Monday, March 31, 2008
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.
For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.
So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
Too much of our practice is not consistent with the faith we proclaim to have. I can't think of anyone today who would not only accept the king's band of soldiers but would mock anyone who did not! We have come so far away from living by faith that we actually believe using the world's wisdom in the work of the Lord is the right course to take. No wonder Jesus asked
Luke 18:8 KJV
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
LORD help us to care more for the glory of God than our own security and comfort. What might God accomplish today with some believers like that!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood
The verse gives a threefold description of the Lord Jesus Christ
The Faithful witness
Jesus said "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Hebrews says He is the express image of God the Father. Jesus' testimony toward God the Father is so faithful as to be flawless. He is in fact and truth God dwelling among men.
The first begotten of the dead
Though Jesus was not the first who rose from the dead, He is the first who rose by His own power and He is the promise of resurrection to all who believe in Him.
The prince of the kings of the earth
Jesus is the sovereign of this earth. The kings and princes of this world believe they are sovereigns and leaders in world affairs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They are merely pieces on the board of God's plan for the ages. Jesus Christ is so far above them that nothing hinders His course and plan. All things, even those that appear to be for the advancement of evil, work in fact in to the glory of God.
How glorious is the Lord!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.
"The righteous shall see their fall"
It is obvious that the wicked are multiplying in our time. Evil men are waxing worse and worse. Good is more and more evil spoken of and that which is evil by the biblical definition is more and more uplifted and praised in our world.
But God says the righteous shall see their fall.
We will see the day when righteousness prevails.
We will see the day when evil is banished
We will see the day when the wicked are cast into the Lake of Fire
And I don't mean to take this in a vindictive and spiteful way. God's Word tells us not to rejoice when the wicked fall.
I mean to take this as a means of confidence. We can, as Christians, boldly face the days in which we live, knowing that righteousness is right and that righteousness prevails.
We can witness
We can obey the Bible
We can seek the Lord
And we can do those things with joy in our soul because, "the righteous shall see their fall."
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations.
Ezra 4:13 KJV
Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.
Ezra 4:15 KJV
That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed.
Ezra 4:18-20 KJV
The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.
And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.
There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them.
Repeatedly the accusation is made that Jerusalem is a rebellious city. When then king did a search he learned that in fact Jerusalem had been rebellious in the sense that she had never been a part of the pagan culture of the nations around her and there had always been war between those cultures and Jerusalem.
Jerusalem had rebelled against the world as it was in their day.
The other day I was reading some history of one of our church members who had pasted away. Brother Winfrey's family had come from England originally and one of his English relatives wrote (back in the 1950's) that the Winfrey family have always been associated with what the English call dissenters; those that would not conform to the Church of England.
There is a sort of dissention and rebellion that is right when it is rebellion against this world and its systems. Christians ought to be kind people. We ought to be moral people and we ought to be ethical and legal people. However we must always obey God rather than men, and if a search is made through the records of this world, it ought to be established that we have always been those who consistently have done just that.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Barnes Notes says this verse may be applied
To the pastor who derives great joy in the continued testimony of those he has had a ministry with and
To the parent who finds such satisfaction and pleasure in having children who live for the Lord
A third application would be to see God as speaking through the Apostle (which in fact He is). Nothing delights our Heavenly Father like seeing His children, those He has saved from their sins, walking in truth.
And then there is the word truth. The delight of the Father is not just that we are
Faithful to services
Consistent in religion
Constant about ministries
The Father loves to see His children walking in truth. I take that to mean, searching out the truth as we find it in the Word of God.
I want to be careful not to settle into a routine of Christianity that is comfortable for me and that keeps me in the good company of other so-called believers. I want to always be searching the truth as it is found in the Word of God. I want to true to that Word even when it points me to places that are uncomfortable for me and contrary to where the crowds of Christianity are headed.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.
The thing that has struck me throughout this reading of the Chronicles has been how the hand of God has worked in the times of these kings. Josiah was a good king ay every account. He had even received this promise from the Lord,
2 Chronicles 34:27-28 KJV
Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.
Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
Yet this good king died in a battle. God could have easily delivered him, and God had warned him not to enter into this battle. But Josiah was sore wounded and died and the kingdom went quickly into evil and then into captivity after that.
Even this king could not prevent God's timetable from being executed on time.
And who would want him to? Surely seeing God's plan carried out in our day is more desirable than seeing our own comforts or pleasures come to pass. God's will for our day might bring about some discomforts for us. However God's plan for our future is bright and glorious. We ought to have our eyes fixed upon that future rather than any present suffering.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
John Gill rightly points out that, "....love to the brethren may arise from such a cause, as may show that it is not brotherly love, or of a spiritual kind; it may arise from natural relation, or civil friendship, or from a benefit or favour received from them, and from some natural external excellency seen in them; and a man may do acts of love and kindness to the brethren, from what may be called good nature in himself, or with sinister views...."
It is true that we ought to love the brethren.
It is also true that if we do not love the brethren we do not love God
However, this does not mean that we love them to the ignoring of truth. True love for the brethren will spring from a love for God and for His Word. True love for the brethren will be demonstrated by our love for God and by our absolute and unbending allegiance to the obedience of His commandments.
My love for a brother may appear to others to not be love if, in obedience to God's Word,
I have no fellowship with them,
Keep no company with them and
Refuse to eat with them
Mark them because they do not walk according to the traditions I have received in the Word of God
Yet I do all of that, not because I count them as an enemy but do all to admonish them as a brother and to see them repent and be restored.
Paul urged the Corinthian church to expel a man so as to deliver him to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. An onlooker may not see the love in that. But in 2 Corinthians the brother had repented and Paul urged them to receive him back lest there be overmuch sorrow.
We know we love the children of God when we love God and keep His commandments.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
Hezekiah not only sought the Lord but the Bible says that he did it with all his heart.
Gill says that it was, "...in the most cordial, sincere, and upright manner..."
Clarke says, "In every respect he was a thoroughly excellent man, saw his duty to God and to his people, and performed it with becoming zeal and diligence. May God ever send such kings to the nations of the world; and may the people who are blessed with such be duly obedient to them, and thankful to the God who sends them!"
May God grant us grace not only that we be saints, saved and satisfied with that; God grant that we seek the LORD with all our hearts.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep.
But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the other priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests.
2 Chr 30:17-20 KJV
For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD.
For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one
That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
I was impressed this morning that, for as many errors in formal worship that were committed in these two chapters, yet God was still gracious to the people. Hezekiah came onto the throne after 16 years of wickedness. He immediately set about cleansing the temple, then offered sacrifices to the Lord and reinstituted the Passover.
They had Levites do the work of priests because the priests were not sanctified
They partook of the Passover at the wrong season of the year because it had been so long they just wanted to get back to proper worship
They had people take the Passover who were not yet sanctified because of the suddenness of Hezekiah's call to turn back to the Lord
And it appears to me that God may have begun judging them for this because the Bible does say the Lord healed the people. However what I was impressed with is that God was so gracious with them even though there is so much wrong here. I do not want to make excuses for doing wrong. I do not want to suggest that proper order is unnecessary before the Lord. When a person neglects right out of rebellion and cold heartedness they can be sure they will be judged. However, none of us perfectly follow the Lord and God is yet gracious to us.
Thank God for grace.
Friday, March 21, 2008
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
I have always assumed this passage to be a reference to the kings and magistrates of this world. And I do not think that is a wrong interpretation. It is perhaps even the primary interpretation. John Gill comments,
"The heart of every king, and all that is in it, his thoughts, counsels, purposes, and designs; the hearts of bad kings, as Pharaoh, whom the Lord hardened and softened at pleasure; the antichristian kings, into whose hearts he put it to give their kingdoms to the beast, Rev_17:17; the hearts of good kings, as David, Solomon, Cyrus, and others: and if the hearts of kings are in the hands of the Lord, which are full of things of the greatest importance with respect to the government of the world; and which are generally more untractable and unmanageable; and who are more resolute and positive, and will have their own wills and ways, especially arbitrary princes; then much more the hearts of other persons. ..."
However it occurred to me that if this is true of the kings of this world how much truer it would be of the King of kings. The Bible says of Jesus Christ
Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (KJV)
Jesus always does the will of His Father. Truly the Father turns His heart "as rivers of water"
I got to thinking about it: often I have claimed this passage and asked the Lord to change the heart of public officials. It may have been in the case of a person I was ministering to who needed grace with the courts or it might have been in the case of our church needed grace in our building permits, etc. In some cases the officials have been gracious, and in other cases they were not. Sometimes God choose to turn their hearts and other times He did not.
But the One whose heart I sincerely need to be gracious toward me is that of the King of kings, and the Word of God assures me God His heart has been turned to my favor.
His heart was turned from heaven to earth when He took upon Himself the flesh of man
His heart was turned toward our grace when while we were yet sinners Christ died for us
His heart was turned toward us once again when, seated in heavenly places the Word of God says He ever liveth to make intercession for us and
His heart will turn again toward us when He comes in the clouds to call us to glory
Let the kings of this world do as they may (I know the Lord still moves in their hearts too) I have a KING whose heart has been turned toward me.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.
Matthew Henry says of Jotham
I. He reigned well.
II. He prospered, and became truly reputable.
III. He finished his course too soon, but finished it with honour.
When we read of the history of the Kings there is an interesting stage that is set between the relationship of the Lord and these men.
First; it is obvious that God's hand was strong in the lives of men in that day. God blessed the land when the king did right; God brought curses when they did wrong. Uzziah was a great king: but when he offered incense in the temple, a function which did not belong to him, and when he became angry when confronted, God immediately and obviously chastened him. Jotham "became mighty", the Bible says, specifically "because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God."
On the other hand, the Lord did allow Jotham to die young knowing that the next king would be a wicked one. Perhaps that is because even though Jotham was a godly man, "the people", verse 2 says, "did yet corruptly." God may have removed Jotham and established Ahaz to chasten them for their corruption.
What seems apparent to me is that God's great concern is His ultimate plan to reconcile mankind to Himself. Good men like Jotham die and they often die too soon so far as men see it. But God is always at work and the ultimate fulfillment of His great plan for the ages will reveal His work in raising one and putting down another is glorious.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
Both Uzziah, and Amaziah before him, were good kings so long as they sought the Lord. But in each case, there came a point in their lives when they turned from walking with the Lord. In the case of Uzziah the Bible says,
2 Chronicles 26:16 KJV
But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.
The Bible gives us incident after incident where a man's success is his undoing.
I am reminded of those who work in prison ministries. They often say that the inmates are better able to live the Christian life while they are incarcerated than they can on the outside. We might be inclined to speak in derogatory tones of those prisoners but perhaps their problem is not so different than our own. All of us are better able to live the Christian life when we are humbled than we are in times when we are strong.
Paul said therefore
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 KJV
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
This served as a simple reminder to me that both the Old Testament and the New Testament are the Word of God. The Apostles recognized that what they were writing was the Word of God. Peter affirmed that the commandments of the apostles were as much the Word of God as were those things "... spoken before by the holy prophets." He goes on to say in
2 Peter 3:15-16 KJV
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
So he affirms Paul's words as
From the "wisdom given unto him"
Some men "wrest" them out of context to their own destruction and
Calls them Scriptures
Monday, March 17, 2008
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
The entire context of this chapter leads me to recognize these as not genuine believers but false professors. The differences between the doctrines of those who believe a person can be saved and then lose it and those who believe instead that those who appear to have lost it only manifest the fact that they never had it in the first place are subtle but important as they have to do with the efficiency of the work of Christ in a man's soul, which ought never to be challenged.
There are those in this world though who see the benefits of Christianity and put on an external and fleshly form of it. Depending upon their own stature and individual circumstances, they may be able to play the role of believer very convincingly and for a very long time. But eventually the flesh reveals itself and they turn to the vomit once again.
And this ought to give reason for fear in us.
Fear for the ministers of God that they preach to dying men and urge souls to Jesus Christ and not to a reformation of character and
Fear in the hearts of church goers that they make their calling and election sure; that they examine themselves whether they be in the faith lest when all is said and done they find that Christ never knew them.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.
Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.
And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers.
I can't help but make a contrast between Jehoshaphat and his father Asa.
Both men were good kings according to God's Word
Both men, however, made mistakes and
Both men were rebuked by a man of God because of it
However, in the case of Asa the Bible says
2 Chronicles 16:10 KJV
Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.
Asa grew angry enough that it appears he never sought the Lord again.
He threw the preacher into prison
He oppressed some of the people and when he became diseased in his feet
He sought the physicians and not the Lord
How different that was from Jehoshaphat who was also rebuked by the preacher for his wrong.
He went throughout the land and brought people back to the Lord
He set judges over the people and reminded them they judged for God
He charged the priests and Levites to serve the Lord faithfully and with a perfect heart
How I would rather be like Jehoshaphat than Asa.
One last warning though; Jehoshaphat did not seem to learn his lesson from the preacher because the last thing the Bible says about him is that he committed the same error with making a league with Israel again.
I want to learn from my rebukes.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
Peter makes the statement that he is "a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed."
Clarke's commentary says, "He had a right to it through the blood of the Lamb; he had a blessed anticipation of it by the power of the Holy Ghost; and he had the promise from his Lord and Master that he should be with him in heaven, to behold his glory...."
What a wonderful assurance this is; to know you is a partaker in the glory of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus returns for the saints and later with the saints; those who have come to know Jesus Christ as Saviour will be partaker in that glory.
When Jesus comes for the saints we will be partakers in the rapture and resurrection. What glory this will bring to Jesus Christ when those that sleep in Christ will be raised and those who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.
What manifestation of power
What glorious praises will be heard
What shock and awe will be upon the earth
When Jesus comes to establish His kingdom we will come with Him. Every eye shall see him as He rides out of heaven with His armies following.
With the robe of the king of kings and Lord of lords
With the name written that no man knew but He Himself
With the sharp sword that goeth out of his mouth and
With the mention of the word His enemies are dashed in pieces,
the glory of Jesus Christ will be made manifest.
And we, who are His own through the blood of Jesus Christ, will partake in that glory.
Friday, March 14, 2008
And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
What a wonderful description of the result of seeking the Lord. Jehoshaphat's heart, the Bible says, "was lifted up in the ways of the Lord." The term lifted up means to mount up and soar. It is expressive of great exaltation and joy. Jehoshaphat was jubilant in heart and soul as he "sought to the Lord God of his father" and as he "walked in his commandments."
John Gill said, "...It [his heart] was engaged in them, was bent and set upon them; he walked in them with great pleasure and cheerfulness, being inspired with zeal and courage..."
O that our hearts would be thus lifted up and not in self pride and haughtiness. O that our hearts would be filled with the joy of the Lord as we sought to the Lord and as we lived in His ways.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.
The lesson here is not so much that Asa went to the physicians instead of the Lord; others had done that. The thing is that Asa knew what God was capable of and yet in the later years of his life, not only in this case but
In the case of employing the Syrians against Israel and
In the case of getting angry at the preacher for rebuking him
Asa turned from seeking the Lord.
2 Chronicles 14:7 KJV
Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
It was the same man who said, "...because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest..." Now refuses to seek the Lord. It is not, it seems to me, that he went to the physicians, but that his attitude in previous verses indicates he went to them instead of the Lord.
This is a terrifying thought and a practical warning for any Christian.
Asa did wrong
Asa grew angry at the preacher for telling him his wrong and
Asa then turned from seeking the Lord because of his anger.
If Asa could do that any of us could.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
2 Chronicles 14:7 KJV
Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
I like Asa's assurance in the Lord here. He had commanded the people to seek the Lord and now he boldly proclaims that the blessings on the land were because they had sought the Lord. Even later when an enemy did arise, Asa's confidence was not abated as in prayer he claimed, "...it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many or with them that have no power..."
Gill says Asa sought the Lord in the following ways
Set up his pure worship,
Reformed abuses in it, and
Removed idolatry from it, and
Closely attended to the service of the sanctuary
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
What a blessed assurance is ours that we are kept, not by our own will, not by our good works, not by our own strength, but by the power of God.
Barnes Notes says
(a) that it is very desirable that the doctrine should be true. Man is so weak and feeble, so liable to fall, and so exposed to temptation, that it is in itself every way a thing to be wished that his salvation should be in some safer hands than his own.
(b) If it is desirable that it should be true, it is fair to infer that it is true, for God has made all the arrangements for the salvation of his people which are really desirable and proper.
(c) The only security for the salvation of anyone is founded on that doctrine.
Thank God for this security of salvation in Jesus Christ!
Monday, March 10, 2008
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
I heard Pastor Ron Storz say that God's blessings come to us "over time." What a true statement that is! If God poured out blessings too quickly they would soon ruin us. We would forget that every good and perfect gift came down from the Father and would be inclined to believe we had something to do with the blessings ourselves.
Patience is based on both faith and hope.
We can be patient because we know that the coming of the Lord draweth night.
We can be patient because we know that God will reward His own
We can be patient because we know that we have treasures laid up in heaven
Come quickly Lord Jesus.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Circumstances surrounding this promise are important rightly understanding the promise:
It was made to Israel
While it is proper to make an application to our generation it must be understood that the primary interpretation goes to Israel and that if they will humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, then God will forgive Israel and God will heal the land of Israel.
It was made after David had purposely prepared for building the Temple
Many years of forethought had gone into this Temple and years had passed before God offered this promise. There was even the disappointment in that David himself was not allowed to build the Temple.
Such promises seldom come without years of preparation and many disappointments as we humble ourselves in obedience to the Lord.
It was made after the people had willingly offered
David was not the only one who offered and sacrificed for this Temple. Praise the Lord for one who will have a burden but far greater is when others get hold of the burden and pour themselves into it too.
It was made after Solomon obediently built the Temple and even after Gentiles had helped build the Temple
Consistency delegation and persistence was required to complete the work God had give them.
It was made after Solomon had prayed
God let it be that we learn to pray without ceasing!
Friday, March 07, 2008
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
My thoughts go back to Barnabas who sold all his land and possessions and laid the money at the apostles' feet for distribution to those in need. Barnabas likely never had material wealth in this life again.
I do not know that the land Barnabas owned was near Jerusalem. The Bible says he was from Cyprus. However if his land was in Jerusalem he would have lost it anyway and his children, if he had any, would not have inherited it either. In 70 AD the Romans leveled Jerusalem and annihilated any Jews who remained in the city. Barnabas was no fool to give up that which he could not keep to gain in heaven that which he could not lose.
Richness in faith and heirs of the kingdom are far greater riches than any possessions we might have in this world and if these earthly trinkets prevent us from growing in faith then it is no sacrifice to take joyfully the spoiling of those goods for the far greater riches in heaven.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.
2 Chronicles 2:2 KJV
And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.
Solomon, who is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, put the strangers in the nation to work building the Temple. This is a foreshadow of the fact that God would call out of the Gentile nations a people who would be the building blocks of the New Testament house of God, the local church.
And twice the chapter records that not only did he set them to work but that he put over them overseers. How he chose which ones would be the overseers we are not told, but he did choose out some to "set the people a work."
Someone had to organize the work
Someone had to see that the supplies and tools were provided
Someone had to motivate and stir the people to the work
The same is true in the local church today. Why God calls out the ones He does for the oversight of His churches is beyond me. But He does call out some for that work. And without them little work would be done.
But the fact that they are overseers does not mean they do no work, their work is to see to it that the rest are able to do their work.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
As wonderful as the offerings were for the Temple David desired to build for the Lord he was right in reminding himself that all things come from God and when we give we only give God what is already His.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
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.
The Bible says we are saved by faith and not of works; we live by faith and we are to walk by faith.
But this does not mean that our faith is passive. Proverbs make it abundantly clear that we should be aggressive in our search for the wisdom that only God can give.
While I do not work to get saved and I do not have to perform in order to please the Lord; still there is a work for me to do. I would do well to spend the rest of my life crying after and seeking knowledge, wisdom and the understanding of God.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto.
David had saved and collected and planed and prepared so that when Solomon came to the throne everything he needed to build the Temple for God would be ready.
The details of the timing are not given but I imagine this to be about the same time King David warned Solomon about his brother, about Shimei and about Joab. In these instructions one king is passing on to the next and a father is passing on to his son David encouraged Solomon to "arise and be doing" the building of this Temple. But in the instructions David told Solomon, "thou mayest add thereto."
Nothing said Solomon had to stay where his father had left off. Nothing said Solomon could not carry the project further than David had gone.
And the same is true in our day.
Nothing says we can't grow spiritually past our parents
Nothing says we can't rise higher in our walk with the Lord than our Pastor has encouraged us
Nothing forbids us from doing more for the cause of Christ than those who have prepared the way for us.
Praise God for those who have planned and prepared that we may be saved and that we may study the Word of God and that we may take part in the work of God.
But we may “add thereto.”