Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hide Pride

Job 33:16-17 KJV
Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.


I cannot say that Elihu is in error in this case, only that he is in error concerning Job's circumstances. While much of what Job's friends said was true, it was not true in Job's particular case. Satan had moved God against Job without cause. It is very easy to make blanket judgments that, though true in general, have devastating consequences when used without discernment. Such is the case of Job's friends.

Still there is truth to be learned and a warning to be heeded in Elihu's words. God does reach out to open our ears and give us instruction concerning the consequences of a life lived in rebellion against the Lord.

God seeks to withdraw man from his purpose
Which purpose would be a life lived outside of God's will. Adam and Eve did learn something from their sin; they learned how to live without God. And they passed it on to their children very effectively. God wants to turn us from the purpose of a life lived without God. He wants to withdraw us from the darkness and bring us into the light of His guidance.

And hide pride from man
Lord let it be that You would so work in my life that I have nothing to be proud of. Lord, make me humble. Lord, allow me only to see a purpose in You and allow me to only see glory in Christ. You have opened my eyes; help me now to hear. You have given sound instruction. Teach me to learn that I would look for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of that great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Counting My Steps

Job 31:4 KJV
Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?

Elihu will accuse Job of justifying himself in this chapter. But far from that; Job acknowledge a truth that is so important to keep in the forefront of our minds:

God not only sees our ways, He counts all our steps. Other Scriptures tell us that God ponders the thoughts of our heart and that he knows the very number of the hairs of our head.

God knows the minutest details about us and our lives. God has more than a surface awareness of us. He carefully considers every aspect of our lives. Each step we take in life is counted of the Lord is counted and scored. He marks where that step has taken us, what the consequences of that step are and what step that step leads us to.

· It is a fearful thing to know that God is that aware of our lives.
· It is also a comforting thing.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Worthwhile

Job 29:15-16 KJV
I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.
I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.


Job was of course speaking of a "better time" in his life; a time when he was respected and when things were going well for him. But what he said he did in those days is a remarkable way to live our lives - so long as the Lord gives us means to do it

I was eyes to the blind
I can take this two ways; physically and spiritually. I see Job caring for those whose handicap left them blind in the world. I see him meeting their needs. I see him giving them direction. I see him perhaps teaching them things they could not read for themselves. On the spiritual side, we know that the people of this world are blind to the things of God. I can also see Job busy about the work of giving direction, guidance and aide to those whose spiritual blindness had left them incapable of seeing the Lord

Feet was I to the lame
Once again there is both the physical and spiritual application. I can see Job going where the lame could not go on their behalf. I can see him taking the lame where they needed to be. Spiritually, the Bible says "how beautiful are the feet of them who preach good tidings." I can see Job preaching the Word of God to those whose legs were lame and could not bring them to Calvary. Our job is to go to them.

I was a father to the poor
In the physical realm I can see Job mentoring these fatherless and poor. I can see him making sure their needs were met and food was on their table. Spiritually I can see him take them under his arm and lead them to the Heavenly Father.

The cause which I knew not I searched out
On behalf of others, and also in his own search for the knowledge of the Lord. Job was a student of truth.

What a worthwhile way to live!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wisdom

April 27, 2008

Job 28:28 KJV
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

The context of this verse has to begin at least in verse 12
Job 28:12 KJV
But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?

Between them Job lists the things of the world that could never be of the same value as wisdom and understanding
Gold
Silver
Onyx
Sapphire
Crystal
Jewels
Coral
Pearls
Rubies
Topaz


The wisdom of God is so far above the experience of man that it is virtually impossible to obtain by any power, contrivance or purchase of man. It is something we must obtain for God or we may not have it.

And it is just this simple, "...the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

He Knows

Matthew 6:8 KJV
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

The focal truth in this segment of the Sermon on the Mount is, "...your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him."

Then, based upon that truth Jesus gives two applications:

First, "...when ye pray, use not vain repetitions..."
Secondly
, "After this manner therefore pray ye...."

The term vain repetition means empty, useless words. The amazing thing is that some have gone right from using useless prayer beads to making the model prayer here given a vain repetition.

When we come to the Father in prayer a truth that ought to pervade all else is this one, "He knows our needs."

That truth ought to transform the things we pray for
That truth ought to spawn confidence in prayer
That truth ought to dismiss needless prayer
That truth ought to encourage fervent prayer


Our Heavenly Father knows what we have need of before we ask it. Therefore we can pray for others
Therefore we can pray for things eternal rather than temporal
Therefore we can dismiss those cares for common needs and move on to the supernatural elements at work in our world.

"...your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Gold

Job 23:10 KJV
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Precious are the trial of life that bring us forth as gold. What blessings we have forfeited in our spiritual lives because we have avoided the way of trials. The life of ease and comfort suits our flesh but it does nothing for the soul. While seeking fatness and the fruits of delight in the fleshly realm we have starved our souls nearly to death.

Praise God that He brings us to the places of trial, even when we avoid them. He knows the way we take and He is capable of leading us, even in that way, to the place of trial. And leading us in that way, we may have the assurance we will come out of it as gold.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In the Wilderness

Matthew 4:11 KJV
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

In Jesus' wilderness experience there were three persons I see at work:

The Spirit led Him
We are often surprised both that the Holy Spirit is there in our wilderness times and that He is often the One who has placed us there. Wilderness times can be the very best of times for our spiritual growth and for the glory of the Lord. Seldom do we reach out to the Lord in the same ways we do when we are in the midst of the desert of life. And too, out in that desert, leaning only on the Lord and His Word, He is magnified in our life. We become little in our own sight and He becomes great.

The devil tempted Him
One time after the other the devil came to Christ with new temptations. We know that those temptations, rather than hindering the cause of Christ, actually brought the Lord closer to our humanity. He was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin. And because He was tempted, He is able to succor those who are tempted.

The angels ministered unto Him
The word ministered means "attended to." Temptations are always difficult but we have the promise of God's Word that the angels are.
Hebrews 1:14 KJV
... ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stripped of Glory

Job 19:9 KJV
He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.

Job's words in this chapter are almost pathetic. The man is in the depths of darkness and despair. God had stripped him of any glory he had at one time possessed and removed any sense of royal favor in his life. Job may at one time have known success, popularity, influence in the lives of others; but all of that was gone now.

He could not tell you why the Lord had allowed these things to come to pass in his life.
He could not tell you how God would choose to use all of this for His glory.

But Job ended the chapter with a statement of faith that is powerful

Job 19:25-27 KJV
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.


I contend it is a wonderful thing to be stripped of glory and removed of our crowns; so long as Christ receives all the glory and wears the only crown.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Joseph Fled to Egypt

Matthew 2:13 KJV
And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

The place that had been a house of bondage for the Jews now becomes a place of refuge for the Lord.
Abraham went to Egypt when he should have trusted the Lord
Jeremiah told the remains Jews after the captivity that they should not go down to Egypt


Egypt is, in many respects, a picture of the world. So the question may be asked "Why Egypt?" To which Matthew Henry gives this response: "...why into Egypt? Egypt was infamous for idolatry, tyranny, and enmity to the people of God; it had been a house of bondage to Israel, and particularly cruel to the infants of Israel; in Egypt, as much as in Ramah, Rachel had been weeping for her children; yet that is appointed to be a place of refuge to the hold child Jesus. Note, God, when he pleases, can make the worst of places serve the best of purposes; for the earth is the Lord's, he makes what use he pleases of it...."

As we study the Word of God we can find certain principles such as the error of fleeing into Egypt for provision or protection. But God is above those principles and is capable to changing them as He chooses.

My desire is to follow the leadership of the LORD as He makes plans for me, not as men have determined it must be.

Monday, April 21, 2008

If Your Soul Were In My Soul's Stead

Job 16:4 KJV
I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.

I find the phrase "if your soul were in my soul's stead" to be an intriguing one. Not that Job wished it on his friends. But the plain truth is that most of us are at one time or another in life in a time of affliction. In those times, as Barnes Notes says, "...that there is no difficulty in finding arguments to overwhelm the afflicted..."

Job argues this point from the position of disadvantage. It would have been a far more weighty argument if he were able to make it as the one whose soul was not afflicted, then to say, "But I would strengthen you with my mouth."

Coming home from a half week of preaching meetings to the inmates at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Ft Leavenworth, KS it would be wise for me to consider what “….if my soul were in their soul's stead"? If I were in the place they are, how could I be most helped? My affliction may never be the same as these men, some of whom are sitting in a death row cell and others who are facing life without the possibility of parole. But I can be assured I will face some sort of afflictions. May God help me to do for the afflicted as I would desire would be done for me in my times of affliction.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Without Wavering

Job 13:15 KJV
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Two things Job clung to in this verse:

First, that He would trust the Lord. Let God do what He would to Job's body and circumstances; he would continue his trust in God.
Sometimes we just do not know why the things happen to us as they do. But if God is our standard of right, then it will always do right to trust Him.

Secondly, that he would maintain his walk with God.
This is not a statement of rebellion against the Lord but one of assurance. He knew that he had been walking with the Lord and his insistence was that he would continue to do so. He would not turn as his wife had urged him to. He would not collapse and change his faith, as his friends suggested he ought to. They were sure that Job's afflictions were caused by the fact that he must not be right with God somewhere. Job knew better. He was not like the wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. He was like the piling, driven deep into the sea bed so that, though the violent waves beat against him, he did not budge.

May God give me some of that same steadfastness.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

He Holds Our Breath

Job 12:9-10 KJV
Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

Job knew that the Lord had brought on in his life all that had transpired. He was not attributing his problems to Satan, the bad people on the earth or even just bad luck. He knew God had wrought it all.

Still, he retained his integrity and would not curse God.

Verse 10 is powerful. God holds the soul and the breath of every living thing in His hand. Not heart beats, no breath is drawn by man, either righteous or wicked, or by creature walking flying or swimming, but that God hasn't willed it so.

What power
What wisdom
What enormous grace

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Only Appeal to God

Job 9:15 KJV
Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.

Job 9:12 KJV
Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?

Job 9:20 KJV
If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.

Job has a better suggestion that attempting to defend himself. He knows that
Job 9:22 KJV
This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.

Job's judgment was without cause in the sense that it was not because of sin in his life. God had the perfect liberty to destroy "the perfect and the wicked."

So rather than justifying himself or trying to defend Himself He said he simply would "make my supplication to my judge." He would rest in the hands of God's perfect wisdom and trust him.

And the same would be the wisest thing for me as well.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sustaining Faith

Job 7:20-21 KJV
I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?
And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.


I think nearly every Christian has felt like this at one time or another. Job had done nothing to cause the affliction he was experiencing. But even then he could say honestly "I have sinned" and speak of his transgression and iniquity.

As God moves to make us more into the image of Jesus Christ there will be times when we do not understand the suffering we go through and when we feel as if God won't hear even the confession of our sins. Still I think of Job's words, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." Faith in God will sustain us even in those times when we cannot sense the presence of God in our lives.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Even the Wicked

Proverbs 16:4 KJV
The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

The Bible does not say that God made them wicked only that he made those who are wicked. God did not make Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit but he did make them and they chose to eat that which was forbidden. God did not make Cain slay his brother, but He did make Cain and he then chose to slay his brother.

There are those who would challenge the goodness of God because of this passage. They would judge God and say He is not righteous if He made the wicked. It reminds me of the temptation of the serpent to Eve that if she ate the fruit she would "be as gods, knowing good and evil." Sin has so corrupted us that we believe we can decide what is good and evil; what is right and wrong, whether God himself is right or wrong. In fact God is the standard of right. Anything below Him is wrong.

I see in this the great grace of the LORD that, even knowing there would be those who would choose wickedness, God made them anyway. He could have only made those He knew would choose righteousness; but then that is not really giving them the choice.

God made man and graciously gave man a choice. Some choose righteousness. Some choose to call God evil and thereby choose wickedness.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Called Chosen and Faithful

Revelation 17:14 KJV
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Speaking of those who are with Christ when He defeats the anti Christ the Bible says they are called and chosen and faithful.

Two of the three describe what Christ had done in them. They are called and chosen. Neither of these had anything to do with the ones that are with Christ. They could not all themselves. They could not choose themselves. What grace that God calls and chooses us to be His sons and to be with Him.

Faithful describes the character of those who are called and chosen. I see this as less a quality they developed in their lives and more of a mark of the first two.
They are faithful because they are called
They are faithful because they are chosen


The sign that a person is truly called and chosen then, is that they are faithful to the Lord. Like Job, though the world would slay them, still they trust in Him.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Integrity

Job 2:3 KJV
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Job 2:9 KJV
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

As a person studies through the book of Job he must keep in mind that
1. God said Job "holdeth fast his integrity."
2. God said He was moved by Satan "to destroy him with cause."

Though Job is corrected by the Lord near the end of the book, still the Bible never says anything negative about this man.

I can surmise from that
1. God is just in using any man in whatever means He chooses to bring glory to His name.
Job was not subjected to the extreme conditions of this book because of anything he had done. God's sole purpose in doing this was so Satan would see a believer who would hold fast his integrity regardless of the circumstances.
What faith Job must have had!
Satan becomes speechless after chapter two. He had done all he could to Job, but he could not break his faith. Now all these centuries later and we still wonder, not so much at the faith of Job but at the God who elicits such faith!

2. Even the best of believers can be made better.
Though God destroyed Job "without a cause" still Job's walk with God and understanding of God increased as a result of this ordeal. It is good to go through difficult times. They teach us a great deal about ourselves and open opportunities for spiritual growth.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Merciful God

Esther 8:17 KJV
And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.

The mercy and favor of God are remarkable indeed! These people had
Captured the children of God
Carried them away from their homeland
Killed many of the parents
Torn their cities to the ground and
Stolen the items of worship


At this stage in their history they had even agreed to exterminate the Jews on a set day simply at the whim of one man.

Yet God received them as His own when they feared Him and His people.

What marvelous grace!

Victory

Revelation 15:2 KJV
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Those who had gotten the victory had done so through death. They had refused to accept the mark of the beast
Despite persecution
Despite starvation and
Despite execution


Victory is never won in a time of peace or without someone paying the ultimate price.

So it will be in our own lives. We will gain victory over this world by
Refusing to compromise
Refusing to sin and
Refusing to quit serving God


And when we do that to the death - we have gotten the victory

Friday, April 11, 2008

No irritant is worth this much

Esther 5:11-13 KJV
And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king.
Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.
Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.


Not that Ahasuerus is an outstanding picture of the Almighty God, but he is a king and in this text I find a striking example of how out of focus we can be.

Haman goes on and on about the blessings the king (and life itself) had showered upon him.
He had riches
He had children
He had promotion
He had been advanced above many of his peers
He had been invited to a private banquet with the king and queen


Yet he said not of that availed him anything so long as he had this one irritant, Mordecai.

How often is the very same true of us?
We have a good job
We have loving children
We have a decent home in which to live
We have opportunities for rest and relaxation
We have opportunities for travel and comfort
We have salvation
We have a home awaiting in heaven
We have the Word of God
We have the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit


Yet let one thing happen we don't care for and all the world is horrible to us.

Would to God we could fix our eyes on the blessings of the Lord in our lives and let go of those things that are problems.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Our opportunites, not God's necessities

Esther 4:14 KJV
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

An interesting balance may be observed in this passage. Mordecai tells Esther that God does not need her to provide either enlargement or deliverance to Israel. God is perfectly capable of accomplishing His plan both for the salvation of souls and the growth of His ministry without any one of us. If one, like Esther, refuses to fulfill their role, God will get His work done through another means.
God does not need us to give
God does not need us to win souls
God does not need us to faithfully attend church
God does not need us to surrender to the ministry
God allows us each of these as opportunities

However God gives us the opportunity to be involved in His plan. It is to our personal benefit to make use of the opportunities to serve the Lord. It is not that God's work can't be accomplished without it.
If we rebel
If we refuse
If we neglect
If we ignore

Opportunities of service we are the losers for it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

His Great Power

Revelation 11:17 KJV
Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

There is coming a day when the Lord will "take to" Himself His great power. Gill said, "...power always belonged to him, as God;
He always was the mighty God, and, as such, help for his people was laid upon him, he being mighty to save, and able to bear the government of them, laid on his shoulders; and, as Mediator,
All power in heaven, and in earth, was given to him at his resurrection; and he had a name given him above every name, when exalted at the right hand of God, and was made, or declared, Lord and Christ; and from that time he has, in some measure, exerted his power and reigned:
He endued his apostles with power from on high; and he went forth in the ministry of the Gospel conquering, and to conquer; and has ever since reigned in the hearts of his people;
But now He will manifest and display His "great" power;
He will show it more openly, and use it more extensively;
His kingdom shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth;
He shall be King over all the earth;
His power has been seen in ages past, but now the "greatness" of his power will be made manifest;
He has always had a kingdom on earth, but now the, "greatness" of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, will be his."

I am thankful for the power Jesus has today and for the assurance He will take to Himself all His great power in eternity.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bittersweet

Revelation 10:9-10 KJV
And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.


While this passage is prophetical in nature it is also representative of the Bible as a whole.

The Bible is such a sweet book
It tells us of a loving God
It tells us of a wonderful Saviour
It tells us of a magnificent future in heaven
It tells us we have ministering angels
It tells us we have rewards awaiting


Read throughout the word of God and we will find sweet massages of healing hope and help.

But the Bible contains a bitter side as well
God is not only loving, He is also holy
The Saviour is necessary because men are condemned
As wonderful as heaven is, many will not go there
One third of the angels are fallen and now work to frustrate the grace of God
Some Christians will be saved yet lose their rewards in heaven because of a slothful or selfish life on earth.

There is every reason in the world for the Christian to rejoice; and God expects us to do just that.
But there is also every reason in the world to be burdened; and God expects us to do that too.

And it is possible to do both. Let the message of the word of God be sweet to your taste. Enjoy the promises of the Word of God. But at the very same time be mindful that this world is filled with souls who do not know Jesus Christ and who have no claim in those promises.

The word of God will be sweet to your taste, but bitter in your belly.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Craftsmen

Nehemiah 11:35 KJV
Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.

I know I am making a huge spiritualization, but here is what I thought; there was in Israel a location which was the valley of craftsmen.

This is how I envision a great church. It is a place where "craftsmen" dwell.

Strong’s Concordance says the word is a plural form defined as
A fabricator or any material:
Artificer, carpenter, craftsman, engraver, maker, mason, skilful, smith, worker, workman, such as wrought.

A church needs to be a place where skilled workers of many varieties dwell.
We need a skilled pastor
We need, besides the pastor, other skilled preachers
We need skilled teachers
We need those skilled in giving the gospel to lost souls
We need those skilled in bus work and other forms of bringing in the people
We need those who are skilled in maintenance to keep the facilities up
We need those who are skilled in working with babies
We need those with skills in art and interior design to make the facility atractive and pleasing to the eye.
We need skilled musicians who can draw men and women to worship with song


A great church is not just a congregation acting as an audience. A great church is a congregation of craftsmen, each contributing to the welfare of the church.

Eph 4:16
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (KJV)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mindful of His Wonders

Nehemiah 9:17 KJV
And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.

Rebellion against God can be both caused by and the evidence of not being mindful of wonders God does among us.

When a Christian does not spend adequate time reflecting on God's goodness to us.
When we do not meditate upon the wonders of salvation
When we do not reflect upon the cross of Jesus Christ
When we do not consider that God became flesh and dwelt among us

When a Christian does not spend the time being mindful of these and other wonders God has done among us, it will lead to rebellion against God.

Many times I have counseled with a Christian who is upset with God or who believes God hates them and their complaint is that they don't think God has done any good things for them. They look at the trials of their life and blindly refuse to see any blessings. They will not consider that other Christians have gone through similar difficulties and have maintained a joyful disposition. They choose rather to harden their necks against God and rebel.

Perhaps even worse is when a Christian, though outwardly appearing to be ding the right things, still refuses to spend the time reflecting and meditating upon the wonders God has done among us.
What worse form of rebellion is there than neglecting so great salvation?
What worse form of hardness could there be than a person who has bathed in the blood of Christ and has been pardoned of sin, but refuses them to attend the house of worship and enjoy the thoughts concerning the wonders of God among us?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

All Glory To God

Revelation 7:10 KJV
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

Our salvation can be ascribed to God alone, and unto the Lamb. Salvation comes from no work we have done or ever can do. The context concerns those who have gone through great tribulation.
Perhaps they lost their lives for the cause of Christ
Perhaps they witnessed for the Lord in a time when witnessing was punishable by death
Perhaps they endured unspeakable tortures for the name of Jesus


But when they stand before the throne of God they know that salvation is utterly a work of the Almighty and nothing to do with what they had gone through in the earth.

We must remember we lean only on the Lord. He has a work for us to do. We are each called upon to sacrifice in unique ways. We will accomplish either more or less than another in our life. But all of that is of little consequence in heaven.

There we will know all glory belong only to God.

Friday, April 04, 2008

More Than One Problem

Nehemiah 5:1 KJV
And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.

Nehemiah originally went to Jerusalem because the walls of the city were broken down and he was burdened to repair them. But when he arrived, and over the course of his work there, he discovered that was only one of the problems in Jerusalem, and the other problems really led to the outward problem he had come to repair. It seems to me that there were at least three problems Nehemiah worked to repair in Jerusalem and all three can correspond to
The local church
The family unit or
The individual person

The walls were broken down
This was the outward condition. Nehemiah called it a reproach. The Jews had been permitted to return to Jerusalem years earlier but they still had not repaired the walls and cleaned up the city.

The people had invested their interests in other areas. Just like Christians can do in their church, people can do in their family or a person can do with their own life. Priorities get mixed up. Apathy sets in. Laziness, discouragement or sinfulness reigns and things just begin to fall apart.

The enemy threatened
Nehemiah discovered that, even though the Jews had been given permission to return to Jerusalem, there were enemies. Nehemiah did not allow them to stop the work he had come to do
When they threatened to attack, they carried a weapon
When they made false accusations Nehemiah refused to negotiate
When they offered him a refuge Nehemiah refused to flee


Nehemiah didn't even allow the enemy to distract him so that he fought them insted of repairing the walls. He armed the workers to protect against attack, but they kept on building the walls.

The brethren abused each other
The worst problem in Jerusalem was that the Jews were not treating each other much better than the enemy was treating them. Nehemiah boldly urged the Jews to return things they had taken from their brethren in so-called business deals and to treat each other in a brotherly way.

There is more to do than keep as building clean and repaired; but if it is not clean and repaired it is likely a sign of something else that is wrong and repairing it is at least part of the means by which we fix the other problems.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Weeping before Wiping

Revelation 5:4-5 KJV
And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.


The thought occurred to me today that we must weep before we can hear the words "weep not."

The Bible says that in the New Jerusalem God shall wipe away all tears. There must be tears before there can be tears to wipe away.

Perhaps there ought to be more tears shed among the Christians. And there might be, if we took the time to serious ponder the spiritual condition of our world today.

Sure there is reason to rejoice in Jesus Christ and we should rejoice!

But there is equally reason to mourn and grieve and weep.
Lost souls are perishing
Unbelievers are multiplying
Paganism and idolatry are rising and
God's name is being mocked

Christians are worldly
Churches are compromising
Pastors are building their own universes


The apostle wept because no man was found worthy to open and read the book. Isn't that true in our own day too? What grace God bestows upon us that we even have a Bible! But what a disgrace that there is no one really worthy to open and read it.

Weep Christian, weep! Mourn over the days in which we live.
And only then will God say to us weep not.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Action

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


I was struck this morning with the action words of this passage.
Receive
Hide
Incline
Apply
Criest
Liftest up thy voice
Seekest
Searchest

Our walk with God is by faith and not by sight, but it is still a walk. We are not to sit down and vegetate. In fact this passage makes the Christian walk sound very active and aggressive.

We have two opposing but equally damning dangers in the Christian faith;
One is to place all the effort on the shoulders of man. We assume control of our faith. We put forth our best efforts and expect God to bless them. We are the gods and God only exists to aide us in our plans.

Second is to become dormant in the faith. If God does not do it for Himself it will not get done. He is the supposed sovereign, let Him see to it! We only wish for Him to make us comfortable on our bed of atrophy.

In either case man has set himself up as God.

The Word of God allows us to see that God has a plan. Our place is not to try to get God to bless us in the working of our plan but that we involve ourselves in doing His will for our lives and allow Him to bless us as He sees fit in it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Laodicean Age

Revelation 3:18 KJV
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Over the years I have heard the seven letters to the seven churches used to apply
To the actual churches addressed
To churches in all ages having these various traits
To seven church ages that have progressed through centuries until now


I personally see all three applications as valid and believe too that the traits of all seven churches might be found in any one church at different times in the church's life.

When the seven church ages has been used, generally I have found that we are speaking about Christendom in general and usually not about our church or our type of churches. But what if this is not true? What if the spirit of apostasy as so influenced our day that even the very best of churches are "wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked"? One of the worst problems with spiritual blindness is that the blind are unaware of their blindness.

In this case would it not be wise for us to pay careful attention to the counsel Jesus gave this Laodicean church?

Buy of me gold tried in the fire.
This could apply to the Word of God which is more precious than gold and has been purified in a furnace of earth seven times. We are to buy it of the Lord. Only He can give us the living Word and only He can give us the inerrant Word.

And white raiment
This appears always to be a reference to salvation; having on the righteousness which is Christ's. Salvation can only come through the Lord Jesus Christ and it always comes through faith brought about from the hearing of God's Word.

And anoint thine eyes
Could this refer to the Holy Spirit of God Who opens our eyes that we may behold wonderful things in God's law?

It is time for those who call themselves believers to repent and humble ourselves. Too long we have boasted about our friendliness, our effectiveness, our righteousness, our bigness and so forth. It is time for us to see ourselves as the Word of God describes us and call upon the Lord, who alone is worthy for the praises we so often shower upon ourselves!