Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Come and See


Psalms 66:5-8 KJV
Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.
He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.
He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:


We are given two commands within these verses.

First, we are to "come and see the works of God."
Many of those works are listed right here for our remembrance. But I do not think that is because these are the only works of God we are to "come and see." Rather this is a sampling of what God has done and provides a basis from which we can begin our observation of God's works. Like priming the pump these only get us started.
There are the works of God recorded in the Bible
There are the works of God accomplished in the lives of believers before us
There are the works of God we see happening around us
There are the works of God accomplished in our own lives

God did not quit working when He finished the Bible. Nor did He stop working once He was done with those Christians before us. God does not work on behalf of people around us, but refuse to work in our personal lives. "Come and see!" God is still working.

Secondly we are to "make the voice of His praise to be heard."
John Gill says to do that, "...far and near, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; by shoutings, and loud acclamations of joy..."[1]

Christians must not be silent about their faith nor about their praise for God. When we sing in church, the saints ought to sing with gusto. When we are in the public, Christians ought to speak of God's goodness.

I want to suggest that we would have a much easier time making "the voice of His praise to be heard" if we have faithfully observed the first of the two commandments. When we carefully observe the works of God then we have something to shout praise about.


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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Psalms 63:1-2 KJV
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

This Psalm has a superscription over it which reads "A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah." The Bible records two times in his life when he spent extended periods in the wilderness; when he was fleeing from King Saul, when he was forced to leave Jerusalem as it was taken by his son, Absalom.

Even as good of a man as King David had his times of wilderness and trouble. David's words remind me of the Lord's model prayer "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on the earth as it is in heaven." In his time of trial David's heart yearned to see the glory and power of God out in the desert as well as it was seen in the house of God. He wanted to see what was preached about in theory, manifested in reality in the real world.

So we are not the only ones who have felt that way. Those who come to me and complain that what we preach will not work in the real world forget that those, whose experiences with God are the foundation for what we preach, also had times when they felt like it wasn't happening in the real world. God is as at work today in our lives as he was back then in their lives and likely they did not see it any more clearly then than we do today. If we ever thought our connection with God was so tight that we did not need to thirst after him, we would more than likely neglect our dependence upon Him.

To thirst after and to long after God is a better grace than to feel like you get everything you ever wanted from God.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Finishing with Joy


Acts 20:24 KJV
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul's purpose in life was not
To live in freedom
To be free of pain or even
To live

Paul said his purpose in life was to finish his course with joy, and (I think he means) in the ministry.

Finishing life with joy is not done by finishing with things or finishing without suffering. Finishing your life with joy happens when you finish it doing what God has called you to do.


And it can't happen any other way. We can make all of the excuses in the world why we can't keep on doing what God has called us to do or why we can't start doing what we know God wants us to do; but we can never finish our course with joy unless we finish it doing what we know God wants us to do

Sunday, January 28, 2007

As for Me

Psalms 55:16-17 KJV
As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.


As individuals we have very little influence in the lives of other people. We make a huge mistake in life if we devote too much of our burden on what others are and are not doing. There is only one human being on this planet that I have any real influence upon and that is myself. I will find my life much more fulfilled if I concentrate of doing right myself and if I don't let myself get too preoccupied with who else is or isn't doing right.

This is not to say that I don't care. And it is not to say that I don't put out energy to be an influence for godliness. But in the end, the results of my efforts are up to the Lord and I will be a miserable person if I cannot settle with that.

The psalmist says he will pray unto the Lord "Evening and morning, and at noon" and that the Lord "shall hear my voice." If we would discipline ourselves to pray as the psalmist did, then we may well be assured of the same confidence in prayer that the psalmist had.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My will and God's


Acts 18:21 KJV
But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

The little things often are the ones that catch my attention best. I could not count haw many times I have read through the book of Acts. I have preached through it twice. For several years I read it through once a month. I have preached through the life of Paul once and read at least two books on his life that I can remember. But this is the first time that I can recall noticing that Paul had been in Ephesus before Acts 19.

Paul testified concerning Ephesus that "a great door and effectual"[1] had opened to him there. He stayed in Ephesus longer than he had stayed anywhere, and much good was done for the glory of God through his ministry there.

But that was the second time he had come to town. The first time they had asked him to stay but he would not. He had another objective he had to complete before he could spend much time there.

But he did say, "...I will return again unto you, if God will..."

Paul recognized that he had a will, and so did God. Paul's will was subject to God's.

I cannot escape the fact that I have a will. I have
Dreams
Desires
Goals

To deny that would be dishonestly with myself. However, to ignore that God also has a will, and that will includes plans for my life, would be equally wrong. The principle is to always submit my will to God's will. That is what Paul meant when he said, "...I die daily..."[2]


[1] 1 Corinthians 16:9
[2] 1 Corinthians 15:31

Friday, January 26, 2007

Safe and Awed By It


Psalms 50:3-5 KJV
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.


When I lived in Astoria it was not uncommon for people to go to the coast to watch the storms. People would travel to the South Jetty so they could see the huge waves pound over the jetty rocks. Something about seeing that power, and yet knowing they were safe from it exhilarated the people.

The fear of the Lord and salvation is something like that. Christians fear the Lord. In fact, we could not get saved if we did not fear the Lord.
We recognize His mighty power.
We have observed the fierceness of His fire
We believe that "it shall be very tempestuous round about Him"


The Christian has gotten past the idolatrous concept that "a loving God could never send somebody to hell." We know that God is love, but we also know He is holy and just and true. We believe the Bible when it says without the shedding of blood [there] is no remission[1] of sin and the wages of sin is death[2].


God’s power is reflected in events such as
The eruption of a volcano like Mt St Helens in 1980
The tsunami of a couple of years ago and
In the hurricane Katrina

But those events pale in comparison to the power of God when He will one day pour out His wrath “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”[3]

But here is the thing: the Christian has been hidden, safe from this storm, in Christ. It is as if we behold the frightening power of God from inside a safety zone.
We see it,
We marvel at it,
We are awed, inspired, even fearful of it, but
We know we are safe from it.

And our safe place is not of our own making, not even of our own doing. Christ gathered us up to Himself and made us safe. We fled from His shelter but He captured us with His grace.


[1] Hebrews 9:22
[2] Romans 6:23
[3] Romans 1:18

Thursday, January 25, 2007

This God is Our God


Psalms 46:8 KJV
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

The word desolation is also defined as "wonderful thing." The Hebrew root is also translated in the KJV wonderful[1]and astonishment.[2] While God's desolations are not positive, they are a wonder to consider.
God's defeat of the enemies of Israel at the Red Sea
His victory over Jericho for Joshua
The defeat of the enemies of God's people under Gideon

And so many more events just like them demonstrate the power of our God.

The lost man should hear this passage, "Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth." and fear. He needs to be reconciled to God.

The backslider should hear this passage, "Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth." and consider. He needs to repent.

The faithful believer should hear this passage, "Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth." and be encouraged. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. [3]


[1] Jeremiah 5:30
[2] Jeremiah 25:9 and a number of other places
[3] Psalms 48:14

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I shall Yet Praise Him


Psalms 43:5 KJV
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Back in 1984 Anita and I moved to Astoria to plant a new church there. The work was more spiritually demanding than I could have imagined and I began to sink into a depression. Our first-born son, Bohannan arrived in July of that year. Anita and I were taking him to his first check-up when I rear-ended a vehicle at a stop light. Though the man whose car I hit was very gracious and did not require I pay for the damage (he was a Christian man) it still cause me to sink deeper still into depression. We got to the doctor's office and I asked Anita to go in with Bohannan. I was just too depressed to go in. While waiting for Anita I began to meditate upon a verse I had read that morning. That verse was Psalms 43:5.

The Holy Spirit got hold of me through that verse there in the waiting room. By the time Anita and Bohannan were finished with the doctor I was just about dancing! Nothing had changed in my circumstances (and they would not change for more than 3 years) but I was never down that low again. Sure, we had some tough times - the ministry is like that. But I had a promise fro God's Word; "...I shall yet praise Him..."

Three times in two Psalms God brings us this same encouragement.[1] We can trust God's promise. We shall yet praise Him. There will be times of sorrow and struggle, but God will finally and ultimately lift us up out of the pit and we shall yet praise Him.

Through the years other trials of faith have come but God has supplied me strength and grace to keep on through His Word.


[1] Psalms 42:5 and Psalms 42:11 are the other two. I do not remember which of these three verses I was meditating upon in the doctor’s waiting room, but I do think I recall seeing it all three times.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New blog


Joshua came home last night!


Hey, you might want to check out my new blog. I call it "MyGrandsonDaily.com" Click on the link to the right.

God Knows




Acts 15:18 KJV
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

John Gill says, "... all the things which God does in the church and in the world, they were all foreknown and predetermined by him: from the beginning of the world; or from eternity; even all his works of creation, providence and grace..."[1]

This in context of the Gentiles coming the Christ and whether they should be required to observe the Jewish ordinances. James, in citing Amos 9:11, concludes that God knew exactly that the Gentiles would come to the Lord.

There is comfort in the truth that God knows all that He is doing, from the beginning. He has a plan that is worked out from beginning to the end and He had it worked out from the beginning. God is in control. He is sovereign. He will see to it that the plan He has set in motion come to full completion.



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

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Joshua


Joshua is still in the hospital. Our last report was last night. They said that the lamps were working and the jaundice was going down. Our Lord willing he will get to come home today.

The Mark of a Good Man


Psalms 38:18 KJV
For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.

This is what makes a good man good. There is a tenderness about good men. They do not harden to their sin; they do not excuse or otherwise justify their sin, nor do they attempt to hide their sin from God.

Psalms 37:23-24 KJV
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.


So good men do fall from time to time. Albert Barnes says it like this, "“Though he fall.” Disasters and reverses may lay him low; he may, like Job, be stripped of everything; like Joseph, be put in prison; like Jonah, be cast into the deep. “He shall not be utterly cast down.” He shall not be altogether prostrate. He shall be brought on his knees, but not on his face; or, if laid prone for a moment he shall be up again ere long. No saint shall fall finally or fatally. Sorrow may bring us to the earth, and death may bring us to the grave, but lower we cannot sink, and out of the lowest of all we shall arise to the highest of all. “For the Lord upholdeth him with his hand...."[1]

Good men do fall, but good men will admit it. And then, admitting that they fall, they will seek the Lord for forgiveness and a hand back up.

Psalms 38:15 KJV
For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.


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

Saturday, January 20, 2007

If You Would, Pray


Well, little Joshua is still in the hospital. He has some sort of infection they want to clear up. He also has jaundice badly enough they are not comfortable letting him go home until that is settled. So, as of this morning, the plan is to keep him in the hospital at least until tomorrow.


Caleb and Lisa (and Anita and I too) would covet your prayers

What I Can Do


Psalms 35:28 KJV
And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

This is a very solemn Psalm almost all the way through. Toward the end the psalmist is making requests of the Lord concerning both how God will deal with him and how God will deal with his enemies. But he ends the Psalm with a determination all of us should make; And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

Regardless of how God answers our prayers
Regardless of what happens concerning our adversaries
Regardless of what things may happen in our lives


This one thing we can and should determine to do; speak of God's righteousness and His praise all the day long.

God is
Always righteous
Always glorious
Always good

God makes no mistakes in life and God's plan for the ages is a marvelous one.

This is the right thing to do
This is no difficult thing to do
Surely we can determine by the grace of God that, "... my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long."

Friday, January 19, 2007

His Eye




Psalms 33:18 KJV
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.

What a wonderful though that the Lord is looking upon me. It is obvious in the context that this watching is for our good. He is looking for opportunity
To protect
To bless and
To provide.

As I fear the Lord, and as I hope in His mercy, God is giving me just reason
To fear Him; He is protecting me, and
To hope in Him; He has
Met every need
Provided every necessity
Poured upon me all that I could have ever really hoped for and
Given me far more than I have deserved

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Joshua Alexander McKenzie




You will have to pardon me. I have been preoccupied the last couple of days with the arrival of my very first grandson, Joshua. 8lbs. 13 oz. 21 1/2 inches.


His grandmother says he has a manly cry!





Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Too Much-Not Enough


Psalms 27:8 KJV
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

"To seek the face of the Lord is to attend his house and ordinances, where he grants his presence; and with this view to enjoy his gracious presence, and the light of his countenance, not being content with bare attendance without it; it is to seek the Lord himself, and communion with him through Christ..."[1]

As Christians we ought to always seek the face of God in genuine communion with Him and not mere attendance at services.

But there is another, less obvious lesson to learn in the passage; when God says something, when God gives us an instruction, the proper response of our heart is to obey. One of the weaknesses we have in our faith is that there is
Too much listening
Too much hearing
Too much sitting through a service

Without nearly enough follow-through in obedience to the things we have seen and heard. Our walk with the Lord and our effectiveness in witnessing would be much improved if our heart was more inclined to obey what God says.


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

Monday, January 15, 2007

He Told Some To Tell All


Acts 10:41 KJV
Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

Jesus did not show Himself alive to all of the people, though He could have. Since He is not limited by time or space, as we are, He could have done as He did to Saul of Tarsus to every Jew. He chose not to do that. He chose instead to show himself to a select few who were then told to tell all the rest of the people.

We can apply that same principle to our lives today.
Christ has convicted us of our sins
Christ has saved our souls
Christ has showed Himself
Alive and
Personal and
Very interested in us.
Our task now is to tell everyone else.

God is glorified in the process of witnessing. That poor men and women, who have come to the knowledge of Christ, would then extend themselves beyond themselves to show others what they have been shown pleases the Lord and brings Him honor. That our faith would be passed down to another, rather than that person simply being shown from heaven itself, brings God honor.

And bringing God honor is the purpose, not just winning souls. If soul winning was God's only purpose God could have done that on His own much more effectively than we could. No, God's purpose is that He would be honored and that happens when a sinner, who has been justified, passes on His experience to another sinner who is then justified and does the very same thing.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Fear of the Lord and Comfort of the Holy Ghost

Acts 9:31 KJV
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Four things seem to be the ingredients of this growth
Rest (from affliction and persecution)
Edification (building up in the faith)
Walking in the fear of the Lord
Walking in the comfort of the Holy Ghost

Then perhaps the walking in the fear of the Lord and comfort of the Holy Ghost was a product of edification. In that case the fact that the believes could grow in the Lord gave rise to their fear of the Lord and their comfort in the Holy Ghost and that in turn led to the growth of the church.

We seldom have much choice concerning the rest. The Christians in Acts were persecuted far more often than they experienced this rest.

But we do have choices concerning the other three.

By the grace of God it ought to be our goal to concentrate upon developing edification, fear of the Lord and comfort of the Holy Ghost in our lives through our personal relationship with the Lord.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Presumptuous Sins


Psalms 19:13 KJV
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

John Gill says of presumptuous sins, "...the words are to be understood of sins wilfully, contumaciously, and presumptuously committed; and the petition supposes, that these may be committed by good men, if left to themselves; and that there is a proneness in them to them; and that they would rush into them, were they not kept back and restrained by the powerful and efficacious grace of God: and it also supposes that the saints cannot keep themselves; that God only can keep them from evil; and therefore they pray to him that he would, who does keep them by his power, at least from a final and total falling away."[1]

Both the Lord's model prayer and the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10 petition God to keep us from evil.

Maybe the most "presumptuous" sin a good man can commit is that of thinking he can be good without the grace and help of Almighty God. Satan's devices are opposed to the things of God and the man who lives godly in Christ Jesus should consider himself a target of those devices. Without the help and grace of God in protecting him, he will surely fall into sin. Worse, once fallen, many of those sins have the capability of capturing and taking dominion over the child of God.

In Matthew 6:13 Jesus told us to pray, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen"


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

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Righeousness


Proverbs 11:4 KJV
Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.

Proverbs 11:5 KJV
The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.

Proverbs 11:6 KJV
The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.

Proverbs 11:18 KJV
The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.

Proverbs 11:19 KJV
As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.

The Bible is very clear that there are great and distinct advantages in having righteousness

It will deliver from death
It will direct our way
It will deliver us from temptations
It will bring a sure reward
It will tend to life


As I thought about this today I came to Galatians 3:6 (and some other verses just like it) which says
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Righteousness is believing God. Righteousness is not necessarily being righteous in the sense of doing good. Righteousness, true righteousness, is believing God.

Believing God will change ones outlook on life
Believing God will impact ones attitude toward life
Believing God will affect ones action in life


But it starts with believing God
Not changing our outlook
Not handling our attitude
Not managing our actions

We need to insist that people believe God. Then God will keep His promises in Proverbs 11.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Where Joy May Be Found


Psalms 16:11 KJV
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

While this passage is a Messianic, meaning that it is prophetic of Jesus Christ, Gill says, "... as it is with the head it will be with the members in some measure..."[1] So what is true of Christ can be true for the Christian to some degree.

The goal of the child of God ought to be to be in the presence of God and Father and to be at His right hand. Fullness of joy and pleasures forever more are both to be found there, and I am sure, may not be found anywhere else. Sure, there are some joyful moments in this life, and there are even pleasures in sin for a season. But fullness of joy, complete satisfaction in joy is only to be found in the presence of God, and pleasures forevermore, pleasures without fail, without letdown, with no stopping are only to be found at the right hand of the Father.

I looked. There are more than a dozen times that Christ is said to be at the right hand of the Father. However we are said to be in Christ. The way to find true joy and genuine pleasure is then to seek Christ. As our relationship with Him grows, only then can our joy and pleasures be real.


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

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Then One Came


Acts 5:25 KJV
Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.

I think we reason away the will of God too much.

The Apostles had been thrown into prison for preaching Christ. Overnight the angel of the Lord miraculously delivered them, but told them to immediately go back to the Temple and preach
The same message they had preached that got them thrown into jail
To the same crowd
At the same place.
The inevitable happened; they were caught and taken before the magistrates again.


A person could have reasoned that it would have been wiser to
Preach in a house somewhere, or to
Maybe lay low for a week or so, or at least to
Split up better so they could not all be taken at once and they would not have been so obvious.

God obviously knew that they would be captured again and that they would be charged not to preach Jesus any more and that their lives would be jeopardized before the high priest. But God's concern was that they preach Christ, not that they
Avoid suffering shame
Avoid jail time or even
Avoid death


We reason away the will of God too much.

Monday, January 08, 2007

An Answer for Times of Despair


Psalms 10:17 KJV
LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

It is significant that the Psalm begins with the words, "Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?" No doubt the Psalmist knows what it means to suffer trouble. He knows what it feels like to need the Lord's help and not sense His dear presence.

But what we need to see is that the Psalm does not end in despair. Beginning in verse 12, there is a turn in the attitude of the Psalmist. Once again He begins to call out to the Lord.[1] Then He begins to meditate upon the sovereignty of God[2] and finally he recognizes that God has heard the prayers of those humble enough to call out to Him.[3]

In those times of trouble when it seems that God is so far off, the best course for us to take would be the same as the Psalmist;
1. Regain our resolve to call out to the Lord in prayer
2. Allow that to lead us to views of the sovereignty and power of the Almighty, which should
3. Restore our confidence in God's presence once again.



[1] Vs. 12
[2] Vs. 16
[3] Vs. 17

Sunday, January 07, 2007

His Name is Excellent


Psalms 8:9 KJV
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

The word excellent means "wide, large, powerful."

This Psalm opens and closes exactly the same way; by proclaiming the excellence of the name of God. We know that “... there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."[1] And we know "...whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."[2]

What a wonderful name, not only of Jesus Christ, but of the character, the person, presence of Almighty God ... and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”[3]

Psalms 8:9 KJV
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!


[1] Acts 4:12
[2] Romans 10:13
[3] Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, January 06, 2007

He has just begun


Acts 1:1 KJV
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

My thoughts focused on the word "began" this morning. Luke, the writer of Acts, refers to his other great work, the Gospel according to Luke and says that volume gave us all that Jesus began both to do and teach. It is not the conclusion of what Jesus did and taught, but only the beginning.

Jesus was not done teaching and doing when He left this earth. True, He did say, "It is finished." But He was referring specifically to the payment for man's sin. And yes He also said to the Father that He had finished the work He gave Him to do. But He was speaking about His work on this earth - the miracles and messages that were geared to bring people to Him as Saviour.

But it is obvious, not only from Acts 1:1, but from what follows it in the Book of Acts, and from what we find throughout the Epistles and the Revelation, that Jesus was not finished "doing and teaching" with the Gospels.

Nor is He done doing and teaching today. There are no new revelations. But that does not mean Jesus is inactive today.
He still saves any who come to Him
He still moves in the hearts of men to serve Him
He still helps any of us who call upon Him
He still guides any who will follow Him


What He began in the Gospels continues on today. And what He began in me He has not finished yet.

Friday, January 05, 2007

When it looks like there is no help in God


Psalms 3:2 KJV
Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.

It is believed that this Psalm was written by King David as he fled Jerusalem after his son Absalom's rebellion. Absalom had sat at the step of the king's court and courted people to rebel against David and follow him. It looked like Absalom's plot has succeeded and almost the whole nation would turn from the king. I can just hear Absalom and his cronies saying under their breath, "God hasn't helped him yet and it is too late for God to help him now."

But David's response was simple
Psalms 3:3 KJV
But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

Regardless of the difficulty and regardless of the words of his enemies - maybe even regardless of the doubts in his loyal followers, David kept his faith in the Lord.

And we know that the Lord vindicated King David.

There are times when every outward appearance indicates that our enemies have overwhelmed us that God could not possibly help us now. David's example tells us exactly what to do;
Trust God
Keep our eyes upon Him

In His time He will lift us up

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Fellowship, Not Delight


Psalms 1:2 KJV
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

The things we delight in tell much about us. This familiar psalm tells us the way to be blessed and happy in this life is to delight in the law of the LORD.

The word delight means, pleasure, desire, value.

The blessed man does not place his pleasures in the ungodly, sinners or the scornful.
He does not even find his pleasure in the people who are righteous, just and blessed.
His pleasure, his desire, that which he finds value in is the very Word of God.

And I suspect it is from this position of finding pleasure that he then has fellowship with those who are righteous, just and blessed. It is a matter of focus, his focus in not on the people of faith, but on the Word of God and the object of faith. From there he has not pleasure, but fellowship with others who find their pleasure in the same.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What about Elihu?


Job 42:7 KJV
And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

The book of Job is always an interest to me, and never an easy book for me. I was interested this morning to see that God's wrath was against Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, but no mention is made of Elihu. So I did a little digging today.

My New Pilgrim's Study Bible[1] says that the three were wrong in that they insisted that God would only judge the wicked and only reward the righteous. Since Job was suffering the conclusion, in their mind was that Job must have committed sin to be judged this way.

On the other hand, Elihu's point of view was that God teaches people lessons through suffering. Elihu then urged Job to submit himself to God's hand, knowing that what God does is both just and perfect. That this is wise counsel is confirmed by the fact that God does not show wrath toward him and it was not necessary for Job to offer a sacrifice for him.


[1] New Pilgrim’s Study Bible, pg 765

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

How best to glorify God


John 17:4 KJV
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

As I have read John chapters 12-17 I have noticed that there is an underlying theme through them all concerning the glory of God. Jesus Christ and God the Father are both vitally concerned that they be glorified on the earth.

Jesus said that the way He glorified the Father is by finishing the work the Father had given Him to do.

My first thought; we should be more concerned that God be glorified. That both Jesus Christ and God the Father be
Uplifted,
Honored
Thought highly of and
Spoken highly of
Among men, ought to be a constant concern of the Christian.

My second thought; we Christians do that best when we find and finish the work Jesus Christ has for us to do.

Our Christian life is one of daily discovery. Each day we are to awake with the goal of growing in grace and the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ so that we would know better what work we have been given to do. As we grow in that relationship, and as we discern better what our work is, then it becomes us to do the work.

May we, as Paul be able to say in our last hours;
...I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith...