Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Care of Walking with Christ

Mark 8:27-33 KJV
And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?
And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.
And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.


It is interesting that, in many cases, most if not all of the four gospels contain accounts of the same events, but the accounts are not word for word identical. There is much to be learned by taking every account into account in our study. There is also much that is learned by considering that each account is written as it is under the leadership of the Holy Ghost and tells us exactly what we need to learn at that given moment. Mark uniquely gives us an account of what was one of Peter's highest points during Christ's earthly ministry, and in the same breath, what was one of his lowest.

And this demonstrates to us how fragile our personal testimony and our walk with the Lord can be. Even after spending hours developing our walk with the Lord. After spending serious quality time with the Word of God and in prayer where we knew we had the attention of our Saviour
One event
One sentence
One Personal encounter
One phone call

And in a moment we can be knocked off our walk with the Lord and enter into the works of the flesh. We may even believe we are still in the will of the Lord in doing so.

It is vital that we stay in fellowship with the Lord and that we remain humble, allowing others to confront us and rebuke us at any point. We are so prone to walk of the course of Christ, and we are so easily blinded by the flesh and the devil, that we often will not know we have gotten off course until someone else is able to point it out. The Moravians used to gather in small groups for the purpose of honestly pointing out faults in one another so there was opportunity to address and correct those areas. May we be so humble today!

Friday, February 27, 2009

This One Thing

Numbers 9:23 KJV
At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

Numbers 9:17-23 act really as one thought. They emphasize over and over again that, during the time the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they journeyed when the cloud was taken up and they rested when the cloud abode still. And the passage repeats over and again that Israel kept this charge and commandment of the Lord.

There are plenty of things that Israel did not do correctly.
They murmured against Moses
They refused to believe God at Kadesh Barnea
They got involved with the Midianites through Balaam

They will, all of them over 20 years old, perish in the wilderness

But we never hear of them ever disobeying this command. When the cloud was taken up, they moved and when the cloud abode still, they pitched their tents and kept the charge of the Lord.

Christians are not sinless people. Many of us struggle with the same sins again and again. But one thing should mark God's children; we should be known for following the Lord.
When He, through His preacher, charges us to move, to take an action, to be involved in a ministry, we should do it.
When God calls us to be faithful, to stay by our post, to be in our place in the house of God; the children of God, though nowhere near perfect, should be found faithful.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When Christ's Marvel is No Wonder

Mark 6:6 KJV
And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

There is a time when we don't want the Lord to marvel at us! That Christ would look in amazement at our unbelief is as frightening thing as I can think of. We are given so many advantages and blessings from the hand of God.
We are given life
We are given necessities
We are given the ability to think and to reason and to comprehend the truth of God
We are given the Word of God
We are given the conviction of the Holy Spirit
We are given the witness of our own spirit telling us the Word of God is true
We are given the testimony of others who have followed Christ
We are given the evidence of those whose lives have been so much bettered when they trusted the Lord

And still there are people who do not believe.

What's more, among those who have professed Christ there is also an amazing element of unbelief.
We don't believe we ought to obey the Bible.
We don't believe we need to attend public services
We don't believe there is benefit in fervent prayer
We don't believe we should tell others about the Lord

At least we don't believe to the extent that we will happily and faithfully take part in them.

Proverbs 15:3 KJV
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

When He beholds me, I don't want Him to marvel at my unbelief.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just a Touch

Mark 5:28 KJV
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

The woman with the issue had no huge ambition. In her condition, having suffered with her health all of these years and now having spent all that she had for help and still was nothing bettered;
She was not seeking to speak with the Lord personally
She was not expecting that she would have a private audience
She could not believe that Jesus would even delay His appointment for her case


But she thought if she could just touch His clothes, that would be enough.

I wonder how many persons even get that much a relationship with Christ? I wonder even if most so called Christians have ever so much as touched the clothes of Christ?

I am afraid we settle maybe for being in the crowd that claims to have touched Christ. I am afraid we often just have heard the sound of those who throng the things of Christ.

Too many I know think that hanging around the outskirts of those making a lot of noise about Jesus is the same thing as touching Jesus. She did not ask to stop Christ in His way. She did not want to delay the Lord's work in the little girl. But she did push through that crowd until she had a purposeful touch of the Saviour's garment.

Nothing less will do.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Serving God

Mark 4:26-29 KJV
And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.


My focus is on that phrase, "...he knoweth not how..."

Serving God is an obedient work.
We are to "....cast seed into the ground." It is our calling, our mission. Christians are not Christians if we do not do SOMETHING to plant the seed of God's Word

Serving God is a continuous work
We "sleep, and rise night and day." In other words, we keep at our work of casting seed. We plant, we water, we till. And we keep at it until the seed springs up.

Serving God is a faith work
We never know how that seed springs forth. I know that scientists have a better understanding of the germination process now than they have in the past, but the mystery of life is, to this day, a mystery. We can take classes and attend seminars all day long, but in the end of the day, God's work in a human soul is still a mystery to us. We work by faith

Serving God is a rewarding work
When we sow, eventually we also get to put in the sickle and harvest. Some fields result in a greater yield than others and there are some things we can do to improve our yield. But it ultimately comes down to this - if we sow, we will harvest.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Wrong Focus

Mark 3:2 KJV
And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

I am amazed at how blind a person can become to those things that really matter spiritually. As Jesus entered into the synagogue, they were not concerned for the man with the withered hand, nor did they even question whether the Lord could heal him.

They just wanted to see if he would do it on the Sabbath or not.

Before them was the most wonderful opportunity a man can ever be presented with. Jesus, God in the flesh stood before them.
There is salvation from sin
There is reconciliation with God
There is hope for eternity
There are answers to man greatest needs


All they wanted to see is if Jesus would break the Sabbath.

And He wouldn't even really do that by healing the man; he would only be breaking the Pharisee's restrictive and unauthorized interpretation of the Sabbath.

Now the point of this is not concerning their blindness, but concerning ours. How often Jesus must present Himself to us with opportunities to be made right with God and our eyes are too focused on silly things to see what really would have been important.

Let us ask the Lord to keep us set clearly upon Christ.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Exactly

Mark 2:7 KJV
Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

This record of a miracle performed by Christ provides for us an interpretation for each and every miracle of healing Jesus does in the Bible. Before He made this man to take up his bed and walk Jesus said to him, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."

And at that point the scribes in the room asked the very appropriate question, "...who can forgive sins but God only?"

Exactly!

There is no one who can forgive sins but God only. And Jesus, to prove that He, as God, had the power to forgive sins, then commanded the man, "Arise, take up thy bed and go thy way into thine own house."

The lesser miracle is that of healing. And it was also the secondary one. I, of course, know that Jesus knew what would happen and He knew that He would ultimately heal this man's physical affliction. But the passage leads me to believe that, had the scribes not questioned Him, He would have forgiven the man's sins and left him on his bed.

And that would not have been bad. When our sins are forgiven, nothing else matters. Of such great magnitude is having our sins forgiven with God, that any form of physical malady is insignificant.

Only God can forgive sins. And Christ is God.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Publish It Much

Mark 1:3 KJV
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The very first chapter of the Gospel according to Mark is filled with proclaiming Jesus Christ. From this third verse of one crying in the wilderness all the way to the last verse where the man went out and "...began to publish it much and to blaze abroad the matter..." People are making Jesus Christ known.

Jesus said in verse 17, "Come after me and I will make you to become fishers of men."

In verse 28 "...immediately His fame was spread abroad...."

And by verse 37 the disciples testified, "...All men seek for thee."

Let us see that the work of the Christian is to "blaze abroad" the name of Jesus Christ. Let us not be afraid or ashamed. Let us “publish it much!”

Friday, February 20, 2009

In Spite of His Resurrection

Matthew 28:11-15 KJV
Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.
So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

This is astounding to me as well as frightening. At this point the chief priests could have no excuses.
They had witnessed three and a half years of Christ's ministry.
They had heard first hand testimonies, if not personally witnessed His miracles.
They had heard His messages.
They were aware of His words that He would rise again in three days.

And they had rejected it all. They had ignored His warnings, refused His teachings, crucified His body and placed guards at His tomb.

But then the proof of all proofs happened. Despite their guards and best efforts, Christ had resurrected. Confronted with the news, from the mouths of their very own guards no less, rather than humbling themselves and turning to Christ, they willing covered up what they knew to be the truth.

Religion is so blinding! Our desire to preserve what we have can become so powerful in or lives that we will deny the truth even when it slaps us in the face.

O Lord, deliver us from such blindness! Open our eyes that we may see!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Welcome To Partake

Leviticus 21:22 KJV
He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy.

The text of Leviticus 21:16-24 could be taken as offensive to some people. God draws a line and demands that those who serve in His ministry have no blemishes. Very few of these blemishes are things that are the fault of the individual. He can't help that he is blind or lame or has a flat nose. Still God says he cannot offer the offerings of the Lord. He has a blemish and God is unyielding concerning this. He may not serve.

However, God does make this provision; he is still welcome to "eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy." He is disqualified from public service, but he is not shunned from partaking of the very best of the things of the Lord.

The New Testament counterpart is 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
God places some expectations upon those who would serve as bishops (pastors) in His churches (and expectations upon those who would be deacons in those same churches. Those expectations seem rigid in our modern day and many churches are beginning to relax their standards for ministers and servants in their churches. It is a mistake. God has not given us the right to reduce His expectations and those who ignore or otherwise excuse themselves from compliance to them are contributing to the Laodicean doctrine of the last days and should be labeled as heretics (practicing doctrine that is repugnant to the faith.)

But those who are so disqualified should not feel either offended or left out. God has not excluded them from His family nor has He driven them from His table.
They are as blessed as anyone might be.
They are merely disqualified from the public service. And
They would bring glory to the Lord rather than reproach if they would humble themselves and submit to His place and rejoice in partaking of most holy things!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Peter's Denial

Matthew 26:72 KJV
And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.

Nothing new to us about Peter's denial of the Lord. However I was simply struck this morning by the whole of it.

Peter denied the Lord
Despite the fact that Jesus had warned him it would happen

Peter denied the Lord
And each of the three times is a greater denial than the time previous

Peter denied the Lord
And that despite the fact that Jesus had said
Matthew 10:33 KJV
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

But what is even more striking than all of this is that, despite his denials, the resurrected Lord, visited with Peter, encouraged Peter and empowered and used Peter.

We may be guilty of sins that we believe would certainly disqualify us from ever being blessed of God again. Peter's story encourages us to get up and keep following our Saviour.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:2 KJV
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

Scofield calls this "Our Lord's Return....As Testing Profession."

We see ten virgins with both similarities and differences. The differences destroyed five of them!

Their similarities
They are all moral.

No attempt is made to discredit any of them for lack of morality. They are each virgin.
They all have lamps.
If we associate the lamp with the Word of God we may suggest that they all had Bibles and they all had some understanding of that Bible. They all were "religious" in that sense
They all expected the bridegroom
Our world is filled with people who know and even in some respects believe the promises of the Bible that Jesus will return one day. They have read the popular prophetical series. They have attended some church services. They have heard people speak about it. They know He is supposed to come again.

Their differences
In general the text says that five of them were wise and five were foolish.
Specifically there are two major differences.
Five had no oil.
Oil is the type of the Holy Spirit of God. They were religious. They had Bibles. They expected Christ to come again. But they did not have the Holy Spirit. "If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom 8:9).
Christ did not know them.
Regardless of how much Bible they had read.
Regardless of how good they had behaved.
Regardless of how earnestly they professed to believe in Christ's coming.

They did not have the Holy Spirit and thus, Jesus did not know them.

A person who is born again has been convicted of the Holy Spirit of his sins, Convinced of the Holy Spirit that Christ died to wash away their sin and Come to Jesus Christ and has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit at that moment.

Anything less will not do.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do As the Lord Commands

Leviticus 16:34 KJV
And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.

My concern today is in the phrase, "...And he did as the Lord commanded Moses."

The prayer of my heart and the cry of my soul is that those God allows me to preach to will do as we are commanded in the Word of God.

We all have our excuses
We all have our weaknesses
We all have our preferences in life


But there is not a man alive who will not one day give an account concerning our obedience to the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:10 KJV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Revelation 20:12 KJV
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

The first and most important act of obedience is to submit to Jesus Christ for salvation and forgiveness of sins. Without this no man will enter into heaven. But even as Christians, we are responsible to not only hear but to heed God's Word.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

To Be Seen of Men

Matthew 23:5 KJV
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments

I don't suppose it is possible for us to do works of faith without being seen of men. But that is not the intention of this Word of God. The thing was, these people DID the work to be seen. Their purpose was for people to see and for people to think more highly of them because of what they had seen.

It was a motivation issue.

And that is so easy for us to slip into as well. We so easily slip into a mode where we do what we do,
Not because it is right
Not out of love for the Saviour
Not for concern to minister to the souls of others

But to be seen of men; to receive some external benefit from the work and service.

Oh Father, teach us, help us, to do the works we ought, but to forget being concerned about being seen of men. Help us do what is right and to obey Your holy Word simply because it is what we ought to do.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Source of Error

Matthew 22:29 KJV
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

The word err means to go astray. We fall into error; we go astray in life and spiritually when
We do not know the Scriptures
The Word of God gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness. The Word of God will instruct and direct us, if we study it thoroughly and consistently enough to know it.
The Bible is more than a devotional book. It has more value than merely to make us feel religious and spiritual. The Bible is our source of access to God's mind and will for us. To not know the scriptures is a great error in and of itself. And it will no doubt be the cause of even greater error.

I heard about an interview Joel Osteen had just recently. The interviewer asked him concerning in book Your Best Life Now, "Doesn't the Bible say that all who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution? How does that fit into your Best Life Now philosophy?" Joel Osteen reportedly said, "I don't know about the Bible, I just feel like God would want us to have our best right now."

No wonder thee is so much error in his teachings if he places his feelings above a solid understanding of the Bible.

Nor the power of God
In the case of the Sadducees, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. But we can be just as guilty of not knowing and not believing in the power of God. We might know what the Bible says, but if we do not believe that what the Bible says will work for us in our day; if we will not obey and practice the Word of God, we are denying the power of God as much as the Sadducees did. And that too will lead us into great error. We will certainly go astray if we choose to use follow our own reason and feelings rather than the clear teachings of God's Word.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Strange Fire

Leviticus 10:1-2 KJV
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

These verses need to be taken together with and in consideration of
Leviticus 9:24 KJV
And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

The picture is this:
Moses is in the middle of the process of initiating worship according to the law handed down to him by God on the mount. There has been the anointing of Aaron and his sons as the priests. The furniture for worship has been consecrated and now God sends fire from heaven which, according Leviticus 6:12, they are to continually feed so that it does not go out. Some believe this fire was kept alive until God once again sent fire from heaven at the dedication of Solomon's Temple.

As God strikes the fire, the people shout and fall on their faces before the Lord. There is both awe and terror in their hearts. While they are still prostrate before the Lord, and before God commanded them to do so, Nadab and Abihu rise to their feet, grab their censers and put fire therein.

God had not yet given them instructions on the use of their censers or in offering incense.

Scofield's notes says of this text,
Fire "from before the Lord" had kindled upon the altar of burnt-offering the fire which the care of the priests was to keep burning (Lev_6:12). No commandment had yet been given (Lev_16:12) how the incense should be kindled. The sin of Nadab and Abihu was in acting in the things of God without seeking the mind of God. It was "will worship" (Col_2:23) which often has a "show of wisdom and humility." It typifies any use of carnal means to kindle the fire of devotion and praise.

The phrase I want to consider is that one, "It typifies any use of carnal means to kindle the fire of devotion and praise." There is too much of this sort of strange fire in our worship today.
Too much man made devotion.
Too much man made and worked up - even rehearsed, praise.
Too much "science and psychology" used to bring people to the state of worship we desire them to be in.

And not nearly enough simple, fearful wonderful waiting upon the Lord.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Solemnity

Leviticus 8:23-24 KJV
And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.
And he brought Aaron's sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.


I was struck this morning with the solemnity of this whole chapter as Aaron and his sons were anointed for the ministry God had chosen them to perform.

This whole experience was performed at the hands of Moses serving as God's representative. Everything was anointed
Their bodies were washed
Their garments
Their hands
Their ears
Their thumbs even
Their big toes


From head to foot they were anointed to perform service to God on behalf of the congregation.

God's Word calls the New Testament Christian today's priest. But I am fearful that we are not so solemn in our calling as we ought to be. We are so self-willed. We are so ready to run off on our own accord, doing what we believe brings God glory rather than simply following what God's Word and those who have gone before us charge us to do.

We are too casual with
What we read and listen to
What we call service and labor with our hands
What we wear as a testimony to our Lord


I realize we do not live in the Old Testament. These are days of grace to be sure. But does grace give us the right to self will in our relationship with Christ?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Who Then Can Be Saved?

Matthew 19:25 KJV
When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

There is no question that Matthew 19:16-26 is dealing with the subject of salvation; eternal life. It begins with the one asking "...what good thing must I do that I may have eternal life?” It ends with the disciples asking "...Who then can be saved?"

The man comes up asking how he might merit eternal life in his own good works. To that Jesus simply said that he must obey the Ten Commandments. Obviously this guy has a spiritual problem because he thinks he has done that.

So then Jesus took him to where the rubber meets the road for this man. Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give it to the poor and then follow Jesus. The man could not do this good work. His possessions were more valuable to him than eternal life.

It might be something entirely different that riches and possessions that we can't give up to follow the Lord
It might be a career
It might be a relationship
It might be popularity
It might be family


Eternal life is the result of following Jesus.
It does not necessarily require selling everything to follow the Lord - Mary and Martha were never required to sell their house.
It might not even require that we leave our particular way of life to follow the Lord. Mary and Martha did not leave Bethany.

But it does require that we give it all away in our heart to follow the Lord. And that may be the most impossible thing of all. It is so impossible that the disciples said, "Who then can be saved?"

And that is where the real hope comes in. I doubt that anyone is genuinely converted until they ask themselves the question "Who then can be saved?" As long as we think it is possible to be saved in our own good works and in our own efforts, we will never truly trust in Jesus Christ. But when we give up all hope of eternal life that is when God does the impossible.

Trust Him alone.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Can't Do This!

Matthew 18:35 KJV
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

As I read this chapter today, I was reminded of the words of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:20 KJV
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

This is just an impossible thing to live up to. The Pharisees attempted to make themselves right by their exceptionally good works. They were zealous of doing literally everything they could right. They made up rules upon rules to make obeying the Old Testament a matter of fact. Not that they did everything right - they agreed to kill Jesus Christ, the Son of God! But their principle was that they would be good in their own will. They would make a way of righteousness. And Jesus said that even if they were successful a person's righteousness would have to exceed that in order to go to heaven.

Jesus gives us another impossible ideal in Matthew 18. We are to forgive from our hearts every one who has trespassed against us. We are to forgive until seventy times seven. We are to forgive constantly and every time. And I for one am here to declare that can't be done. Not in the power of the flesh anyway.
Offenses are too many.
Trespasses are too frequent.
Hurt cuts too deeply.

I am not able to forgive this thoroughly and from the heart. Therefore I must fall upon the Saviour. I must beg Him to forgive my unforgiveness. And I must beg Him to forgive those who have trespassed through me. We will never be able to forgive like this and we are foolish to put together our little plans and formulates in our efforts to try to do that which we cannot do. We only have one resource - Jesus Christ. Let us appeal to Him!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Contrasts Between Homemakers

Proverbs 9:13 KJV
A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.

I am merely using this verse as a foundation for my thoughts that concern not this verse only, but the entire chapter. This chapter, unlike most of those in the Proverbs, really is one unit. One truth, one thought is carried throughout the chapter.

First, wisdom is seen as a homemaker.
She has built her house
She has secured the home with pillars
She has prepared her meals
She has furnished her tables
She has invited her guests


The implication is that wisdom provides a safe haven. Through wisdom godly reproof is offered, instruction is forwarded and the years of ones life is multiplied.

But then there is the foolish woman.
She is also pictured as a homemaker, but with a much different outcome....
She is not industrious; she is sitting idly at her door
She too is inviting souls into her house, but she is not offering wisdom, instruction and understanding, but is preying on the simple.


Her waters are stolen
Her bread is eaten in secret
Her guests in up in the depths of hell.

Wisdom in the Word of God and especially in the Proverbs, speaks of Jesus Christ. So the comparison is easily a comparison between a life of trust in Jesus Christ versus a life of following after the religions of this world. Christ leads to eternal life. The religions of this world offer only stolen goods today and the depths of hell eternally.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

All of Us

Matthew 16:25 KJV
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

These are incredibly powerful words and if they had been spoken by anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ we would very likely dismiss them completely. Lose our lives for His sake? Truly Christ asks more of us than anyone could imagine. He asks for all of us.
Not the majority of us
Not the best of us
All of us

He expects that we will give our lives to Him.

And nothing else will do if we would have life with Christ. He will not accept a portion. It is all or nothing.

Is that how we have come to Christ? Have we lost our lives for His sake and found that He has a life for us that is far greater than any life e could have found for ourselves? Or have we merely given to Him some small part that suits us? That might make a person fell good about themselves for the time being but it will never give a person eternal life.

Lose your life for Christ's sake. It is the only way to find life.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Lord

Matthew 15:22-27 KJV
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

Scofield observes that when this Gentile woman (the first recorded contact Christ had with a Gentile) approached Christ in His title "thou Son of David" she was completely ignored. She could not come to Him on the basis of the promises God had made to the Jews. But when she approached Him as Lord, (though she also used that title with "thou Son of David") she had an immediate response from Jesus.

Jesus Christ is our "Lord." He is master, sovereign and ruler of our lives. We may fight over whether we must make Him Lord in order to be saved all we want. Jesus is our Lord or we have nothing to do with Him. We do not have to make Him Lord in order to be saved. But every genuinely saved person knows that Jesus is his Lord.

His Lordship in our lives is our access to Him. He calls us friends when we obey Him. That is Lordship. We demonstrate our love for Him when we obey Him. That is Lordship.

The key that opens our way into the hearing of Christ is His Lordship in our lives. Never mistake that.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Observe, Consider, Confess

Matthew 14:28 KJV
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

My thoughts took me from this passage (and the other accounts in Matthew 14) to
Matthew 16:16-17 KJV
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.


Jesus said that the revelation that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God was nothing that was revealed to him through flesh and blood, but that it had come to him through "my Father which is in heaven." One man can never convince another that Jesus is Christ. Some of the trouble we have in Christianity is the direct result of believing it is possible and doing our best to get it done.

But how is it that the Father revealed this to Peter? I don't believe it was a matter of a moment's flash of inspiration. Rather it was accomplished through Christ's working in and around Peter for a considerable period of time. Just in Matthew 14 there are two such instances that must have caused deep thoughts of Christ to bear in Peter's soul:

There is the feeding of 5000
After hearing the news of John the Baptist's martyrdom Jesus retreated into a desert place. But Jesus could not be hid and a multitude gathered where He was. His disciples were anxious to have some time off and asked the Lord to send them away, ostensibly, to buy themselves food. Jesus, on the other hand, put the burden on the disciples (and thus on Himself) to feed this huge crowd. Working with almost nothing, Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fishes and a miracle took place before the apostles.

There is the walking on the water
Hardly had the miracle of the feeding taken place when Jesus sent the disciples across the sea while He sent the multitudes away and then went to prayer. Later on that night, while the disciples toiled hard to keep their boat afloat in the stormy waters of Galilee; in the midst of their toil three amazing miracles happened:
First, Jesus came to them walking on the water.
Second, Jesus enabled Peter to walk on that same water.
Third, Jesus made the wind to cease.

Events like these could not have been dismissed by those who had witnessed them. Jesus told the Pharisees that if they would not believe Him they should believe the works that He did. Peter observed those works and over the course of his time with Christ was led of the Father to see that in fact Jesus Christ is the "Son of the living God.”

Thursday, February 05, 2009

How Shall They Know?

Exodus 33:16 KJV
For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

Moses claimed that there is only one way the world would know that a people have found grace in the sight of God; that is that God's presence goes with them. That is the only true separation from the world that is necessary and if that be the case, all man contrived forms of separation will become superfluous. They just will not matter any more.

Not that there won't be separation standards; but they not be what separates us from the world.

I am not looking to look differently than the world so they know I am different. I am looking to know the Lord and have His presence in my life. Because of that presence I will be different in language, in interests and even in appearance and dress. But those will not be the things that make me different. What makes me different is God's presence in my life.

Too much of Christianity is mere show. We want to look like we are different and pretend we have the presence of God. But it is a sham and everyone around us knows it.

Lord, give me YOU.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Man Made

Exodus 32:2-4 KJV
And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Because my reading today included both Exodus chapter 31 and 32 I noticed what I considered to be a stark contrast between the two chapters. In chapter 31 God said He would divinely enable men to craft the furniture and instruments of true worship. But in chapter 32 the people (including Aaron) created a calf of their own skills. The people chose a form of worship they could create rather than waiting on the Lord to give them His holy form.

Their form was founded in their lack of patience and waiting upon the Lord
Their form was founded in their lack of faith, not knowing what had become of Moses
Their form wasted the precious gold God had gven them
Their form had claimed to provide the same salvation as God's form (deliverance from Egypt)
Their form even included God's man, Aaron

But
Their form incurred the wrath of Almighty God and
Their form led them into promiscuity and immorality (nakedness) and
Their form produced a celebration (dancing) that was short lived (as Moses had 3000 of them killed)


What we have today is a man made form of godliness in the churches that
Does not produce genuine Christians
Allows for immodestly and immorality and
Though the people believe they have been saved, will eventually lead to their suffered the judgment of God.


God help us have eyes that may see the falsehood of what now exists for Christian worship.
God help us take the Lord's side and destroy in our lives all that is falsely Christian

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

John The Baptist

Matthew 11:2-4 KJV
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:


There is likely more in the example of John the Baptist than we are willing to admit.

He was a relative of Christ
As are all believers

He was obviously loved of the Lord
As can be seen both by Christ's words concerning him and by Christ's reaction at the news of his death.

Yet he was still a man
And he had his moments of question concerning Jesus Christ. Who among us has not wondered if we have followed the truth? Here is John the Baptist in a prison cell. Things do not look good for him and Jesus is obviously not coming to break him out. In a down time of life it is not impossible for the greatest of believers to wonder.

And Christ exercises no influence to rescue him
This is John the Baptist. Surely if there has ever lived a man who deserved to be supernaturally rescued from his captures, John the Baptist would have been him. Christ was physically present during his imprisonment. And when John was beheaded Christ was obviously moved by the news of it. But still He did nothing to prevent it.

Certainly Christ could have rescued John the Baptist just as He could have come down from the cross had He elected to do so. But God has a plan that transcends the reaches of human comfort. I prefer to trust Christ through the difficult times rather than expecting Christ to always rescue me from them. That seems to me to be far more consistent with the testimony of the Word.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Iniquity of the Holy Things

Exodus 28:36-38 KJV
And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.


The High Priest wore the Mitre and those words "HOLINESS TO THE LORD” that, according to the Word, "...he might bear the iniquity of the holy things..." This intrigued me so I stopped to consider it. These are the words of John Gill on th subject,
"...there is sin in the best performances of the saints; there is not a just man that does good, but he sins in doing that good; the best righteousness of men is imperfect, and attended with sin; and this cannot be borne, or taken away by themselves; if God should mark such sins as these, they could not stand before him; now Christ, their High Priest, bears and takes away these, along with all others, which are laid upon him, and borne by him"

The best men sin and it is so true that we even sin in the performance of good. We are so prone to and so carried about with sin that even when doing God service, we so easily slip into the flesh.

Thank the Lord that He has made provision for even that sin in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. All true holiness is the holiness of the Lord.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Fools

Proverbs 1:7 KJV
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

It occurred to me this morning that there is just about as much about the fool in Proverbs as about wisdom. That knowledge wisdom and instruction are, at least in the mind of God's Word, spiritual pursuits is obvious because Scripture says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge..." What a tragedy that some have turned education into a form of idolatry!

Fools despise wisdom and instruction. So my prayer today is that we would not be so foolish. My prayer is that the Spirit of God would so move in our lives and minds and hearts that we would not despise but desire the wisdom and instruction that comes from God.

There is a type of instruction that is wicked. Its goal is to make a man believe that there is no god besides man himself. There is a form of wisdom that is worldly-wise and is contrary to all that is godly. I do not say that we pursue that type of wisdom. But I do say that we pursue both wisdom and instruction; in the Lord.