Friday, February 29, 2008
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
What a wonderful reminder that God not only does not remember our sins and iniquities in the past or expect that we will be perfectly free of sin today. God said He would be merciful to their unrighteousness. Through the Lord Jesus Christ God demonstrates mercy even though He knows we still are unrighteous in the flesh.
We will not be free of sin in our bodies until the day we reach eternity. Until then we have a faithful High Priest and Advocate who brings His own righteousness before the Father when we sin.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O LORD, and it shall be blessed for ever.
I am impressed with David's desire that his family be blessed of the Lord. David had desired to build a temple for the Lord but God refused to let him do it. As a consolation God, through the prophet, told David not only that his son would build the Temple but that God would bless David's children on the throne forever.
David's response was to be in utter awe over this grace of God. He did not whimper about not getting his way, he saw God's blessing on his heritage as a far greater benefit than any blessing God would pour upon himself.
The greatest joy we have in this world, and the greatest responsibility, is to raise children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. More to be desired than any earthly blessing a parent ought to strive to see his or her children grow up to be blessed of the Lord; for whom the Lord blesses "...shall be blessed for ever."
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
There is, the Bible says, a "strong consolation" in laying hold of the hope set before us. Hope is not having the thing hoped for. Hope is seeing it by faith. When we get a grip on the truth that God cannot lie and that His promises to us, though often long in coming, are as sure as the eternal God, there is wonderful comfort and consolation.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Excuse the lack of the visits. I met with the Lord each day - which is what sustains me even through the computer issues.
And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:
1 Chronicles 13:4 KJV
And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
There is a delicate balance that seems to have been missed in this passage.
On the one hand, a leader needs to have his people behind him. They must, as the saying goes, "buy into" his plan. but
One the other hand, a leader must first and foremost remain true to his purpose. Sometimes those who follow him will not agree with his purpose, but he must remain true to it anyway.
In this case, David's first responsibility was to the Lord. And yet in verse 2 the Lord's will is a secondary thought and in verse 4 it is not even considered. How vulnerable and prone we are to forgetting that He is the head and we are merely subjects. How easy it is for us to believe we have a voice in deciding what is the will of God.
This adventure turned into disaster. Uzza died, David was displeased and the ark did not come to Jerusalem. David should have consulted the Lord and do as pleased Him.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;
And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;
And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.
And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.
Jehoiachin was the first to be removed from Jerusalem when the trouble with Babylon began. While he is sitting in a Babylonian cell
Terrible things have happened in Jerusalem
Kings and governors have risen and fallen and
Countless souls have lost their lives
I can imagine this man, who knows the pronouncement of judgment upon his nation and even his own family, expects never to see good again. I can imagine the state of depression, the dark thoughts that must have been his immediately after and during those long years in jail.
Yet their came a day when the king of Babylon spake kindly to him and lifted him out of that prison.
It might have been through the influence of Daniel, who by this time has had great influence on Nebuchadnezzar (Evilmerodach's father?) and will continue to exert some influence for years to follow. However it came to pass, Jehoiachin's nightmare did not last forever.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says of this, "...Let none say that they shall never see good again, because they have long seen little but evil: the most miserable know not what turn Providence may yet give to their affairs, nor what comforts they are reserved for, according to the days wherein they have been afflicted. Even in this world the Saviour brings a release from bondage to the distressed sinner who seeks him, bestowing foretastes of the pleasures which are at his right hand for evermore."
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
There are certain Bible principles that are simply not understood in American Christianity today. Humility is such a premium character that it is far better to stay among the lowly than risk our humility with success.
We deceive ourselves when we believe we can have spoils and stay humble in the same breath. It is true that men like Abraham, Moses and David were powerful and successful in many ways; but they were also almost constantly in a state of humiliation. Paul was carried to great heights in visions with the Lord. He was used to plant multiple churches and turn the world upside down in his time. But God also gave him a thorn in the flesh to buffet him lest he become exalted above measure. And don't forget that he was
Constantly under the attack of the Judaizers
Never really accepted by the Jewish believers of his day
Imprisoned, beaten, and left for dead
Spent a number of years in prison for his faith and
Finally executed along the Ostian Way
Humility may be the greatest of all the Christian qualities, but it is perhaps the most difficult to retain. As surely as the Lord would lift us up we would take pride in it.
I would rather remain among the lowly to gain and retain humility.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.
Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.
Though God said that the nation was going to be judged, still Josiah saw mercy from the Lord.
We are living in a time when it might not be possible to turn God's judgment against our nation. Years of godlessness appear to be coming home to roost. Judgment is on the doorstep, yea, has already begun. God's people, who have been encouraged to humble themselves and seek God's face and pray have failed to turn the tide of wickedness in our country.
Still there is no cause of panic among the children of the Lord. AS Josiah received mercy so may each and every one of us. Josiah's repentance toward God was
It proved itself from early on as he walked with God even when his father did not.
Josiah had a personal desire to walk with the Lord and to know Him
I do not know how many years the Bible had been hidden out of the sight of Israel. But that Bible was once again discovered in Josiah's day. Josiah had read it. He knew what it said and his concern to do right - though actually beginning from before they had discovered the Bible, was now motivated out of the warnings found within those pages.
God's mercy to Josiah was that he would be "gathered into thy grave in peace." Death is no punishment but is often a sign of God's blessing as He gathers us to Himself.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
Most of the time we read these two verses as two separate proverbs but it seems to me that they should go together. The man who lives the way that seems right to himself is the man who may have laughter on the outside, but knows sorrow inside. He may have mirth in life, but the end of that mirth is death and hell.
Men and women who live for
The joy of today
The laughter of the moment
The eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die sort of mirth
Are men and women who will far too soon experience the crashing reality of a life lived for worldly pleasure but without the depth of spiritual life.
The man or woman who seeks the spiritual life with God may, on the other hand, experience the sense of sorrow and burden that comes from seeing this world's reckless course and from being the target of this world's opposition. Yet that sorrow is salved by the joy of an abiding relationship with Christ and the knowledge that it is only for a moment but the bliss of dwelling with Christ is forever.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
There are a number of types of "spirits" a person might get from the world the flesh and the devil
A spirit of anger
A spirit of gossip
A spirit of rashness
A spirit of bitterness
Here Paul refers to
A spirit of fear
All those and others may be brought upon us from our exposure to the world and the people of it. While each of us tends to one form of spirit or another from birth, that spirit and others may be compounded in our lives through the experiences of life. The implication is that Timothy possessed a timid or fearful spirit, owing perhaps to the things he was exposed to as a half Gentile, half Jewish boy. Still God could and did use him.
But God has a different kind of spirit available to us.
The spirit of power
Which I take to be boldness to do the work of the Lord and to stand despite the trials of the ministry
The spirit of love
Both for the Lord and for men. Such love motivates and compels us to continue in the face of opposition.
The spirit of a sound mind
God has given us something far greater than the ability to reason and logic in debate with men: He has given us the Word of God and it becomes our mind as we study and meditate upon it.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
Which some professing have erred concerning the faith....
We, who are the children of the Living God have been given a wonderful treasure in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this treasure, committed to us which we are to keep, which we are to administer and around which we are to serve the Lord.
There are many other philosophies, ideas and movements which a man might get himself involved in, but to do so would be to err concerning the faith.
Our task is not to politic
Our task is not to reform
Our task is not to indoctrinate into our way of life
Our task is to keep the Gospel, to preach it in its purity and to see that it is spread throughout the world. If we will stick with that, we will not go wrong.
Monday, February 11, 2008
He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
What a wonderful way to live; diligently seeking good!
To spend each day pursuing opportunities to do good
To wake up each morning and study what is good
To consider the good that others are doing and fellowship with those whose desire is to seek good with you
There are different avenues we can take in seeking good:
We can seek good for our family
We can seek good for our friends and neighbors
We can seek good in the world
We can seek good in our government
We can seek good spiritually.
There are, of course, differing views about what is good. For my part I will choose that which God clearly defines as good within the pages of his Bible.
Of all the things a man can do with his life, few would be as good as diligently seeking good.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
The passage is speaking of the Apostle Paul's coming to Ephesus where he can further instruct both Timothy and the church that is there. A preacher needs to have someone he can look to as a mentor in the faith. That mentor cannot take his place as pastor, but can be an encouragement and help to him.
The phrase though also in reminiscent of Jesus Christ. He is coming and He is our true mentor, guide, encourager and help. The promise of His coming breathes hope into the spirits of those who do the work of the ministry.
Until he comes, whether we speak of our human mentor or of the Lord Jesus Christ, we would do very well to give attendance to these very things
This is especially meaning the Bible. The preacher ought to be filled with the Word of God. His mind ought to be saturated with the truths of the Book and so familiar with them as to make ready reference to them. Perhaps the best way for this is to spend much time in reading of the Word of God.
This would involve distributing what he has learned in his reading of the Word of God with those he has to minister; both in a public setting as in preaching and in a more personally setting in small groups or with individuals. The pastor must pastor his charge.
The word means instruction and can be taken two ways; first in the mastery of the details of our faith and then in the faithful teaching of those details to the saints.
Our hope rests in the return of the Lord. But until then we have plenty of productive work to occupy ourselves in till He comes.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.
Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
I am always amazed at the mercy and grace of the Lord. Though Israel was rebellious and stiff-necked, still God protected them provided for them graciously.
That God would give them a prophet and that God would drive away the Syrians as He did in this chapter is nothing but grace.
I was interested in how God met the needs of the people of Samaria here. These people were starving, trapped inside the city under the siege of the Syrians. There were down to the place that it would have appeared that any day now they would be defeated. Instead God grave them a victory and in such an unexpected way that the servant of the king said "...if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?" He saw no way, not even if God were to bless them, that their needs could be met. Yet God did meet their needs
He caused a sound to run through the camp of the Syrians so they fled without a fight and without even taking their belongings
He prompted some lepers to strike out on their own on a chance of survival and to discover that the Syrians were fled.
God's mercy and grace are a never ending source of amazement for those who will see it. Praise God for His unexpected means of making "...windows in heaven..." to pour out His blessings.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
It is always good to remember that there is one and only one mediator between God and men.
There are not a multitude of ways to be saved
There are not dozens of paths a person can take to the Father
There are not many Christs
There are not choices among the Gospels
There are no angels that can open our way to God
There are no past saints who have the power to provide us access to the Father
There is no Madonna who is able to intercede for us with God
Neither can we say that a priest, pastor or prophet exists who can mediate on our behalf before the Lord.
There is only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Let us then, go to Him.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
What great encouragement is found in this one verse.
The commandment is a lamp
The law is light
A lamp is a light-bearer. One could say that the law is the light and the commandments get their light from it. The commandments in God's Word are enlightened through the whole of the Word of God. We do not take one commandment and set it as its own truth but we hold all of the Word of God as a whole and together, the commandments give direction in our steps.
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life
Not just is it a way of life that we face reproofs and instruction, but the instruction we gain through reproof is the way to have a life that is victorious and blessed of the Lord. No reproof is pleasant, I don't suppose, at the moment it is received. But when we accept the instruction that comes from them our lives are much improved and we can be brought into an image more like our Saviour's.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
There is a sense in which we can view many if not all of the Apostles benedictory phrase like this one as prayers to God for the people of God. And what an appropriate subject of prayer this is. It would be wise to pray this for ourselves and for others that we know and love in the faith.
….into the love of God
Gill suggests this is the love wherewith God loves His children and says the apostles prayer is that we be, "...led further into it, so as to wade into these waters of the sanctuary, from the ankles to the knees, and from thence to the loins, and from thence till they become a broad river to swim in..."
Oh that we might comprehend what is the height depth length and breadth of God's love for us!
….into the patient waiting for Christ
This is the full time work of the child of God. From the day we trust Christ as Saviour until the day He calls us to His side, we wait for Christ. Sometimes we do not do it as patiently as we ought; we go aside into things that are not pleasing to the Lord. Sometimes we allow the stresses and pressures of life to depress us and draw us away from the confidences we have in Christ.
But we who are the children of God wait nonetheless.
And that the Lord would direct our heats into patient, Christ honoring, soul winning waiting is a prayer worthy of daily request.
Monday, February 04, 2008
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Look what the Bible says about our salvation:
God has chosen us
And He has done it from the beginning. Salvation is a sure as God is because God is the One who chose us to it.
Through sanctification of the Spirit
We have been separated and set aside to God by the Spirit of God, not by ourselves.
The fact that we have faith
The fact that we have come out from the world
The fact that we have a desire to seek the Lord
All is evidence of the sanctifying work of the Spirit in our lives.
And the belief of the truth
We are saved first by the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives which leads us to believe and receive the truth concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
2 Thessalonians 1:10
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
There is little way around the fact that the Bible makes the reward of the Christian something that happens when Jesus comes.
It is our blessed hope.
It is our day of rest.
It is the answer of all the questions "why"?
Paul says when Jesus comes
He will be glorified in His saints.
The children of God will raise a round of praise to the Saviour in that day. His glory will be seen and they will make much of it. The saints know why they are saved. They know it is nothing of their doing and completely through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The saints know that there is no good thing in them and that if it were not for the love of God they would have no hope. So when Jesus comes again, they will give all glory to Jesus Christ alone
He will be admired in all them that believe
This is not a different group because the believers are the saints. But there is a different action in the two statements. In the one they ascribe the glory and the credit to Jesus Christ. In this they simply shower wonder and admiration upon Him. One could be viewed as technical or doctrinal. It is fact that Jesus Christ is the only reason we are saved. This is more emotional.
Jesus did not have to die for us.
Jesus did not have to leave heaven for us.
Jesus did not have to love us at all.
So this is a shower of love back toward the One Who gave Himself that we might be saved.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
We all know that it is the will of God for us to give thanks in everything. This morning the thought occurred to me that there is another way to take this verse. Instead of saying we should give thanks for everything that happens whether it is good or bad because that is what God wants us to do, it would be better to say that everything that happens is the will of God concerning us and that is the reason to give thanks.
I know some things happen to us because we have made bad choices
I know some things happen to us because we live in a corrupted world.
I know some things happen to us as a result of the attacks of Satan
But in the end God is completely sovereign and nothing happens in our lives that God is not fully aware of and has not included in His orchestration for good.
All things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
Since that is true, everything that happens in our lives is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us and therefore we can give thanks for it.
Friday, February 01, 2008
In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.
And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.
Hundreds and hundreds of years after God had given Joshua victory over the city of Jericho and man presumed to do what God said should never be done, to rebuild this city. And these hundreds of years later, this man was cursed exactly as God said he would be.
Time does not negate either the curses or the promises of our Lord. What He has said will surely come to pass and, though we may forget His Word, He does not.
This I take as both a warning, as is exampled by the curse of Hiel; and as a comfort as can be seen in so many clear cases in the Word of God when God kept His promise even after the general population had lost all hope of the blessing. The coming of Jesus Christ is a case in point. By the time Christ was born the average Jew had so forgotten God's promises concerning the Messiah that they could not recognize Him when He arrived. Yet He did come,
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (KJV)
And God will keep His Word in every other respect. We can count on that!