Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Think The Christians Controlled This

Acts 5:27-28 KJV
And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.


This passage just caught me as hilarious this morning. Here are the Sanhedrin. They think they are the great leaders and in charge of their nation (though they were under subjection to Roman authorities) They saw themselves as having the power to command men both politically and spiritually.

In an attempt to squelch the preaching of Christ they had the apostles arrested and imprisoned. But the angel of the Lord released them the first night. The apostles did not flee in fright but went right back into the most public place in Jerusalem and began to preach the very message they were originally arrested for. When the soldiers came for them, they were taken without violence and the Bible says the reason they took them so peacefully is because they, the soldiers, were afraid of being stoned by the people. Then these apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin where the Bible says the high priest "asked them."

It is ironic. The ones who were really in authority here are the Apostles.

We, who are Christians, sometimes allow this world to intimidate us more than we think. It is true that we are the fewest in number and that this world appears to be the great authority of this world. It might appear that Satan has the upper hand and we might thnk our only recourse is to "hold the fort." That is not the case. We in fact are the salt and light of this world. Without us this world would collapse into sinful anarchy and chaos. We do not need to fret. We do not need to panic or pick up a sword and fight. All we need to do is obey God rather than men.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Who Would Not Fear Thee?

Jeremiah 10:7 KJV
Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.

Jeremiah exclaims one of the most obvious and important truths in the world; that there is none like God. God is so much above all that is in the world Jeremiah retorically asks, "Who would not fear thee, O King of nations?"

The Lord is the true and living God; who would not fear Him?
vs 10

All of the gods of this world are no only less gods than is the living God, they are no gods at all, they are false gods. They are fake, powerless and worthless.

Not so the Lord. He is true. His Word is real and His existence is evident. He is living; He is aware, He is present, He is thoughtful and He cares.

The Lord is great; who would not fear Him?
vs 6

This greatness has to do with magnificence and wonder. God is truly good. The Lord is mighty and high. He is all glorious.


The Lord is powerful and the Creator; who would not fear Him?
vs 12

All that is exists because of the will of Almighty God. He ordained it to be so and then He spake and it was so.

Any thinking person, who has the conviction in his heart that this God exists, would be wise to fear Him and come to Him for salvation and for service.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Reasonable

Jeremiah 8:4 KJV
Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return?

The questions in this passage are meant to be rhetorical. Of course when a man falls he he gets up again. of course when ne takes a wrong path he eventually wants to get back on the right path.

If that is true in the physical world, then it ought to be true in the spiritual world as well. It is meant to reason with and bring logic into the discussion of the spiritual. The only right, sensible and reasonable thing for a man who has gone away from God to do is to come back to him.

Mankind as a whole has fallen from God.
Adam and Eve brought sin into the world and through them all of mankind once knew God but is now out of fellowship with him. It is only reasonable to insist that men should arise and return to God

Individuals turn from The Lord in their own self will
So we can't blame all our spiritual problems upon Adam and Eve. Truth be told, we would do as much or worse tan they. The sensible thing to do is get up and make things right with God.

Christians slip out of close fellowship with the Lord too.
And when that happens the thing to is confess it and get right.

It is only sensible, logical and reasonable.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Power

Acts 1:7-8 KJV
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.


There is a play on words that happens in verses 7 and 8 that caught my eye this morning.

In verse seven Jesus told the disciples that the Father had put the knowledge of times and seasons (referring to His kingdom) in His own power. But in verse eight, just five words later, Jesus offers those same disciples a power they could possess. Though they could not possess the power to know when God's kingdom will come, they would possess the power to be witnesses for the sake of Jesus Christ.

The two Greek words translated power are different. The first is a word meaning privilege. The Father's position as the Almighty and omniscient One gives Him the privilege of being the only One to know when the kingdom of heaven will come. The second is the word from which we get our word dynamite. It means a force or even a miraculous power.

It is not for us to know the time when our Lord will return, call the Christians to glory and establish His kingdom upon this earth. That is something that belongs only to the Potentate of the universe. But God has given to us a power, more remarkable than anything we could have ever really imagined; the power to be witnesses and to see souls converted from children of darkness to children of the light.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Only

Jeremiah 3:12-13 KJV
Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.
Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.


I don't know that I had ever considered this before, but these words have a missionary impact as well as an evangelistic one. Jeremiah is a preacher to the southern kingdom. His focus will be on Jerusalem and an effort to get them to repent and accept the judgment of God upon them through Babylon. But that does not mean that he has no interest in the northern kingdom of Israel. God calls upon him to preach to the north that they ought to return to the Lord as well as should the southern kingdom.

My focus this morning is on the longsuffering nature of God. The northern kingdom was in such poor spiritual condition that God would soon send them into such devastation that they have not regained their full heritage even today. Records were so destroyed that no one to this day knows which Jews are of the 10 northern tribes, only that they are Jews. And yet, God calls to them through the prophet
Return
I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you
I am merciful


And then God gives them such a simple step to return, "Only acknowledge thine iniquity..." If they would have simply acknowledged that they had "transgressed against the Lord" they could have been spared judgment.

God's call to us is not complicated and impossible to do. It isn't something that takes years of counseling and strict discipline to accomplish. It is this easy to return to the Lord and be restored to His side; "Only acknowledge thine iniquity..."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No; For I Have Loved Strangers

Jeremiah 2:25 KJV
Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.

The bondage of sin is incredible. Here is God offering the best for His creation. Here is God reminding them of that time when they were young and kind, when they were in love and when they followed after God through the wilderness.

And yet over time these people had turned from the Lord. False gods and people of strange lands had turned their hearts from following the Lord to other and varied sins.

And now, though God was still calling them to come unto Him, their own testimony was "There is no hope"

They felt that way not because God had abandoned them
They felt that way not because God was unable to forgive them
They felt that way not because false god were more powerful than is the true and living God

They felt that way because they loved their sin and refused to turn away from it.

Though the sin offered them no hope
Though the sin was destroying them and they knew it


Still, they refused to turn from it.

Lord, open our eyes! Help us to see the bondage of sin and cause us to break free and turn to You alone. In You there is always hope!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Behold

Isaiah 65:1 KJV
I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.

I am always fascinated with the missions thrust of the Old Testament. The Jewish people thought of themselves as the exclusive love children of the Lord. The truth is though, that God had given them every reason to know that God's heart was not merely for the Jews, but for all the world.

Now see what God's call is to those who had found Him thought they had not sought Him; "Behold me, behold me...."

If only a man will take a good long look toward the Lord
If only we will behold Him

How can we then refuse Him?
He is altogether good
He is supreme
He is glorious to behold
He is righteous and pure
He is wise
He is caring toward His creation
He is forgiving
He is longsuffering

Behold Him. And walk with Him.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

We Can't Imagine!

Isaiah 64:4 KJV
For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

The Apostle Paul said,
Romans 8:18 KJV
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Paul was well aware of Isaiah 64:4 and quotes it in 1 Corinthians 2:9. He knows of what he speaks. The reason why the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us is because what God has prepared for those who wait for Him are unimaginable to the man who is trapped on this planet.
Men have not heard
Ears have not perceived
Eyes have not seen

Only God knows what He has prepared for those that wait for Him.

Now I did want to explore briefly the fact that Paul's quote of this verse is not exact, especially that he said love Him rather than wait for him.

The word wait means to adhere.
The Greek word in 1 Corinthians 2:9 translated love is agape.


The translators did the right thing by using the word "love" in the New Testament text. The answer for the difference is found in the fact that the Apostle Paul, who is as equally inspired as Isaiah was in his text, gives us us a further definition of what it means to love. Love waits. Love lingers and tarries and takes all the time it must for the subject of its affections.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Security

John 17:11 KJV
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Scofield's notes on John 17:2 says in part,
"...It is Christ who commits the believer to the Father for safe keeping, so that the believer's security rests upon the Father's faithfulness to His Son Jesus Christ. "

What an encouraging thought and what a security this brings to the believer when we come to see that Christ asks His Heavenly Father to keep us through His own name.
Our security is not found in our strength to live the Christian life
Our security is not even found in Christ's all powerful ability to keep what we have committed to Him
Our security is found in Christ's relationship with His Heavenly Father.

We are as eternally secure as is the relationship Jesus Christ has with God the Father.

Friday, January 22, 2010

God Wondered

Isaiah 59:16 KJV
And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.

I wondered at the word "wondered" this morning. The word means to be stunned, amazed, stupefied. And the word is ascribed to God.

Now this does not mean that there is anything that God is shocked at and stunned it could happen. This is anthropomorphism. It is God describing Himself in a characteristic that is human like for our benefit. It is similar to portions that describe God taking us under His wing: it does not mean that we should insist that God actually has wings. The phrase is meant to describe an action of the Lord in a term that we can embrace and grasp.

So look at this. God wondered that there was no intercessor. He studied and looked across the field of humanity and was stunned that no man would or for that matter could mediate between Himself and mankind. Out of the billions of people who have been born into this world
There is not one that is sin free.
There is not one who searches after God.
There is not one who would or could offer Himself on the behalf of fallen man


Imagine that!
Meditate upon that!

God does!

But then move on to the next portion of the verse. God could not find a man who would or could intercede so look what God did.

God Himself brought to man salvation
God Himself brought a righteousness that could sustain man

No man would make peace with God
No man could make peace with God


So God made peace for man.

Praise God.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Abide

John 15:7 KJV
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

I liked what Scofield's Notes has to say about abiding;
"To abide in Christ is, on the one hand, to have no known sin unjudged and unconfessed, no interest into which He is not brought, no life which He cannot share. On the other hand, the abiding one takes all burdens to Him, and draws all wisdom, life and strength from Him. It is not unceasing consciousness of these things, and of Him, but that nothing is allowed in the life which separates from Him. "

It must be the desire of every believer that we abide in Christ and that His words abide in us. In the world in which we find ourselves we must allow our minds to occupied with thoughts other than of Christ and the Word of God.
We must concentrate on our families and give them time and attention
We must reach out to others and give them care and concern
We must be honest with our employer and give them due diligence on the job


But even thought there are times when our mind may not be able to be fully devoted to thoughts of Christ and meditations of Scripture there is no moment in the life of the believer when we need to be separated from Christ and His Word through unconfessed sin or other things that cause a separation from the Lord.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For A Small Moment

Isaiah 54:7 KJV
For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

Gill says of this passage,
"...Some interpret this of the seventy years' captivity of the Jews in Babylon, which was but a very short time; others of the times of ignorance in the Gentile world before the coming of Christ, which God winked at, when he overlooked them, and took no notice of them; but I choose to understand it of the time and state of the Christian church, during the ten persecutions of Rome Pagan, when it seemed to be forsaken of God, and to be triumphed over by her enemies..."

What an encouraging promise this is the the believer in his time of trouble. Sometimes a moment seems like an eternity for us. Seventy years was a lifetime for some Jew
Those Christians who endured the tortures of Pagan Rome were oftentimes taken to their deaths in that moment.

But these things are true even in the midst of the trouble
First, God has not truly forsaken His own. It only feels like that in the time of purging and refinement. It is in reality God's hand molding us into a far better image.
Second, a lifetime here is but a moment of eternity. Any degree of suffering here is nothing compared to the blessings of heaven. Paul said
Romans 8:18 KJV
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

The second half of the verse is reminiscent of the rapture. What a glorious day that will be when the saints of God, both those who have entered into rest from their sufferings and those who are still suffering in life on this planet, are gathered together to meet the Lord in the air.

Even so come, Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Look

Isaiah 51:1 KJV
Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

God has a clear message for those who follow after righteousness and seek the Lord. We are to do two things:

Look unto the rock whence we are hewn
Look to the hole of the pit whence we are digged


From the following verse it becomes obvious that the first interpretation is to look to Abraham and Sarah. Look back to what the Lord has done through plain people.

Abraham and Sarah were not super human by any means. When the Lord called them they were people of a pagan land. When God called them they only partially obeyed at first, thought they did obey. And through their lives they faced struggles and trials,
Some physical
Some natural and
Some spiritual


Yet from them God raised up
A nation for Himself
A Saviour for His people and
A hope for all mankind


We are not much. But we never had to be. What we need to be is simply encouraged to keeping following after righteousness and keep seeking the Lord. In those pursuits we might change eternity for souls around us.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Judgment of this World Is Done

John 12:31 KJV
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

Though the world was not judged in the same sense it will be judged when the wrath of God is poured out, the world was judged in a more significant way at this time; this is when the judgment of the world was poured out in all of its fury upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Others had died the death of crucifixion but
Of no other did God make them to be sin for the whole world.
Of no other did not sun refuse to shine at the noon time and
Of no other does the Bible say their visage was so marred it was almost not possible to make him out as a man


When Christ went on the cross, the righteous for the sinner, all of the wrath of God, His judgment of the world, was focus on that one Person at the one time. Truly that was the judgment of the world. Now, any and all who will flee to Christ may find shelter and eternal safety from the wrath of God.

That this passage is specifically speaking of that judgment is demonstrated by our Lord's next statement, "...now is the prince of this world cast out." This judgment sealed the doom of Satan. This judgment finalized God's sentence against the devil.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Prayer, Promise and Preaching

Isaiah 45:8 KJV
Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.

Isaiah 46:3-4 KJV
Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:
And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.



Isaiah 46:12-13 KJV
Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness:
I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

Having read chapters 45 and 46 together in my devotional time I came to place these three passages together as unit. IN them I find:

A prayer
Isa 45:8
I am praying today that the skies will pour down righteousness and bring forth salvation.

A promise
Isa 46:3-4
What a promise for God's children. He has made us and He will
Bear
Carry and
Deliver us

Some preaching
Isa 46:12-13
To the stouthearted and those who do not know the Lord, God says "Hearken!" "Hear this!" "I will bring my righteousness, ...and my salvation shall not tarry..."

The time to trust Christ for salvation is now!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Just Speak the Truth

John 10:40-42 KJV
And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
And many believed on him there.


The thought of this is tender to me, here is Jesus Christ returning to the place where John the Baptist had baptized Him. I do not know if the Lord did that for sentimental reasons, but the occasion did cause those who were following Him to reflect back on John the Baptist.

Their reflections brought them to this conclusion; while John the Baptist did no miracles, he did speak the truth about Jesus Christ.

And the Bible says that many believed on Him there.

This is good news to me. I do not need to be a miracle worker to be a servant of the Lord. I don't have to do fabulous and striking things in order to bring people to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. All I need to do is to tell them the truth about Jesus Christ.

John's message concerning Jesus was, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of world." And that is the only message I need to preach. Be faithful with that and there will be people who believe on Him.

Friday, January 15, 2010

For My Glory

Isaiah 43:6-7 KJV
I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.


The passage is specifically to the Jews but has an equal application to present day believers. The Word of God says God will call to the north and to the south (and I believe by way of implication to east and west as well) saying, "...bring my sons from far..."

God is calling men and women from every corner of the earth to come unto Him and be saved. Of those that hear and respond the Bible says,
I have created him for my glory
I have formed him
I have made him


When we respond to the gospel we may be assured that we did that because of God's interest in us and not of our own free will. God did what God did in us and not we ourselves.

And we may be assured of this, He did what He did in us for His own glory.

God use me for thy glory.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

God's Doing What Can't Be Done

Isaiah 41:18-19 KJV
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:


It has not been that long ago where I read of Scofield's notes a commentary about the Christian prayer life. He said that prayer is a son making request of His Almighty Father and therefore the requests may transcend natural boundaries. Here is an example of just that. God is promising to Israel things that are outside of the natural boundaries. They exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think.

Rivers where no rivers are
Pools of water in wilderness and dry land areas
Trees in the desert places


The prophetical record reveals that all of these will happen, not figuratively, but literally in the Millennial Kingdom.

But I am asking for their spiritual counterparts in our ministry today.

There are people whose spiritual lives are like high places. They cannot be scaled by the average believer. They are unapproachable in order to reach them with the gospel.
There are people whose life is so spiritually parched and barren it is difficult to see how the gospel could ever spring to life within them
There are those whose lives have no fruit, no evidence of the Spirit's working in them


I am praying that our Heavenly Father do what seems impossible and unnatural.
I am praying that the most unreachable be reached
I am praying the the most barren and dry, spring forth with living waters
I am praying that the least likely to bear fruit would abound in the trees of God

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Comfort

Isaiah 40:1-2 KJV
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.


Scofield says, "The first two verses of Isaiah 40 give the key-note of the second part of the prophecy of Isaiah. The great theme of this section is Jesus Christ in His sufferings, and the glory that shall follow in the Davidic kingdom. "

While we can't know how long before the Lord will come and bring such comfort to the Jews as a people, we can be thankful for the wonderful privilege of preaching this comfort to all who trust in Christ. It is as if the change in temperament that begins in Isaiah 40 is a micro picture of the change that happens between the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament we are made aware of the sin of man against a holy God. We learn that man can never do well enough to please God and that even the very best of men are, at best, still sinners.

But the New Testament offers the answer to the predicament mankind finds itself in. Knowing that man will never satisfy the justice of God for the penalty of our sins, God Himself offers the one sacrifice that could forever satisfy God; Himself. God came in human flesh and named Jesus Christ. He lived a sinless life to demonstrate His holiness and then He died as our substitute on Calvary's cross.

And through Jesus Christ there is comfort.
Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It Is The Spirit That Quickeneth

John 6:63 KJV
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Up to this point in the ministry of Christ, His following was huge. Thousands of people came to see and hear Him. But Jesus said they only came for the food and not because of the miracles. In other words, they did not believe He was the Son of God, they just believed they could benefit from hanging around Him. Jesus was not interested in attracting large crowds of people though. His concern was only for the soul and the soul, in order to be saved, had to trust Christ as the Christ.

Our world is filled, I think, with the same problem that we find in this chapter. We have congregations filled with people who only come for the personal benefit. They have been taught to stroke their "What's in it for me?" flesh. It might begin with the personal benefit being "heaven instead of hell" but even that, for them, isn't built upon a sound foundation. And these followers will all eventually fall away when the benefits to them dry up.

The only sure reason to follow Christ is revealed by the apostles. The reason we follow Christ is merely because He has the "words of eternal life." We follow Christ because we believe and are sure that He is Christ.

Now here is the thing; Jesus said "It is the Spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing...." There is no amount of logic, reason or salesmanship that can quicken the soul. The best that human flesh can ever do is gather a crowd based upon some sort of selfish motive. Jesus was content to let the crowd go away, not willing to stroke the flesh but minister instead to those whom the Spirit had quickened.

A tougher road to be sure, but one that really does have eternal rewards!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Scriptures

John 5:39 KJV
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

These words were spoken to an unbelieving crowd of Jews seeking to kill Him because He had said God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. To that Jesus responded by giving the crowd four witnesses of the truth of His relationship with God
God the Father
John the Baptist
His own works
The Scriptures


Concerning the Scriptures, Jesus laid upon them a responsibility; they were to search the Scriptures. All of the truth we need to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is found in the Word of God. No man will be without excuse if he does not know Christ through the Word of God.

Search the Scriptures and see the other witnesses of Christ's Person
Search the Scriptures to know Jesus Christ
Search the Scriptures to have eternal life

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Know That Messias Cometh

John 4:25 KJV
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

The woman is a Samaritan. She is despised by the Jews and she is a soiled Samaritan woman at that. And yet she knew and believed the promise that one day the Messiah would come and "tell us all things."

I was reminded today that we never know who it is whose heart is just searching for the truth. Here is a woman whose life appears to be a total wreck, yet she is searching, hoping, longing for the day when the Lord will help her to know the truth of the spiritual life. I wonder how many people just like her live and work and walk the streets around us and we never realize they are looking for the answers we as believers are sure to have?

And then, when this woman saw te truth, she turned out to be the key to reaching almost a whole city. The most unlikely soul may be the very person who could turn a ministry from one that is ding little for Christ to one that has major impact in a community.

It is never a waste to go out of our way to witness to the least of all people.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Wind Bloweth

John 3:8 KJV
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

My wife and I were watching the game show Jeopardy a week or so ago when one of the contestants was introduced as a scientist. He worked on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States studying hurricanes. He speculated that if they could understand a hurricane, perhaps they could control its impact. Alex asked "Do you understand hurricanes?" to which this scientist quickly and authoritatively answered, "No!" Even with all of our advancements, we still do not know "whence it cometh and whither it goeth."

The same is true of the spiritual life. The new birth is work that God does. Men would love to know how to control it, how to get people saved we want to be saved, how to control the work of the spirit of God in a person's life. But the truth is, we cannot. The best we can do is create a shallow and superficial form of religion that will not last in a man's life and cannot change a man's soul.

So what do we do? We wake up each morning trusting the Lord to do as He pleases in the hearts and souls of men.
We serve the Lord
We study His Word
We worship and glorify Christ


And we let the wind blow where it listeth.

Friday, January 08, 2010

My Strength

Isaiah 27:5 KJV
Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.

This passage is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ.

Gill says
"Not on the law, as the Targum and Kimchi; but on Christ, as Jerom rightly interprets it; who is the strength and power of God, the man of his right hand he has made strong for himself; a strong tower, as the word signifies, a rock of defence, to whom saints may betake themselves, and be safe; in him they have righteousness and strength; in him is everlasting strength."

I love that title for Jesus Christ; "my strength."
The person who takes hold of Christ so "that he may make peace" with God will find that "he shall make peace" with God. It is a sure thing.

Jesus is God's strength for countless reasons, but none more significant to the soul in need of forgiveness than that He is the strength of God for salvation.

He is strong and will not fail
He is strong and able to hold on to that which We have committed to Him
He is strong and well able to defeat al our adversaries

Thursday, January 07, 2010

God's Vineyard

Isaiah 27:2-4 KJV
In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.
I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
Fury is not in me ...


This is a tender and precious pieces of Scripture. Gill spends some good deal of time expressing how this vineyard is like, not only the Jews but also the New Testament Church. See what the Lord does with His vineyard....

First, the Lord keeps it Himself
He has ministers and servants who are called of him into the fields but still He keeps this Himself. If any of the workers should fail in their duties, the Lord will not fail.

Secondly He waters it
And not just sporadically and from time to time; He does so every moment.
He never lets off
He never forgets
He never quits

Though there are times when we may not sense His loving care and presence still we may be assured of it through the promise of the Word of God.

Thirdly He keeps it night and day
In the times of darkness and in the times of light; in the good times and in the difficult times, God is about the business of tending to His vineyard. History has seen some dark days for the believers in Christ. This should not be taken to mean that those were days when God had left off His vineyard. The tending may have been painful, but it was not without purpose and meaning and the hand and supervision and blessing of God upon it.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Jesus Himself

Luke 24:15 KJV
And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

Several thoughts came to mind:

"And it came to pass"
Things happen, some good and some not so good. The disciples had just experienced terrible tragedy with the death of Christ. They were reeling with the news that His body was missing and the talk of His possibly being alive. All of a sudden, "Christ Himself drew near." We never know when our own troubles will be dissolved away as Christ Himself draws near.

"While they communed together."
This is the appropriate and Scriptural activity of believers; we commune together. We do that for our mutual benefit and exhortation. We do that to grow in our faith. We do that to be held accountable in our walk.

"Jesus Himself drew near"
It is probably stretching the passage to assert that He drew near because they were communing together. But it is certainly not wrong to suggest that He is more likely to draw near when believers are doing what believers ought to be doing.

"and went with them."
More than merely brushing close by and then escaping their presence, Christ drew near to them and went with them. This is the goal of my life. I long to live in the presence of Christ, with Him going with me in all things.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Spoiler Spoileth

Isaiah 21:2 KJV
A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.

Many years ago I heard a pastor say that, while he could not prove it Biblically, he believed that people will be trapped in all eternity in the same place they were in when they finished life.
The envious will be trapped with the spirit of envy
The angry will be trapped in anger
The stingy will be trapped in that same spirit eternally


He went on to say that He believed
Those who were givers will be giving eternally
Those that were cheerful will be cheerful eternally and
Etc


This verse is not a proof of his assertion but it does tell us that a tree always produces it own manner of fruit.

The treacherous dealer does what is natural for him, he deals treacherously
The spoiler does what a spoiler would do; he spoils

I have observed this truth in men
Those who are given to anger get angry
Those who are given to gossip, will gossip
Those who are problem causers cause problems


It might be that for a time they put on a different face and appear to have changed their ways
It might be they have excuses for why they have done what they have done in the past and they convince us they will not do it again....

But it never fails
Those who are quitters eventually quit
Those who are complainers eventually complain
Those who are thieves eventually steal
Those who are adulterers eventually offend


It is their nature.
It is who they are.

And their is only one hope; they must confront their very nature. They can't coddle it, and neither can they allow others to coddle it with them. They can't excuse it, hide from it or find a new place to begin again. Unless they confront their nature and slay it in Jesus Christ, they will only do what is natural for their nature to do.

Sighing won't help
Apologies won't do it


Only one thing will work; the sin nature must be besieged, starved out and destroyed.

Monday, January 04, 2010

They Sought How

Luke 22:2-3 KJV
And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.


I am always amazed when I read this.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of the universe. He is in control of all things. He has the power to cause anything to happen that He chooses. The Bible says, Proverbs 21:1 KJV
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Obviously God could have worked it out that the chief priests and scribes did not wat to kill the Lord, and surely the Lord could have seen to it that, though they sought how they might kill Him, they could not find a way.

Not so. As soon as the Bible says they sought how, Satan entered into Judas and compelled him to betray Him.

Three enemies, all coming together at the one moment when Christ was vulnerable.

I am reminded once again not to allow my attachments to this world to be too strong and not to place my hopes in Christ upon what sorts of "blessings" I experience in this world. This world is not a friendly place to believers. We have perhaps been given a few years of ease as Christians, but not for our good. They may have just been tools of Satan to cause us to get our eyes off of what real faith is so that, when the troubles begin we have false expectations of the Lord and are disillusioned when God doesn't do for us as we thought He would.

Father, give me true faith and the heart to follow You wherever You lead me.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Cares of This Life

Luke 21:34 KJV
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

The context is, of course, the imminent and surprising return of Jesus Christ. His coming will be in such a manner that the greatest number of people on the earth will be caught unprepared. In this passage Jesus lists three things that can so overcharge our hearts that we would be caught unawares

Surfeiting -
It means an illness due to overindulgence either to food or alcohol. Americans may be the guiltiest of anyone in the world for this. The medical community tells us that the leading causes of death and serious illness in the United States are almost all caused by our habits of eating.

Drunkenness -
Means just exactly what it sounds like.

Cares of this life-
Here is the surprising one and the one I focused my attention on this morning. Jesus lumped the cares of this life in with such obvious evils as surfeiting and drunkenness. Things like,
Paying the bills
Making a living
Raising our children

Carry with them the same spiritual risk as does obviously sinfulness if we allow them to so preoccupy or minds as to not seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The best of intentions can leave a man spiritually destitute if they are only intentions pertaining to this life.

Our attention needs to be solely upon the things of the eternal life. Our efforts in this life need to be efforts to prepare ourselves and others for the life that we will all live when this life is done. The best and most fulfilling life on earth is a life lived for the life in heaven.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Crushed For Good

Luke 20:18 KJV
Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

All of the commentaries in my possession make the "but" in this verse more "and,"
Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; [AND] on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

In doing so they make it that one judgment builds upon the other rather than one being a contrast of the other.

The context seems to support that sort of thinking. In verse 19 the Bible says that the chief priests and scribes perceived that this parable was a judgment against them. In that case, each statement would be negative and neither having any positive application.

However I would like to consider the two as contrasting. The language of the passage, I believe, at least gives occasion to discuss the possibility of that application.

To fall upon the stone willing and voluntarily is to submit or to surrender to that stone.
To those who surrender to Jesus Christ, the Bible says they shall be broken. The word means to be "shattered" or "dashed together" also to be crushed. Oh how the sin nature of a man needs to be crushed, dashed and shattered. Nothing of the sin nature is worth remaining. It all needs to be destroyed altogether.

To have the stone fall upon us means that this is something God does to us.
In the negative sense it may speak of the lost man who, despite his protests that there is no God or that God has no right to judge him, finds one day that the almighty God does in fact not only have the right, but the authority and the power to do so.
What a tragedy it is when a man lives without God and finds in the end that God is the judge of all men, only this man's judgment will be eternal in hell.

In a positive sense, however, I think of the one who has fallen upon the stone and having so fallen, the stone now falls upon him. In one sense I may fall upon Jesus Christ and surrender my sin nature to Him. I may humble myself and call upon Him and ask Him to cleanse and make me whole. But in another sense, for that cleansing to be effected something else must happen; it cannot stop with my voluntary submission because my sin nature is too quick to pick itself up, dust itself off and take charge again. If I am to be cleansed of sin, Christ must take on the work of "grinding that sin nature to powder."

May the Lord complete His work in me.
May I not be content until my sin nature has been ground under the Stone Jesus Christ and blown away as chaff in the wind of the Holy Ghost.

Friday, January 01, 2010

That Day

Isaiah 12:1 KJV
And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.

For the Jews as a people this day has not yet come. But for any who have placed faith in Christ this day is already a reality.
Because of the Lord Jesus Christ God's anger is turned away and
Because of the Holy Spirit of God, we have a present Comforter.


What a blessing it is to be a child of God!
That the anger of the Lord has be dispatched and that we today enjoy the blessing of fellowship and relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ makes this the most marvelous of times in which to live.

To bask in the radiant joy of sonship
To revel in the liberty of peace with God
To look heavenward to the soon coming of our Saviour

Truly these are joys beyond compare!