Saturday, March 31, 2007

Even We Have Believed


Galatians 2:16 KJV
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

I like the phrase, "even we have believed in Jesus Christ."

Paul, a Jew, a man who was well versed in the standards, customs and disciplines of the pharisaical traditions towards righteousness, said that he knew that a man is not justified by the works of the law.
He knew it by revelation of the Lord
He knew it by study of the Old Testament
He knew it through his own attempt to be justified by the works of the law.


Paul, a man who had met the resurrected Christ personally on the road to Damascus, and who had been trained personally by the Lord in Arabia,[1] said he knew that a man could only be justified by the faith of Jesus Christ.

So even a man like Paul believed in Jesus Christ and
Even a man like me believed in Jesus Christ.


[1] Galatians 1:17

Friday, March 30, 2007

Be Glory


Galatians 1:5 KJV
To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

There are those who would say that both God the Father and Jesus Christ are referred to in this passage.
Both are equally God
Both are equally deserving of glory

Christ must be praised and glorified because He gave Himself for our sins
God the Father must be praised and glorified because He sent His Son to do it.

The word glory has a wide application and can also be translated
Praise
Dignity
Honor and
Worship

We can never give God enough of any of them.

And He should get these for ever and ever.
Just as His mercy is new every morning so that He never runs out.
Just has the riches of His glory are exceeding abundant so that they never run out
Just as He is all powerful, all knowing and in all places so that they could never run out
Even so
Our praise to Him,
The honor we give to Him
The worship and the dignity we ascribe to Him

Must never stop.

Grandma's place

As those of you who read this blog already know, my Grandmother passed away last week. It is for me the end of an era. My grandparents lived just outside of Lyle, WA. It is arguably one of the most beautiful places on this planet. Perhaps that is why the forest service purchased their property from them some twenty-five years ago in order to make it a natural park with the agreement that my grandparents could occupy their home the rest of their lives. Grandpa and Grandma's place sat on top of a bluff overlooking the Columbia River. In the middle of the river, just below my grandparent's home is Memaloose Island, an ancient indian burial site. Across the river is an unobstructed view of Mt Hood.

Major Creek runs through their property and along one side of the creek was the site of an ancient indian village. The indians could straddle Major Creek and catch wild salmon with their hands as they made their run to spawn.

Along the bluff the indians had build a lookout tower out of the local rocks. From that vantage they could protect their village from others tribes coming up and down the Columbia. Deer and Eagles were a common site out Grandma's front window. Of course also outside her window was the magical view of the Columbia, with the activity of fishing boats and tugs hauling freight up and down the river, and Mt. Hood.

That will all soon be gone; at least in the way I remember it from my boyhood. Perhaps a park bench will be dedicated in memory of my grandparents where their home once stood. I do not know.

I know I long for the day when I will once again sit with my Grandmother and hear that cheerful voice, always so filled with energy and love of life. Perhaps the Lord will have a spot with such a view where she and I will look out over the wonders of God and in the quiet of the morning, sip coffee, rejoice in the work of God and just be glad to be with one another as we once were.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Apologies

I will be out of touch for a few days to attend my Grandmother's funeral and family needs.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Isaiah 12:1-6 KJV
And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.
Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

The day spoken of is the Millennial Kingdom, when Israel will be finally be the nation God intends her to be. God called this nation out of the world, crafted her from just one man and gave her promises unlike anything the world had heard before; yet Israel turn her back against God and God was angry with her. Still the Bible is clear that God will one day bless Israel and give to her everything He promised. Israel will be able to say "though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away and thou comfortedst me."

And is there not a similar praise each of us, who have trusted Christ as Saviour can offer? God had every reason to be angry with us every day.
We were lost
We were enemies of the Gospel and strangers to His grace
We lived as we pleased, not caring for the things of God.
We were children of wrath facing eternal damnation
When God's Holy Spirit broke through our blindness and gave us the faith to believe Christ.

God hath done excellent things. There is no doubt about that.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Light Shined


Isaiah 9:2 KJV
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

This passage must be taken in connection with the promise of the coming Saviour who is prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, referred to throughout Isaiah 8, and then prophesied again in Isaiah 9:6-7. Israel walks in dimness because she rejects Jesus Christ. But when Christ came, and was not received of the Jews, the Gospel was then turned to the Gentiles. These people, who had walked in the darkness for centuries, were the ones who eventually grasped the light of the Lord and carried His message world-wide.

God broke the yoke of our burden
God removed the rod or our oppressor, Satan and
God gave us the liberating light of Jesus Christ


Our world today reminds me of
Isaiah 9:9-10 KJV
And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria,
that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,
The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.


They don’t like Christ, so they make their own “hewn stones” and plant their own “cedars.” But Jesus Christ is still the only way, truth and life. Anyone who will come to Him will find light and find that His burden is light and His yoke is easy.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I Will Look For Him


Isaiah 8:17
And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him

Barnes Notes say, "This is the commencement of a new subject. The prophet had closed his former message; but had seen that in regard to the great mass of the nation, his exhortation had been in vain. He now says, that having delivered his message, he would patiently look to God alone. His hope was in him, though the nation looked elsewhere; and though calamities were coming, yet he would still trust in God only."[1]

This to me appears to be the ministry of the believer; we faithfully give the message God gives to us, and we look for the Lord to do His work.

Though God promised the sign (even after they refused to ask for one) still, the sign was a long time in coming. God does not do things on the same timetable that we would have Him to.

We must learn to wait for Him and
We must learn to look for Him


But His word is true and will come to pass.


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

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Land Hogs


Isaiah 5:8 KJV
Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!

The sin that is condemned in the context is that of covetousness and greed. It refers to the person who keeps getting land and houses until he is the baron of the place. He owns it all and anyone who lives in his area answers to him. It reminds me of the old western movies where John Wayne is the good guy who owns all the land and lets the small timers use his water, but then comes the wicked guy who tries to compete with Wayne by running out all of the small time ranchers and claiming their land. You see these houses one thousands of acres with nothing near them.

But as I thought about it I see another problem that can happen with we who are Christians. We sometimes want to protect our own privacy to the place where we "may be placed alone in the midst of the earth" and not care about the spiritual needs of others. God has been so good to us. He has made us possessors of heaven. He has made us joint heirs with Jesus Christ. He has made us priests and kings.

We do not well when we place ourselves so far from others that we don't share the streams of God's living water with those who do not have it. It is a terrible thing to starve a person out of the life giving flow seeing it is inexhaustible and given to us to share.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


2 Corinthians 5:4 KJV
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

Paul said he groaned, not to die but to live. Not to live as men do on this planet but as we will live in eternity.

The longer I live the more I see that there is nothing in this planet that really grabs me. More and more the things that I love - even the people that I love - I find to be not of this world.

The burden, the groaning of my soul is not that I would die but that I would see my Saviour. The wording of this verse makes me think of the rapture. Those who experience it will not be unclothed, they will just change clothing. They will go from one level of life to the next level of life without tasting death in the process.

We do not know when our Saviour will come.
We do groan, being burdened that it would happen very soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

The treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ. And what a treasure it is!
The salvation of the soul
The forgiveness of sin, the guarantee of a home with God in heaven
The new birth into the family of God
The offices of priests and kings

And all of this given to us freely at the great cost of the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The worth of this treasure is made that much more brilliant when we consider that it is housed for us in these earthen vessels, our bodies. There is nothing glorious in us and there is everything plain about us. We are fragile, easily broken. We often crack and leak under the pressures and stresses of daily use. Yet Almighty God infuses us with Christ and the Holy Ghost when we get saved.

Truly God is worthy to be praised for this treasure.

Grandma


2 Tim 1:5
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother …. (KJV)

I got the word yesterday morning (which was a Sunday) that my grandmother had a stroke and was in the hospital. Anita and I planned a trip to Hood River, Oregon to see her this morning but by the time we got there Grandma had experienced a seizure and was sliding downhill. We knew it was only a matter of hours before she passes so the only thing left to do is make her as comfortable as we can until she is gone.

When I call to remembrance my Grandma
I remember joy.
Grandma always seemed to be happy. She was an early riser and liked to watch the morning skies as the sun rose over her Columbia River home. Grandma had a joy in her voice and an energy in her life that, as far as I was ever able to see, just never left her.

I remember love.
Grandma was the example of love and care for her family. Her whole life was taken with giving care for her children. Even in her eighties, it looked like she would be there for her own kids until they were gone.

I remember perfumeWhen I kissed Grandma yesterday, she was wearing the scent of her perfume. Grandma was loved a beautiful view from her home, a well cared for yard and flower garden, a well kept house, and to keep herself beautiful.

I remember bubble bread
It means nothing to most, but there is something comfortable about passing down a sweet recipe.

I remember attending church with her
And I am glad I can expect to see her again soon in heaven.
(About 11:00pm March 20, I received the word that my grandmother has gone to be with the Lord. As best as a man can tell, Grandma was a believer. I long for the day when I will see her again in glory.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Turn the Heart to the Lord


2 Corinthians 3:13-16 KJV
And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:
But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

Israel was so stuck on the Old Testament (and their false interpretations of it) that they could not see the truths that were in the Old Testament nor could they recognize that Jesus is the Messiah they claimed to look for.

Before a person turns their heart to the Lord Jesus Christ there is a vail between them and the truth. They may hear the truth and even in some cases acknowledge it as true, but if the heart is not turned to Christ, they will not grasp the life changing impact of the truth.

I noticed that it did not say that the person must turn to the Lord but that his heart must. I know people who claim to be believers, but their hearts are really set on the things of the world. Their love for the world becomes a filter between them and the Word of God so that they cannot get hold of how the God of the Bible could help them.

Our need today is to turn our hearts, our affections from this world and to the Lord. The more we do that the greater will be our ability to see the glory of the Lord.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


2 Corinthians 2:9 KJV
For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

I know the Apostle Paul wrote these words but this is one of those places in the Bible where it might become the most important that we can see that Paul was only a penman but the Holy Ghost is the Author of our Bible. So it is not Paul so much that wrote this to know the proof of them, but God.

This then becomes a lesson concerning why we have the Bible. The Bible proves whether we will be obedient to the Lord in all things. In this case, in the first epistle Paul instructed them to discipline a sinning brother. That is a tough thing to do.
He is likely a family member as well as a member of the church
His attendance at church is important and people will notice he is missing

Besides it is just unpleasant to be confrontational

However, they were instructed to discipline that member, and they had obeyed.

Now the instruction is to forgive him and comfort "...lest such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow." The assumption is that he has since repented and turned from his sin. And that sin, however grievous is now a thing of the past. So the thing to do is to put it in the past and move on.

It is important to remember than God is not here for our benefit, but we are here for His. God is not concerned so much that we understand everything He does. Nor is He burdened that we think things are fair. God's concern is that we be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. God is concerned that we be obedient in all things.

If we keep that in mind it will transform our lives for His glory.

Friday, March 16, 2007


2 Corinthians 1:15-24 KJV
And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;
And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.
When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?
But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

This is a longer portion that I usually use and the one verse I am using for the foundation of my meditations today is verse 23, "Moreover I call God to record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth."

In Paul's first letter he said he planned to visit them in connection with another visit through Macedonia. This visit had not materialized and the students of the Word of God believe that Paul's enemies had been taunting the believers and saying that Paul was not good for his word. Did he know the will of God or not and did he follow that will? Paul assures these people that he does know the mind of God and that he had good reason not to visit them yet. He avoided coming to them for their own good.

One of the difficulties in serving in the ministry is that there are those who misunderstand. They see the confidence the preacher demonstrates. They hear the messages that have to do with the authority and some of them are prone to look for mistakes and errors in the preacher's ministry, using those to accuse him of not being a real man of God, or else using them to excuse themselves from following his counsel in their lives.

No genuine man of God believes himself to be infallible. But a true man of God does live his life by the Word of God and with the best of intentions for the people God has placed in his care.

If only more people would see this and support their preacher rather than fall away or fall out to another church when he does things they don't understand.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Proverbs 15:11 KJV
Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

I see this as a contrast similar to
Rom 5:8-10
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
(KJV)

God is aware of everything that goes on in hell. No soul suffers there but that God does not know about it. No person enters there but that God is not aware of it. Because God loves sinners, no person endures the torments of hell but that God is not broken hearted about it.

But Proverbs goes on to say that much more the hearts of the children of men (are before the Lord). The contrast I think means that those who are not saved and who are not yet in hell are before the Lord. He views their hearts. He yearns for them to be saved. He places circumstances and events before them that are designed to draw them to the Saviour.

And I think it might imply that the hearts, the desires of the saved are always before the Lord. He sees their needs, He knows their hearts, He has in front of Him at all times their wishes.

And there is great comfort and encouragement in that. If God is concerned even for those in hell, whose lot is cast and whose decisions to reject Christ have eternally banned them from the presence of God, then how much more God must care for those of us who have trusted His Son for salvation and who now live anxious to walk with the Lord.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Always abounding in the work of the Lord - Always engaged in doing the will of God; in promoting his glory, and advancing his kingdom. The phrase means not only to be engaged in this, but to be engaged diligently, laboriously; excelling in this. The “work of the Lord” here means that which the Lord requires; all the appropriate duties of Christians. Paul exhorts them to practice every Christian virtue, and to do all that they could do to further the gospel among people.[1]

I take my thought from the idea of abounding in the work of the Lord. My mind immediately goes to that work which would be called full time service, because that is what I do. However, this is not the work that every Christian does and certainly this would not be the work that even most Christians do. So, since this passage is not written strictly to pastors and missionaries, it must refer to something other than that. What then is it that we are to abound in?

On a natural level
Adam was called to subdue the earth and care for it.

We still have the responsibility to use all our faculties to bring to light the glories of God.
We are to be stewards of the earth in such a way that our use of the earth's resources and those sciences God gives us wisdom to know, to honor and glorify the Lord.

On a personal level
I am to grow in grace and in the knowledge of my Lord and Saviour.

I read the Bible, I pray, I attend church services, I even minister to others for the purpose of growing and developing my relationship with Jesus Christ.

On a spiritual level
I should exhibit the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5 and Ephesians 5.

On an ecclesiastical level
I am to participate in the work of the great commission.
Through soul winning and outreach efforts
Through prayer and support of foreign missions
Through ongoing teaching ministries in my church


The fact that Paul said "your labor is not in vain in the Lord" impies that it may on the surface appear to be in vain.
Be stedfast
Be unmovable

Keep at and even increase in the work of the Lord because, even if it may sometimes look like it, it is not in vain in the Lord.


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

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Want of Judgment

Proverbs 13:23 KJV
Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.

As much as a man may till and labor, and as much as he may produce, much of it is destroyed and cannot provide its designed benefit for want of judgment.

John Clarke said, "O, how much of the poverty of the poor arises from their own want of management! They have little or no economy, and no foresight. When they get any thing, they speedily spend it; and a feast and a famine make the chief varieties of their life.”[1]

And since we are all poor men and lack judgment in comparison to God, we are in constant want of God's wisdom. Even when we can see we have accomplished something for the Lord, how much more might we have done if we had only had
More of His wisdom
More of His direction
More of His guidance


There is no room in the Christian to decide he has arrived in the spiritual plane. We must constantly and always seek the wisdom and counsel of God. For only then will that we have tilled come to complete fruition.

[1] E-Sword 7.7.7, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A., (1715-1832)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Charity

1 Corinthians 13:7 KJV
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Among the qualities that come with charity is "...believeth all things, hopeth all things..." The charitably Christian is not cynical, not beaten down, not pessimistic. The charitable hopes not only in the promises of heaven, but that God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.

He hopes for the salvation of those who seem most unlikely to be saved
He hopes that kings hearts will be turned
He hopes that more souls will be saved
He hopes that backslidden believers will be reclaimed
He hopes that governments might bow before the Lord
He hopes for revival


He reads the Word of God and believes that what God has done in the past, God may do again. And having this faith he prays for God’s blessings and serves with joy.

He does not live in the dark cloud of doom, seeing only that this world is growing worse and worse as we draw nearer to the day of Christ's return, but seeing also that God's hand is in it; that there is still much that the believer can do to bring men and women to Christ and to rescue the perishing at the last moment.

The charitable Christian will not hunker down in a bunker somewhere awaiting Christ's return, but he will venture out believing and hoping that God will bless and use him as he does.

The charitable Christian is not bowed down under the burden of his day. He has instead bowed before the Father and found grace and strength to square his shoulders for the work of God.

The charitable Christian "…believeth all things, hopeth all things..."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Consider the Work of God


Ecclesiastes 7:13 KJV
Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

This is not, in my estimation, to be taken as a bitter statement, but rather as a statement of submission to the mind of God.


Some have accused God's plan for the ages as "crooked."
That Satan and sin entered the world
That God would not accept all forms of worship
That there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved
That there is a hell the lost go to
That man cannot redeem himself by his own good deeds


Much of mankind would like to "straighten" those things out. They consider them to be crooked. They, like Cain, believe they can justify their own fruits.

The wise man considers the work of God and rests in God's almighty plan. God is not crooked in the sense of being wrong. It is merely that His ways are different that our ways; and what is more, His ways are higher than our ways. Not only is it true that we cannot straighten that which He hath made crooked, we do not need to straighten it.

God's ways are right
God's ways are good
God's ways are perfect

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Guest Devotion

Saturday was a crazy day around our place. Accordingly I used as my devotional thought for the day a portion of a message Brother Lance Hohenstreet gave at our men's prayer breakfast that morning.

Matthew 9:35-38 KJV
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
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.

This devotion came from a very full day as a part of our missions conference. It is borrowed from the message Lance Hohenstreet preached this morning.

We need three things Jesus possessed in this text:

We need His SIGHT
"all the cities and villages..."
No on was left out

We need His STIRRING
"He was moved...."

We need to be moved and stirred to action for the cause of others.

We need His SUPPLICATION
"pray ye therefore..."


Thank God for Jesus' prayer. May His prayer become our prayer.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Avoiding Offence


1 Corinthians 10:27-33 KJV
If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:
Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?
For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.


I think verse 32 means almost the opposite of what most people who read it think. Most people think this means that we ought not to offend others.
We ought not to take stands that another might be offended by
We ought not to preach a message that a listener would be offended at
We ought not to talk to people about death and hell lest we offend them

But the context says something opposite of that. The context is that we ought to be careful not to do something that would hamper them spiritually.

Paul said that there was nothing wrong with eating meat sold in the shambles - that is meat that had been slaughtered as part of a pagan ritual. Paul said
That the meat is just meat
That there are no gods in the idols anyway and
That we are at liberty to eat that meat


On the other hand, if the person who has served us the meat declares to us that in the eating of that meat we are offering it to idols, then don't eat the meat, "...for conscience sake..." But then he says not for our own conscience, but for the other. Now, the other may be offended that we refuse to eat the meat offered to the idol, but a bigger offense exists here; by eating I might avoid offending the man, but I will also be endorsing his idolatry. My desire to avoid hurting him would in fact harm him in a greater way, that is, spiritually.

We who are Christians ought to want to please all men in all things. We ought to seek their profit. But the profit we are to seek is for their spiritual well being and not that we have not offended them on some earthly level.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The World in their Heart


Ecclesiastes 3:11 KJV
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Clark writes concerning this, "...the meaning is, that God hath set before the minds of men, and in them, the whole world of creatures, the whole book of nature, in which they may see and read much of the wisdom power, and goodness of God in his works; and to some he gives an inclination and desire hereunto; but yet the subject before them is so copious, there is such a world of matter presented to them, and their capacity so small, and life so short, that they cannot all their days find out the works of God, either of creation or providence, to perfection; or find out what God works, from the beginning of the world to the end of it; for, of what he has wrought, but a small portion is known by them, and they know less still what shall be done hereafter..."

The word translated world can also mean eternity. God has placed within each of us the capacity to see Him and to know we are eternal beings just by observing the things that are in the world. We cannot attain to eternity just in the things we see and can learn from the world, but we can see our need to seek eternity from the things we see in the world.

I do not, as a witness for Jesus Christ, have to convince a man that there is an eternal destiny for each man. It is obvious. Our heart tells us it is so each time we look out at the world our God has created. But what a man cannot know, unless someone tells him, is what will be his end. That can only be passed from faith to faith. One man, having received faith from God, must go and pass that faith to another man.

My job is to show people Jesus. I do not have to show them;
God,
The devil,
Heaven or hell.
They already know those are reality because their heart tells them so. God hath "set [that] world in their heart." I only have to show them how to have an eternity in heaven and not hell.

God make me faithful in doing that.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Known or Knowing


1 Corinthians 8:2-3 KJV
And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
But if any man love God, the same is known of him.


My thought today is simply that it is not what you know that is as important as what is known about you. The greatest of educations
The brightest of minds
The most well rounded of life experiences
The best read of men

None of that matters much in comparison to what others know to be true of a man.

What others know about our character
What other know about our word
What others know about our commitments

These are the things that mark a man in this life.

But what marks a man for eternity is whether we are known for loving God.

So the highest aspiration I can attain to in my life is that of loving the Lord. Not that I must somehow make people see I love the Lord; only that I in fact love Him. For if I genuinely love God, "the same is know of him."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Lord's Freeman


1 Corinthians 7:22-24 KJV
For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

There is a freedom in servanthood. A man may be bound to a master; in our day that would be a job. The finances may be so tight that there is little chance to have a day off, each payday brings just enough to keep the needs met until the next payday. There is little left for time away to look for a better paying job or to make many changes in one's position. But for the person who is a child of God, and who recognizes that God has a role for his life, even this is not bondage but opportunity;
Opportunity to shine for Jesus Christ among those who see their lot in life as hopeless.
Opportunity to witness and to win men and women to the Lord who would otherwise be destined to hopelessness in life and torments in hell when this life is over.


For the Christian there is life and liberty and meaning even in the most menial of things on earth, because all that we do may be used of Christ to bring others to the saving knowledge. We can rest content in whatsoever state then because our hope is in Christ.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Such Were Some of You


1 Corinthians 6:11 KJV
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

This passage sets us up to understand just how wonderful it is to be saved.

Verses 9-10 Reminds us that sinners cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
The list of sins that would exclude a person from heaven is broad enough that most of us would be guilty of something on the list or akin to it. I can sense a pounding heart from the first readers. They know this passage is meant to mean them

Verse 11 then says, "And such were some of you..."
So if any of us missed the point of verses 9 and 10, the first phrase of verse 11 hits us between the eyes. No mistaking it. Paul means us. We have all committed sins vile enough to exclude us from heaven.

But then comes the sweet release....
...But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus....

All of that sin, all of that wickedness, all of that which would keep us from heaven has been washed away in the name of the Lord and by the Spirit of our God! Wow! Amen! Praise God I have a home in heaven! God knows what I have done and God Himself has washed me clean of it.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Nothing Before the Time


1 Corinthians 4:5 KJV
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

This passage may be more important in the spiritual life than we give it credit. We judge things too often. We judge things as unsuccessful because of what we see. We judge other things as successful also because of what we see. But if this passage is taken into consideration with chapter 3 those things that we might judge as the building of the Lord might just be the counsels of the heart of man rather than the leadership of the Lord.

In God's time He will make known what is genuinely service to Him. He will reveal those things that were built on man's ingenuity and wisdom rather than on dependence upon the Holy Spirit of God and He will praise those works that were simple stewardship to the Lord.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Defiling the Temple


1 Corinthians 3:16-17 KJV
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Barnes Notes says concerning defiling the Temple, which is the church and not the body of the Christian, "The figurative sense is, “If any man by his doctrines or precepts shall pursue such a course as tends to destroy the church, God shall severely punish him."

The context speaks
Of those who have defiled the church through carnality
Vs 3
That carnality being manifested in the form of

Envying

Strife and

Divisions

Of those who have defiled the church through man worship
Vs 4
One says "I am of Paul" and another "I am of Apollos."

Of those who have defiled the church by laying a different foundation than Jesus Christ.
Vs 10-11

This could take the form of false doctrines about Christ or building the church on teachings other than Christ's.

How to Have a Happy Home

How to be a Successful worker

How to be Run a Great Bus Program

All may have value, but they are not to be the means by which we build.


In fact, e are not supposed to build the church at all. Jesus said, "I will build my church." If we are acting as anything other than laborers of Jesus Christ we are treading on some pretty dangerous ground.

Of those who have defiled the church by building with man's wisdom rather than God's.
Vs 18-20

As important as it is to keep the physical body pure, these verses do not speak about that physical body, but the spiritual one which is our church. How the Lord must hate it when we do something that jeopardizes His body; the church.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Trouble


Psalms 138:7 KJV
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

Gill said, "Trouble attends the best of men; both outward and inward trouble, from sin, Satan, and the world; yea, they are in the midst of it, surrounded with it; and it is a way in which they walk through this world, and enter the kingdom of heaven..."[1]

If only we would look to the Lord who revives us in the midst of our trouble instead of the trouble we are in the midst of! Life on this earth has its troubles. If we are not in the midst of one right now, we have either just gone out of it or we are just getting ready to enter into it. But it is through these troubles that God desires to revive us, protect us and save us. Without the troubles we would never know the presence of God's right hand.


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