Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nigh Unto Thee

Deuteronomy 30:14 KJV
But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

This passage, which is used by Apostle Paul in Romans 10 to address the opportunity every human being has of being saved, is a tremendous encouragement to any who will give it some thought.

A person does not have to hear a special revelation from heaven to know what we may do to be saved. Neither does he need to travel the world around in an effort to find the truth about salvation. God told the Jews, and Paul makes it clear that the same is very true of us as well, that the Word of God is "nigh unto thee."

God has placed someone close enough to each of us that, if we desire to know God's Word concerning salvation, it is not far to find. In most cases, at least in lands such as the Jews and as our today, we have had enough exposure to the Word of God through some means, that it is already implanted in our hearts and mouths and is there for us when we come to that place were we surrender to the Lord of our lives.

In those places where the Word of God has not yet reached, Paul addressed that too in Romans 10, urging Christians to take that glorious gospel and preach it in other lands.

I am thankful that the Word of God is nigh unto me. I am so grateful that I do not have to wish or pine away for the truth. God has placed it before me.

May I be faithful to it.

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Deuteronomy 30:14 (KJV) Nigh Unto Thee
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Justified

Luke 18:14 KJV
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Justified is one of the greatest words in the Bible. It is the hope of the follower of Christ who finds he has not been made sinless when he became a Christian. Justification is to be declare innocent without having had any internal change in one's true state.

A judge may declare a man innocent. But the judge cannot change that man's true condition. The evidence to convict him may have been too weak and thus, the judge, maybe even suspecting the guilt of the man, must declare him innocent (just) and set him free.

There are other doctrines having to do with salvation that deal with the subject of the change that takes place in the saved. But the term just is the foundation to salvation. The one who is saved is declared innocent and just before God, based on the blood of Christ, regardless of the evidence to the contrary in the sinner.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Save His Life?

Luke 17:33 KJV
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

This passage is pretty clear as to its message. The question would be, however, what does it mean to "save his life"? And the answer is found in the context of the verses just previous to this. Jesus is speaking about the days just before Jesus Christ comes again. He says in that day; don't go back to your house to take away your stuff. Don't do, as Lot's wife did, and look back at those physical things that have been accumulated.

The life we are not supposed to seek to save would be our stuff, our physical possessions; those things we have gathered as we have trodden our time on this earth.

By application today, those people who put their focus and devotion upon the accumulation of life's stuff are those who will not possess eternal life when Christ returns. Those people who choose to seek Christ and ignore those earthly treasures so many live to gain; those are the ones who will save their lives and see Christ.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pressing the Kingdom

Luke 16:14-16 KJV
And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.


I am not sure we always place these three verses in context one with another, but the plane fact is, they are in the same context. Jesus' words about every man pressing into the kingdom of God is contextually connected to the covetous nature of the Pharisees.

The word “presseth” means "to force." When John the Baptist began his public ministry multitudes came to be baptized of him. Many of whom he refused because they had not shown meat worth y of repentance. When Christ began His public ministry multitudes followed Him. He was often "pressed" by the throngs of people who crowded around Him. But they were not all disciples and there came a day when they turned from Him. They tried to "force" themselves into His fold, but they were eventually unsuccessful.

No we have a type of Christianity that "presses" people into the kingdom of God. We have soul winning tactics that involve more of the skills of the presenter and the will of the hearer than the work of the Spirit of God. We have people expecting that they will go to heaven because they have made some sort of decision or profession, but they bear no fruit of the new birth.

Covetous religious leaders, many of whom are probably well intentioned, have gathered together congregations around them, promising that those followers have a home in heaven because they believed what the preacher said. It is a process that is highly esteemed among men these days but may well be an abomination in the sight of God.

We must get back to following Jesus Christ, to listening to His call and to waiting upon His work in the souls of sinners. Only then will there be an abundant entrance into the kingdom.

Friday, March 27, 2009

All About The Father

Luke 15:22 KJV
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

I read recently that the early Russian Baptists referred to this as the profligate son and not the prodigal. They saw nothing wrong with "wasting our substance" so long as it was in the ministry of others and not in riotous living.

As I read this account this morning, it occurred to me that it should be more about the father than about either one of the sons. Verse 22 jumped out at me. Regardless of what the sons were doing there was always, "But the father...."

The father divided unto them his living
The father saw his wandering son as he returned
The father had compassion on him and kissed him
The father ordered a celebration for his return and
The father came out to the upset older son and entreated him


Our focus in this life ought to be on our Heavenly Father and not always on others. Our Father is gracious and kind. He is slow to anger. It is He that we ought to live to glorify. How much better would our lives be if He was the center of our attention!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Walk In His Ways

Deuteronomy 19:9 KJV
If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:

I spoke with a lady just yesterday about walking with God. She interrupted me and asked, "Can a person really do that?" Good question! I have three thoughts:

A walk with God must begin with faith.
Otherwise it is just religion. In order to walk with God we must know the Lord and be known of Him.

A walk with God requires we love Him.
There would be no other reason to have a walk with God and no other motivation would be pleasing to the Lord. He craves our love.

A walk with God is a walk in His ways.
There it is. It is that simple to walk with God. When we have by faith been born again and when we are motivated by our love of Him, Walking with God is simply obeying Him. It is walking every day in the ways that He has laid out for His children.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fruit

Luke 13:6-9 KJV
He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.


The fig tree is, within the Scriptures, a frequent symbol of Israel. It is not difficult to see it employed in this manner in our text. The primary application then has to do with God's expectations of Israel. When Jesus came the first time Israel had not produced fruit. She as a nation does not turn to Christ. Rather than cutting her down and destroying her, however, The Lord agrees to "dig and dung" about her for a year. He will expect fruit when He comes the second time. The Bible tells us at that time she will bear fruit and turn to Christ.

If we employ a secondary application as applying to Christian today then we can make the following propositions

The Lord expects fruit
It is His purpose that Christians bear fruit.

Not all fruit is identical
Some would immediately declare that the fruit the Lord wants would be souls saved. However, that was not the fruit that the Lord expected of Israel. He expected her to turn to Christ. In some plants the fruit is a beautiful flower. In some it is a food to be eaten. In others it is a seed to be planted. No doubt the fruit that God desires of us is as individual as the person God is dealing with. But he does expect fruit.

The Lord expects that Lost souls will come to Him for salvation. If they do not, He often gives them time and puts in their lives circumstances that might lead them to trust Christ. If they do not we know they will eventually be destroyed in everlasting torments.
The Lord also expects that the saved will grow in faith and knowledge of the Lord. He expects that we will be witnesses unto Him and He expects that we will produce the beautiful fragrances of holiness. God chastens and disciplines His own children so they will produce this fruit. And when they steadfastly refuse to produce He may choose to make them "cast away" as Paul put it.

I cannot make myself produce fruit. But I can obey the Lord and will thereby, I am sure, produce the fruit that God chooses of me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can You Open Up Immediately?

Luke 12:36 KJV
And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

This verse serves as a transitional passage between the topic that is before it and the one that follows. I think we generally view these two topics as separate and distinct from one another, but it appears to me that the context links them. The one is not distinct from the other, but is the means by which we accomplish the other.

In the first part of Luke 12 the topic is property, money and earthly wealth.
The fool lives to gain these things, not understanding that at any moment his life may be required of him.
The believer is to live with little regard for these things, but rather to seek the kingdom of God and to use what possessions God gives him for the sake of ministering to others.
The wise person lays in store treasures not upon this earth but in heaven


In the second part of the chapter the subject in the coming of the Lord.
It will happen in an hour we know not.
It will happen suddenly and without warning.
It will happen at a time when many will believe the Lord has delayed His coming.

And we are therefore urged to be ready always and to watch.

Verse 35-36 is the transition.
We watch
We remain ready always
We keep our loins girded and our lights burning
We are ready to open unto Him immediately

By having our treasures in heaven and not upon this earth. By being free of the encumbrances of worldly concerns and enterprises.

Monday, March 23, 2009

When Light Is Darkness

Luke 11:33-36 KJV
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.
The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.
If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

I am just going to cut to the chase this morning. Among the other things this passage teaches us, it teaches us to be very careful of what goes into our lives through the window of the eye. Even a small amount of dark and evil things can destroy a life that is otherwise exposed to good and holy things. The forces of the nature of this world are so corrupted that, rather than the light of God's Word expelling the darkness of evil, that darkness can work as a "light" that dispels God's work in our lives.

When light is darkness, what a twisted thing takes place. A man may believe he is doing God service when in the truth he is wickedly opposing the Work of God, as was the case of Saul of Tarsus.

We must not take this lightly. We must be sure that the light we have in us in not darkness.
Things that appear to us to be holy.
Doctrines that our background and reason accept as truth
Practices that good sense declare to be right

Might in reality just be human religion and not light at all.

We must stop accepting that what we have always believed is right and weigh all next to the Word of God. Only its light is able to dispel the darkness of evil.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Right In Our Own Eyes

Deuteronomy 12:8 KJV
Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.

The context has to do with the place the Jews were to worship the Lord. During the years in the wilderness the tabernacle served as a temporary place of worship. It was portable and, though positioned in the center of the encampment of Israel, was not a permanent place to worship.

And God said that this temporary and portable type of worship was the same as their doing "every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes." God had an entirely different plan for his children. In the Promised Land God would select a place belonging to one of the tribes and He would establish His habitation there. All of God's children were to seek God in that habitation.

When a man worships God wherever he chooses, God says THAT is doing whatsoever is right in his own eyes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Remember

Deuteronomy 9:4 KJV
Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.

Deuteronomy 9:6-7 KJV
Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.


Deuteronomy 9:24 KJV
Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.

I love verse 24. What a “pastorly” thing to say to your congregation!

But the lesson is clear; we are never to forget that we are sinners. We, who are Christians, have one and only one claim to righteousness, and that is the blood of Jesus Christ. We are not righteous except that God sees the righteousness of God in those of us who have placed saving faith in Christ.

This does not excuse us to live any way we choose.
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 KJV
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?


God requires that His children "fear the Lord thy God and walk in all His ways." We are to be obedient and godly. But we are never to believe that we are righteous outside of the blood of Jesus Christ.

We are never to view ourselves as better than others
We are never to judge ourselves as more worthy than another
We are never to entertain the idea that we have earned the favor of God


We are as sinful as the vilest. We have only been blessed to have seen Christ's blood as the means of forgiveness before God.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Special People Unto God

Deuteronomy 7:6 KJV
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

I am reminded of
1 Peter 2:9 KJV
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

The New Testament passage gives authority to claiming the Old Testament passage to believers of our day. While Jews and Christians are two separate peoples, still the relationship of the Lord with the Jews in the Old Testament is illustrative of His relationship to believer in the New.

And the point is that we who are called and chosen of God are incredibly special people to God.

Remember, when Moses wrote these words of God Israel was still in the wilderness. The Promised Land was before them, but it was only before them. They had just experienced 40 years of watching an entire generation pass away because of their own unbelief. And even Moses, the great leader that he was, would be denied entrance into the Promised Land because of his sin. And still God says of them, "God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself."

We may not be victorious in every area of our Christian life
We may not feel like we have entered into the Promised Land
We may be going through the chastening of the Lord

But we, who are believers, we who feel the tug of God drawing us time and time again to Himself, we who have claimed Christ as our only hope of reconciliation for sin; are a special people.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not My Will

Deuteronomy 5:29 KJV
O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

This is a powerful passage and reminds me of another in the New Testament
Matthew 23:37 KJV
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

The Sovereign of the universe
The One who upholds all things by the word of His power
The great God who spoke and it was so

Desires that men would fear Him and keep His commandments for their own benefit, but refuses to force them to do so.

How God's heart breaks over those who refuse His commandments and reject Jesus Christ as Saviour. Yet He will not violate our will in order to superimpose upon us His own. We must be the ones who cry out, "not my will but thine be done."

I meet people who impugn the sovereignty of God because their are men who are rebellious and do not the will of God in their lives. But those very same men would be utterly incensed if God imposed His will upon them.
What if God forced us to attend church?
What if God made us worship Christ?
What if God constrained us to tithe?

Those same people who would judge God for allowing a wicked man to do bad things would as equally judge God for making them do good things.

When God's plan for eternity is finished there will be a people who fear God and keep His commandments always, out of pure love for the Lord.

What a day that will be!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wisdom

Proverbs 18:1 KJV
Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.

I read this chapter of Proverbs in conjunction with Deuteronomy 3-4 this morning and saw a connection.

Deuteronomy 4:6 KJV
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

Deuteronomy says that the wisdom and understanding of the Jews was that they kept and did God's commandments. That is a great definition of wisdom; keeping God's commands,
Knowing them
Learning them
Proclaiming them and then
Doing them

Proverbs tells us how to gain this wisdom
There must be desire
A man has to desire the wisdom of God. No one can force us to get the wisdom of God. We must desire it. We must personally want it.

There must be a separation
Those who would gain wisdom must choose to let go of other things. No man clinging to the foolish things of the world can ever hope to have the wisdom of God. Just as an athlete chooses to forsake some of the pleasantries and luxuries of life so his body will be well trained and fit so the Christian who desires wisdom will forsake things of lesser value for this one great prize.

There must be seeking
That means we press ourselves toward it. It will not come by accident. It will not fall into our laps. We will have to pursue it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Golden Rule

March 17, 2009

Luke 6:31 KJV
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

I think most people read this believing that if they will treat others the way they want to be treated people will treat them the same way. The context suggests something completely otherwise. The context suggests that we are to treat people the way we would like to be treated knowing that they will not treat reciprocate.

Do good to those who hate us
When one takes our goods, don't ask for them back
Lend, hoping for nothing in return


This is not a formula for an easy life. This is a pattern for living as Christ did.

And the passage makes it very plain; the reward for this manner of life is not one that we receive on this earth but one that awaits us in heaven. From time to time a person will find earthly rewards for heavenly living. When that happens we all rejoice in it. But if we were to live our entire lives finding that living in the pattern Christ left us leads only to loss on the earth still this lifestyle would be the wisest and most rewarding because it leads to the greatest rewards in glory.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Led of the Spirit

Luke 4:1 KJV
And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

When Jesus was led of the Spirit He was led into a wilderness, where He went without food forty days and was an afterward hungry.

But when t he devil tempted Him to follow him, The devil offered Him
Provision, bread, food. Satan would have met the need of the flesh
Power, the kingdoms of this world. Satan would have given Him peace in this world.
Health, no harm in the flesh. Satan would have made Him safe in this world


Now it appears to me that many of our churches have followed after the things that Satan offers rather than the things that God leads us toward. God leads us toward sacrifice, service and sometime suffering in the name of Christ. But our churches are chasing after prominence, peace and power in this world. We have mistaken these as the blessing of God and in doing so have led countless souls to Satan's domains.

Honestly, which one is of the Spirit and which one is of Satan? Luke 4 makes it pretty clear.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What Shall We Do Then?

Luke 3:10 KJV
And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

When a person is drawn to Jesus Christ the natural question will be, "What shall we do then?"

We are not saved by doing. We are saved by believing. There was a day when people got that confused. Some are still confused and attend churches where they are pressed and urged to win their salvation
Through good works
Through multiple professions
Through the waters of baptism
Through confessions
Through gifts of payments to the priests and in some cases
Through physical death (suicide bombers)


During the reformation era the pendulum began to swing the other direction. The Reformers, convinced that a man could never be saved by good deeds but only by faith, began to teach a type of Christianity that led to so called believers who have little to no testimony for Jesus Christ. In our world today trusting Christ can mean almost anything and almost any sort of lifestyle may be applauded as a Christian lifestyle since good works has nothing to do with it anyway.

The truth of the Bible is in the middle. It is true we are saved by faith and not be works. But a faith that does not lead us to ask "What shall we do then?" is not a true saving faith.

The difference is in motivation. If the motivation comes from an outside source; a church or leader, or if it comes from a desire to somehow win favor with God, then it is falsely motivated and needs correction. But if there is a stirring of the Spirit of God in us that, as a child of God, we should do something in service to the Lord, it is right and proper and it is evidence of saving faith.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Comparing Ourselves

2 Corinthians 10:12 KJV
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

The Bible does teach us not to compare ourselves among ourselves. Our measure is Christ, not another man.

On the other hand, the Apostle Paul did make some comparisons of Himself with others:
1 Corinthians 15:10 KJV
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

It seems to me that the difference is this; we should not compare ourselves in things we have little to no control over.
Our intellect
Our natural strengths
Our station in life


But Paul did press himself in those areas he could have some influence over, namely, how hard he laboured.
Regardless of his mental abilities
Regardless of his physical limitations or strengths
Regardless of his obstacles


He could always labor more abundantly.
He could do more.
He could go to one more city
He could preach one more message
He could write one more letter

Comparing who preaches the best messages or who pastors the biggest church or who knows his Bible the best; those are ridiculous and useless comparisons. We can argue about them all the day long and, in the end, only God is the rightful judge of those things.

But I can labor just a little more than I have before.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Conceived in the Womb

Luke 2:21 KJV
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Jesus was given His name before He was conceived in the womb. But we know that His life did not begin when He was conceived in the womb.

The word conceived means
To grasp
To seize
To arrest
To capture


In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, His conception was a literal capturing of the womb of Mary. He seized it and made it His for the purpose of His becoming man.

In no other instance can it be said that the life that comes into the womb existed before conception. In Christ's instance that is the case.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

He That Is Mighty

Luke 1:49 KJV
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.


I wonder if Mary had to bring herself to the place where she could say "he that is mighty hath done to me great things"? I wonder if she struggled with that some.

It jeopardized her relationship with Joseph
It created a cause of gossip about her all the rest of her life
It necessitated her leaving to visit Elizabeth for a three month period of time and, once the baby was born

It required they flee to Egypt

But in fact God had done to her a great thing.

God's will for our lives is so contrary to the natural flesh that it is often difficult for us to see His will for us as "great." We have to wrestle with and overcome our sinful flesh to finally see that God's plan for our lives is so much greater than any plan we might make for our own life.

I want to practice saying daily, "He that is mighty hath done to me great things!"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My mother's open heart sugery has been postponed until Thursday so I will not be leaving until tomorrow.Please keep my mom in prayer.

Unbelief

Mark 16:13 KJV
And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

The word believe is a pretty major part of this chapter. The first thing that we learn is that when the disciples were told that Jesus had resurrected from the dead, they did not believe.

They did not believe when the women told them in verse 11
They did not believe when the two told them in verse 13

And in verse 14 Jesus "upbraided them with their unbelief."

But then Jesus entered into a curious message given their issues of unbelief.... He said
Mark 16:16 KJV
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

And then He said
Mark 16:17 KJV
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Salvation is based upon believing and
Power to be witnesses is based upon believing


So it is no light thing that they did not believe.

Thank God that saving faith is not something worked up by the Christian but is a gift of God which cannot be taken away. Once we possess saving faith, we can never lose that faith! On the other hand, lack of faith in the Christian should be a matter of serious and grave concern;
First because it can be an indicator that that person has never possessed true saving faith but only a man made substitute, and
Second because that Christian, if truly saved, can never be the witness to friends family and to the glory of God that he was meant to be without this faith.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Get Thee Up... And See

Numbers 27:12 KJV
And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel.

I am focusing on the words, "Get thee up...and see the land.."

Moses was not going to enter the Promised Land personally, but God did give him a great view of it.

No, Moses did not enter just then. But it is of Moses that the Bible says,
Matthew 17:4 KJV
Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

Moses wasn't dead; he just moved from earth to heaven. He did not go into the Promised Land; he just went to glory and to dwell with the Lord. That doesn't sound too bad to me!

I imagine there are a number of things that we have hindered ourselves from receiving on this earth because of our sin. But that should not discourage us too much. God has given us so many things to have a good look at in the spiritual world.

My challenge today is to get up and see what God has for us today. Don't focus on what we don't get to do. Don't focus too much on the barriers our sins have placed in our loves. Get up and see where God will lead us. Get up, sin no more and live for God!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I will be away from the computer for a few days. My mom is having a triple bypass surgery. Tuesday. If you will all pray for her I would be so thankful.

Contrast

Mark 14:9-10 KJV
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.


What a contrast is here in just two verses!


  • Two people are pointed in the Scripture whose stories will never be forgotten. 
  • Two people whose testimonies have been and will forever continue to be the topic of Christian conversation. 


The story of one is of sacrifice and selflessness; of devotion and love for the Lord. The story of the other is one of deceit and betrayal. Judas used his relationship with Christ, not to advance the work of God or to minister to the Son of God, but to betray Him with his kiss.

And so it is with man. There are those who demonstrate such passion and devotion for the Lord that we are compelled to awe. There are others who, having every reason to surrender in sublime love to the Saviour, turn from Him in ways of such bitterness and awfulness that we are compelled to horror.

Oh Lord, let us be the former of the two!

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Mark 14:9-10 (KJV) Contrast
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Natural Morality VS Higher Morality

Numbers 22:5 KJV
He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me:

The story of Balaam is many faceted to say the least.
How is ass spoke to him and
Why was he not shocked out of his gourd that he did
How he could go even though God had told him not to
Why he would continue to place himself in temptation's way be repeatedly listening to the king


And then there is
Numbers 22:34 KJV
And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.
"If it displease thee...." What hypocrisy! Of course it displeased God. God had told him not to go! God had told him he could not curse Israel for they were blessed. "If it diplease thee...."

How wicked we can be when we know what is right before God, and, having full intention to do what we please rather than what God pleases, we still say something like, "God, if you really don't want me to, I won't do it."

All of those are matters worthy of much consideration and study. But I found a comment in Scofield's notes that became my consideration for the day;
The "error" of Balaam" (Jud_1:11) was that he could see only the natural morality -- a holy God, he reasoned, must curse such a people as Israel. Like all false teachers he was ignorant of the higher morality of vicarious atonement, by which God could be just and yet the justifier of believing sinners (Rom_3:26).

We too can so easily slip into a mentality where we judge things according to natural morality rather than the higher morality. How merciful is our God to see believers, not as sinners, but as sinners robed in the righteousness of God

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Evil in the Midst of the Congregation

Proverbs 5:8-14 KJV
Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:
Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:
Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.


The whole chapter is a warning of the dangers of strange women which, in the context of the Word of God, I believe could also have reference to false doctrine and religions. The Word of God warns to remove from her "lest"[1] and then goes into verses 12-13 which were the point of my reading today.... The strange woman destroys the flesh and leaves its victim weeping:

I have hated instruction
There are those who are so caught up in their false professions of faith; whether pseudo-spiritual and so called atheist, that they hate instruction in the way of holiness. Many times they hate instruction of any sort

I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers
All of us have teachers. Most of us have had teachers at one time or another who genuinely cared for our well being. To not obey their voice is to our own hurt

I have succumbed to all evil and that in the midst of the congregation
And this is where my attention was arrested.
Even in the midst of God's people.
Even while surrounded by the people of God

Those who have bitten the apple offered by the strange women of worldly religions, demonstrate a terrible propensity to sin in the most gruesome of ways. The problem is not with the people of God and the problem is not with their spiritual teachers. The problem goes back to the root; they are drinking from the waters of strange women. Unless they obey the voice of the teacher in this chapter, they will continue to destroy their own soul and do evil in the midst of the congregation until they die without the instruction of God in their soul.

We are to be a separated people. We are to remove ourselves from the immoralities of this world, and not only physical ones, but the spiritual ones as well. We have lived at peace with the false teachers so long they have consumed us and we have not seen it. We have accepted it so long now that we can’t believe God would ever really want us to leave its embrace. Lord, open our eyes that we may see!
[1] (vs 9-10)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Not Far

Mark 12:34 KJV
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Wouldn't you just love to know if this man was either Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathaea?

The scribe comes to Jesus after hearing these others questioning Christ and trying to "catch Him in His words." But he appears to have come with an entirely different mentality. He has perceived that Jesus had answered their objections well. His questions is more likely legitimate and from the heart of the man.

And his response to Christ's answer bore out that he had both listened intently and considered Christ's words. The Bible says "he answered discreetly." His answered was in a "mind having way"[1]. Jesus said that he was "not far from the kingdom of God." He is near to the place where he would receive the Gospel message.

Saving faith is not the result of logic and reason. Saving faith comes from a conviction that the Holy Spirit of God places in a person's soul. On the other hand, saving faith can never come to one whose mind is flighty and shallow and who refuses to think upon the deeper and more serious things of life and the after life. Those who joke and play and mock the things of the spirit, unless they are the ones who do it as a guise while all the while really listening and taking in the message, will never come to true repentance. This is a work that goes on deeply in the inner man. Those who are shallow and all too casual about the spiritual things might think saving faith is a decent proposal, but the word of God will take not root in one who will not plow deeply in the soul.
[1] Strong’s Concordance

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Have Faith In God

Mark 11:22-26 KJV
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.


There are two prerequisites to answered prayer given in the text;
Faith in God
Scofield says this is the faith that God gives. Gill calls it the faith of which God is author.
I have never seen a mountain moved. But I have seen and heard of things as great as mountains being moved through prayer, faith and to the glory of God.
Forgiving those we have ought against
The word forgive means to send away, to lay aside, to leave alone. When someone has hurt us in any way and we have something against them because of it, God says to send that ought away. Just leave it alone. Put it down and go on.

There is always plenty of reason to have ought against another. Christians just send it away.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Great Among You

Mark 10:43 KJV
But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

I thought it was interesting that my Old Testament reading covered Korah's accusation against Moses Numbers 16:3 KJV
And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?

So both Old Testament and New Testament readings today dealt with the same issue. Leadership in both Testaments is vital to the work of the Lord. In both Testaments there are those who strove to be leaders and were rebuked for it.

Jesus gives a standard for greatness that the human flesh, when left unchecked, will constantly push beyond. The servant of God is to be a minister of people.
He is not to seek leadership.
He is not to strive for position.
He is not attempt promotion or advancement


He is to be a simple servant. The trouble is that we can so easily turn our service into leadership. We begin as servants, but as God blesses our ministries, we transform into CEO's organizers and leaders of men instead of just servants. And when we do that, we forfeit our greatness in the spiritual world for a lesser form of greatness in the earthly world.