Friday, November 30, 2007

A Healthy Church

Romans 12:6-8 KJV
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.


This passage is in the context of a local church body. God has given to each of us differing gifts and has given them to us in differing measures.

Those gifts are
Prophesy - the gift of preaching
Ministry - the gift of serving
Teaching - the gift of explaining
Exhortation - the gift of encouragement
Giving - the gift of benevolence
Ruling - the gift of leadership
Mercy - the gift of compassion


I suspect that these seven gifts compose all that is necessary for the church to function in a healthy way. It is probable (at least when we consider our experience) that most Christians have a combination of these gifts with perhaps one gift that stands out the strongest. A church could do worse than to make these seven gifts also the seven ministries of the church. How much might we accomplish for the cause of Christ if we focused on doing what the Lord has specifically outfitted Christians to do?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Without Repentance

Romans 11:29 KJV
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Barnes
This does not refer to man, but to God. It does not mean that God confers his favors on man without his exercising repentance, but that God does not repent, or change, in his purposes of bestowing his gifts on man. What he promises he will fulfil; what he purposes to do, he will not change from or repent of.[1]

Gill
...they are immutable and unalterable; God never revokes them, or calls them in again, or takes them away from the persons to whom he has made such a previous donation: the reasons are, because that his love from whence they spring is always the same; it admits of no distinction, nor of any degrees, nor of any alteration; and electing grace, according to which these gifts are bestowed, stands sure and immovable; not upon the foot of works, but of the sovereign will of God.[2]

This verse does not say that once we have set out to serve the Lord we can never change direction. The verse says that what God has give us, His gifts, His calling us to salvation and His guidance and direction in our lives; these things God will not repent of nor change his mind.

What a wonderful blessing to be reminded that what God has given us in salvation will never be removed. The context surrounds God's setting Israel aside to call out a people among the Gentiles. Yet even in this God is still saving Jews as they come to Christ and God has not forsaken Israel as His chosen people. Just as God has not and will not forsake the Jews, God will not turn from those He has saved.

[1] E-Sword 7.8.5, Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, Albert Barnes (1798-1870)
[2] E-Sword 7.8.5, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

That Sought Me Not

Romans 10:20 KJV
But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

Those that sought not and asked not refers to the Gentile people in general. Historically they were not the ones who sought a relationship with the Living God but were prone to disdain the God of the Jews, choosing rather to worship the creature; the sea the sun, various animals and gods who were half supernatural and half human.

But more specifically, this refers to me. I did not come from a Christian background. I was not looking for a relationship with God. It was all of God that I found Him.
He placed in my heart the awareness of His reality
He placed in my path witnesses who continued to present Christ to me
He placed before me not one but many who urged me to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and
He placed in my soul the faith to trust Jesus Christ as my Saviour.

It is God's grace that saved me, though I was not seeking Him. And that moves me to serve the Lord by seeking those who are not seeking Him. There are around us men, women and young people who may not be seeking the Lord, but whom the Lord is seeking Himself. They may not be asking for the Lord and we may view them and believe it is a waste of effort to tell them about the Lord. But some of those who are not looking will find the Lord and some of them who have not been asking will see Christ when we who have already found and seen, do what God has called us to do and go to those who sought not.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Of God

Romans 9:16 KJV
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

The flesh of man is far too prone to take credit for the things only God can do. Salvation, both the accepting of it and the propagation of it, is of God's mercy.

Men tend to believe that our flesh has something to do with our salvation. Since when we got saved, we willed to come to Christ, we believe that our will had something to do with our salvation when in fact we willed to come because God put that faith in us. Since when we got saved, things changed in our lives;
We were baptized
We began to attend church
We suddenly had a desire to understand the Bible
We think somehow our efforts were part and parcel of our salvation. The truth is that those changes and new desires were not our own, but a new creature God created of us.

Salvation, both receiving it, and spreading it, is not by the hard work and earnest pleading of men. Salvation is always and is only “of God that sheweth mercy.”

We must be obedient to the Lord as He leads. But we must be careful not to confuse our obedience as anything other than the evidence of God showing His mercy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Three Groanings

Romans 8:22-23; 26 KJV
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

The three groanings of this text

The whole creation groans
This world has been so racked by the throws of sin that every creature and even the world itself is off base. I heard last night that certain scientists believe that humanity has corrupted the black holes in outer space just by looking at them. They believe that by merely observing the universe mankind has somehow irreparably harmed the universe. While that seems ridiculous on the surface, the effects of man’s sin have had farther reaching impact that we care to believe.

The Christian groans.
Having gotten a taste of what will be when we are finally in the presence of the Lord, the Christian longs for the day when not only is his spirit and soul reconciled to God, but that his body will be made incorruptible too.

The Comforter groans
The Holy Spirit of God dwelling in us prays with groaning which cannot be uttered. I find great comfort in knowing that the Spirit of God is praying for those things I do not know to pray for.
Romans 8:22-23; 26 KJV
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

The three groanings of this text

The whole creation groans
This world has been so racked by the throws of sin that every creature and even the world itself is off base. I heard last night that certain scientists believe that humanity has corrupted the black holes in outer space just by looking at them. They believe that by merely observing the universe mankind has somehow irreparably harmed the universe. While that seems ridiculous on the surface, the effects of man’s sin have had farther reaching impact that we care to believe.

The Christian groans.
Having gotten a taste of what will be when we are finally in the presence of the Lord, the Christian longs for the day when not only is his spirit and soul reconciled to God, but that his body will be made incorruptible too.

The Comforter groans
The Holy Spirit of God dwelling in us prays with groaning which cannot be uttered. I find great comfort in knowing that the Spirit of God is praying for those things I do not know to pray for.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

One Lone Piece of Wall

Joshua 6:22-23 KJV
But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot's house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her.
And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.

The image came to my mind of that one spot on the way that did not fall down flat, the house of Rehab, was actually built into that which first fell in Jericho and signaled in a distinct way God's intent to destroy everything involved in the city.

Still there was one place of grace even in Jericho, and that, upon the wall.

That lone piece of wall, still standing was
A symbol of grace to all those inside.
The battle raged out the door, but all was safe inside.

A symbol of mercy for the children of Israel
Everyone knew that those inside were to be spared. It stood out among everything else as that place where mercy lived.

A symbol of wrath for the citizens of the city wo refused to enter in.
I do not know that Rahab had told anyone else but her family about the promise made to her. But as that piece of wall stood there, some would have noticed that the battle raged everywhere but Rahab's house. Perhaps knowing that she had hidden the spies and perhaps hearing about the promise that had been made her, those who did not receive that grace and mercy would surely have been angered at her getting what they were not.

No doubt as the battle went on there were those who did not even notice that there was one piece of the wall still standing.

I am reminded of the church today, standing as a bulwark against the Satanic battles raging in the world around us. For those who come inside, it is a place of grace. For those who stand for God it is a place of mercy and peace. But without the church and in the world there are those that can't help but see the church and see the cars pulling up to attend services and
Grow angered at what we teach.
Grow angered that we have a peace they know nothing of.
Grow angered that we teach those outside face certain destruction.


Of course there are others who drive by the church today and never notice. They are so busy in their own battles that they don't see there is a place of mercy and grace. Though they face the same destruction as those who hate the church, they run headlong into their lives, ignorant of the dangers before them and of the one place of refuge that stands so obviously available to them.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ye Have Your Fruit

Romans 6:22 KJV
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

The preceding verse expresses that there is no fruit of profit in sin. Christians, who were all once lost and have been servants to sin, know this to be the fact. There is no ultimate pleasure in sin. It always leads to a bitter end. However, being saved and made free from sin, we are now the servants of God and there is fruit in this service. It is the fruit of holiness and it ends in everlasting life.

The fruit of holiness is pleasant.
It is pleasant to partake in. It is pleasant to pursue.

The fruit of holiness is peaceable.
There is no guilt in enjoying this fruit. It frees us from the service ot sin. It does not adversely affect our relationship to the Lord. It rather enhances it.

The fruit of holiness is profitable.
In the end it leads to everlasting life.

Only good things come from becoming servants to God.

Friday, November 23, 2007

It Took Faith to Stay in That House

Joshua 2:18-19 KJV
Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee.
And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.


The thought came to me that it must have taken quite the faith to live in an home with a window on the wall. The wall's function was to prevent intruders from entering the city by force. Once the gates were shut soldiers could then defend the city from the tops of the walls. Having a window exposed to the outside would seem to me to be a weakness in the wall. Certainly to remain in the room with the window would be to be exposed to greater risk. I would even expect that soldiers would have wanted to have been in that room to guard the window from those who would enter the city through it.

Now the Jews have surrounded the city, the battle is engaged, and the rest of the walls have fallen down flat. What faith it would take to remain inside the house!

This world looks at Jesus Christ as a sort of weakness. Men and women need Christ, in their minds, who are too weak to face life and death without this sort of spiritual support. As the battles of life rage around us, who have come into Christ, there are temptations to flee. When it seems like the battle focuses on and against Christ, there are those we believe to trust Christ, but show their true faith by fleeing from Him in times of great trouble. Only those who stay inside Christ are spared. Perhaps the battles that we face have as a main goal, to find out those whose faith is in Christ and those who only claim that faith, but do not possess it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Him That Justifieth the Ungodly

Romans 4:5 KJV
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

The title of God
"Him that justifieth the ungodly"
What a name for Almighty God. He justifies the ungodly.
It is His business.
It is His purpose, yea
It is His character
To justify the ungodly

To justify implies more than that God lets the ungodly go free in their guilt. It means that God does something that pays for their ungodliness and turns them around.

The type of man
"the ungodly"
There is none that doeth good so this is an accurate type of all men. God becomes so much more precious to us when we see ourselves as ungodly. Once we have a right view of self, seeing God as gracious and kind and merciful in the next easiest step.

The reward of faith
"counted for righteousness"
Not that I am righteous in my own accord. I am counted for righteousness because of faith. I have seen myself for who I am and I have see the Lord for who He is. The natural result is that I place faith in the one whose character is to justify ones whose character is such as mine. Placing that faith in Him, He counts me righteous.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Cry of God for the Lost

Deuteronomy 32:29 KJV
O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!

This verse is obviously speaking not of Israel but of the nations of Canaan that Israel was about to dispossess. Moses, under the inspiration of the Lord cries that these people had been wise and understood and considered their latter end, what difference might have been the outcome if only that were the case.

The heart of the prophet, and the heart of God, and thus the heart of those who would be faithful to the Lord today, should be one of burden and brokenness for those who have refused to be wise in fearing the Lord. Our hearts ought to be broken for the lost.
Rather than holding ought against them,
Rather than seeking vengeance toward them

We must be heartbroken for the judgment they face.

It might make the difference in seeing some of them come to the Lord.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Patient Continuance

Romans 2:7 KJV
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

Patient continuance in well doing

This implies that there will be little or no reward for the well doing or else there would be no need for patience.
Rom 8:24
.... but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (KJV)

Our well doing ought to be done in pursuit of the reward even when the reward seems to elude us. There will be times, and for some it might be most of the time, that we cannot see the fruit of our pursuit.
We seek, but we do not feel like we find.
We knock, but we do not feel like it has been opened.
We ask, but it does not seem like it has been given.
Patient continuance seeks still.

And we must continue in this well-doing. We must not give in. We must not quit. We must not let
Discouragement,
Distraction or
Disgruntlement

Turn us from our course of patient continuance in well-doing.

God's promise is that it will result in the reward; glory, honor and immortality, and ultimately, eternal life in the end.

Monday, November 19, 2007

They Shall Be Afraid of Thee

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 KJV
The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.
And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

It seems to me that our world is afraid of the believers even today.
They are afraid of our positions against sin.
They are afraid of our positions for morality.
They are afraid of our efforts to evangelize.
They are afraid of our assurance of faith.

There is no reason a Christian should be bothered by the lost fearing them. They ought to be under conviction and they ought to feel confronted by our holy walk with the Lord.

We do not have to be hateful and we should not be.
We do not have to be militant and angry spirited.


But if our faith in Christ and if our walk with Him brings conviction and fear to them, it is not a bad thing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thou Shalt Rejoice

Deuteronomy 26:11 KJV
And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.

Verses 1-11 should be taken together but for sake of space I have not included all these verses. When the Jews had gathered their harvest
They were to present a basket of the harvest before the priest,
They were to remember and repeat how God had led them out of Egypt into this good land and
They were to rejoice in every good thing the Lord had given them


This is a great way to think of tithing and the reason why we may bring those tithes to the Lord cheerfully; such tithing not only reminds us of the goodness of God in our lives today but also reminds us of what God has brought us through and where we would be without Him.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Forever Cursed, But Found in Christ

Deuteronomy 23:3-6 KJV
An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:
Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.
Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.


God told the Jews they were never to forgive the Ammonites or the Moabites. They were never to be allowed into the congregation of the Jews. Israel was never to seek their peace or prosperity forever.

But Ruth was a Moabite and she was allowed into the congregation.

Moreover, Jesus has the Moabite Ruth in His genes.

Jesus not only bore our sins on His body; He bore them in His body. The DNA of the forever cursed was built into His bones and when He died on the cross, He carried those genes to the cross with Him. When He rose from the grave, He gave resurrection to those genes as well and when He ascended into heaven, He lifted those who were
Never to be forgiven
Never to be blessed,
Never to be brought into the fellowship

With Him into that glorious place.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not Disobedient

Acts 26:19
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

Paul, it must be remembered, is making an appeal for his life. To lose this mean to lose his life on this earth. Yet Paul obviously has a deeper goal than just winning a judicial appeal. He is concerned for the souls of those who are here listening.

Paul could testify he had not been disobedient. God had given him marching orders and Paul had obeyed those orders.

I wonder how many Christians could stand before a magistrate and say, "I was not disobedient"
To God
To His Word
To His calling in my life

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Victory At Any Price is No Victory

Deuteronomy 20:19 KJV
When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life) to employ them in the siege:

I was drawn to consider the phrase, "...for the tree of the field is man's life..."

To be honest, I was not able to find any spiritual application to this except to see that God in mercy and in wisdom teaches that the destruction of the fruit bearing trees is a cruelty too great even in battle circumstances. If the enemy is conquered, the goal will in most cases not be the total annihilation of the people, but their subjugation. If these trees are destroyed there will be no food for the survivors. In those cases where the land might be completely overrun and occupied in the future by the victor's nation, still the produce of the land would be needed for their prosperity into the future.

This world is corrupted and even good men often do not consider the consequences of their decisions. God is teaching that victory at any price is not true victory.

The God who would be merciful to future generations, and the God who teach a degree of mercy even to the conquered, is a God we may rest assured will be merciful to all those who rest in Him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Prophet

Deuteronomy 18:18-22 KJV
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.


Notice that the word Prophet in verse 18 is capitalized. This verse, agrees the Jewish scholars of old, is messianic. It is not speaking of just any prophet but of the Saviour.

He was raised up among the Jews
He spake what the Father gave Him to say
He gave one prophesy that is without question on fulfilled in Jesus -

John 2:19
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. (KJV)

All others are presumptuous. We do not need to heed their message. We do not need to be afraid of their words. Only Christ died and rose again three days later. We are only required to those words spoken by Him.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Altogether Just

Deuteronomy 16:20 KJV
That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

My thoughts this morning centered on three words in the text....

Altogether
Just and
Follow


As happens often in the Word of God, a truth is emphasized by repeating it. The words altogether and just are the same. It means right, moral, legal. There are some things that men have determined are right, but they everybody knows that they are not right. The government might make homosexuality legal, for instance, but no law can make it altogether just. God's Word urges the Christian to know the difference between those things that are legal and those things that are altogether just before the eyes of God.

The word follow means to run after, to chase or to hunt. I have in my head the careful, methodical, persistent search for that a person might have if he were hunting pheasant or quail. The birds know to hold and to hide. The hunter finds the birds only after slowly and carefully covering all of the ground. Every piece of cover is explored. every square inch of ground is checked.
The eyes are sharp, looking for the elusive creatures.
The ears listen for the sounds of the rustling.
Many birds will be flushed that the hunter is not after, still he hunts for his prey.
The hunter is not discouraged by either rain or snow, and
If he does not find a bird on this outing, he will surely go again.

Even so ought we to follow that which is altogether just.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Your God Proveth You

Deuteronomy 13:3 KJV
Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Just as the Lord proved Abraham with Isaac, God's Word says He will prove the Jews.

He would prove them with false prophets to see if they would adhere to the Word of God or go astray with fanciful visions.

He would prove them with family members to see if their first love was the Lord or their loved ones.

He would prove them with whole cities that would turn aside from the Lord to see if they would follow the multitudes or the truth.

And just as the Lord proved Abraham and proved Israel we may rightly expect that God will prove us.

Let us resolve that we will cling to the truth as it is revealed in the Word of God, and not follow the fancies of false teachers, family or the multitudes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Priorities

Proverbs 11:4 KJV
Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.

Priorities

When we believe the Word of God that there will be a day of judgment and wrath then it makes perfect sense to pursue righteousness and not riches in our lives.

Just as when a man faces serious illness and no amount of money is able to spare his life, so when the Lord pours out His wrath against all those who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness, there will be no amount of money that can alleviate the wrath. God is no respecter of persons. He does not hold one up higher than another because he is wealthy, popular or has earthly power. In that day when God calls the birds to the great supper of God, they will
Rev 19:18
.... eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.(KJV)

On the other hand the one who seeks righteousness in Jesus Christ is delivered from death. Gill says, "from the curse of a corporeal death; from the power of a spiritual one; and from dying the second or an eternal one."[1]

[1] E-Sword 7.8.5, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We Kneeled

Acts 21:5 KJV
And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says of this passage, "Their last farewell was sweetened my prayer." Paul had taught them to pray always and pray without ceasing. Here we find disciples kneeling on the shore in a precious mental portrait of affection not only for one another but for the God who had brought them together and made them brothers and sisters in Christ.

May we ever remember that the One who binds us together is Christ.
We may have great love an affection for one another, but that should always be tempered with a desire that the will of the Lord be done.

And
May we ever remember that Christ is the reason we are together.
So that we bring honor to Him in our assemblies.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Not For Thy Righteousness

Deuteronomy 9:4-6 KJV
Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.
Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.


This is a humbling passage indeed and can be of a great help to us in our walk with the Lord if we will heed it.

Paul said
Rom 7:18
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: ..... (KJV)

God's grace and love toward us is not because of our own goodness, but because of His own goodness. If God uses us, it is not because we have deserved to be used but because He has chosen to use us.
If we win souls to Christ
If we help sinners be converted from the error of their way
If we encourage believers in the way of righteousness

It is not because of our righteousness, but because of the need of these who do not know the Lord.

God's call into the ministry has little to nothing to do with our own goodness (though our testimonies ought to be "well reported of the brethren") but instead because God's plan has been to use we who are sinners saved by grace to minister to those who need to be saved by that same grace.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Don Richeson



We lost one of our finest this week. Don Richeson breathed his last breath on earth and took his first in glory Tuesday of this week.

Bro Don Richeson and his wife, Yuki came to our church just two years ago.

Bro Richeson was saved later in life and he knew he needed to be busy for the Lord. Not long after joining our church he retired from his job to devote himself full time to serving the Lord.

  • He enrolled in our Bible College.
  • He began coming out soul winning.
  • He had just started teaching a leadership course to our teens.

Brother Richeson was a faithful reader of my daily visits with the Lord and probably wrote more comments concerning them than any other.

The week he went to the hospital Bro Richeson preached the Tuesday night college chapel on the subject of prayer.

I am comforted knowing that this prayer warrior is in heaven praying for us today.

Power to Get Wealth

Deuteronomy 8:18 KJV
But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

The passage thought begin in verse eleven (though I found that most of chapters seven and eight could apply to this same thought). That of remembering that the Lord is the one who had blessed them in the good land. We are warned of our tendency, once having prospered, to forget that the prosperity comes from the Lord and not of our own doing.

Our cupboards are stocked
Our houses are nice
Our accounts are full

And we forget that it is all because of the Lord.

So the Bible's remedy is that we remember that it is the LORD that gives us power to get wealth.

The word here is one that means force. Strong's concordance says it also means virtue, valor, strength, ability or other types of resources. In other words, this does not necessarily mean money and it does not necessarily mean huge amounts of riches. It means that God gives us the power or means to get everything we have.

That is humbling.
We cannot claim the blessing on our own
That is also something to be thankful for.
He does not have to give us this power.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What God Wishes For Us

Deuteronomy 5:29 KJV
O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

John Gill reminds us that properly speaking there are no such "volitions and wishes in God." This passage should not be taken as to mean that God is any less sovereign. It is written "after the language of the children of men" and thus conveys to us the great heart of God that man, though a free will, would exercise that heart to fear God and keep His commandments.

What greater cause may a man give his life to than this?
What greater endeavor can a man be devoted than the one Almighty God claims He desires us to?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Judged

Acts 16:15 KJV
And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

If ye have judged me faithful


The sense of this is that he had judged her faithful. It is assumed by Lydia. However there is a lesson here that the preacher does have a certain degree of judgment concerning those with whom he works

He judges whether they are saved
He judges whether those who have been saved have grown enough to serve
He judges their maturity level in the Lord for advancements in service in the ministry of the Lord.


Lydia was neither offended nor defensive concerning this judgment. She accepted it as a natural part of the Christian growth and she submitted herself to the authority God had invested in Paul.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Parents

Proverbs 4:1-4 KJV
Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.


Solomon passed down to his children what was passed down to him from his father, David. In this chapter Solomon addresses first "children" and then, "my son." Solomon also says his father taught him as if he were "the only beloved." He was not the only child of either David or Bathsheba but he felt that way concerning the instruction.

Parents would do well to learn first to pass down good doctrine and law to their children and to do it in such a manner that all of the children learn it but each of the children learn it in a way that is unique and precious to themselves. Each child has his or her own personality. They have unique strengths and weaknesses. They learn differently from one another. Parents ought to learn what those uniquenesses are and to train each child with them in mind. That is the way each child will grow up to say I was "tender and only beloved" of both my mother and my father.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Wisest Man

Proverbs 3:7 KJV
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

The deception of the flesh is such that we can easily become wise in our own eyes. We might begin trusting the Lord and not leaning on our own understanding. But time and success too often takes over and we begin to feel like
Because of our experience
Because of our passed successes and maybe
Because of our further training

We have gained some of our own wisdom. Only evil can come from our own wisdom.

The wisest man always seeks wisdom but never acknowledges he has obtained it. His lifelong quest is for the wisdom of God and the understanding of the fear of the Lord.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Hid Treasures

Proverbs 2:1-5 KJV
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

We need more than anything else to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Little else has worth unless we make these those things that have all worth.

We understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God by seeking wisdom understanding and knowledge as treasures. When we apply ourselves to these things. When we place all our efforts in obtaining them, we find a greater treasure than they can ever be in and of themselves, we meet the Lord.

No man, the Bible says, seeketh after God. We can never see the face of God (except in Jesus Christ - and He is not physically with us any longer). But we can find the knowledge of God through seeking wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Known Unto God

Acts 15:18 KJV
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Known unto God
There is great comfort in knowing God knows.
When all the world is in shambles.
When men and women in leadership are uncertain.
When the average citizen has no idea which is the right way to proceed or who exactly should be in office.
When we do not know what to do about our own circumstances....
God knows

His works
God is working in this world.
Sometimes we may have trouble seeing that.
Sometimes we may forget it.
Sometimes it looks to us like men and the devil are having their way.
But our God is working. Faith rests in that. Faith places its complete hope, not in man's ability to reason out a right course but in God's sovereign ability to work out His plan.

From the beginning
God has never been surprised by the actions of men. Neither Adam and Eve nor any other human being has ever shocked God with their turn from His way. God has known from the beginning every step every man would take and has orchestrated it all into His ultimate plan for glory. Men do wicked things and God refuses to interfere with their free will. But every thing they do has been known from the beginning and is incorporated into the work of God.

We walk by faith, not by sight.