Wednesday, October 31, 2007
And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month.
Psalms 90:12 KJV
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
God's Word has many different ways to teach us that our life is “but a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.” Numbers 33 summarizes forty years - for all practical purposes a lifetime for these Jews because an entire generation pass away in those forty years - in just 38 verses.
All of the victories
All of the failures
All of the encounters with God
All of the miracles
All of the battles
All of it is given in 38 verses. From the greatness of the parting of the Red Sea to the sinfulness of refusing to cross into the Promised Land and Kadesh Barnea. It is all over in 38 verses.
A lifetime is over so quickly. We think the events surrounding our day to day lives are so significant. But at our funeral someone will summarize our whole life in a 10 to 15 minute eulogy. If our funeral lasts more than an hour those who attend will complain about it.
So what really matters is not at all those day to day events, no matter how huge for good or bad they seemed to be at the time. What really matters is that we apply ourselves to know God and prepare ourselves for eternal heaven.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
These are truly glad tidings! Through Jesus Christ we are justified of all things.
There is nothing so sinful
There is nothing so wrong
That we cannot be justified of it through Jesus Christ
It does not matter how long ago it happened
It does not matter what men might think about it
It does not matter if others have forgiven us of it
Through Jesus Christ we can be justified of all things
And they are things we could not be justified of by any other means.
No amount of good works,
No amount of religious deeds
Nothing in the Old Testament law could have justified us of all things.
But Jesus Christ, through placing faith in Him all who come to Him as justified of all things.
Glad tiding indeed!
Monday, October 29, 2007
Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
The power of prayer!
Regardless of the power of Herod. Regardless of the guards and gates. No human power is greater than is the power of prayer.
Without giving up, without quitting. Without wavering.
Of the church unto God
The whole church got involved in praying for Peter.
Right now we are facing a trying situation. One of our beloved members is hanging in the balances of life and death. Doctors are near to the point of giving up. It is time for the church to step to the plate and pray without ceasing for this wonderful man.
God may or may not raise our brother back to health. But we can do him no better than to pray without ceasing for him.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
Barnabas saw what had already happened in Antioch and was glad.
There were Christians who witnessed
There were lost people who had believed and turned to the Lord
There were tidings of this getting around the world
Barnabas was not there to win these people to the Lord that was already accomplished. However he did have this message and that was "with purpose of heart they would all cleave to the Lord."
The word “cleave” means "to stay, remain, stick or persevere." And Barnabas said we would do it with purpose of heart or intentionally. No one will persevere with Christ unless they purpose to do so. This world, the flesh and Satan purposefully draw Christians away from Christ. The allure of this world is powerful enough to pull away anyone who does not intentionally cleave to the Lord.
Barnabas exhorted them all to cleave to the Lord. God's desire is not that there be a few really godly Christians who keep the rest of the casual Christians from getting too far away from the Lord. God's desire is that all of us would cleave to Christ. That all of us would be holy, separate and undefiled by this world.
Any Christian can bring that kind of message. We can implore and encourage other Christians to live for God after they are saved. And it is, I think, God's design that when we come to church we do exactly that.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
Jesus Christ commanded the Apostles to preach unto the people
They were to preach peace by Jesus Christ
They were to preach that God had anointed Jesus Christ
They were to preach all the things they witnessed Him do in Israel and Jerusalem
They were to preach that they He was hanged on a tree but God raised Him up the third day
They were to preach that He is the Judge of quick and dead
They were to preach that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins
When they preached that message they had the kind of results Peter saw when he preached it to Cornelius.
And God has commanded us to preach the same things.
Friday, October 26, 2007
And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
Cornelius was not yet a saved man but the Bible says, among other things about him, that he "prayed to God alway." And God said his "prayers and alms are come up for a memorial before God." The word memorial is from a Greek word meaning "record." God had recorded this man's prayers!
I do not know all that Cornelius may have prayed for, but I know that the first prayer God was interested in answering was that Cornelius would believe in Jesus Christ and "receive remission of sins."
Cornelius prayed to the true and living God, not a god
Cornelius prayed with a heart seeking God, not superficially
Cornelius prayed prepared to obey God when He spoke
And this man's prayers had, "come up for a memorial before God." There is no way to over estimate the value in honest, heart searching prayer.
Oh that it might be said of more Christians that they, "prayed to God alway."
Thursday, October 25, 2007
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
This is something. Balaam, though compromising in his relationship with Balak and the Moabites, was a prophet of God and the Bible says God put this word in his mouth.
God had not beheld iniquity or seen perverseness in the children of Israel.
This after their unbelief at Kadesh Barnea
This after the fact that his generation would die in the wilderness as a consequence of that unbelief
This after the rebellion of Korah
This after the they had blamed Korah's death on Moses and Aaron
This after they Moses smote the rock and God said he would not enter the Promised Land because of it
This after they spake against Moses and God sent serpents to chasten them
Despite all of these sins (and more I did not list) that Israel had committed, God says He had not beheld their iniquity or seen their perverseness.
What mercy and grace God has for His people! If only we will come to Him and lean upon His Word! I believe we can then claim that God does not behold our iniquity or see our perverseness either.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
Though Balaam did not fellowship with Israel, he was a believer in the same God as the Israelites were. We cannot deny that there are believers who are not a part of a sound church. However, Balaam did become influenced by the pagan king of Moab and Balaam did eventually turn against the clear instruction of God and against the people of God. A person does not have to be a member of a church to be saved, but he is subject to compromise, temptations and sins that might otherwise be protected from if he is faithful in the house of God.
Balaam heard God's Word
When Balak sent the messengers to summon him to curse Israel, Balaam went before God and the Lord told him not to go.
Balaam faced obstacles in his plan
The ass saw the angel of the Lord before Balaam did and attempted to prevent him from following through with his plan to go to Balak. I wonder how often the nuisances we have in our lives- like a car breaking down or something like that- are God's way to prevent us from doing something He has already convicted us in our hearts we should not do?
Balaam saw the angel himself
We are so thick headed and stubborn about going our own way that often times everyone else can see what God is trying to do in our lives but we can't.
It might be a husband or wife
It might be one of our children
It might be our pastor or another godly person
They in some way warn us that the decision we are about to make is a wrong one. Maybe there is some trial that frustrates our attempts to do what we want to do. In Balaam's case there was the voice of God, then there was a frustrating event, finally he could see God's warning angel himself.
If we would listen to the still small voice, we might avoid those frustrating events. If we would listen to those people God places in our lives to guide us, we could avoid even further frustrations, and if at least we would stop and consider what God might be teaching us through the frustration, we might see God's plan for our lives and avoid either painful consequences or doing something we will wish in all of eternity we had not done.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
With a little imagination a person can envision the violence of this text. There can be very few ways to die, it seems to me, that would be more painful than stoning.
The violence and anger of the mob who had cast him out of the city
The yelling that must have accompanied their stones
The pain of the rocks pelting his body
This would have been a frenzy. Yet the Bible says when Stephen asked the Lord not to lay this sin to their charge he just "fell asleep."
Great peace belongs to the one who knows how to forgive. Despite
The busy-ness, and
Of life, the one who has learned to forgive and leave justice in the hands of the Lord will be the one who can lay his head down in peace and sleep.
This is certainly true in day to day life; but it might be truer when it is time to die. Surely the best way to die, the way to die in peace, is to die having forgiven.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
God's people, after seeing the hand of the Lord in confirming Moses and Aaron, responded by accusing Moses and Aaron of killing the rebels. God was about to kill the whole congregation but Moses instructed Aaron to take a censor of incense and run into the midst of the congregation to save them.
Amazing! Moses still loved this nation and Aaron still ministered to them!
As a part of my daily Bible reading I also read Acts 5 this morning. I saw it as the New Testament counterpart for Aaron's censor of incense. There was Peter and the other apostles once again in the midst of a murmuring Israel, preaching
Acts 5:30-32 KJV
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
We stand today, between the dead and the living as witnesses with the message that God has exalted Jesus Christ to be a Prince and Saviour for to give repentance and forgiveness of sins.
Some will accept it and the plaque of sin in their life will be stayed. Others will reject and face eternal death in hell.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
The ten spies made the observation that the Promised Land, "is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof..." The Bible does not record for us exactly what they meant, but the most plausible to me is that, for the forty days they were there, they saw many funerals. It is possible that there was a plague going through the land at the time and that many of the Canaanites were dying from it.
This makes even more sense when we remember that God had promised Israel
Deut 7:17-20 (KJV)
If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?
Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;
The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.
Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.
God may have already begun to destroy the Canaanites through plagues and other disasters, but these spies, in direct defiance of Deuteronomy 7 saw these as obstacles for the children of Israel rather than God's promises being fulfilled.
How often do we do the same things, seeing the trials around us, not as tools God is using to bring about His will, but as hurdles this world throws in our path?
How often are we disbelieving and therefore disobedient, because we cannot see God at work in the events transpiring in the world around us?
Would to God we would be so closely tuned to the Bible that we would see God's Word being fulfilled in daily events!
Friday, October 19, 2007
And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
What a grand man Moses must have been.
Numbers 12:3 KJV
(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
Moses was not so concerned about his authority as he was that God's people would be Spirit filled, God honoring people. The way to real unity is not for one to have authority and for all to fall into line with him. The way to real unity is for all to completely surrender to God as Moses had done. Moses was not afraid of what these others might say, so long as they had the Lord's Spirit upon them.
This comes into contrast with
Numbers 12:1-2 KJV
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.
While Moses was willing to have God spread the Spirit He had placed upon him, and was jealous; Miraim and Aaron accepted that spirit and believed it gave them the right to speak against Moses. God's response was
Numbers 12:5-8 KJV
And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
Moses did not need to forbid the prophets because God was well aware of what they said and thought and was more than capable of caring for Moses.
I read one more passage concerning Moses and his ministry as prophet this morning
Acts 3:20-26 KJV
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
As great as Moses was, and as quick as God was to defend him when Miriam and Aaron spoke against him, there is a greater than Moses. Those who refuse to hear Jesus Christ, the Bible says, "shall be destroyed from among the people."
Thursday, October 18, 2007
And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.
I see two lessons worth considering today
First; we can be too quick to give out our counsel.
These men brought to Moses a serious inquiry. As the leader of these people, and as one whom the Lord had spoken to on a number of occasions Moses might have simply given his own opinions about how he thought this should be handled.
Not Moses. He knew he needed to hear from the Lord before he gave any instruction in the matter.
Of course, Moses had heard from the Lord previously. It could be that one of the reasons we are quick to give out our opinions is because we are not that confident that God would tell us what to say anyway.
We have heard from our college professors.
We have heard from the books and commentaries.
Have we accepted them as substitutes for the voice of the Lord? I am, of course, not suggesting we listen for audible voices, but for that still small voice of God that comes as we meditate upon God's Word and wait upon the Lord.
Second; we can be too impatient in waiting for God's counsel.
I wonder how many of us would accept it if, having come to our pastor, he said, "Stand still - wait here, until I hear from the Lord." Stand still might not necessarily mean that you would wait in the pastor's office while he went out and prayed for 10 minutes. It could be that it means to make no changes, make no decisions, make no moves until your pastor has time to get alone with God and return to with some instruction.
Of course, it could be that we don't believe our pastor will really hear anything new from the Lord for us anyway. It is likely that we figure our pastor knows all he will ever know for counsel from what he has learned in college, reading books, and the experience he has gained to this point in the ministry.
God is still alive and, though He speaks today through the Word of God, He still speaks. We would all do well to stand still and hear what the Lord will command.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
The great need of our day is that man's heart would be once again pricked.
The word means to pierce thoroughly.
My, isn't that a need today!
Would to the Lord that we would see people completely pierced through with conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Would to God that souls would be broken and contrite and completely convinced of the truth of God's Word.
There is enough shallow planting of the seed of the Word. We need to see it planted deeply within the hearts of men and women and children.
The word also means "to agitate violently or to sting to the quick."
Once again the symbolism is bright. Before a man or woman will be converted through the Gospel they must be concerned for their soul. This is a matter of life or death. This is a matter of heaven or hell. Eternity is at stake and we, in our fleshly state, are bound to judgment.
We are the guilty ones
We are the ones who have turned against the God who created us
We are at fault and
We will one day pay the wages for our sin
Except for Christ.
But God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
My devotional reading this morning took me through Numbers chapters five and six. The passage is certainly a spiritual one. The curse for the wife whose husband is jealous (in chapter five) must be miraculous. No water could cause the illness she would get if and only if she was guilty unless the Lord made it to happen.
And this is a spiritual passage. For the priest to bless Israel with the Words.
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And for God to say in that way the priest had "put [God's] name upon" them must be miraculous.
I view my function as a pastor as similar, though not the same, as that of the priest of old. And I do view it as my duty to put God's name on the people I am blessed to pastor through my prayers for them.
Monday, October 15, 2007
As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
The disciples were blessed to dine on a meal made both from the labor of their own hands (with of course the divine blessing of Christ in telling them when and where to catch the fish) and that which was provided miraculously through Christ (likely not having even fished for them, but rather simply produced them.)
We are blessed of the Lord to be involved in life. We are not just machines that turn on and off as He wills. We are not pets that have no purpose but to be there when the master whims us to be and that eat only what the master puts in front of us. God has given us free will and God has privileged us to participate in His work and plan.
Still, there is nothing better than those gifts we recognize as coming only from God's hand. I am glad I can work and produce. But I am equally and more happy for that which God produces for me.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
....Be not faithless, but believing....
Gill says of faithlessness, [it] is very evil in its own nature, and in its effects; it is the root of all evil; it unfits for duty, and renders the word unprofitable, and leads men off from Christ;
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (KJV)
It is so important that we believe that the Lord met even Thomas' demands so that he would be not faithless, but believing.
God has given us His Word and He has told us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
It is not possible then to over estimate the importance of hearing God's Word and allowing that Word of God to produce faith within us.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
We have a law
They were right that they did have a law. The book of Leviticus 24:16 says, And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death.
There was a law
They did not properly understand it. And they did not properly apply it, but they did have a law.
And by that law Jesus Christ ought to have died. Without it death there was no way for any man to be saved. With His death and resurrection there is a way now for all men to be saved.
We have a law too.
The Word of God is pure and sure.
But we do need to study to show ourselves approved unto God.
We ought never use it to get our own way as they did
We ought never use it to hurt another as they did
We ought never abuse it as a tool of personal power as they did
We have a law
God's Word, ought to be obeyed and will accomplish the good God intends for it.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
Too often we are not willing to drink the cup which our Heavenly Father has given us.
We draw out our sword
We cut off ears - or worse
We refuse to put away the sword when even the Lord commands us to do so.
We either refuse to let the Lord give us the cup or else
We refuse to believe the cup is from the Lord
We fight a hopeless battle believing that God will help us win a fight He has never sanctioned us to enter.
Fight believing ignorantly that God would never desire that His children should suffer at the hands of this world or that God would never want us to give the people of this world the pleasure of believing they have won a victory over us.
But the battle in Jesus' case was not won with the sword; it was won through what the world thought was their own victory. The devil put Christ to death, but that death was the very event that sealed Satan's own demise.
God has a cup for each of us, who are His own, to drink. Victory comes, not through resisting the cup but embracing it.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
The allusion is to the High Priest entering into the Holy of Holies and sprinkling the blood on the mercy seat.
Christ dedicated Himself to God as the one spotless sacrifice and through that sacrifice; those who believe on Christ through the Word of God may be sanctified or dedicated to God.
Without Christ's death, burial and resurrection everything else in the Bible would be mere ritual and useless formality. It is the work of Christ on the cross that makes all the Bible says true, and gives it power in our lives.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.
The Old Testament, without question, contains much judgment. God clearly outlined a plan which involved "cause and effect." God laid out for Israel a blessing and a curse; blessing if they would obey Him, cursing if they did not obey Him.
And they did not obey Him. There are some shining stars in the history of Israel but as a whole, the Old Testament marks one year after another of decline in Israel's obedience to God and one year after another of withdrawal of the blessing and presence of God with them until, by the time Jesus came to this earth, they could no longer recognize "God with them."
But what impresses me and gives me great encouragement is that, despite it all, God continually made promises like this one. "And yet for all that..." God remained their God and would not
Destroy them utterly or
Break His covenant with them
And we call this the age of grace…..
What wonders we have in the mercies of God! What cause for hope and comfort.
For all our sin, for all our failures in our own walk with the Lord, for all that, if God would not cast them away we may be sure neither will He do the same for us.
Rise up and walk with God!
Though you have failed Him
Though you are ashamed
Though you cannot bear to look in the face of the Almighty
Rise up! You that know Jesus Christ, He does not abhor you. He is the Lord your God.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
This verse struck me because it seems almost out of place with the Lord's theme of the branch and its pruning.
Gill and Barnes both suggest (and it seems like they are right to me) that the passage traces back to John 13:10 "Ye are clean but not all" referring to Judas Iscariot. By John 15 Judas had left the company and was about the business of betraying Jesus. He had been pruned from the branch and thus the disciples had been purged.
None of us like losing companions in the Lord. Some of them are not as we would like them to be, but still we do not wish for any to be lost from either the work of Christ as a whole, or our own company. Still, often once they are finally gone we enjoy a freedom in the work of Christ that is not there while they are. Their spirit hampers the spirit of the work of the Lord.
I am going to re-think John 15 and the vine and branches - not applying it so much to myself as an individual, but to a local church setting, as it is obvious that the Lord is addressing not just one believer at a time in the text, but the apostles as a whole.
Monday, October 08, 2007
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
We know that Jesus went to heaven and we know the way that we go to heaven.
We know the way, praise the Lord there is no question for us.
We know the way thank God I do not have to doubt if I will go to heaven
We know the way. Glory to God I know whom, I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have delivered unto Him against that day.
We know the way.
Lord help us to point others to that way.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Jesus said there were things the disciples could not understand right then, but would later on.
Some things they would understand when Jesus rose from the grave and ascended to heaven
Some things they would come to understand over the course of their life as the Holy Spirit gave them instruction
Some things they did not understand until the day they stood beside the Lord in glory.
I am sure the same is true in our cases. There are things that Almighty God does that make no good sense to us. But when we come to know the Lord as Saviour, some of those things begin to make sense. Some things that happen in our lives begin to take on meaning over the years as we walk with the Lord and as we learn His Word. And some things we just won't get figured out until we get to heaven.
The key to it all is to trust the Lord regardless of whether we understand. After all that is what faith is. If we only obey the Lord when we understand what He is doing, we have never really walked by faith.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
When Jesus faced the soul troubling prospect of the Cross He proposed this question to His disciples, " ....what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour...."
Jesus answered His own question by saying that He had actually come for the purpose of the Cross. Jesus said that instead of praying that He should be spared from the cross He would pray "Father, glorify thy name...."
When we face soul troubling times in our lives, perhaps our prayers would be better used if instead of praying that we could get out of those troubles, we would pray that our Heavenly Father would glorify His name through our troubles. In some cases He would do that by delivering us. In other cases He may do that through our testimony for His sake even though He does not deliver us. In either case, to pray that the Father would glorify His name would not be a prayer asked "to consume on our own lusts."
Friday, October 05, 2007
And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
God said he had "severed" Israel from other people. Webster's 1828 has as the first definition of the word "to part or divide by violence." It is a separation; but it is more than that; it is one that is accomplished with "cruel necessity" (again from Webster's 1828). It has a distasteful element to it.
Separation from the world - even from other people in the world is essential for holiness.
And herein lies much of the trouble within Christianity today. Too few are willing to do the distasteful. We would claim we want to be holy. We would claim we want to walk with the Lord. But we are not willing to be severed from other people.
We want to keep our old friends
We want to maintain an agreeable relationship with the lost
We want to fit in, to be liked, to enjoy the people of this world and at the same time we want to be holy before the Lord.
And we are not the first ones with this trouble. In fact it appears to me to be the trouble of humankind since God separated Abraham from the Ur of Chaldees. Jacob's children hated to be an abomination to the Canaanites, so God made them an abomination before the Egyptians. Their friendship with the people of the Promised Land was always and forever a thorn to their spiritual side.
Before we can be holy before the Lord, He will have to sever us from other people of this world.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
And many believed on him there.
John spoke the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ. We know of course that many were converted through John's early ministry, but here were see a "second harvest" as a result of the ministry of John the Baptist; a harvest that John himself did not witness this side of death.
When we speak the truth concerning Jesus we will see many varied results;
Some will hear and believe
Some will grow angry and persecute us
Some will believe, but we may never see it in our lifetime.
The combination of a true testimony concerning Jesus Christ, and the work of God in a man's heart will bear it fruit in season.
And souls will believe.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
John 9:30-34 KJV
The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
"...dost thou teach us?"
Arrogance is damning. The Pharisees, who were highly educated and thought much of themselves, could not conceive of an unlearned man imparting anything of value to them.
Yet the blind man had three advantages over the Pharisees
He had experienced the hardship of blindness (vs 1)
The handicap is an accurate picture of the sin condition
He had it since birth
It crippled everything he did
It impacted everyone who knew him
He now could see (vs 6-9)
This would be pretty difficult to fight against. They had done their investigation and were sure this was the blind man and that he could now see.
His confidence would be great
His testimony would be compelling
He had met Christ (vs 34-38)
While this was after his message to the Pharisees it is none the less true. The great difference between religious elite and a genuine believer is that one has met the Lord and the other only talks about Him.
This man was a natural teacher. His language to the Pharisees shows order, reason, and conviction. The best teachers of the Word of God are not those who have been taught, but those who have met the Lord in a personal way and are gifted of the Holy Ghost to tell their story.
If the Pharisees had allowed this man to teach them they would have been far better off.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
Jesus did not distress Himself with the fact that some people would not receive the message He preached. They simply were not of God. Those in whom the Spirit of God is at work, those who are either already saved or else God is convicting to get saved, will hear and understand and accept God's Word for the truth that it is.
Those who are not, will not.
It is true that some whose hearts are being convicted of the Lord will continue to refuse or to ignore God's Word. Therefore we can never give up on praying for people nor can we ever quit preaching the truth and urging them to respond to it. However, there is a difference between quitting and resting in the Lord.
While I must never quit urging men to come to Christ, I must also rest in the Lord's ability to draw them at His time. I do not have to resort to worldly tactics to persuade them, nor do I need to give up in frustration. God is on His throne. Those who are His will respond. Those He has given to us will come and will follow.
We must keep our faith in Christ, not in what appears to be our results.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?
Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
So there was a division among the people because of him.
The division was here caused because some assumed they knew the truth, but did not. They knew the Bible said the Christ should come from Bethlehem, but they did not know that Jesus was born there. Their reasoning rather than faith caused division, and worse, it was the reason they would not be able to go where Jesus was about to go; heaven (read verses 33-36)
Nowhere does the Bible say Jesus ever attempted to defend His position as the Christ by saying He was born in Bethlehem, or that His mother was a virgin, or that He met the requirements of Davidic lineage. Instead Jesus appealed to the Word of God, to the testimony of John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit, and to His works. Then He simply trusted His Father to give Him those whom the Father would (consider John 6:37-39, 44-45, 65)
Those who believed because they believed Jesus’ works were the ones who were in the right here, and the ones who were saved and would get to follow Jesus into heaven.
I wonder how many people cause divisions in the work of God or refuse to be saved because they think they know the truth, but have not fully searched out a matter?
I wonder how many cause divisions or refuse to be saved because they insist on understanding all the "facts" rather than by faith believing the witness of those who have told them about Christ and of the Holy Spirit's still small voice within them?