Monday, October 30, 2006

Noise

Mark 2:1 KJV
And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

We need some noise today. We need the presence of Jesus made know about our city so that people know where Jesus is.

We do not need much noise about who else is there. We do not need much noise about what else has been done. But we do need some noise that Jesus has entered into our presence. People need to know where the Lord is so He can preach the Word to them.

The great thing for people to hear about is not how much our missions offering is, not how many people have come to the altar, not who has preached in our church. People need to know where to find Jesus.

And the word "noised" I think is a good word for us. It doesn't have to be eloquent. It doesn't have to be educated; it just has to be heard.

Lord, give our church a zeal about the Lord so we can't help but noise it out that Jesus is with us.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wisdom


2 Chronicles 1:10 KJV
Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?

Solomon, perhaps, showed more wisdom in this request than in any of his proverbs and other declarations. Solomon recognized his need for the Lord's help, the Lord's wisdom if he were to lead these people for God.

James 1:5 says
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (KJV) And so it makes perfect sense that we who belong to the Lord today would spend much time seeking of the Lord, not only power for the ministry, but wisdom in the ministry.

And may the Lord grant us as favorable an answer as He did Solomon.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

How to Bless the Lord


1 Chronicles 29:11 KJV
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

As great of a man as David was, he was very quick to give God all the glory and praise. So much had been accomplished during his reign as king. And who could question His devotion to the Lord? Yet in the last little bit of his life David admitted that everything belonged to God and everything was the result of God. David was only a servant.

Would to God we could learn to deflect praise in the very same way!
Would to God we would shun any acknowledgement and only allow
Greatness and
Glory and
Power and
Victory and
Majesty

To be poured out upon the Lord.

Friday, October 27, 2006

David and Solomon both Humble


1 Chronicles 28:11-19 KJV
Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,
And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:
Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.
He gave of gold by weight for things of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; silver also for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service:
Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.
And by weight he gave gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and likewise silver for the tables of silver:
Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basons he gave gold by weight for every bason; and likewise silver by weight for every bason of silver:
And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.

I marvel at the preparations David made for a work that he was not personally allowed to do. David's humility before God is demonstrated in the fact that, when God told him he could not do what he wanted to do, rather than getting upset and either doing it anyway or else not helping the one that God would allow to do the task, David poured his being into supporting the one who would be allowed to build the Temple.

On the other hand, it is also a marvel that Solomon was so willing to follow his father's leadership. David, who did not qualify to build the Temple, insisted that the Lord had specifically told him what the Temple was to look like. David gave those plans to Solomon who, rather than choosing his own plans, followed those of his father.

Who knows what the Lord might accomplish through us if only we would be humble enough to accept our place in the plan of God and to welcome counsel from others God places in our lives. Too much pride exists in Christians today
Too much self exaltation
Too much jealousy and envy
Too much comparing ourselves among ourselves.


Lord help us to be humble.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Already Agreed


Matthew 26:25 KJV
Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

I know that Judas was a lost man and of him Jesus even said he was a devil. Yet I cannot help but see him in this room, filled with believers, and even thought to be one of the believers. Judas' position was one of the loftiest in that he was among the twelve closest followers of the Lord.

In this room is an intimate setting. They are removed from the busy-ness of ministering to the crowds and they are gathered together as a family would, to share in the Passover meal. In this more quiet and intimate setting the Lord began to share His burden. In just a short time now, He would be betrayed into the hands of sinners and be crucified. Judas is included into the Lord's most needful time. And Judas had already covenanted to betray Him.

I wonder how many of us
Who are saved
Who are close to the things of the Lord and
Who are liked and respected in our church
Have already in our hearts agreed on what it would take to get us to turn against the Lord or His church?

It might be if we don't get the recognition we desire
It might be if we are confronted one more time about our sin
It might be if some better program (a bigger church) becomes available
It might be if another church member offends us


And it might be that we have never really even thought about it, it is just there.

I am not sure what Judas' motive was when he asked the Lord, "Master, is it I?" But it could be that there are those of us who have not seen yet, that we are the ones most likely to turn from God. And it would be very profitable for all of us to ask the Lord to sincerely search our hearts and root out that which we would agree to turn from the Lord for so we can see it for what it is and deal with it before it happens.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The purifying work


1 Chronicles 23:25-28 KJV
For David said, The LORD God of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever:
And also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof.
For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;


John Gill says that the purifying work of these priest was, "to keep the house, and all the apartments in it, courts and chambers, clean, by sweeping and washing them, and carrying out all the filth thereof made by the sacrifices, and otherwise."[1]

These Levites were, for years, charged with the duty to carry the tabernacle and the vessels of worship from place to place. No one else was supposed to do that assignment, and a breach of that assignment actually cost Uzza his life. But now, times have changed and so have the needs. Once the Temple was completed the tabernacle would be dispensed with and the articles of worship would be forever kept in one place. And these men, whose assignment had been so important, were now charged with "…sweeping and washing... and carrying out...the filth..."

I marvel at the willingness of these men to have their function so changed. There is no indication of revolt or rebellion. It appears that they willingly made the changes in their duties.

And what an important assignment this is! Caring for the things of the Lord; keeping them clean and orderly and well kept, is as important work of the Lord as is any other ministry in worshiping and serving the Lord.

Let us first be willing to make whatever changes are necessary to see the Lord's name glorified.
Let us not fuss and feud when we must give and change as times and needs change but happily and willingly follow God's man as he places new burdens in our lives
Let us secondly see every assignment in the work of God as vital and essential. No task, if done for the Lord is menial. Every task deserves to be done to the very best of our abilities.


[1] E-Sword 7.7.7, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Arise...and be doing


1 Chronicles 22:14-16 KJV
Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto.
Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all manner of cunning men for every manner of work.
Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee.

King David, having been instructed of the Lord that he was not going to build the Temple, but Solomon would, had prepared, and saved and laid aside in abundance, materials for the construction of the Temple. When Solomon came to the throne, his was not to plan some more, but to "be doing." He could add to the materials his father had set aside if he desired, but he was to "be doing" the construction of this Temple.

And there comes a point in our life when it is time to "arise...and be doing." Certainly preparing is wise. Certainly saving and setting aside and planning are needful. But at some point the Lord gives us the word, "….Arise therefore and be doing..."

It could be in the area of soul winning where a person spends time in preparation, but doesn't get out there to do
It could be in the area of Bible reading and prayer where a person comes to the altar and promises God they will begin, but then fails to follow through.
It could be in
Tithing
Teaching
Surrendering
Church planting
Being the husband or wife we ought to be
Being the employee and provider we ought to be

There are any number of places in our spiritual lives where it could be applied; the preparations have been made, the instructions have been given; it is time now to "…arise therefore and be doing.."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Model Message

Matthew 23:39 KJV
For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

I have recently been in conversation with a number of pastors on the subject of preaching. The question has been, "Does the Bible teach us how to preach?" I am of the opinion that the Bible not only teaches us that we should preach but also provides for us models on what is genuine Bible preaching. I would consider Matthew 23 one of those models.

The chapter can easily be broken into
An introduction (vs 1-12)
The sermon body (vs 13-36)
The conclusion and invitation (vs 37-39)

And the sermon ends with a reminder that Jesus is coming again and eternity is the goal.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Unimaginable Promise


1 Chronicles 17:20 KJV
O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

It was with a great heart that David made this statement before the Lord. David had had it in his mind to build a house for the Lord but God's will was for that project to be deferred to David's son.

The passage is one of unimaginable promise for David's family and he recognizes it for the enormous blessing that it is. Not only would David have a kingdom, but God's plan was that David's family sit on the throne forever. This promise is ultimately fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.

David's heart of praise rises to the Lord and he exclaims, "O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee..."
David would still have battles to fight
David would have close colleagues turn against him
David would suffer the heartbreak of children gone wrong
David would even still need to be confronted with sin
But in the end, it was of his family that the Saviour of the world did come.

And there is none like our Saviour!

What wonderful promises are ours who are His. We do not always get to build after our own heart and wishes; but God's plan for us is so much greater than we can ever dream.

Friday, October 20, 2006

After the due order


1 Chronicles 15:13 KJV
For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.

There is a difference between seeking the Lord and seeking the Lord "after the due order." Pollsters tell us of huge numbers of Americans who
Claim to be Christians and are
Active in Church or are
Sympathetic to Christian causes

And generally speaking the world of Christendom views this as a positive sign. Some churches and Christian type organizations even capitalize on this interest in the things of the Lord to build large organizations they claim are doing the work of Christ.

Sadly most of the time they are not doing it "after the due order."
They are doing it excitedly
They are doing it successfully I am even sure
They are doing it sincerely
But so often they are not doing it "after the due order." And they oftentimes appear to get away with it. David very nearly got away with this.

But when things, however sincerely done, are not done after God's due order, sooner or later the cart will shake and lives will be hurt, families will be broken, and damage will be done.

We need to seek God "after the due order” and I believe we learn a little about how to do that in chapter 16.

Seek Him with a rejoicing heart vs 10
Seek Him continually vs 11
Remember His works vs 12
Remember His words vs 12
Be midful always of His covenant vs 15
Sing unto the Lord vs 23
Shew forth (daily) His salvation vs 23
Declare His glory among the heathen vs 24
Give the Lord the glory due His name vs 29
Fear the Lord vs 30

As I review this list (and I am sure it is not complete) I can think of people who would argue that things like showing His salvation daily is just not that important.

And that is precisely our problem. Just like David, we haven't taken into account how important the Word of God really is to the Lord. We want to do things for God, but surely the Lord isn't so choosy that we have to pay close attention to the Bible in our efforts to honor Him. Surely the Lord would be so honored that we would want to seek Him that He would not concern Himself that much with how we do it.

So the first step in seeking the Lord "after the due order" is to seek out what is the due order.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Let's Get Our Ark Back


1 Chronicles 13:3 KJV
And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.

What a difference a person can find between King David and King Saul. When David was finally installed as the king of all Israel his first thoughts were to bring the ark of God back to where it belonged. And David makes it obvious that this had not ever occurred to Saul.

While I know it was not the only thing on Saul's mind, it does appear that Saul was nearly consumed with David. Early on David won the hearts of the people and Saul, who had already offended the Lord and realized his kingdom was short-lived as far as God was concerned, fixated on David, the man who would one day take replace him on the throne.

Saul was satisfied with the immediate.
He had sacrifices, why wait for Samuel?
He had Samuel, why did he need to have the ark?

When Samuel was gone,
He had the witch, why seek the Lord?

We have one purpose today; that is to know the Lord.
We do not need better leaders
We do not need to listen better to those leaders
We do not need a different kind of leader


We just need the Lord.
We need to pursue Him
We need to draw close to Him
We need to enquire of Him
We need to follow Him when He directs

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What Lack I Yet?


Matthew 19:20 KJV
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

My thoughts were captivated by the phrase, "what lack I yet."

There this young man was; obviously convicted that he did not have eternal life. Before him stood the answer to eternal life, and yet all he could think of is what one more good thing must I do to have eternal life.

It is a sure sign that one either is not saved or at the very least does not understand salvation, if he is always wondering, "What other good thing could I do that would finally and forever earn my way into glory?"

Even if he could have sold all he had and given it to the poor, we know that would not have purchased his salvation. Only a relationship with Jesus Christ will do that.

So the question for the child of God is not, "What lack I yet?" We have everything necessary for our salvation before us in the person of Jesus Christ.

Our question is,
Who else lacks Christ?
Whom may we introduce to the Lord?
Who is wondering what good thing they must do and missing that it is not a thing we do but that we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ that saves us?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The doctrine of the Pharisees, Sadducees, or of Christ



Matthew 16:12 KJV
Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

At this point we know what the leaven is Jesus warned the disciples to beware of. It is the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

But that still leaves some room for us to do a lot of meditating and consideration; the doctrines of the Pharisees and the Sadducees were just about as opposite as they could be. About the only thing they would have agreed upon is that Israel was God's people. The Pharisees were religious extremists. They believed that a man's righteousness came by his good works. The Pharisees had discovered over the centuries that it was not possible to obey everything in the Bible exactly as it was written, so they had re-written som things to develop and perfect their system of religion.

The Sadducees on the other hand had given up on that kind of righteousness. They had determined that the Bible was more like a guideline anyway and that it probably did not mean what it appeared to mean. They, for instance, had abandoned the doctrine of a literal resurrection. If no one rises from the dead then there are no eternal consequences of our faith and just about anything goes. Today's liberal has done essentially the same thing by teaching that everybody goes to heaven. If everyone goes to heaven regardless of what they believe or do, then there are no consequences or our faith and just about anything goes.

Jesus warned us of both extremes. And the trouble with both of them is that they can sneak in so subtly. Like a small portion of leaven, these doctrines can find their way into our churches, our faith, even our personal worship of the Lord; and once in they begin to grow and fester and can destroy the very faith they claim to adhere to.

The contrasting and proper doctrine is given in the very next passage in Matthew 16 where Jesus deals with who people say He is and the rock of verse 18 upon which Jesus said He would build His church. That rock, of course, is the person of Jesus Christ and those essential truths that have to do with Him.

Genuine faith is not built around a system of religion whereby we are made righteous by what we do. Nor is it proper to give up on doing right because we could never be right enough anyway. Genuine faith and righteousness comes from our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. When we aspire to know Him; when we seek Him, He makes us righteous. Then being made righteous in Jesus Christ, we begin to do righteousness.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

New era in life



We have reached a new stage in our lives. Someone commissioned a painting of us!

Just thought I would show the photo of the portrait.

Give me these crumbs!


Matthew 15:21-28 KJV
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

I was thinking as I read this today that even crumbs are fine when they come from the Lord's table! Lazarus begged crumbs from the rich man. But they did not compare to the crumbs this woman received.

These crumbs consisted of
The praise of the Saviour,
"O woman great is thy faith..." What a blessing to be acknowledged in such a manner.

The answer to her need
Her daughter was healed that very hour.

No long process of recovery

No nursing her back to health

No struggling with recurring symptoms of possession and laps back into her old ways

The use of her story in the preserved Word of God
You can do what you want to with this, but not everything that happened in Jesus' life was recorded in the Holy Writ. That this is, is evidence of the importance of the episode.

If I can eat this type of crumbs; please let me have them every day!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Prayer of Jabez


1 Chronicles 4:10 KJV
And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

Much has been made of this prayer lately and not without good reason. I do think that today's spiritual fads can be very dangerous. And the "prayer of Jabez" fad of our day tends to be more on the line of "name it and claim it" and "if God does not answer and bless you abundantly then you don't have enough faith" kind of teaching. But everything about the prayer of Jabez is sound and it would be sound for a Child of God to incorporate the sentiments of this prayer into our daily worship and walk with the Lord.

Jabez prayed fervently.
The term "Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed..." contains the same Hebrew word repeated twice. It is like Jabez prayed bless your blessings on me.

Jabez prayed evangelistically
"...Enlarge my coast..." Gill says that this is read in the Targum as, "multiply my borders with disciples.''[1] It certainly is not wrong for a Christian to ask the Lord to give him disciples to train and lead in God's work.

Jabez prayed providentially
"...that thine hand might be with me..." I think J Vernon McGee said "providence in the hand of God in the glove of man's circumstances." Whatever happens in our lives, we need to know we have the hand of God guiding us.

Jabez prayed circumspectly
"...that thou wouldest keep me from evil..." Jabez understood that spiritual warfare are a reality to the believer in this world so he sought God's protection in the midst of the evil generation.

Jabez prayed successfully
"...And God granted him that which he requested."
Jabez's prayer would be meaningless without this final sentence. I do not know that God's Word guarantee's that every Christian will get every one of these requests answered if he prays them every day. However, there can be little doubt that this prayer, alongside the Lord's model prayer, provide us with a powerful format for our prayer life.


[1] E-Sword 7.7.7, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Understanding the Message


Matthew 13:34-36 KJV
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.


After hearing Jesus teach and preach to the multitudes, there was a small band of disciples who
One; stayed after everyone else left
Two; entered into where Jesus was and
Three; asked Him to explain what He had just preached


There is a price for knowing the Lord closely. It can't come merely in the regular preaching and teaching of a Sunday morning service or probably even in the regular attendance in all the services of the church. The ones who want to understand what Jesus said, the ones who want grasp the truths of the Word of God and of the faith are those who

Stay after the services are over. They linger with the Lord and the things of God. They mull over and muse in the minds the things that they heard.

Step into the place where the Lord is. Not only do they go to the public gatherings, but they step into some more intimate settings with Jesus. Preaching to the multitudes necessitates a certain degree of vagueness. The message has to be aimed at all people and because of that it is not specific to any person. To get the specific stuff one must become more intimate and one on one with the Saviour.

Seek declaration and explanation and clarification of the message they have heard. Almost every time a believer reads the Word of God or hears a sermon preached there should be some portion of the message that grabs his attention. That would be the thing to go to the Lord further with. The Psalmist prayed "Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."[1] That's the way we ought to pray when we come to the Lord seeking this further declaration.

Jesus did carefully explain His parable to them. Then He asked them if they understood. His purpose is not to keep us in the dark, but rather to filter out those who really aren't listening so those who are listening can have a close walk with Him.


[1] Psalm 119:18

Monday, October 09, 2006

Losing One's Life


Matthew 10:39 KJV
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

I liked this statement in Barnes Notes, "Whatever a man sacrifices to God is never lost, for he finds it again in God."[1]

I think the Lord has to draw us back to this statement again and again so that we always remember; nothing in this world is of value outside of Christ.

Again and again we, as His children, come to the place where we give up that which is worldly for the spiritual. Then again and again the Lord blesses us in this life, which in turn again and again, seems to tempt us to cling to the things of this life and the Lord again must bring us to the place where we only want Christ.

As many times as it takes, I want to only want the Lord.


[1] E-Sword 7.7.7, Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The shepherds and the harvest


Matthew 9:36-38 KJV
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

I was struck by the fact that the Lord has concern for two groups of people;

First there are the sheep without a shepherd. There are two different analogies going on at the same time so these sheep could also be labeled the harvest without a laborer.
Our Saviour has compassion on those who need compassion most. They have nothing else. They are in need of a shepherd. They are in need of a laborer. They are in need of someone who would go out of his way to minister to them.
The Lord is concerned for the sheep without a shepherd

Secondly, the Lord is concerned for laborers. He specifically requests that we pray for more laborers. These are those who have a shepherd. These are those who have already been harvested. And our Saviour is concerned that those who have been gathered in would now be sent out.

No one gathers grain only to store it. The purpose for the harvest is always to put that which is harvested to use. Even so with the Lord's harvest. God gathers us in to send us out. God shepherds us that we might learn to be shepherds.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

One man can


2 Kings 22:19 KJV
Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.

The king is Josiah. He has discovered a copy of the Word of God and came under conviction because he understood that Israel had not obeyed the Bible for years. After humbling himself he instructs the priests to find out if God intended to judge them. The answer was, yes, the judgment of God was coming but that because Josiah himself had humbled himself, because his heart was tender, God had heard his prayers and would deliver him from the coming judgment.

Our world is in trouble. The Bible assures us that there will be end time judgment. There can be little doubt but that the judgment of God is soon coming.

Here is the wonderful thing; we can be forgiven,
One at a time
Individual by individual
Person by person.
While the die is set and the judgment is sure, this world will one day soon melt with fervent heat. Still there is hope for the one.

That one is me. I rejoice in the day when my heart became tender to the things of God and the Lord Jesus Christ forgave my sins.

That one could be anyone that I tell about the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not way to tell how a person will respond to the message of the Word of God. But there is one thing we may know for sure and that is they will not respond to it at all if we do not tell them.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Wise Man


Matthew 7:24-27 KJV
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.


I noticed two things as I considered these verses today

First, both the wise and the foolish were subjected to storms.
Building upon the rock does not prevent the storms. It only prevents your house from falling in the storm.

The description of the storm is pretty fierce
Rains descended
Floods came
Winds blew and
Beat upon that house

I know what it feels like to be inside the house while it is taking a beating and it is pretty unsettling.

The Lord never promised absolute ease and comfort. He only promised us that if we built upon the rock, the house would not fall.

Secondly, Jesus told us exactly how to build on the rock. He said we do it by hearing "these sayings of mine" and doing them.

It is that simple. Just listen to the Lord and obey what He says. When you do that you will build your house on the rock that will endure the terrible storms.

In fact, it is so simple that many people just can't do it. They feel like they have to do more than just listen to the Lord and obey.

They must need therapy
They must have to confront something or someone
They must have to fix something


When the storms are raging there are those who find they simply can't stay inside and enjoy their shelter; they feel like they have to flee.

And they are often the ones who are lost.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

They feared the Lord and


2 Kings 17:32 KJV
So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.

Assyria had defeated Israel and carried the people away captives. However, if they were to maintain their possession of the land they would need to occupy it. The king of Assyria therefore sent people from various other nations under his authority to dwell in the land.

These people superstitiously believed that the difficulties they faced in the land (though no doubt God did make their way rough) were because they did not know how to worship (fear) the local deity. They did not want to convert to the worship of the one true God; they simply wanted to pacify whatever local god was irritated with their presence.

They found a priest who would teach them Israel's ways
(vs 28)
There will always be a supposed man of God who is willing to prostitute himself
Either for fear of men
Or else for the gain of money
Or else for the desire of success
Or else for the convenience of living where he wants (this seems to be a part of the case with the priest of vs 28)

They may be able to teach people a kind of worship. They might even be able to develop in people an outward standard that looked much like the real thing. But it is not the real thing.

They began to worship (lip service) the Lord and their own gods
(vs 33)
Many of us have a form of fear of the Lord, but we also are still practicing the acceptable manners and customs of our world and those around us.
We come to church and we think like the world
We sing God's songs and we enjoy the music of the world
We read the Word of God and we buy into the philosophies of worldly authors
We are every bit as worldly as anyone we know who does not go to church and we know it.

They then put their own god's in the Lord's house
(vs 29-31)
At first people make the distinction between the spiritual and the secular, accepting both as having a viable place in their lives, but eventually they will incorporate what is in the world into their so called worship.

And God said they never really worshipped Him at all
(vs 34)
And here is the warning we need to heed today;
Even if we feel as if we have appeased the local deity
Even if we feel good about ourselves and the fact that we call ourselves Christians
Even if in our own observation some of the difficulties we had before we learned how to "fear" the local deity

Yet God does not accept any form of worship other than the worship of Him and Him alone.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

His Disciples Came Unto Him


Matthew 5:1 KJV
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

My focus today is on the phrase, "His disciples came unto Him."

John Gill says of the word disciple, "The word .... signifies literally a scholar. Those who originally followed Christ, considered him in the light of a Divine teacher; and conscious of their ignorance, and the importance of his teaching, they put themselves under his tuition, that they might be instructed in heavenly things. Having been taught the mysteries of the kingdom of God, they became closely attached to their Divine Master, imitating his life and manners; and recommending his salvation to all the circle of their acquaintance. This is still the characteristic of a genuine disciple of Christ."[1]

Those who are conscious of their ignorance
Those who appreciate His deity
Those who comprehend His salvation
Come unto Him.

There may be one who knows mentally that Jesus is the Christ of the Bible. But the one who knows Christ as Saviour and has "put [himself] under His tuition" is an entirely different creature. The disciple comes unto Jesus.

He comes whenever Jesus calls
He comes whenever their is opportunity to hear Jesus speak
He comes wherever Christ may seat Himself

It is legitimate for us to ask ourselves if we are disciples. Are we professors of Christ, or are we followers of Christ?


[1] E-Sword 7.7.7, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wednesday's Visit


Though I will visit with the Lord tomorrow morning, I will not be able to record that visit on this blog.


My good friend and mentor in the ministry, Bro Bill Bramblett is scheduled to have a heart procedure done in the early hours of tomorrow. I will want to be there.

Behold


Matthew 4:11 KJV
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

This is not a new verse to me. What I felt led to consider in my meditations this morning is the word "behold." It is an imperative and means "lo, look, see, pay attention to this." It is no small thing that the angels ministered unto Jesus. Though the Scriptures do not expound upon it, this is not a point to miss.

First, the devil left.
The Bible tells us to resist the devil and he will flee. The word "resist" implies to me some struggle. You don't just say "I rebuke you in the name of Jesus" and he runs. From the Lord's own experience I understand that the devil will attempt multiple attacks.
Still the promise is "resist the devil and he will flee." I choose to believe the Bible.
The method of resisting, if we believe Jesus' example to be effective in our own circumstances, is through the proper and consistent use of the Word of God. We cannot do as Eve did and twist the Bible.
We must be honest with it
We must let it speak for itself and
We must accept it

But it is the Bible that will finally give victory over the devil's temptations

Secondly, it was only after the devil left that the Bible says the angels ministered unto Him.
When we are going through those times of temptation and attack it will feel like we are all alone. It may not feel like you have the support and help and ministry of the Lord and His angels in the midst of the conflict. It is at that moment we must again trust the Bible when it gives us the Lord's promise "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."

Finally, the angels did minister unto Him.
The Word of God says
Heb 1:14
Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (KJV)

So they not only minister to Him, they minister to us.

Gill describes this ministry in the following words, "the ministry of angels to, and for them, lies in things temporal and spiritual, or what concern both their bodies and their souls; in things temporal, in which they have often been assisting, as in providing food for their bodies, in curing their diseases, in directing and preserving them in journeys, in saving and delivering them from outward calamities, in restraining things hurtful from hurting them, and in destroying their enemies; in things spiritual, as in making known the mind and will of God to them, in comforting them, and suggesting good things to them, and in helping and assisting them against Satan's temptations; and they are present with their departing souls at death, and carry them to heaven...."[1]

Lord, help me to look for this ministry today.


[1] E-Sword 7.7.7, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dilatory



2 Kings 12:7 KJV
Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.

I learned a new word this morning. Gill accuses the priests here of being "dilatory" which means slow or tardy[1]. There was a job which needed to be done, and there was money with which to do it, but the King did not believe the priests were handling the job with as much urgency as maybe they should have.

The work of God should not be done in haste, but the work of God should be done. There is a need in the things of the Lord both to raise money and organize labor to accomplish things for the Lord's service. Whether it is in
Repairing and expanding the buildings of the Lord or
Working to win souls to Jesus Christ or
Preparing to teach a Sunday school class
God's work deserves our investment. There is no place for "dilatoriness." Slackness, laziness and slothfulness are qualities that would disqualify a man from his position.

I notice that the king even replaced Jehoiada for this "dilatory" handling of the repair work. (He did not remove him from the office of the priesthood, but rather just took from him the responsibility of collecting the finances and repairing the breaches, giving that responsibility to someone else.) Friendships and loyalties might even need to be laid aside so the work of God may go forward.

God deliver us from a dilatory spirit toward the things of God

[1] E-Sword 7.7.7, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Come to Worship Him

Matthew 2:1-2 KJV
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

I am very glad that the Word of God cannot be worn out. This is a portion of Scripture that is used, re-used and then used again and again. Yet it still has application and bearing and purpose in the life of the believer.

I happen to be reading this Sunday morning. And as I read of wise men who came to worship the Lord I became reminded of many "wise men, women and children" that I would get to see this morning as they come to worship Him too.

They came from the east and they came a long distance.
Some of our folks will drive a considerable distance this morning to worship Him
Most of our folks will be up early to make the preparations to worship Him
Many of our folks will come with gifts to give as they worship Him
Several of them have spoken to others about the Lord this week on their way to Sunday when they will worship Him
The majority of people who will be in church this morning have recognized His "star" or the fact that He is the Saviour and have accepted Him as Saviour and that is the reason they will come to worship Him


Thank the Lord there are still those who will come to worship Him.