Saturday, June 30, 2007

Come, and Let us return

Hosea 6:1 KJV
Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

Barnes' Notes says of this passage that when the Jews get revived they will, ".... not [be] content to return singly or to be saved alone. Each encourageth another to repentance, as before to evil...."[1]

Let the same be said of us! Though God has torn us; though He has smitten us in order to chasten and correct and set us on a right path, when He binds us up and when He heals us, our heart's desire ought to be to see other bound up and healed with us.

The Christian's heart is always pointed toward reaching another, if it is a heart that is right with God.
We cannot love the Lord without having a love for others.
We cannot reach out to the Lord without reaching out a hand to another.

The two are as naturally connected as life and breath. it is impossible to have the one without the other.

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

Friday, June 29, 2007

Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

John Gill's commentary says, "...Faith is a grace which answers many useful purposes; it is the eye of the soul, by which it looks to Christ for righteousness, peace, pardon, life, and salvation; the hand by which it receives him, and the foot by which it goes to him, and walks in him as it has received him; which denotes not a single act of faith, but a continued course of believing; and is expressive, not of a weak, but of a strong steady faith of glory and happiness..."[1]

Faith is the confidence that causes us to take each step in this life as we wait the day when we finally and fully dwell in the presence of the Lord.

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

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Afterward

Hosea 3:5 KJV
Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.

There is hope in nearly every line of the Bible. While judgment for sin is inevitable, God does not abandon His own.

There is always an afterward.
There is always an end to the chastening
There is always a new beginning with the Lord.

If we will only seek it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thou Art My People


Hosea 2:23 KJV
And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

While chapters one and two of Hosea are primarily a pronouncement of judgment against both Israel and Judah it is striking that all through these chapters there are words of comfort as well as conviction. These people who had rebelled against God for so long were about to be put away from Almighty God; but not forever.

Though they had turned against the Lord.
Though they were not His people in the sense of a close and loving relationship with Him

Still God said, "...Thou art my people and they shall say, Thou art my God."

Gill agrees that there is also an application for the Gentiles who have never been known as God's people, but God includes them in His promises by saying "...I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people..."

The judgment of God against sin must never be underestimated.
It is real
It is timely and
It is a consuming fire

But the mercies of God must always be remembered. No one, it seems to me from my studies of God's Word, is outside the realm of God's mercy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tidings




Daniel 11:44-45 KJV

But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.


This passage has both a primary and secondary application. In the primary, it speaks of Antiochus and his defeat of Jerusalem. In the secondary it refers to the Anti-Christ and his rule in the Tribulation Period.

It could be we can make a third application to the enemies of the children of God even in our day; the world, the flesh and the Devil.

During the Tribulation Anti-Christ will have nearly absolute power over the earth. But there will come a day when he hears "tidings out of the east and out of the north."

These tiding may be news of Jesus' return. The Bible indicates Christ's return will be visible and gradual and it seems likely to me, since Anti-Christ will gather his armies to battle against the Lord, that Christ's return may be witnessed from those on the earth for a considerable time.

The Bible does make reference to His return coming from the east and
The Bible seems to refer to heaven being in the north.


I got to thinking; I need my own enemies to receive tidings out of the east and out of the north. I need
This world that presses in upon me,
My flesh that strives to oppose the Spirit's leading in me and I need
The Devil's own oppressors in my life
To get notice that One Who lives in Heaven is coming again and that those enemies will have no help.

Christ's work in my life is so much greater than the work of the enemy that, even thou they act so furiously, there is no reason for me to fear or dread; only to trust in my everlasting Saviour.

Monday, June 25, 2007

By Long Forbearing

Proverbs 25:15 KJV
By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

If we look at the prince as the Lord Jesus Christ then this gives us an admonition again to persistent prayer. Prayer is a Biblical injunction that appears to me to be totally for our benefit
The Lord already knows our needs before we ask them
The Lord in most cases meets our needs before we ask for them

But the Lord also says we, “…have not because we ask not"
And the Lord instructs us that many prayers will not be answered without persistent prayer.

God delights in meeting our needs
God knows we have the needs before we tell Him about them but
God wants to be persuaded.

Pray fervently
Pray frequently
Pray faithfully


And, "By long forbearing…" our prince will be persuaded.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Beheld Till...


Daniel 7:9 KJV
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

The term "I beheld" is found several times in chapters seven and eight of Daniel. Daniel has this vision of the beasts. It is an horrible scene of violence and abuse of humanity. I realize it is a vision and that Daniel was more or less an ethereal observer, but I was struck by the fact that all Daniel did was behold.

There is no activity on his part
There is nothing he can do about the things he saw in the vision


He could only behold until God did the work.

My heart's desire is for the same thing to happen in our day.
Oh, that men would stop playing the part of God.
Oh, that men would quit doing what we think is best for the glory of the Lord and
Oh, that men would step aside and behold what God might do.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

When Daniel Knew

Daniel 6:10 KJV
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

Daniel did nothing to prevent himself from being persecuted in this passage.
He did not attempt to prevent the king from signing the writing
He did not appeal to the king after he signed the law
He did not appear to change his habits of prayer and make them less noticeable


But struck me is that Daniel was not afraid to go from affluence and power (he was in line to be over the whole realm) to the den of lions overnight. He did not live for success or power or influence. He simply did his work where God placed him and worshipped God through it all. If God set him over the realm, over the realm he would work and he would worship the Lord. If God put him in the den of lions, into the den e would go and still worship God.

Lord help me to be so focused on You that I do what You have given me to do with all my heart, but that I do not concern myself with the results, only with my relationship with You.

Friday, June 22, 2007

If it May Be


Daniel 4:27 KJV
Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

God warned the king of coming judgment
God brought in Daniel to give further warning
God gave Daniel words of counsel for the king

Still the king ended up being judged just as it was prophesied.

We can only warn and counsel. We cannot make up ones mind for them. We cannot make them repent. We cannot turn their life around for them.

Nebuchadnezzar had every opportunity to repent and "break off (his) sins" but he chose not to.

We can give people the Word of God.
We can trust that the Spirit of God is working in their heart
We can warn a person urgently and repeatedly

But ultimately even God will not make a person repent before judgment.

In this case the story has a happy ending. The king eventually came to his right mind and his kingdom was restored to him. It is not that way for everyone.

I learn,
First, to do what I can and step away from there. Let God have His way in each life.
Second, I sure hope I can learn from warnings and counsel rather than have to be judged before I get right.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Not For Me


Daniel 2:30 KJV
But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

Daniel said that God had revealed the secret to him, not for his own wisdom, but, among other things, "...for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation..."

I understand that Daniel is speaking about those that were directly involved in interpreting the dream to the king. Perhaps after Daniel had revealed the dream and had given the interpretation as we find it in the Word of God, others in the kings court studied the interpretation and the dream to find further insights from it. They would have, of course, been killed had Daniel not been given the revelation of the dream.

But there is a secondary thought that comes to mind about those in future generations who would have the opportunity to read Daniel's revelation and his interpretation and study it.
We derive benefit from the study of the context with the wise men and Daniel's friends.
We benefit from the example of faith and prayer.
We benefit from the Daniel's humility and his witness to the king
We benefit from the study both of the dream and its interpretation
We then benefit from the blessing of proclaiming that study to others.

This dream is foundational to prophecy in the Word of God. Few passages hold the import of this because nearly all other prophetical passages, whether in the book of Daniel or other prophecies, build upon this in some degree.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Waters to Swim In


Ezekiel 47:1-7 KJV
Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.
And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.
Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.
Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.
Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.


First, this passage is speaking about the Temple in Jerusalem during the Millennial Kingdom. The lesson is that there will be a fountain of water springing from that Temple and running down, I believe to the Dead Sea, where it will give that sea life.

Secondly, the passage is very Jewish in that chapter 48 speaks of dividing the land by lots once again to the tribes of Israel. But there is a provision in chapter 47:22 for the strangers to receive their inheritance as well. That means this passage applies to the Gentiles.

So here are some thoughts concerning the waters:

1. They are supernatural
Nothing like this flows in Jerusalem today. And no stream grows like this one does.
It is true that as a stream makes its way toward the sea it generally grows larger as more and more tributaries and streams run into it. But nowhere do we read that this stream has tributaries. This is supernatural. This is God's provision.

2. They are healing
Fishers shall stand in Engedi and the marishes shall be healed.
What God generates, generates health. Old things are passed away, all things become new. Hope springs out of despair. Deserts blossom into life.

3. They are fruit bearing
There is a kind of life that only takes. There is another form of life that always gives. When the life of God flows through us, there will be fruit. There will be a product that is helpful and beneficial to man and glorifying to the Lord.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

He That Hath An Ear


Revelation 3:22 KJV
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The implications are:

First, that some do not have an ear.
Of course the Word of God is not speaking about the physical ear, but the spiritual one. Some, who can hear perfectly well physically, are not able to hear at all spiritually.
We are not required to get people to hear who have no ear.

Secondly, some who do have an ear don't hear.
Jesus used the phrase "nevertheless I have somewhat against thee." While He never referred to those who have ears but don't hear when He used that phrase, I would like to take some liberty and say He could have said it.

It is a sad commentary on our day that many who could hear, will not hear.

They could read the Bible, but will not
They could attend preaching services but do not
They could respond to the urging of the Holy Spirit but they refuse.


Third, this statement is made, "to the churches."
So that there is a lesson in each of the letters, though addressed to individual churches, to all of the churches, even those that did not exist when the Revelation was written.

The Word of God is for all of us. There are applications that can be made in both the positive and negative things that the Lord said, not only to these seven churches, but throughout the Scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
(KJV)

Monday, June 18, 2007

I Am Their Possession


Ezekiel 44:28 KJV
And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession.

I see the priesthood as being only slightly typical of the ministry and more typical of the average Christian. Jesus Christ, the Bible says, has made us both kings and priests. As priests, I tend to believe we can apply many principles of the Old Testament priesthood to the believer today.

That being said, what a promise God has made that He is the inheritance of the priesthood and He is their possession.

We make too much out of worldly possessions. We desire too many of the frills and fancies that belong only to this life. We allow ourselves to get entangled with these possessions that then entangle us in the affairs of this world.

So much better would we be off, so much more of a treasure we would lay up in heaven if we heeded this passage and enjoyed the Lord as our possession rather than striving for the things of earth.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Shortly Come to Pass


Revelation 1:1 KJV
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

I live for verse 7, "Behold He cometh" but I was blessed this morning to consider that twice before verse 7 God promises His coming will be soon. Here in verse 1 the Bible says "...must shortly come to pass..." Verse 3 says "...the time is at hand."

I do not know when Jesus Christ will return and fulfill all that is recorded in the Revelation, but I believe it will "shortly come to pass."

Any day now
Any time
Just a few moments from now

Our Saviour will call the redeemed to heaven. The lost on this earth will see Him for who He is and eternity will begin.

It is a wonderful thought for me as a child of God. But it is not so wonderful to those who do not know the Lord. What a responsibility I possess to try to win people to Christ in these last few moments before He comes.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Apologies

Let me apologize in advance.

I am taking several families from our church camping for a few days.

I will not be able to post my daily visits until probably Monday or Tuesday

God Hasn't Forgotten


Ezekiel 39:29 KJV
Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

This promise, though made to Israel, does give us a glimpse into the character of the Lord. Though Israel was judged. Though they had sinned and they were chastened because of it, yet God's promises to them through their fathers were still true and God would keep those promises.

We need God to show Himself in our world today. As times grow nearer to the coming of the Lord and as we see wickedness growing more and more bold, the people of God must see the face of the Lord and we must have His Spirit upon us.

God will not forget His promises.

  • Promises of protection
  • Promises of provision
  • Promises of power
  • Promises of potential
  • Promises of His presence

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I Will Magnify Myself


Ezekiel 38:23
Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.

God will magnify Himself.

This passage comes after I have read both Ezekiel 37 and 38 together. Chapter 37 is the valley of dry bones where God prophesies the day when Israel will be a great nation and will have the life of God in her.

This past week I watched a short documentary on the nation of Israel today. The reporter, himself of Jewish descent, but not a practicing Jew, had taken the assignment to investigate reports of miracles in the Holy Land. I was reminded as I watched the show that Israel still has not received the fulfillment of the prophecy of Ezekiel 37. She may have come back together, but she certainly does not have the life of God breathed in her yet. Nor has the world come to place faith in Christ as a result of Israel's testimony. Israel, at this very hour, is seeing bloodshed in battles between Hamas and Fatah. (Both Palestinian organizations)

Yet God has promised He will magnify Himself and sanctify Himself and the world will know He is the LORD. I do not have to attempt to do that myself. I do not have to magnify God myself. I do not have to take up the burden alone of bringing honor to the Lord and making His name known. While I am to be obedient to the Lord and be a witness, even so far as giving time talent and treasures toward getting the Gospel around the world, the burden is squarely on the shoulders of God Himself. He will magnify Himself.

Regardless of what is going on around the world.
Regardless even of what is going on in my own back yard I can trust the Lord.
He will be magnified and they shall know He is the LORD.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

In His Son


1 John 5:11 KJV
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

This life is in His Son.

Our eternal life is not something that comes of its own accord. It in not a life in and of itself, but is an outpouring and of the same essence as that of Jesus Christ.

We can claim no part in birthing it
We can claim no power in earning it
We can claim no portion in maintaining it


Our eternal life flows to the branches of each individual Christian through the vine of the Lord Jesus Christ. It receives its nourishment, growth and fruit as a direct result of Jesus Christ.

This is perhaps why we are said to be joint heirs with Christ. Not so much that we receive an equal share as does the Lord but that we receive our share in Christ. As the Levi tithed through Abraham being in his loins[1], and as a bride shares in the prosperity of her spouse, not because she receives an equal share but because they share everything equally, that is how we share the inheritance of Jesus Christ.

We share it in Him.


[1] Hebrews 7:9-10

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Spirit of Truth or Error


1 John 4:6 KJV
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

John is obviously referring to himself and argues from the assumption that those who read this book would admit this as fact. This is exactly how we ought to approach the Word of God; rather than trying to convince people it is the Word of God we just preach it. Those who know God will hear those who do not know God will not hear.

There is also more to the term hearing than only in the sense of externally. John Gill reminds me that those who hear the Word of God will have ears that hear, not just ears.

Those that know God will come to the house of God where they can hear it preached.
We find them faithfully attending the services at the church.
We will find them sitting in on the preaching services rather than finding other things to occupy them while at church.
We will find them attentively listening to the message as it is preached, perhaps making some notes, or underscoring things in their Bible for future personal study.
Those that know God not only listen to God in the sense of reading the Scriptures, but also in the sense of hearing the man of God.

Those that know God will also have the ability to understand what they hear in the spiritual sense. A lost person can hear the message but will never perceive the meaning of the message. He is able to read the Bible, but not to grasp the message of the Bible. It is a dead lifeless book to him. The child of God, the one who knows God on the other hand will have a gift of discernment. He or she might not understand it all, but will certainly understand enough to know they have heard from God.

John concludes that this is how we determine if a hearer has the spirit of truth or the spirit of error. The one who hears has the spirit of truth. The one who does not hear is not of God. The spirit in them is a spirit of error.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This is His Commandment


1 John 3:23 KJV
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

John very simply says that keeping God's commandments consists of just two things; believing on the name of Jesus Christ and loving one another. John Gill says that the, "... two are reduced to one, because they are inseparable; where the one is, the other is; faith works by love."[1]

Believing on the name of Jesus Christ is a fruit producing consequence. I question whether a man has really believed on His name unless there is some change in His life. Unless that faith causes him to love others, especially the children of God, it is doubtful that he has believed in the same sense that John means.

Which leads me to consider the depth of the concept of believing on the name of Christ. We know that the Bible says "...the devils also believe and tremble."[2] Believing therefore must mean more than simply knowing that Jesus Christ is.

The word believe means
To have faith in
To credit
To entrust (especially one's spiritual well being)
To commit
To put in trust with


More than merely acknowledging the truth that Jesus exists
More than even having perfect knowledge (as the devils do)
That Jesus Christ is the Son of God,
That He died on the cross and
That He rose from the grave


Believing on the name of the Son of God must be to place our trust in Him in a life changing and mind altering way. And verse 24 says that when that happens the Spirit of God assures us that He abides in us.


[1] E-Sword 7.7.7, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)
[2] James 2:19

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Abide In Him


1 John 2:28 KJV
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

I take it from this passage, that we who are the children of God have a choice as to whether we abide in Him or not. I do not take it that my choice determines my salvation, but rather my confidence when Christ comes for me.

Salvation is a determination that Christ makes. He keeps that which we commit to Him until the day He returns for us. However, as believers I have day by day choices I can make concerning my walk with the Lord. If I make the choice to walk away from the Lord, or if I make the choice to walk at a distance from the Lord that does not negate the promise of eternal life God gave me. But it does mean that
1. I may not be as confident of my salvation when I think about eternal things
2. I will not stand before Christ as confidently when He returns and the works of my life are judged in view of the rewards I will receive in glory.

I also find some encouragement in this verse. If God's word tells me to abide in Christ, then I can rest assured it is possible for me to do it.

John Gill's notes says it means to abide
In the exercise of faith on him, of hope in him, and love to him; and
To hold to him the head, and
To hold fast his word and Gospel, and
Abide by his truth and ordinances, and
Adhere to his cause and interest
[1]

As we practice these things in our spiritual life, our walk with Christ deepens and we are confident in our relationship with Him.


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

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Manner of Persons We Ought to Be




2 Peter 3:11 KJV
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

The difference between the scoffer and the believer is not only in what they say (they believe) but in how they behave because of what they believe. In our days there are some who are verbal scoffers concerning Christ's coming. They openly and scoffingly declare their disbelief concerning Christ's coming and mock the faith of those who claim to believe Jesus is coming again - and soon.

But the real problem is that far more who claim to believe He is coming again scoff and His return, not in word, but in deed and behaviour.

The word ought means binding and necessary.


When a Christian is convinced that Jesus is coming again, and that His return is imminent, then that faith binds the Christian to holy conversation and godliness. He is compelled by his faith to behave in a manner consistent with that faith. To claim to believe that Jesus is coming again at any moment but to fail to behave in holy conversation and godliness is not only hypocrisy, it is the worst form of scoffery.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Some Sins Get Special Attention


2 Peter 2:10 KJV
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

The word chiefly means most of all or especially.
God's Word says that the Lord knows how to reserve the unjust until the day of judgment to be punished - especially those who walk after the flesh and despise government.

The word government means mastery and rulers.
God's judgment rests especially on those who despise mastery, leadership and rulers in their lives. In fact it might be implied that the way they walk after the flesh is in their despite of leadership.
They refuse to submit to the authorities God places over their lives,
They choose a path of their own making,
They, being self willed ignore the instruction and direction of those God places over them, whether that be
in their home,
at the church or
in civil government.


So while all sin is equally sinful in the eyes of God; there are some sins God chooses to judge especially. Those sins specifically are sins of rebellion against leadership.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

He is


1 John 1:9 KJV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I focused this morning on the words "he is."

There is a condition in this text, that we confess our sins. We would not do well to ignore this. It is entirely possible to take the Lord so for granted that we assume we have been forgiven and cleansed without ever confessing those sins. To assume we have been cleansed from something we have not ever assented to being a sin is a huge error.

But the central concept of the text is not what we do but who "He is."

He is faithful.
What a blessing to see this! When I am finicky, when I am fickle, when I am completely untrustworthy, God is faithful.

I can count on Him.
I can trust Him.
I can believe Him.

He is faithful.

He is just.
It is completely right and holy and pure for God to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness when we confess those sins.

He is
He is the One in whom I place my trust - not in my own ability to do right; not even in my ability to properly confess my sins (have you ever wondered if you confessed them the right way?)

He is the hope of the Christian.
He is the strength of the Christian
He is the Saviour of the Christian

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The End of All Things


1 Peter 4:7-11 KJV
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

If we are to believe the Bible at all we must believe that we are living in the very last days. Our Saviour could call us to heaven at any moment, and this world's sin grows darker and darker by the day. What does the Bible say should be the Christian's response to all of this?

First, we are to be sober and we are to watch and pray. Besides those two things the Bible gives us three specific actions

Have fervent charity
We must love intensely. Love the Lord, love other Christians, even love lost souls and be burdened for their souls.

Use hospitality
Be fond of guests. Care for one another and love being in the presence of one another.

Exercise our spiritual gifts
Some of us are better speakers, other are better at "behind the scenes" ministering. Whichever is our strength put that to work for the Lord.

As the end of all things draws at hand we may expect fiery trails and greater difficulties for the Lord. If we will focus on these three, God will help us not only survive the trials, but see a fruitful ministry until He comes.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

If the Will of God be so


1 Peter 3:17 KJV
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

And it does appear that the will of God be that most, if not all, Christians suffer for well doing.

2 Tim 3:12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (KJV)

Matt 10:22-24
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
(KJV)

There have been times in history when Christians suffered more for well doing than other times. There was a time when almost all genuine believers suffered significant persecution. But even then not all of them were killed.

I read a statement last night about William Tyndale, whose efforts to bring the Bible into the English language benefit us still today but caused him great loss. When asked about his difficult life he said, "I never expected anything else."

Perhaps one of the greatest weaknesses in the Christian faith today is that we have come to expect something else. We have come to expect reward, recognition, even worldly gain for our well doing. Sometimes when that gain does not come, we quit the well doing.

God help us to surrender to the wonderful will of God. Our recognition and reward, yea even our gain is coming. But it is coming when it will do the most good, when we get to glory and it cannot be corrupted.

Friday, June 01, 2007

He Committed Himself


1 Peter 2:23 KJV
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Just two verses previous we were told to that we should follow in the steps of Christ. The context speaks specifically about our verbal reactions to persecutions. Jesus neither reviled nor threatened.

There are two different words translated reviled in the verse. When others brought reproach or vilified Christ he did not reply.

The word suffered means to experience a sensation, especially that of pain.
The word threaten means to menace or forbid.
When Christ experienced pain at the hands of others, He did not forbid them. He did not try to stop them.

The other day I noticed that King David never took up a battle to defend himself.
While he was a man of war and an able soldier.
While he was certainly not afraid of a fight as is evidenced in the case of Goliath;
David never defended himself.
Not against Saul
Not against Absalom
Not against Shimei

God judges righteously. If we will fall upon Him, He will make all things turn out right.