Friday, August 31, 2007

Glad to be An Abomination

Genesis 46:33-34 KJV
And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?
That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

Israel had gotten so comfortable in Canaan that there was little to no difference between them and the Canaanites. Genesis 38 tells us that Judah left the company of his brothers to dwell with an Adullamite named Hirah and that he was his friend. He took to wife a Canaanite woman and when his firstborn son was old enough, gave her a wife presumably of the Canaanites as well. If Er, who was only half Israelite, had lived to have children with Tamar, their children would have only been 1/4 Israelite. Judah went into Tamar, who was pretending to be a prostitute as if prostitution was no sin at all. Israel was in a terrible moral condition. As a people they were practically no different than the wicked Canaanites, whom God had purposed to displace with the Israelites.

God brought circumstances about that Israel moved to Egypt where Joseph told his father and his brethren to claim they were shepherds "for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians."

It was, in this case, a good thing to be considered an abomination. Israel must remain separated from Egypt. By declaring plainly that they were something the Egyptians despised, the separation was assured.

One of our great troubles today is that we no longer want to be an abomination to the world. We tend to want them to accept us. We want to be welcomed in to their cities and into their circles. And in doing so, rather than winning them to Christ, they are winning us and our children for the world.

Oh that we would once again be an abomination unto the world!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bound Up in the Lad's Life

Genesis 44:30 KJV
Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life;

I certainly understand Judah’s assessment of Jacob's relationship to Benjamin, "...his life is bound up in the lad's life." That is how I feel about both of my sons.

Though they are grown
I think of them all day long
I am concerned (in that if they are interested in it, so am I) about everything they do
I see their vehicles in town and immediately my soul is lifted
I see them come to church and I am at once joyful
I receive a phone call from them and everything else becomes secondary


Their burdens are my burdens
Their successes are my successes
Their victories are my victories
Theeir delights are my delights


It is easy to weep when they weep and rejoice when they rejoice. My life is bound up in theirs.

This is also the relationship God the Father has with Jesus Christ.

John 5:23
That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. (KJV)

John 10:30
I and my Father are one. (KJV)

John 14:9
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? (KJV)

John 17:21
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (KJV)

The things the Father loves, the Son loves. The things the Father does the Son does. They are the same essence.

What a great price God paid to give His only begotten Son.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Saver, not a Spender

Genesis 41:34-36 KJV
Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.
And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.


Nothing theologically profound today, but something very practical. The famine that hit Egypt not only impacted that land, but all of Canaan as well. I do not know that the seven years of plenty had been in Canaan, but one might assume it. Yet only in Egypt was there food in store because only in Egypt had someone heard from and obeyed the Lord. I can see those in Canaan enjoying their plenty as if it would last forever, living as if there were no such things as famines, spending as if the plenty would last a lifetime. But it did not.

Cycles of plenty and then famine occur in some level to all of us.

I was speaking with a preacher friend a short while ago. He is now retired from the pastorate but still active and financially, secure. I asked him how he had prepared for this stage in his life and his answer was very simple. He said, "Brother McKenzie, I have always been a saver, not a spender." What great counsel. His advice had nothing to do with a particular plan or program to prepare for retirement. It was just this simple, save, don't spend.

The fact that we have it today is no guarantee that it will be there tomorrow. God's warning to Pharaoh, and Joseph's counsel concerning it would make good wisdom for us all;

Store up against the famine.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Prosperity

Genesis 39:2 KJV
And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

God's Word views prosperity differently than we usually do.

So far we know that Joseph was
Bereaved of his mother
Hated by his brothers
Sold the Ishameelites
Taken to Egypt
Sold as a slave to Potiphar


And yet the Bible says he was a prosperous man. The Hebrew word means "to push forward." By God's grace Joseph was able to do that regardless of what the circumstances in his life happened to be. He made the most out of every situation, he used it to bring glory to the Lord and he used it to be a testimony to those who were around him.

Prosperity is progress in life. It is overcoming the obstacles and breaking out of the trials so our time is used the best for the glory of the Lord.

In this sense any Christian can be prosperous.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Scarlet Thread of Salvation

Genesis 38:27-30 KJV
And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.
And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.


I have been stuck on the scarlet thread this morning. The scarlet thread was placed on the wrist of the one whom the midwife thought would be the firstborn, but in fact the other was born first. Pharez, the firstborn, was given his name because he had made a breach upon his bother, Zarah. The significance of this is that Pharez is in the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The scarlet thread is often used as a term to trace the Gospel throughout the Word of God. So I would have thought the child with the scarlet thread would have been in the line of Christ. It is not so.

So here is my application today; men often might think a man is born again. We may place our mark of approval upon them. We may say they have the evidences of the new birth, but the truth of it is that man can never make another man saved. The truth will always prevail. The Gospel will find out those who are genuinely saved and those who are not.

Last night a lady came to me with questions of her conversion. This is one that I would have tied the scarlet thread on for sure. As long as I have known her she has exhibited evidences of conversion. But I do not know the heart and soul. God's spirit brought conviction into her life and last night she was saved. The Lord's true lineage made a breach in her false securities.

Men can only do what we can do. It is the work of God that produces true conversion.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

This IS the Son of God

Mark 15:39 KJV
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

I believe every word of my Bible. I would never want to correct the Word of God. But the Bible does from time to time give us what a man has said, and those words are sometimes not completely accurate.

This centurion's testimony is far greater than many who stood by when Jesus died.
Some still called Him a deceiver
Some walked away as if a common thief had died
Some left the scene believing their hopes had been dashed with His death

The centurion, who had overseen the crucifixion, and had no doubt witnessed the deaths of many men, recognized that this was no common man who had just given up the ghost.

But he did make a mistake.
Jesus not only was the Son of God, but still is the Son of God. Crucifixion did not change that. Death on the cross did not do away with the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He merely left that body to take upon Himself life in a different form, and He only did that temporarily. The body that had been crucified; the body they laid in the tomb is the very same body He took again just three days later and is the very same body He occupies still today and even is the same body He will call His own when He returns to reign over the earth for 1000 years.

I commend the centurion. But I want to make one small correction; Truly, this man is the Son of God.

He was the Son of God
He is the Son of God and
He shall always be the Son of God.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

When We Must Not Hold Our Peace

Mark 14:61-62 KJV
But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.


While Jesus would not defend Himself against the accusations of the false witnesses, He would not keep quiet concerning the truth of Himself.

He is the Christ
He is the Son of the Blessed (Almighty God)

There are a good many things we can keep quiet about.

We do not have to defend ourselves when we are attacked
We do not have to give our opinions concerning political ideas
We do not have to tell everyone the gossip we have heard about others
We do not need to tell others how to raise their children
We do not need to criticize their
Clothing
Make-up
Hairdo or
Job


In all those areas we would do best to follow the counsel of Proverbs 17:28 KJV
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

But in this one area we must never hold our peace; in witnessing concerning the Person of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We know

Mark 12:14 KJV
And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?

While those who had come to Jesus had done so hypocritically and in an attempt to "catch Him in His words" what they said about the Lord was true. Deceivers often artfully blend their deception into truth.

That said, there is a lot to learn from this characterization of the teaching of Christ.

Thou art true
Jesus is true. Not only is His message true, but He is true.
His character is true
His integrity is true
His perfection is true

Carest for no man
Not to be taken that He does not care for people.
1 Pet 5:7
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (KJV)

Truly He cares for us. But in regard to the truth; in regards to the message of truth, that had to come first.

To truly care for a man means to tell him what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear or to withhold from him what he would rather not hear.

Regardest not the person of men
The concept here is of placing one person above another. Jesus viewed all men equally.
The same message he would tell a publican, He would tell a Pharisee
The same message He would tell a sinner, He would tell a scribe
The same message He would tell the poor, He would tell the politician

Jesus is no respecter of persons.
He loves us all equally
He would save us all freely and
He will preach to us all truthfully

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Where Is Our Trust

Proverbs 22:19 KJV
That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.

Our refuge is supposed to be in the Lord.

He is our confidence
He is our security
He is our hope


God makes known to us the truths of His Word so that we will have our trust in Him and Him alone.

It is so easy to place our trust in the wrong things
In the strength of a job
In the power of a man
In the money of the rich
In the counsel of the successful
In our own righteousness

Job learned that even his own righteousness (and he was a righteous man) was nothing to place faith in. Only the Lord is good and only the Lord deserves our trust.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ye Know Not What Ye Ask

Mark 10:38 KJV
But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

James and John had a request to make of the Lord and, when He had heard it His response was, "Ye know not what ye ask...."

Our
Prayers of ambition
Prayers for greatness
Prayers for success as the world sees it


Often fall into this same class. We don't really know what we are asking. Such requests stem from a heart that is not yet where John the Baptist was when he said "He must increase but I must decrease."

James and John
This is the James who was martyred under Agrippa.
This is the John who was exiled to the isle of Patmos.

Far better than seeking greatness, either here of in glory, is to seek the Lord. Knowing Christ and walking with Him; having fellowship with the sweet Saviour. That is true greatness.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Afraid to Ask

Mark 9:32 KJV
But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Jamieson Fausset and Brown says concerning this verse, "Their most cherished ideas were so completely dashed by such announcements, that they were afraid of laying themselves open to rebuke by asking Him any questions..."[1]

Recently I have been reading some discussion about the parable of the sower and who exactly represents the genuinely saved in it. The conclusion was made by one that only the seed on the good ground brought forth salvation because only that seed heard and understood. The implication was that understanding is necessary to salvation. Since I have read that discussion I have noted repeatedly in the Gospels that Jesus' own disciples very often did not understand the Lord.

But as I read JFB's commentary this morning I was reminded of how often we Christians ignore what Jesus says or are afraid to go to a godly source of counsel because we do not want to hear godly counsel. We are afraid that godly counsel will shake up our preconceived world. We have things where we want them and we do not want even the Lord to dash our notions. Is it that we do not understand? Or is it that we do not want to understand?

[1] E-Sword 7.8.5, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Apologies

Here I am once again attempting to explain myself.

I have taken the last week off and gone to the mountains for a time of prayer and planning. While away I was unable to post my daily visits with the Lord, though I did meet with the Lord each day.

God bless you all.

As He Had Spoken

Genesis 21:1
And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

My focus this morning was on the words, "...as He had said..." and, "...as He has spoken."

What God had said was impossible from every human standpoint. Sarah herself had laughed in disbelief at what God had said. Abraham and Sarah had done wickedly (in the matter of Hagar) because they could not see how God could keep His promise.

And yet, here it was! God had done as He had said. Sarah had indeed given birth to a child, Isaac
Despite his old age
Despite that it was passed the manner of women with her
Despite their sins of the passed
Despite their disbelief in God's Word


God had done as He had spoken.

If only we would come to the place in our spiritual lives where we would trust what God has spoken.
His Word is true
His promises are sure
His direction is right

Sunday, August 12, 2007

And They Came Unto Him

Mark 3:13 KJV
And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

I see first of all the sovereignty of the Lord.
He called whom He would. His was complete choice. His will was done.
He chose whom we would
He called those whom He chose

I see secondly the submission of the called
They came unto Him.
It would not have been necessary that all that were called would have come. Many in fact, who had come, went back later on.

There is an inexplainable balance between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. God is sovereign as does as He pleases. But he allows within that sovereignty that we may obey or not.

Would to God we would do as he would!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

New Wine/New Bottles

Mark 2:22 KJV
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.

Gill says the old bottles are representative of the Pharisees who had asked Him why His disciples did not fast. Wine is sometimes used to speak of the Holy Spirit.

At least one application would be that the truth of God's Word and the work of the Holy Spirit must be in someone who is born again. It does no good to reform a person from without. Changing a person's lifestyle, coercing him to reform his activities and habits, all of those things will only backfire if the person is not made a new creature first.

Perhaps the reason so many have ill feelings toward the faith today is for this very fact. Christianity, in order to force growth in the faith, has taken on a tactic of reformation rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to do a work of regeneration. We have learned to build the church using sales tactics and people management skills; we have marketed the faith as a means to solve perceived problems, and sometimes we have done it without the work of the Holy Spirit in the souls of men. Our work has left people feeling empty, but now without the hope of Christ. They falsely believe they have experienced the faith and it did them no good. The tragedy is that they never new the Lord. That is a work only God can do in them. consequently, the bottle of their life has been burst and the wine of hope in Christ has been spilt.

Just some thoughts.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Voice of One

Mark 1:3 KJV
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

There is no greater demonstration of the power of just one voice than that of John the Baptist. John rises out of obscurity and sinks back into destitution as he is imprisoned and then executed for his faith.
Yet John's one voice changed the climate of the world in his day and Jesus said there was no greater born among women.

John's voice was in the wilderness.
The wilderness of sin and of false doctrines concerning the Saviour exists today in absolute vastness. The wastelands of religious excesses stretch on as far as the eyes can see. There is plenty of room for a voice to rise up and call out prepare ye the way of the Lord.

John's voice was one crying
Not so much in sorrow, though there is need for that too, but in earnestness. The need is too great, the expanses too large, the swelling numbers of the deceived, too many for casual interest. John knew he had to get the word out. So he cried it out.

John's ministry saw multitudes coming to be baptized.

May the Lord allow us to see multitudes as well.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

And He Died

Genesis 5:5 KJV
And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
And he died.....


It had more than likely been more than nine hundred since God had told Adam and Eve "in the day ye eat thereof ye shall surely die." Since Adam and Eve had personally fellowshiped with the Lord I imagine they knew they died that first day, when that fellowship was gone. But I wonder if any of their children began to believe they had won over God. Nine hundred years is a long time!

But they did die.
God had not forgotten
Sin's effects on the body had not softened
The judgment had not crumbled over time

They died.

And so did all of there children
Seth died
Enos died
Cainan died
Mahalaleel died
Jared died


Later
Abraham died
Moses died
David died


Later yet
Matthew died
Mark died
Peter died

Farther down in history
Washington died
Benjamin Franklin died
Lincoln died


More recently
My grandparents died
My Aunt
My cousin died

I have had
Friends die
Church members die
Preacher contemporaries die

One day, all too soon someone will say
You and I died

I find that people deal with the subject of death differently
Some ignore it
They do their best to forget that death is an inevitability. They try not to think about it. They avoid anything that confronts them with it

Some try to cheat it
They either live life as dangerously as they can, thinking that by escaping death through their voluntary escapades, they have somehow reached a sort of immortality. Or else they see if they can keep it away as long as possible through healthy eating and activity.

Some explain it away
They think of mankind as nothing more than an animal. When we die we just cease to exist and thus, ours is to live the best life we can before we are gone.

Some see it through rose colored glasses
They tend to think that there is a better world out there for everybody and in the afterlife, no matter what our life has been like today, everybody will get to enjoy the bliss of eternal heaven - by whatever name they choose to call it.

The wise prepare for it
Death is the most sure event in any person's life. It is the equalizer of all mankind. No one escapes it.

And the Bible makes it very clear that it is after death that the real judgment is.
Lazarus was carried by angels to Abraham's bosom
The rich died and, in hell lift up his eyes.

We can prepare for death
By being saved.
Romans 10:13
Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved

By laying up treasures in heaven
Matthew 6:19-21
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break
through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

By adding to our faith
2 Peter 1:5-11
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hiding From God

Genesis 3:8 KJV
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

How tragic that anyone would hide from God. Yet it might be the first inclination of fallen man to do just that.

Why we might hide

Adam and Eve hid because they were ashamed.
Their sin had exposed to them their nakedness and, though they had sown fig leaves, they could not cover their sinful hearts.

Adam and Eve hid because they were afraid.
The conviction that had been brought upon by guilt led next to the awareness of judgment.

How we might hide
Adam and Eve hid in the trees.

We might hide through busy-ness.
We try to keep so busy that thoughts of shame, fear and the Lord are drowned out by the demands of our time
We might hide in our thoughts.
Thoughts of logic, reason or worldliness replace thoughts of simple faith and obedience to the Lord


It is impossible to hide
Adam and Eve hid in the trees, but the LORD found them out anyway.
Our efforts to hide from the Lord will all fail eventually.
One day, the Bible says, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of the Father

We should flee to Him instead of fleeing from Him
Adam and Eve fled from God. God did find them however, and when He found them they faced the judgment of God for their sins.
If we will flee to God instead of from God the Bible promises us we may obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Waste?

Matthew 26:8 KJV
But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?

The woman's box was wasted on the Lord
It could no longer serve as an investment
It could not longer be used to meet her personal needs
It could no longer be given as a charity gift

It was completely gone; used up

But
It was a blessing to the Lord and
It could never be taken from her by thieves.


By wasting this gift on the Lord she had in fact seen to it that she could never lose it again.
She had poured it out on the Lord and laid up for herself a treasure in heaven.

That is no waste

Monday, August 06, 2007

He Did Come

Malachi 3:1 KJV
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

This prophecy was fulfilled just about 400 years after it was given.

The messenger, John the Baptist did come and prepare the way.
Jesus Christ, the Lord did come
He came suddenly
He came in an unexpected way
He came not only to the Temple but as the Temple


Jesus came the first time as "the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
He is the Saviour
He is the Lord
He is he Great Physician who heals our disease of sin

Sometimes people wonder why He allows so many bad things to happen in our world today. That is because He is still the lamb. His purpose today is not to condemn but to save.

The New Testament prophecies that He will return yet again.
He will come for His Christians to rescue them from this world
He will come next time as a Lion against His enemies to defeat them in His judgment.


Are we ready?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Have We Wearied God in American Christianity?

Malachi 2:17 KJV
Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

I know this is an Old Testament judgment but I think it must be born in mind that it is the last of the Old Testament and is in many ways transitional. Besides, the Lord is the same yesterday today and forever. What would have wearied God in the Old Testament times would weary Him still today.

I see this as a judgment against modern American Christianity and the current trend to say that anyone who says they believe in Jesus is "good in the sight of the Lord and He delighteth in them."

God does not delight in the sin of adultery
God does not delight in the sin of homosexuality
God does not delight in the sin of drunkenness
God does not delight in the sin of self pride
Even if those who are involved in them claim to be saved. We have raised a generation of rebellious and wicked people, many who claim to know the Lord as Saviour, but whose evil deeds are an abomination to the Lord.

To give a person assurance that the Lord loves them and that their sins are ignored (forgotten) by God just because they have made a claim of salvation and yet have not been changed in any way by the Lord
To emphasize God's readiness to save to the point where salvation is merely a prayer we say rather than a work done by Almighty in the soul and
To de-emphasize the judgment of God to the point where nearly any sin is now committed by professing Christians who will then serve in God's church as if they are perfectly righteous
Must weary the Lord

Saturday, August 04, 2007

How Can Ye Escape...?

Mat 23:33
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

These are stern words indeed! The context of the passage forbids us to interpret it with any kind of compassion. Jesus' words to these men were condemning in the greatest sense.
Nevertheless, His question is the most heart searching and important question ever asked. It is the question every man, woman, boy and girl must ask themselves if they would enter heaven; "How can ye escape the damnation of hell?"

Not by works of righteousness which we have done
All our righteousness is as filthy rags before the Lord

Not by seeking God in our own wisdom
Scriptures are clear that no man seeketh after God

Not by believing in the one true God
The devil believe and tremble

The only hope of escaping the damnation of hell is through the mercy of God provided by Jesus Christ. The greatest sin the Pharisees made was that of thinking their acts of religion made them righteous. The worst mistake we can make today is assuming the same thing.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Idol Shepherd

Zechariah 11:17
Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

I saw for the first time today that the Scripture says "idol shepherd" and not “idle shepherd.”
My Pilgrim Study Bible says this is a reference to the Anti-Christ. Barnes and Gill both say this is the "shepherd of nothing" or the good for nothing shepherd.

I can see several ways a shepherd could be good for nothing.
First, if he is a worshiper of idols himself.
Too many pastors are after the dollar today. It seems to me like the bulk of the pastors are in the ministry more as a job function. They are after the sae things most of the worldlings are; pay raises, bigger and better benefits, etc. The things of thre world are their idols.

Second, if he turns the ministry into idolatry
There are those pastors who have success in the ministry as their idols. They are all about growing their own church at the cost of any kind of conviction. They will use whatever worldly means will get the most people in the church, they will run over whomever they must in order that they can claim to have the fastest growing, the most friendly or the largest attendance this side of glory.

Third, if he turns himself into an idol.
And there are those pastors whose drive is that their congregation sees them as a being to be worshiped. They would never use those terms of course, but the difference is still the same. People worship God by worshiping them.

These idol shepherds are good for nothing in the eyes of the Lord. They arm is of flesh and will not help their followers in eternity. Their eye is darkened and cannot see the light of God's truth.

Woe to this idol shepherd.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

His Goodness

Zechariah 9:16-17 KJV
And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.
For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.


Over and over again I find passages that help me in my expressions of devotion and praise to the Lord. Truly His goodness is great. Truly His beauty is great. God's wonders could never be exhausted. We could never say words high enough and give praise too lofty for His glory.

God's glory is seen no only in His salvation offered to the repentant, but that those who get saved are exalted themselves as stones or jewels in God's crown and lifted up as ensigns and banners of grace in God's land.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Whatsoever Is Right

Matthew 20:7 KJV
They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

Those who were hired in the third, sixth, ninth and eleventh hours did not agree to a wage but trusted the householder. Only those hired the first thing in the morning had agreed with the householder concerning their wages. And only those who had agreed ahead of time were disgruntled about what they received.

We can trust our LORD to do for us "whatsoever is right" and when we do, that is when we find out that He is gracious above all imagination.

Those who agreed to their wages remind me of those that do their good deeds to be seen of men and the Bible says they already have their rewards. Those who loss themselves for the cause of Christ never know on this planet what will be their reward. But I am confident that when we get to heaven we will find out that He gives us "whatsoever is right."