Monday, April 30, 2007

Godly Exercise


1 Timothy 4:8 KJV
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

I exercised my body today by doing some fairly physical errands around the house. By the end of the day I had some difficulty even gripping a spoon because my hands were so tired. Bodily exercise does profit some.

Far more important is that we exercise ourselves unto godliness. Scripture says that exercise and effort has promises that pertain both to the life that now is and the life that is to come.

The Life that now is
Barnes make these comments: "...The promises of the Scriptures on this subject are abundant, and there is probably not a lack of our nature for which there might not be found a specific promise in the Bible; compare Psa_23:1; Psa_84:11; Phi_4:19. Religion promises us needful food and raiment, Mat_6:25-33; Isa_33:16; comfort in affliction, Deu_33:27; Job_5:19; Psa_46:1-11; Heb_13:5; support in old age and death, Isa_46:4; Psa_23:4; compare Isa_43:2; and a good reputation, an honored name when we are dead; Psa_37:1-6. There is nothing which man really “needs” in this life, which is not promised by religion; and if the inquiry were made, it would be surprising to many, even with our imperfect religion, how literally these promises are fulfilled."[1]

That which is to come
There is more riding on our godliness today than most believe. I am amazed at how many believers think they can shirk God in this life and expect a full life in eternity. The New Testament is filled with teaching concerning eternity and the fact that decisions made today impact what eternity is like.
Scriptures that speak of an abundant entrance
Scriptures that speak of being saved yet so as by fire
Scriptures that speak of making it to heaven but suffering loss
Scriptures that speak of weeping and gnashing of teeth
Scriptures that speak of being ruler over much
Scriptures that speak of rewards for the deeds done in this body

And in every case, the difference has to do with obedience, faithfulness and godliness.

Godliness is profitable unto all things!


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

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thou, O LORD, knowest me


Jeremiah 12:2-3 KJV
Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.


God looked at the hearts of some of them and found that though their mouths spoke of the Lord, their affections and their lifestyle did not match their words. Many are the people who would like to be associated with all that is positive about being a believer but who have no intention toward the commitments that are a part of the genuine faith.

But there is another sort of people. They are those who are known of the Lord. He has seen that through the most difficult of trials they will still move toward the Lord. Those trials, far from pushing them away from God tend to pull them closer and closer toward Him.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

In These Things I Delight


Jeremiah 9:23-24 KJV
Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

There are a lot of things we look to as signs of greatness and which we often desire to imitate in our fellow man.

We might look at a man's wisdom and education and elevate them in the eyes of man because of it
We might lift a man up because of his physical strength or because of his power in the realm of military training or political advances
We could point to the man who has attained wealth and see him as a man worth imitating


God says that none of those things are things we should glory it. He said that instead we should glory in or follow the man who understands and knows the Lord; that He delights in lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness.

Our hero ought to be the Lord Jesus Christ.

But those men we should pick out as leaders for our lives ought to be only those who understand and know the things God delights in.

Friday, April 27, 2007

God is Listening...What are We Saying?


Jeremiah 8:6 KJV
I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.

This is a striking passage. Before God pronounced His sentence upon Jerusalem He says, "I hearkened and heard..." God listened carefully to their words. He patiently considered the course of their conversations to each other, to themselves, privately and publicly. God was not quick with His judgment but was thoughtful and slow to act.

But God said they did not speak aright. They did not say the things; they did not meditate upon the things that would have led the Lord to ease His hand of chastening.

God was listening for a word of repentance.
God waited to hear one man stop and question, "What have I done?"

What a difference could be made in our world today if men would stop and consider what their sin has done! What a change might be wrought if man would simply think that God waits and listens for someone to repent.
Lord, make it so

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Lord


2 Thessalonians 3:5 KJV
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

Throughout 2 Thessalonians I see a blend of Paul's work in the lives of the Thessalonians and the work of the Lord in them. There are some things God instructs a preacher to do. However there are some things only the Lord can do.

I am coming to the place where I feel like I cannot do much for people unless the Lord directs their hearts to love the Lord. There is not much a preacher can do for people, even those who claim Christ as Saviour, whose strongest love is for the things of the earth. When a man's heart is fixed in any way to earthliness he is immediately at odds with the Lord and with his Word.

Only when the Lord directs our hearts into the love of God. Only when we truly love the Lord, will the things a preacher can offer by way of ministry be effective.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Backsliding/Treachery


Jeremiah 3:11 KJV
And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.

Students of the Old Testament know the difference between Israel and Judah. Israel (the ten Northern tribes) seemed to always have a tenuous relationship with their brethren, especially after the death of King Saul. They separated from their brethren and began their own kingdom after Solomon died and his son Rehoboam refused to lighten their taxes. They never had a good king, and they were blatantly apostate; worshiping the idols of Jeroboam rather than going to Jerusalem (in the Southern kingdom) to worship at God's Temple.
Judah (the Southern kingdom composed of just two tribes, Benjamin and Judah) continued to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem but also always played with idolatry. While they had periods of revival under good kings, they too had some very wicked kings. Judah was not as blatant against God. Their fault was in their religious deceit. They pretended to worship the living God, but secretly they worshipped mostly themselves.

The word backsliding means apostasy, a turning away.
The word treachery means to cover, act covertly.


The interesting thing is that God said that backsliding Israel had justified herself more than treacherous Judah. It is easier to see absolute apostasy and turn from that than hypocrisy which not only deceives the observer but the very deceiver. Treachery blinds the person who is treacherous so that they cannot see their sin. How many are those who, because they act good, have deceived themselves into believing they are good enough for God!

Open our eyes Lord, so that we see our sins for how wicked they are and cry out to You for mercy and grace.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

God's Rewards


Jeremiah 1:19 KJV
And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.

Having read the book of Jeremiah I know that the Jews did in fact fight against him. Jeremiah's ministry was as difficult one as we are aware of in the Bible (though none of the prophets had a really easy ministry). The question I asked this morning was, "Did his enemies ever prevail against him?"

Jeremiah's ministry was never successful in the modern sense of the term. He saw no converts. He was throne in a dungeon. He was eventually forcibly taken to Egypt by a band of rebellious Jews where it appears he died.

God did protect Jeremiah in the sense that he was recovered from the dungeon, the Jews were never able to take his life, nor were they able to silence his message, and he was never taken into Babylonian captivity.

However I have to think that Jeremiah's real rewards were heavenly. God's promise has to be more than merely, "You will survive your ordeal.” God was in fact honored through the ministry and life of Jeremiah and that must translate into great blessings in eternity. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:18, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Monday, April 23, 2007

To Obtain Salvation


1 Thessalonians 5:9 KJV
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

It takes some thought to see this verse for what it is. The Apostle is writing to the church in Thessalonica, but he surely isn't addressing the members of the church when he refers to "us." Obviously God had saved them already.

So it appears to me that the "us" he refers to would be all of us. Those of us who are lost and facing the wrath of God. God's intention, God's desire is not that we face that judgment. His appointment and His choice is that we would obtain and accept the salvation that He has offered us through Jesus Christ.

Adam Clarke says that it is obvious that if someone is appointed to salvation then someone else is appointed to wrath. And he says it is not difficult to determine who that is from the context of the whole of Paul's writings (and I would add the Book of Acts) that it speaks of the nation of Israel as a whole, who had rejected Christ and had been rejected of God.

There is every reason for the lost man to come to Christ hopefully and expectantly, for God has not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. And there is every reason for the Child of God to preach and urge sinners to come to Christ because again God hath not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

To This Man Will I Look


Isaiah 66:1-2 KJV
Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.


God is not impressed with those things we might bring to Him by way of offering. The gods of this world, men suppose, are appeased by the sacrifice. They give offerings expecting to buy their god off and pacify, for a time, his anger. Our God taught sacrifices for an entirely different reason - to show just how futile they really were. The sacrifice only pointed out man's utter inability to pacify God and pointed to the sacrifice that God Himself would offer, not to appease himself but to propitiate for man's sin.

So God is not looking for a man who will give more to Him. He needs nothing. God is looking for a man who is
Poor
The word means depressed. There is too much of the giddy, shallow frivolity. We need men who can see the seriousness of the day. Not that God wants us to be miserable people. He says He has written the Word and spoken to us so our joy may be full. But that joy originates in God, not in the pleasures of the world.

Contrite in spirit
This word means smitten. Our own sin should be enough to humble us before God. That we are wicked sinners and that God would send His Son to die that sin is humbling to the highest degree. That Christ was wounded for our transgressions should wound us in our very spirit.

Trembles at His Word
This means fearful. God's Word must be more to us than a good read. To take heed to every Word of God and to obey ought to be our highest goal.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I will mention the lovingkindness of the Lord


Isaiah 63:7 KJV
I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

This verse, in light especially of
Isaiah 63:5 KJV
And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.

Since no man is able to help the lost, no man is able to rescue the sinner God's determination is that He will do it Himself. In light of that great truth, the prophet says, "I will mention the lovingkindness of the Lord..."

The least I can do is daily mention His lovingkindness, if in nothing else than to give out this or a similar passage to another. The least I can do in consideration of the salvation that the Lord Himself has brought me is to let others know about Him. To share a verse that offers praise to God, to quote a Scripture that honors the Lord.

None of us can save a man's soul. But all of us can mention the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Friday, April 20, 2007

This Is No Time To Rest


Isaiah 62:6-7 KJV
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,
And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.


The watchmen of the passage are the preachers of the Gospel. God says they should not be silent and they should not rest, "...till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." That is, when Christ returns to establish His kingdom.

These are days of urgent need.
Lost souls must be warned.
Perishing people must be rescued.
God's name must be glorified
The Gospel message must be preached.


There is coming a day of rest but today is not that day. Looking at the world as it is right now, I think that day of rest is not far off. But still, it is not today.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

There is Help


Isaiah 59:1 KJV
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

This verse is so positive, but it must be balanced with the rest of the chapter's context.

There is hope
Vs 1

God is sovereign and supreme.
There is nothing He cannot do.
There is no soul He cannot save.
There is no crisis God cannot get the believer through


There is helplessness
Vs 2-19

Let's stop blaming the Lord for the problems in our lives and let's get the blame squarely where it belongs; on our sin. Our sin runs through us head to toe.
The lost man, even
The saved man.

Sin is our problem. Too many have denied Christ's salvation; too many of the saved have ignored Christ's Lordship. We are
Worldly,
Disobedient
Selfish and
Sinful.

There is help
Vs 20-21

Our only help is in the Lord Himself. There is
No man,
No scholar,
No human leader
Who can bring us into a right relationship with the Lord. So our God saw that, and sent Christ as our Redeemer.

The Lord's hand is not shortened. God's ear is not dull of hearing. We simply must fess up to our sin condition and appeal to Christ alone for mercy and access to God's grace.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Taken Away


Isaiah 57:1 KJV
The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.

This passage is prophetical of the rapture. The ungodly of this world may believe that righteous people perish. They may view our low estate so far as the things of the world are concerned, they may see that we are persecuted and oppressed by the god of this world and they may believe that we perish. The godly are afflicted and, because they believe we deserve because we hold to such superstitions as the Word of God, they do not take it to heart.
They do not consider reasons for our faith
They do not care for us and for the things we endure

But then we are taken away. We are removed from this world.
It may be by untimely death
It may be by rapture to glory

But when that day (of the rapture) happens, the Bible says this world will not consider, will not realize, will not understand that in fact the Lord has in fact taken us away from the evil that will come upon this world.

We might perish so far as the things of this world are concerned, but the child of God need never worry that he will perish eternally as will the ungodly, who will not give their eternal state a second thought.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Christ, who is our life...


Colossians 3:4 KJV
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

This verse is a simple statement of the hope of every Christian

Christ is our life
In the sense that He gives us very life
In the sense that He gives us eternal life
In the sense that He gives us purpose for life

If our life is hid with Christ in God then all that should be seen in our life is Christ.

Christ shall appear
This is a promise. It is not mere fiction. It is not the fantasy of the Christian. It is the blessed hope and the one event that is to motivate and fix the Christian's attention. Christ shall appear.

We shall appear with Him in glory
The glory that is heaven
The glorified body He gives us in that day
The glory of His presence as He sets up His throne

I wonder if we think of Christ as our life? This biblical truth must be transformed from a doctrine of the Bible to a manifestation in our life if we would genuinely win souls to Christ.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Small Moment


Isaiah 54:7 KJV
For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

This passage, I suppose, finds its primary fulfillment in Israel's captivity to Babylon and eventual return seventy years later. It was only a "small moment" so far as the ages go. The secondary application would be during this church age, when God has set aside His work with Israel to call out for Himself a people out of every nation. Though this church age has lasted now two thousand years, yet it will seem as only a small moment when Jesus returns and establishes Israel as the great nation of the earth.

But there is also an application for me. In those times when it seems as if God has hidden His face from me (as it is described in verse 8) I can find rest and peace in knowing that it will only be for a small moment. Experience as a believer for these 30 years has taught me that times of darkness and trial, when it seems as if the Lord has forsaken me, never last that long. As I continue to seek Him He opens some shimmer of light that finally springs into full day. Over and over there have been those times when it seemed like I would not be able to go on. But they have always been followed by times of great blessing and joy.

And then I am reminded that our Lord's promise is "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."[1] While I might feel forsaken, I am never really forsaken of the Lord.


[1] Hebrews 13:5

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Building to the Crescendo of Christ


Isaiah 51:5 KJV
My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.

One cannot help but sense the anticipation of the chapter preceding chapter 53 concerning Jesus Christ. The righteousness that is near and the salvation that is gone forth are speaking of Jesus Christ. Gill says, "These are either the words of God the Father, and to be understood not of his essential righteousness, nor of his vindictive justice; but of the righteousness of his Son, which he calls his own..."[1]

There is a crescendo building. I can feel the vibrations of the heavenly music through the verses as everything builds in these chapters leading to the climax of the prophecy of the Messiah and His sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

Who exactly are the isles is uncertain to me. One commentator pointed to Tarshish. Surely it speaks of Gentiles and perhaps it is prophetic of the British Isles and those nations that have sprung up from them. In that case and I realize there is some stretch here, this passage could indirectly point to people just like me who wait upon the Lord and trust in His arm.


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

Saturday, April 14, 2007

What Do You Do About God Ordained Darkness?


Isaiah 50:10-11 KJV
Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.
Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.


There are times when a man, such as Jeremiah was, is faithful to the Lord but with no apparent anointing and hand of God.
He does as the commands, but there are no successes for his ministry and work.
He obeys the Lord as he sees it in the Word of God, but finds his life still comes up with difficulty.
He allows the Bible to direct his paths but he still finds himself hitting dead ends.
What's as guy like that to do?


God's Word is clear; trust in the name of the Lord and stay upon his God.

Oh sure, especially if you live in America, you can light your own fire and make your own way. It's very possible to pick a path of your own choosing that includes plenty of perks and prosperity. The trouble is, when we do that, we do it without considering the end.

The man who stays upon his God, even when he stays in darkness as far as the world sees it, has peace and joy and rest and blessedness awaiting him in eternity. The man who can't wait for the Lord to light his way might enjoy the pleasures of [the world] for a season, but God says he will lie down (I take that to mean in the grave, i.e. enter eternity) in sorrow.

Eternity is the goal, not light today. Trust in the name of the Lord and stay upon God.

Friday, April 13, 2007

For My Names' Sake


Isaiah 48:9-11 KJV
For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.
Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

Just yesterday I read a preacher's remarks which in my opinion were haughty. He wrote regarding the success of a ministry, "My view on this is that the condition of the church reflects on its pastor. If the pastor cannot lead his flock to be what they should be, or gather enough new sheep to be what they need to be, then the pastor is the reason the church is as it is. We are to inspire and preach and let the Holy Spirit move to move our work forward. If it is not happening, we must not be doing our job nor be in proper tune with Him."

God says "For my name's sake...." God does as he does for His names' sake.

God defers His anger, not because we are worthy, but for His names' sake
God refines His people, not because we are as valuable as silver, but for His name's sake.
God chooses to love and bless and give His glory to His own people and not to another, because of His names' sake.

What huge loss has happened in our world today because we have relegated the work of God to man. What great need there is today to return to dependence upon the Lord and to completely lose our confidence in the flesh!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thou...Hidest Thyself


Isaiah 45:15 KJV
Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

I read a piece just this morning that is apropos to this text.
“Such a God cannot be found out by searching; He can be known, only as He is revealed to the heart by the Holy Spirit through the Word. It is true that creation demonstrates a Creator, and that, so plainly, men are "without excuse;" yet, we still have to say with Job, "Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him? but the thunder of His power who can understand?" (26:14). The so-called argument from design by well-meaning "Apologists" has, we believe, done much more harm than good, for it has attempted to bring down the great God to the level of finite comprehension, and thereby has lost sight of His solitary excellence.
Analogy has been drawn between a savage finding a watch upon the sands, and from a close examination of it he infers a watch-maker. So far so good. But attempt to go further: suppose that savage sits down on the sand and endeavors to form to himself a conception of this watch-maker, his personal affections and manners; his disposition, acquirements, and moral character—all that goes to make up a personality; could he ever think or reason out a real man—the man who made the watch, so that he could say, "I am acquainted with him?" It seems trifling to ask such questions, but is the eternal and infinite God so much more within the grasp of human reason? No, indeed! The God of Scripture can only be known by those to whom He makes Himself known.
Nor is God known by the intellect. "God is Spirit" (Joh_4:24), and therefore can only be known spiritually. But fallen man is not spiritual, he is carnal. He is dead to all that is spiritual. Unless he is born again supernaturally brought from death unto life, miraculously translated out of darkness into light, he cannot even see the things of God (Joh_3:3), still less apprehend them (1Co_2:14). The Holy Spirit has to shine in our hearts (not intellects) in order to give us "the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2Co_4:6). And even that spiritual knowledge is but fragmentary. The regenerated soul has to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus (2 Pet. 3.18).”
[1]

As much as we would wish to know the Lord in His fullest sense, He can only be known to us as He chooses to reveal Himself to us. No amount of study, not amount of sacrifice and pouring over books or the study of nature will reveal the Lord to us. He reveals Himself little by little as He pleases.

And who would want any other God? Who would want a God who can be discovered by searching or by the exercise of the human intellect? Wouldn't that God be little in comparison to a God who is so beyond our comprehension we can only know what He chooses to reveal of Himself? No wonder Isaiah 45:21 says, "Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

For Myself


Isaiah 43:21 KJV
This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

This verse, together with the previous one, indicate that the people referred to are Gentiles who, like the beast of the field and the dragons and owls will honour the Lord.

God has formed us to praise Him.

John Gill says, "...who being chosen of God, and redeemed by Christ, are formed anew by the Spirit of Christ, made new creatures, regenerated, and transformed by the renewing of their minds, and conformed to the image of Christ, and having him formed in their souls, and principles of grace and holiness wrought in them; in consequence of which they reformed in their lives and conversation, and were also formed into a Gospel church state, and all this done by the Lord for himself, his service, and his glory..."[1]

God has formed us, saved us, and made us into new creatures for
Himself
His service and
His glory


May we be faithful to our purpose!


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

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Where Confidence Comes From


Isaiah 41:9 KJV
Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

What confidence there is in these words!

Thou whom I have taken
The word means seize. We did not take God, He has taken us. From whatever part of the world we are from. Regardless of background or past, God has seized us from the world and made us His own.

And called thee
Strong’s Concordance says "through the idea of accosting a person met." I know when God got my attention there was nothing I could do about it. I was drawn toward Him.

I have chosen thee
The word means select. God looked through the billions of people who have and who will live on this planet and selected us.

And will not cast thee away
This means spurn, despise and condemn. We are His. He has made us so. And while we do not do as we ought all of the time, God's promise is that He will not spurn and condemn us.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hast Thou Not Known?


Isaiah 40:28 KJV
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

O the peace in the heart, O the blessings of the spirit that the child of God misses when He forgets that His God

Fainteth not
God never tires of helping the child of God. He never grows tired of flying to our rescue and of comforting us in our trouble.

Neither is weary
God does not tire of His work. God never grows weary of saving souls. God never grows weary of calling men into the ministry. God never grows weary of giving us the spiritual gifts needed to do the work of the ministry. God never grows tired of hearing our prayers.

Has infinite understanding
Whatever happens in this world, we are so often bewildered by it. I have a tough time seeing God's plan in the world today. I have trouble understanding how Satan can have the influence he has and yet God can be assured His ultimate will be done. But our God has infinite understanding. He has no trouble sorting these things out. His will is being accomplished exactly as He knows it ought. While men do not always do as He wills, they can never foil His will.

If we know this, we can rest in Him.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Unity


Ephesians 4:3-7 KJV
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.


I don't suppose we can rightly understand any portion of this passage without keeping it in its context. The Scripture wants us to strive for unity in the house of God and encourages us that the way to do that is to see the unity in the things of God.

One body
I can't see this in any other light than that of the local church context. That local church strives for unity in the fact that it is one body. It has one function, one life. It may have different members who have different responsibilities within the body, but the body is one.

One Spirit
There is not the Spirit of the faith of Christ and the spirit of the faith of Islam and the spirit of the faith of Judaism and etc. God's Holy Spirit will lead men into one faith. Everything else is influence of the world, the flesh or the devil.

One hope of your calling
There is only one way to be saved. Every saved person got saved the very same way. We who are believers share that in common.

One Lord
Not multiple gods; not many Christs. There is one Jesus Christ and He is the Lord of all of the saved.

One faith
The system of doctrine we believe is called our faith. This is one of the reasons why I believe we need to keep this passage in the local church context. Anything else would make this thought make no sense. Within Christendom there are a bunch of different systems of faith. Some believe man has all the choice of salvation; some believe man has no choice at all; some believe a Christian can lose his salvation, some believe a Christian cannot; some believe babies are to be baptized, some insist baptism is only for those who have made their own profession of faith. On and on it goes. The unity of the spirit can only be maintained when we in the church have one faith.

One baptism
Again, this serves to maintain unity. When we all have been baptized under the same church authority there is unity in the local church.

One God and Father of all
Who are members of that local church. Not the God and Father of all the living. Not the Saviour of any man woman or child regardless of what they believe.
There is only one God and He is the Heavenly Father of all who have come to His Son, Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and pardon.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I bow my knees


Ephesians 3:14 KJV
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

I love the phrase, "...I bow my knees..." I wonder if any of us do that nearly enough!

But the important thing is that he tells us the cause of bowing his knees.

He did not bow his knees to escape prison or any other trial. In fact he did not say he bowed his knees for any personal prayer concern at all. Paul was in tribulation at the time. Things were not easy in his own life. But his concern was not his ease. He bowed his knees for others.

He bowed his knees so others would know the love of Christ
Vs 19
My first thought is for the lost.
O that more of those who do not know that Christ loves them and died for them would comprehend this truth!
O that God would grant us the power of the Holy Spirit to tell them!


But the prayer is toward the Christian
The book is written to Christians. What a shame that the child of God would be content with a shallow, surface fellowship and relationship with Jesus Christ.

Paul wanted them to comprehend the breadth, length, depth and height of God's love.

When I bow my knees I want to bow them for the sake of others and for the purpose of helping others to know God's love more fully.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Now Lord


Isaiah 33:10 KJV
Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself.

John Gill assigns this passage as at the end of the Tribulation and says, "...At the last extremity, when things are come to a crisis; his interest at the lowest, and the kingdom of antichrist at its highest pitch; the whore of Rome triumphing over the slain witnesses, and boasting she was a queen, and knew no sorrow: this will be God's fit time to exert himself, and get him honour and glory..."[1]

Though the primary application is for a time to come, yet this is a proper passage to claim in prayer.

When things in our life have come to "the last extremity," when we think we are at the crisis; when we think all hope to be saved is gone; that is when we may claim a passage like this and pray,

Now, Lord, rise
Lord appear. Make Your presence known in the time when it seems You are the farthest away.

Now Lord, be exalted
Don't just show us You exist, make it know that You are higher, holier and loftier than anything this world can imagine.

Now Lord lift up Yourself
Lord, act. Not so much that we ask that You act on our behalf, but that You act to accomplish Your perfect will.

In order for me to pray this honestly I have to come to the place where the thing that matters is that Christ be exalted and not that my plans be blessed. We have to come to the place where we see that the very best for us is that God's will be done and not what we believe to be God's will.

They are seldom the same thing. When we resign ourselves to the will of God we will find His will to be a delight to us.


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

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spiritual Blessings


Ephesians 1:3 KJV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

I was intrigued this morning by the term "spiritual blessings." Gills notes says that the Jews distinguished between spiritual blessings and temporal blessings and says that the spiritual blessings, "... are solid, substantial, and lasting blessings; and which concern the good of the soul or spirit of man; and are agreeable to, and desired by a spiritual man; and are applied by the Holy Spirit of God..."[1]

They are solid, substantial and lasting
Unlike the temporal things that the worldings might consider blessings, those things God has for us will last for eternity.

They concern the good of the soul and spirit of man
Not only of the one who gets these blessings but of those he influences in life. When God does me good, it is almost always so I might do good for others.

They are agreeable to and desired by a spiritual man
And this may be one of the best ways to define a spiritual man. He will desire spiritual blessings over temporal worldly ones. He will see more value in the things of God that in the things of earth. He will recognize that knowing Christ intimately for instance is more valuable than being healthy and pain free. He will see more value in suffering in this life if that suffering draws him closer to the Lord.

They are applied by the Holy Spirit
And so the man who receives them will be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God.


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

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Twice Dead


Galatians 6:14
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

I was struck by the words "..the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world."

That is a "double whammy;" twice dead to the world.

The world was crucified, dead, to him.
He viewed all that was in the world,
The lust of the flesh,
The lust of the eyes and
The pride of life
As dead.

Those achievements a man might attain to in this world were crucified to him. They mean nothing. He saw them for what they truly are; vainglory and empty. A man may reach the pinnacle of success in the eyes of men, but still be empty inside. Further, if he is not saved, those successes in this world will be of no value in securing a place in eternal heaven.

He was crucified, dead, to the world.
In Paul's case we know this to be true. His turn to Christ had cost him his position as a Pharisee and relationship with the chief priests and leaders of Jerusalem. All that he had once had, he had counted as dung that he might win Christ. But once he had made that stand, those who he once had consorted with attacked him with the same vigor in which he had attacked the saints himself.

Paul could find no Jew to take up his defense when he stood before Festus and Agrippa in Acts 26.

But could this same be said of any of us? Have we so taken on Christ that the world means nothing to us? Is our stand for the Lord so obvious that we have become nothing to the world?

Would be honestly be willing to lose all this world's goods for Christ as Paul did?
Would we be willing see all our unsaved friends and family turn against us as Paul did?

Maybe then we should be very careful about applying those words "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..." then.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Precept Upon Precept


Isaiah 28:11-13 KJV
For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.


God has chosen not to use the wise and the noble and the eloquent of this world to preach His Word, but those with stammering lips and another tongue. The way to impact our society for Christ is not through our personal skills in speaking, but in persistence with the truth.
Precept upon precept, precept upon precept
Line upon line, line upon line
Here a little and there a little

The fact that it repeats precept upon precept and line upon line indicates to me that persistence is the key. We just keep hammering away with the truth. Over and over; day in and day out.

God did not promise as we do this everyone will repent but that rather as we do this, those who do not repent will fall backward. They will be without excuse before the Lord. They will have heard the truth preached in the power of the Holy Ghost and not in the wisdom of man's Words and there will be no way to deny it.

It is the reason in the last day the Bible prophesies
Phil 2:10-11
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(KJV)

Monday, April 02, 2007

We Wait for the Lord in the way of HIs Judgments


Isaiah 26:8 KJV
Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.

Here is a hint at how to wait for the Lord. We wait for Him in the way of His judgments.

The terms judgments can refer to one of two things, either His Word, or else His chastisements.

We wait for the Lord in the way of His word.
As we learn His Word and attend to the Word.
As we read the Word of God
As we hear the Word preached
As we submit ourselves to the teaching of the Word

We are waiting upon the Lord

Further, as we practice God's Word we wait upon Him. We are not to be hearers of the Word only, but doers also. What claim could a person have to a real relationship with Christ if he only knew what the Lord had commanded but never did as the Lord commanded? We wait for the Lord as we learn the Word of God and put it into practice in our life.

We wait for the Lord in the way of His correction.
I have in my mind the picture of a child who has in some way earned the correction of his father. The father might instruct the child to go into his room and wait there. It is a time of reflection and many valuable lessons are learned in the simple act of waiting for the correction to come. The father might then come into the room and speak to his child about the wrong the child had done, why it was wrong and why it must be corrected. And again, lessons are learned.

Just as a father trains his child through both positive and negative instruction; so does our Heavenly Father. God gives us the instruction of His Word. That is positive. But then He reinforces that instruction with discipline and correction so that we learn to walk with Him. We wait for the Lord in the sense that we submit to His correction.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lift up the Voice


Isaiah 24:13-15 KJV
When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.
They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea.
Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.


This chapter appears to be a prophecy of the end of this world and God's creation of a new heaven and new earth. The picture sounds very much like the Tribulation as it is described in the book of Revelation. Yet even in the midst of this terrible trial, there are some who will be gathered together to the Lord, though it will come as through the shaking of the olive tree, and who will lift their voice and sing of the majesty of the Lord.

We, who have come to Christ without such trials
We whose fires cannot be compared to those


We should be far more willing to sing for the majesty of the Lord. We should glorify the Lord in whatever places the Lord may put us, whether in times of fiery trial, or times of ease as in the isles of the sea, we should lift up our voices to the Lord and sing and praise and give glory to our Lord.