Monday, December 31, 2007

The Proper Response

2 Corinthians 6:11-13
O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.

This is almost a conclusion to five chapters of defense of Paul's ministry before the Corinthian believers (the remainder of this chapter should also be considered in the context of this defense - Paul was telling them not to be yoked with these that falsely accused Paul, but that they should be yoked with men whose faith was like that of Paul's."

What a passage! Paul says that his heart's love for them and concern to give them the truth had not been changed by the accusations and criticisms that had been leveled against him. He had not lost any room in his heart for them, though they seemed to have lost room for him. In effect Paul begs them to open their hearts in love for Paul once again. He reminds them that they are his children in the faith and tells them that it is right to recompense Paul's love for them with reciprocal love.

When God places in the lives of people a preacher who loves them and who cares enough for them to tell them the truth, even though they are often offended by that truth; the only right response is to return the love.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Confidence

2 Corinthians 5:6
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

2 Corinthians 5:8
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

There is nothing like
Confidence
Faith
Peace

In the midst of the troubles of the world.

Paul said his confidence surrounded the fact that he knew while he was in the body and on this earth, he was an ambassador. this world is a strange place to the Christian. Its culture and its practices are foreign to us and this world is not especially kind to us. But the Christian has no reason to be beaten down and discouraged. Our confidence comes from the fact that this world is not our home.

One day, whether by death of the body or by rapture of the saints, we who are believers will depart this world and be forever with Christ. When our faith in Christ's promise to be present with Him is strong, then our confidence and peace regardless of what happens to our bodies is strong as well.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm Waiting For Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:12
So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

This chapter, and the one previous, deals with the difficulties of being in the ministry. Paul was accused and misjudged in Corinth and much of what he writes - especially in 2 Corinthians addresses that.

Gill says of this verse, "...his meaning is, ours is the sorrow, the trouble, the affliction, and death itself, yours is the gain, the joy, the pleasure, and life; what we get by preaching the Gospel are reproach, persecution, and death; but this Gospel we preach at such expense is the savour of life unto life to you, and is the means of maintaining spiritual life in your souls, and of nourishing you up unto eternal life;..." [1]

What would be the reward to the Apostle for such an exchange? Paul answers that in 2 Corinthians 4:14
Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

The reward is actually the souls of these Paul has ministered to. Though they may misunderstand him, judge him and even turn to other preachers in favor of him; one day Jesus Christ will present Paul with those he has ministered to. I do not know that we can say that Paul will be presented with these believers as his reward, but certainly that he will be presented to the Lord at the same time as these believers.

When Jesus returns all of the mess that is in this world will be brought to order. Wrongs will be righted. Misunderstandings will be corrected. Broken fellowships will be restored. Truly we can endure a great deal today if we will keep our own testimonies pure before the Lord and wait on Him.

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

Friday, December 28, 2007

Evidences

2 Corinthians 3:4-5
And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

Paul had defended his ministry by saying that the results of his ministry was sufficient evidence that his ministry was of God.
Those who had been saved
Those churches that had be founded
Those who had come to follow Christ through his preaching

Those were the "letters of commendation" for his ministry.

But then Paul said that even that was not the primary focus of his ministry.
His sufficiency
His faith
His confidence

Was not even dependent upon the results of his ministry. His sufficiency was entirely of God.

When a person walks with God there will be fruit naturally produced. This fruit is a sweet reward and commendation of our walk, but it should not considered essential or necessary to maintain our walk. Knowing Christ is sufficient when we truly know Christ.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Modern Object Lesson

1 Samuel 8:7-8
And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.

Samuel's ministry began to deteriorate almost at this moment. No doubt he was still very influential to his last day; having great sway even over King Saul. But things changed quickly once the people had rejected God in favor of a king. At one point Samuel was even afraid to obey the Lord's command for fear of Saul's reaction to his activity.

God, I think, often uses his man as an object lesson of how this world has rejected God. The callousness of people against the church and the preaching of the Word of God is a reflection of their hardened heart to the Lord and the casual relationship of most Christians toward their pastor is a reflection of the lack of fear that they possess of God.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Whose Testimony Counts

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

Paul said that the thing that brought him joy, the thing he could rejoice over was the testimony of his conscience. He knew that he had lived his life in simplicity and godly sincerity. He knew that he had served God by the grace of God and not with fleshly wisdom.

Paul had been accused, abused and misunderstood. But regardless of all that, Paul still rejoiced knowing his own testimony.

We have little control over what others thing of us - especially what they think about our faith in Christ. This world seldom appreciates or understands God's calling on ones life. Certainly this world does not appreciate the standards and convictions against sin that God puts in our hearts. So the concern of the Christian should not be to maintain their testimony among those around them. Our only concern ought to be that testimony of our own conscience.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Pleasing the Master

Proverbs 25:13
As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

So is a faithful messenger to them that send him

The thought struck me that this verse could be applied to our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He sends us as messengers of the good news of salvation.

When we are faithful to that calling, it is as if we "refresh the soul" of our Saviour.
John 15:2
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (KJV)

John 15:8
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (KJV)

Rom 10:15
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (KJV)

God is so pleased, so blessed when we who are His serve as faithful messengers to His Gospel.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Tarry a while

1 Corinthians 16:7
For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.

The heart of the Apostle is permeated through this chapter. His desire to see these believers as well as to accomplish ministry is other places is evident.

He says, ...I trust to tarry a while with you...

He wants to spend time with them
He wants to linger in their presence
He wants the chance to teach them and to fellowship with them.

As I write these words I am on my way to see my parents for Christmas. It will be a short trip as I have to come home right after. But there will be time we spend just “tarrying” together. We won’t have anything to do – we will just be together. I love it because I love my parents. Such love ought to be present among God’s family in the local church.

Sometimes the Lord does not permit such tarrying. There is work to be done and often the work forbids spending much time in tarrying together; but the heart's desire is still there.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

So Ye Believed

1 Corinthians 15:11 KJV
Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

I am reminded that at the beginning of 1 Corinthians, these Christians had divided themselves over whose baptism they had. Paul here simply says it does not matter which of the Apostles preached Christ to them; Christ was preached and they believed.

My goal today is only that Christ would be preached and some would believe. The goal is not to get a following behind me. The purpose is not that some would call me a good preacher. Our only desire is that, as Christ is preached, those who hear will believe.

The Lord has chosen to use the preaching of the Gospel to bring the lost to Christ. It is His plan and His plan works as He sees fit.

Some believe - the Gospel for them is the power of God unto salvation.
Some do not believe - the Gospel to them is foolishness and a stumblingblock.


But in either case, God is glorified in the preaching.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hannah Didn't Always Feel This Way

1 Samuel 2:1 KJV
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

This has to be kept in the context of chapter one where
Hannah could have no child
Hannah was provoked by an adversary and
Hannah was
Grieved in the heart
Bitter in the soul and
Sorrowful in the spirit


But God turned all of that around so that in chapter two she prayed such praises to the Lord as this!

Few people live in this world without times of great heaviness and sorrow of heart. Some have lives that are deeply wounded year after year with little relief. The faith of the saint is that there is a day of rest for us all. Every believer will give praises to the Lord just as Hannah did; if not on this planet then in heaven. And I suspect that those believers who remain true to Christ through a life of difficulty will be able to give greater praise to the Lord then than will those who have had much of their reward here on earth. Nothing would make heaven sweeter than the bitter taste of the pain of earth.

Hang on to Christ! Though grieved, bitter and sorrowful, rejoice in the LORD.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Faith, Hope Charity

1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

If everything else is childish and will vanish, Paul says there are three Christian qualities that still abide

Faith
The word means persuasion.

It is our constant persuasion that our God is and
That He is sovereign
That He is the One God and
That His Word is true

Hope
The word means anticipation.

This is our expectation that God promise of eternal life in Christ will one day be fulfilled. Though this world is cruel and Christians don't fit well here; God's promise and our hope, our anticipation is that one day we will go to dwell with Christ in a place where we are far more suited.

Charity
The word means benevolent love.

Paul says this is the greatest of the three.

And no wonder;
Matt 22:37-40
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
(KJV)

We could not fulfill these greatest of all commandments without faith and without hope. But we have not brought forth the fruit of faith and hope without charity

Thursday, December 20, 2007

God's Kindness

Ruth 1:20-21 KJV
And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?


Ruth 2:20 KJV
And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

Naomi went from terrible depression "...the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me." To great joy "...Blessed be he of the Lord who hath not left off his kindness..."

No doubt life will hold some of both for us. There will be those times when we think God has dealt pretty harshly with us.
Sometimes it will be really the result of our poor choices.
Sometimes it will be the attacks of the devil and
There will be other times when it will be God himself proving us in our faith so that we grow.

In all of those times we will do better through them if we will lean on the Lord and remember that they all come to an end. We will one day again, and likely soon, experience the great kindness of God and realize that even that which was so hard on us at the first was really only for our blessing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tarry One for Another

1 Corinthians 11:33 KJV
Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

John Gill said, "....the apostle's view is to promote unity, Christian respect, and brotherly love in the ordinance; ..."[1]

The context has to do with the Lord's Supper and with a meal the churches would generally partake in at the same time. Corinth was a divided church with several groups believing they were better than others and therefore not demonstrating respect and unity, even in these meals.

But I got to thinking today that it would not be wrong for we, who are the children of God to learn to "tarry one for another" in a variety of ways within the work of the Lord.

We might tarry one for another in Christian care, waiting on one another in times of need
We might tarry one for another in earnest prayer, seeking God's favor in their lives
We might tarry one for another in simple kindness, expressing thoughtfulness
We might tarry one for another in conversation, taking time to listen to one another.

We are too busy today. We seldom tarry for anything.
We want our fast food fast
We want our streets to be highways
We want our internet to be high speed
Too often we want our relationships to be quality without quantity
And it just does not work that way.

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Give None Offence

1 Corinthians 10:32 KJV
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

1 Corinthians chapters 8-10 connect very closely and should probably be interpreted as a whole unit. The context has to do with idolatry. Believers know that there are no other gods and our conscience can be clear in knowing that nothing we do can make them real.

On the other hand, there are others who believe in those false gods. While our actions cannot make those gods come to life, we can be a spiritual stumblingblock to those who believe they exist. This chapter gives us exactly the means not to be offensive to either Jews, Gentiles, or to the Christians. We must simply be gracious.
We do not have to do things that are offensive to the Jews just because they do not believe what we believe about Christ.
We do not have to fly in the face of the Gentiles just because we believe their practices are ungodly.
We do not have to be careless around Christians just because we know we have liberty in Christ.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6 "why do ye not rather take wrong?"
Thoughtfulness
Graciousness
Consideration
Of the people you are around goes along way in not being offensive.

Not that we can do that perfectly. Paul's practice of this very principle had much to do with his capture in Jerusalem when the Jews there misunderstood his associations with Gentiles to mean he would bring one into the Temple. He was never able to convince them that he had not done that and they ended trying to assassinate him. Still the principle is true and every Christian ought to learn to practice it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Long Term Goals

Proverbs 17:24 KJV
Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

This verse reminds me of
Matthew 6:34
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (KJV)

While long term goals are not necessarily an evil and the wise person puts stock in his eternal future at the very least; yet there are those whose chase for the future and it rewards miss the hand of God in their lives right now.

Several years ago I was in a store with my family. A Christian lady we knew was attempting to witness to the manager of the store and when she saw me she introduced me to the manager. As I briefly spoke with him he said that he was too busy to concern himself about spiritual things. He said he was 29 years old and had to devote himself to earning enough for a good retirement.

Such foolishness will neither meet the need of the hour nor will it secure the future a person really wants; especially when it has to do with eternity. A fool’s eyes look too far ahead. He does not see what God is doing in his life at the moment. Too often “Jesus of Nazareth passeth by” and he has missed perhaps his one opportunity to meet Him.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Incorruptible Crowns

1 Corinthians 9:25 KJV
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

Our world makes heroes of those who have attained masteries in this life.
Some have mastered their bodies in athletics
Some have mastered their minds in academics
Some have mastered their finances in economics
Some have mastered their emotions in theatrics
Some have mastered troops in military tactics

And on we could go with worldly masteries and crowns.

But the Bible is correct when it says these are corruptible crowns. Even in those that crowns that have some merit are at the very best temporary. I have recently read of a world renowned pole-vaulter from Washington State whose accident in 1963 left him paralyzed. Despite his past heroics on the field of sport, a Google search of his name found him buried in the names of others. He wasn't even the first person with his name that has had a spinal injury.

Paul encourages us to strive for masteries and crowns so much better; better in many respects, but among the top must be that they are eternal.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Who Correction Grieves

Proverbs 15:10 KJV
Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

Proverbs 15:5 KJV
A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.

Proverbs 15:12 KJV
A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.

Proverbs 15:32 KJV
He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

There is a direct correlation between accepting correction, instruction and reproof and the rebellious. The very ones who must be correction are the ones least likely to respond to it.

All of us, of course, must be corrected from time to time. People whose hearts are tender toward the things of the Lord also a tender toward such correction. They see it for what it is and, while I do not say they enjoy it, they do appreciate the purpose behind it.

Those who rebel and buck against such correction also have no heart toward the Lord. They view authority as an awful thing and that ultimately even means they view God as awful. They might attend church and speak kindly of the Lord - so long as the subject is on the kind things the Lord does - but when the subject is on judgment, especially when that judgment comes too near their home, then they stiffen their necks.

But hard hearted and stiff necked or no, the end is still the same. "he that hateth reproof shall die."

Friday, December 14, 2007

There is But One God

1 Corinthians 8:6
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

This declarative statement is made in the midst of a lesson concerning the view of the lost about idols. Paul says that we Christians know there is but one God and one Lord Jesus Christ. We know that the idols are in and of themselves nothing and that the devils they represent are powerless in contrast to the Lord.

But the truth is, just because we know this does not mean everyone knows this. The lost, the idolatrous, give credence and authority to these idols by their worship of them. We Christians must not embolden their worship through our own liberties.

This passage is not addressing worldliness
This passage is not addressing standards among Christians
This passage specifically addresses idolatry - false worship.

Just as in Paul's day he would not eat meat sacrificed to idols (even though he could have - it is only meat) because it emboldened a lost person to eat that same meat as a form of worship to idol, I must not yolk hands with worshipers of other gods - even for good purposes (such as political causes) because it lends credibility to those false doctrines in the eyes of the undiscerning lost.

Our nation's leaders (and many of our spiritual leaders as well) are making a horrible mistake in pandering to the worshippers of false gods in Islam and Mormonism.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Walking with Wise Men

Proverbs 13:20 KJV
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

This small passage has about as much to say on the subject of successful living as anything ever written.

There is a word about separation.
None of us are ever wise to make close associations with people who are foolish:
Foolish in attitude
Foolish in actions or
Foolish in faith - the fool hath said in his heart there is no God.
I have known a number of people whose greatest downfall was that they refused to see the damaging effects their poor choice of friends had on them. They were not being helped by their friendships, and neither were they helping their friends.

There is a word about fellowship
"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise."

That implies that
I have the discernment to see who is wise
I have the character to the wise would want to walk with me and
I have the discipline to walk with them.


Walking is exercise. It requires energy and stamina. It will not happen accidentally. There is purpose here. There are choices being made.

There is a hint about faith
The wisest of all men, and the One Whom Proverbs generally refers to as wisdom, is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wise men walk with wise men. The wisest men walk with Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Abide With God

1 Corinthians 7:24 KJV
Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

The context is speaking of two stations of life a person might find themselves in
Whether a person is married or single
Whether a person is a freeman or servant


Whatever station of life we find ourselves, it is in that station we ought to abide with God.

This does not mean that our station cannot change in the course of life or that we can't do things to improve our station. Paul says, "if thou mayest be made free, use it rather" and "But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned."

The gist of it is that we can abide with God, glorify God and rejoice in God in whatsoever state we may currently be in.

Joseph was able to abide with God
As the favored son of his father
As a slave in Egypt
As a prisoner in an Egyptian cell
As the leader of the nation

The point is that we choose to abide with the Lord regardless of the station. If we can improve our circumstances: wonderful. But if not, and until then, we need not fret and pout. God is still on His throne and can bless and use us in our circumstances; maybe even better in our current circumstances than in any other.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One Spirit

1 Corinthians 6:17 KJV
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

These are the words of Albert Barnes on this passage; ".... in a sense similar to that in which a man and his wife are one body. .... there is a close and intimate union; they are united in feeling, spirit, intention, disposition. The argument is beautiful. It is, “As the union of souls is more important than that of bodies; as that union is more lasting, dear, and enduring than any union of body with body can be, and as our union with him is with a Spirit pure and holy, .... The union with Christ is more intimate, entire, and pure than that can be between a man and woman; and that union should be regarded as sacred and inviolable.” O, if all Christians felt and regarded this as they should, how would they shrink from the connections which they often form on earth!”[1]

Barnes words about the union of the spirit being united in
Feeling
Spirit
Intention and
Disposition

Speaks to me. How I long for such a relationship with my Saviour that what God thinks, feels, and wills is all and all to me.

[1] E-Sword 7.8.5, Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Righteous Acts of the LORD

Judges 5:11 KJV
They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates.

Barnes Notes says
"The sense of the King James Version is that, whereas formerly they could not go in safety to draw water from their wells, but were shot at by the archers of the enemy, now they were delivered from such tumults; and standing round the wells in security rehearsed the righteous acts of the Lord in delivering them, …”
Then shall the people of the Lord go down to the gates - Israelites, who had hid themselves in caves and deserts, could return in security to the gates of their own cities for justice, or commerce, or to dwell there, now that the Canaanite was subdued."[1]

Today is Sunday and people are preparing right now to attend church - a place where they draw water. People of many different ages and backgrounds will congregate around the Word of God and we will rehearse through song, testimony and preaching, the righteous acts of the LORD on our behalf. We will rejoice in our blessings, especially that of being able to freely gather at this place to meet with the Lord.

Our God has been so very good to us. We have liberties of worship that were completely unheard of for centuries. We have deliverance from sin that is found only in the person of Jesus Christ. We have assurances of salvation that are as sure as God is.

So let's get together at the place God has given us to draw water. And let us rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD.

[1] E-Sword 7.8.5, Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Day Shall Declare It

1 Corinthians 3:13 KJV
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

John Gill says of the day mentioned in this text, "meaning not the day of judgment, though that is often called the day, or that day, and will be attended with fire, and in it all secrets shall be made manifest; but the apostle intends a discovery that will be made of doctrines in this world, before that time comes: wherefore this day rather designs a day of tribulation; as of persecution, which tries men's principles, whether they are solid or not; and of error and heresy, when men are put upon a re-examination of their doctrines, whereby persons and truths that are approved are made manifest..."

I read this morning in the Judges 3:1 KJV
Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;

God left these Canaanite nations to prove Israel. They served, if you will, as a day of judgment. So in our day there is also for us all a day of judgment when our faith and our labor for God is tried as to what sort it is. Christians in our day have followed after many men whose work appeared magnificent, but whose day had not yet come. Over and over we hear of so-called heroes of the faith, who have gathered large followings, but in the end have proven themselves to be builders of wood hay and stubble.

This is why none of us can afford to put much stock in men. We have our leaders to be sure, but our first loyalty must be to the Lord and to His Word. We must let our faith stand in the power of God and not in the wisdom of men, or it will not pass the proving of fire.
We must be Christians.
We must be disciples
We must have our eyes upon Jesus


Only then will we ourselves find our work is the right sort when it passes through the fires on that day.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Power of God

1 Corinthians 2:5 KJV
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Gills says
The Spirit of God directed him, and he under his influence chose, and by his assistance pursued this way of preaching, with this view, and for this reason, that faith in Christ, and in the doctrines of his Gospel, which comes by hearing, might not be attributed to the force of human eloquence and oratory; or stand upon so sandy a foundation, as that which might, if that was the case, be puffed away by a superior flow and force of words;

Too much of today's ministry appears to me to be built upon the sandy foundation of richs and drama. People are enticed by the glamorous, gawdy, and appearances of success some so called ministries flaunt. My assumption, and the claim of some, is that by flocking to these sorts of ministries they hope to share in that same glamor and success.

Our great need today is a call to rest in the power of God, which has little similarity to the might and power of man or man made things.
God's power overrides the shallowness of the might of man
God's power transcends the waves of profit and loss this world is subject to
God's power holds tight through the dark times of humanity

When our faith stands in the power of God our faith will stand through anything.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Lead, Keep, Talk

Proverbs 6:20-22 KJV
My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.
When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.

I don't think it would be completely improper to consider the father's commandment and te law of thy mother as being literal. A child is so much better off if and when the mother and father are in agreement on the instructions given to their children and when they give them in unison and in harmony. Further a child who keeps and obeys those commands and laws will be in a much better position in life than those who ignore them.
But most students of the Bible believe that this shold be taken in a more spiritual context and that it refers to the commandments and laws of God taught to children by their parents. It is in this light I take my thoughts today.

The Word of God does three thrings for us
It leads us as we go
The Word of God, when studied well enough to be in the heat and mind at all times, is a great aide in life's decision making. No decision a person may be faced with; from the simplest and most mundane, to those decisions that press upon us and that come upon us quickly, to those decisions that change our life and sometimes our world, is excluded either in precept or in principle in the Word of God.

Truly the Word of God leads us as we go.

It keeps us while we sleep
The assurances that belong to the believer are such a comfort that the Christian can lie down in peace and sleep knowing that the Christian life is a good and right life. But more than that, God's Word literally gives us the assurance that God's providential hand will keep and protect us even as we sleep. Surely nothing can happen to the Child of God that is not supervised of our Heavenly Father. God is more than capable of preventing the thief from attacking His child in the night. And should that happen, we still know that God assumes responsibility for all things and we can lean upon Him for comfort and to find good purpose in it.

It talks to us as we awaken
The more I study the Word of God and meditate upon it through the day, the more I discover the truth of this. Often I wake in the morning with thoughts on God and His Word. Many times I awake in the morning with some piece of Scripture on my mind that I find to be a blessing and helpful to me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Called

1 Corinthians 1:24 KJV
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Comparing this verse with verse 18 it is possible to say that the called are also the saved. It is a great comfort to know that the saved are saved by a calling of God and not of any good thing they have done; for if the saved were saved by some good work it would be reasonable to argue that some other evil work might reverse it.

What joy belongs to the believer who finally realizes that salvation is a calling of God.
It is God who convicts us of our sin
It is God who convinces us that Christ is Saviour and
It is God who places in our hearts the longing to be saved


I rejoice in the knowledge that Christianity is completely about the Lord and not about ourselves. I revel in the doctrines of God's work in the lives of men; for it is only that work that has any eternal, lasting and solid substance. Everything man does is subject to change and corruption. Only what God does is immutable and incorruptible.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Separation

Joshua 23:7-8 KJV
That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:
But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.


God did not even want Israel to make mention of the names of the gods of the Canaanites, let alone to swear by them, serve them or bow down to them. God's people are to be separate from this world.

And this is one of the most insidious problems we have as believers. The longer we dwell in this world and among the world, the more likely it is that we take a less offensive posture toward the attitudes, actions and even the idols of this world. Things that once were considered worldly and wrong are condoned by the believers and those few Christians who continue to stand against them are labeled legalists and mocked because they have a bad attitude and don't know how to reach the world for Christ anymore.

From time to time the Lord brings a revival of faith among the believers; there is a new wave of separation from the world, a fresh movement of believers who cleave to the Lord.

God grant us this wave today!

Monday, December 03, 2007

What a Testimony

Romans 15:14 KJV
And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Even though the Apostle Paul had never met these believers and desired to meet them and impart some of what the Lord had given to him also to them, yet he said he was persuaded of them

They were full of goodness
They were filled with all knowledge
They were able to admonish one another

What a testimony and what a goal for us to have today.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Influence

Romans 14:7 KJV
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

I spoke with a preacher friend of mine this past week. He made mention of this verse and commented that a lost parent might condemn his children to hell. The family follows his inclination sometimes to several generations. It is inestimable how much pain has been caused by just one person who refused to accept Christ as Saviour and, though they thought the decision was their own, that one choice leads to their sons and daughters refusing Christ, which leads to their grandsons and daughters making the very same eternal mistake.

On the other hand, the decision of one person to trust Christ has the potential to see untold others to the very same faith. Since our faith is shared from faith to faith; once one person believes, his influence almost surely will lead others to the same faith. It might be someone he has personally witnessed to. It might be a family member, a neighbor or a work mate. It might be someone he has never met until he went out of his way to speak to them about the Lord. And it might be someone he has personally not been able to witness to, but that he loves and God sends one they have not met out of their way to give them the Gospel.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Tough Love

Joshua 17:15-18 KJV
And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.
And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.
And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only:
But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.


The children of Joseph asked Joshua for a larger portion of land and Joshua told them to take the wood country. The Children of Joseph's answer was that they had tried; the people there were to well armed and they couldn't take it. Joshua never batted an eye. He just told them they could take the land and would take it.

We like to be coddled. We like someone to tell us
Why we are right,
Why we can't do what God has called us to do,
Why we need
Another assignment or
Another place to serve or even
The chance to step out of responsibility altogether so someone else has to do our job.

What we need are some more Joshua’s who will not allow us to run, reverse our course or wimp out of our work. We need someone who will tell us
This is what God has called us to
God has given us all we need to accomplish it
Now go out and do it.