wicked draw the weak, poor, and elderly into their net with promises that entrap, enslave, and ultimately crush their spirit and life (10:9-10).

Psalm 10:11 – “He hath said in his heart [mind; will], God hath forgotten [oblivious; ignored]: he hideth [conceals] his face; he will never see [look; behold; perceive] it.”

12. The wicked dismiss the very thought of God’s justice (10:11a).  An evil man beguiles his own soul, foolishly telling himself God is oblivious to his sin and will fail to exercise vengeance (10:11b).

Many reading this devotion share this pastor’s concern for the direction of our nation and its future.  Polls show American citizens have little respect for those in leadership and our low regard for our leaders is symptomatic of a people who have promoted and entrusted men and women with wicked character.  We would be wise to consider the spiritual character and moral bearing of those running for the highest office of our nation.  I close with two insightful proverbs:

Psalm 12:8 – “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.”

Proverbs 29:2 – “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith