Tuesday, November 30, 2010

High Places

2 Kings 15:35 KJV
Howbeit the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD.

He did not remove the high places... Some of those high places were used to worship idols but many if not most of them were used as remote places to worship the Lord.

Following the pattern of the pagans, the Jews practiced the habit of constructing these places of worship on the tops of mountains and in groves of trees. By doing so, they were directly disobeying God's command to worship in the Temple of the Lord. They said they worshiped the living God; they just did it in their own place. It is not unlike those of today who would claim to be worshippers of the Lord but forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

God speaks well of this king but reports the remission. It reminds me of Christ's letters to the churches when He writes "nevertheless I have somewhat against you..." why would a Christian settle for a relationship with the Lord where He still has somewhat against us? Why would we not prefer to remove those "high places" in our lives that are imitations of the world?

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's a Small Thing

1 Corinthians 4:3-4 KJV
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

Note the progression:
• First, Paul says it is a very small thing that he is judged of the Corinthians
• Second he says he does not judge himself but
• Third it is the Lord that judges him.

If a man keeps in perspective that he is ultimately judged of the Lord then those little judgments of men will become much less significant to us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All Things

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 KJV
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

I see a vertical line graph here.
All things are ours - that could be the church - preachers, the world, life and death and things both present and future (but not past) belong to the church; exist for the sake of and benefit of the church.
And the church belongs to Jesus Christ.
And Christ belongs to God.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Case For the Spiritual Preacher

1 Corinthians 2:14-15 KJV
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

1 Corinthians 3:1-2 KJV
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

The case is laid out for us as to why those who preach the Word must not only be saved but spiritual :
The natural man is lost and, though perhaps eloquent and educated, he cannot see the spiritual message of God's Word.

The carnal man is saved but his worldliness blinds him from anything but the spiritual milk.

It is only the spiritual man who is able to discern all things in Scripture. While we may enjoy the preacher who is carnal and worldly enough to "relate" to us; we might like his personability and his camaraderie, he automatically stifles our own spiritual development. He is in no position with God to elevate us to those places God would have.

The Word of God is more than a perfect book, it is a spiritual book and, while good practices of interpretation ought to be observed, the spiritual preacher will take you passed that which natural ability and skills of interpretation can get us and discern for us what is spiritual.

We need also a spiritual congregation that is able to discern when the preacher may have gone past the spiritual to the fanciful. Our world is full of so called preachers who have led huge congregations of carnal and undiscerning souls down the road of extra biblical fantasy. A spiritual congregation would reign that in and hold it in check.

The question is, who is spiritual? I submit that the quality of being spiritual is being unlike this world. A spirit cannot be seen or sensed in this world; it is other worldly. A spiritual person is one who is also otherworldly. The less like this world we are, the more spiritual we may be.

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Unwise Wisdom

1 Corinthians 1:21 KJV
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

I have two thoughts in reading this passage:
Our world is living in the middle of this verse.
It is too wise to know God. We even go so far as to say the same as much in saying that that people of generations ago were unlearned and superstitious. Would to God we would be less wise in the world that we might have the wisdom of God in our soul!

The passage gives us the order of God's grace.
He saves them that believe. Believing is our act; saving is His. I concur with the G. Campbell Morgan , who said this does not clear up all of the difficulties in grasping election, but it does "…place the emphasis at the right point as it reveals the reveals the fact that the responsibility rests upon those who hear…. To have heard is to have entered into the region of responsibility."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hearts

2 Kings 5:26 KJV
And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?

Elisha had steadfastly refused to take a gift from Naaman, but Gehazi could not stand it. He followed after Naaman and received what he was more than happy to give. When Elisha confronted him he did not say merely tht he caught him in the act. He did not just accuse him to lying and deception. He said that his heart went with him when he took a course of action that was opposed to that course Elisha had set.

When a person chooses to do differently than I have taught or to go in a direction different than the direction I have set for the church it is more than simple rebellion or even rejection, they take a piece of my heart.

The ministry is not a business. It is not merely people picking the church they like the best and the ministry which most fits their own feelings. The ministry is the binding of hearts together in the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a covenant. It is a union. It is a work of God upon the affections of the heart. When that union is in any way broken something more than a business association is damaged; it goes to the heart.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No Interest In This King

2 Kings 3:14 KJV
And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.

Elijah inhabited and was a subject of the northern kingdom of Israel. But when Jehoram and Jehosaphat called for him his response was utter disregard for Jehoram, the king of that same northern kingdom. He expressed no respect for him and pointedly said that had Jehosaphat (who was the king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah) not been there he would not have acknowledged him.

While the offices of the authority in a land are ordained of God, the people of God may express and demonstrate disregard for the man in that office if he is not godly.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not To Please Ourselves

Romans 15:1 KJV
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

We ought to use whatever strength we have to minister to the infirmities of others and not for our own pleasure. That strength may take many forms;
Spiritual strength
Which may be faith and knowledge of the Word of God. In this case we ought to search for means to share that Word with others.
Physical strength and health
In which case we may be used to care for others who have needs rather than using our health for pleasures such as sports activities and many recreations.
Financial strength
In which case we ought to use our money first to minister to our church, secondly to the poor and then to meet the needs of our family (realizing that God meets our needs and not the work).

Rather than attempting to discern who is strong and who is weak, it would be better to seek out those areas where we are strong, where we are capable of ministering to another and, rather than using whatever "strength" we have for our own pleasure, use it rather for the sake of another.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Romans 14:10 KJV
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

We shall all stand at the judgment seat of Christ.

Jesus is coming again. And in every Christian's life this truth is clear; we shall stand at that judgment seat.

Alone
• No one to excuse our actions.
• No one to condemn us for our actions.

• There will be no one else to give us approval.
• There will be no one else to put peer pressure on us.


• We won't stand there with our spouse who either prodded us to do the right thing or coerced us into the wrong thing.
• We won't stand there with our children and claim they took so much time.
• We won't stand there on the behalf of another and
No one will stand there in our place.

We will not point fingers at others and they will not be pointing fingers at us.

We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for our life.

It won't be a judgment for sin but an evaluation for reward. It isn't a day to fear but it is a day to respect and be prepared for.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Power of Humility

1 Kings 21:29 KJV
Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.

The Bible says Ahab was as wicked as any man had been. And God pronounced judgment upon him for his wickedness.

But then the Bible says that Ahab humbled himself. And God saw. Judgment was postponed because of humility. The seeds of sin had been sown and, unfortunately, they would be reaped by his children. Sins passed down to our children seldom get rooted out. Though we repent and turn, what we have planted in our kids is unlikely to be pulled without the harvest.

Still this truth remains; humility turned the wrath of God from one of the worst of offenders. Even so humility today.
• To humble ourselves
• To repent of sin
• To bow before the God who has declared it as sin
That assuages the judgment of God.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And Curse Not

Romans 12:14 KJV
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

The Bible injunction is to bless them which persecute us. But the Bible takes it further than that, the Bible says, "bless and curse not."

There may be a type of obedience to the injunction that is technical but bears a curse under the breath.
• It may be a blessing that is not heartfelt
• It may be a blessing that is not whole hearted
• It may be a blessing but with the hope of the day God heaps those coals of fire upon their head

The injunction is not to fake a blessing to them it is to be a blessing to them, love them, with a whole heart fervently. It is a blessing that is honest and truthful and with a sincere heart.

That blessing is obedience to the Lord.

Friday, November 19, 2010

All Things

Romans 11:36 KJV
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

This is a life altering verse, "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things."

The point is that all things are to glorify and exalt and uplift God. He is the focus. He alone is worthy.

Our suffering is a trite issue in comparison to Almighty God.

I have read that prior to the allied invasion at Normandy General Eisenhower was briefed on the potential number of men who would be casualties. His response was something to the effect of, "I can live with that." Not that one man's death was acceptable* but that the cause was so much greater than the price of those lives (and the impact on those that would be forever touched by the loss of those lives.)

Whatever the cost of faithful worship and fellowship with Christ, the cause is so much more worth it. "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things."

*Eisenhower made the decision and saw it through, but his words concerning just one aspect of the decision (the airborne drop behind Utah beach) hint at the stress that comes with serious consequences.

"I went to my tent alone and sat down to think. Over and over I reviewed each step, somewhat in the sequence set down here, but more thoroughly and exhaustively. I realized, of course, that if I deliberately disregarded the advice of my technical expert on the subject [Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory], and his predictions should prove accurate, then I would carry to my grave the unbearable burden of a conscience justly accusing me of the stupid, blind sacrifice of thousands of the flower of youth."
http://www.fas.org/man/eprint/dahl.htm

Thursday, November 18, 2010

And He Prayed

1 Kings 18:1 KJV
And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.

1 Kings 18:43 KJV
And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.

James 5:17-18 KJV
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

Elijah's prayer for rain was preceded by the Lord's promise of rain. It is not merely that Elijah prayed and God answered but that Elijah prayed according to the direction of the Lord. And even then he prayed with fervency and importunity.

• Prayer must begin with knowing the mind of God in the Bible.
• Prayer must be the expression of what we have seen in the Word. And then
• Prayer must come with the confidence that God's Word will be accomplished. Still we pray.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rebellion Leads To Destruction

1 Kings 15:8 KJV
And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead.

After Solomon died things deteriorated pretty quickly in the kingdom. Rehoboam and Jeroboam divided the land into two kingdoms and, while part of it was because of Rehoboam's foolishness, still Jeroboam was acting in rebellion. Rebellion is never rewarded and always leads to destruction.

When Rehoboam died his son took the throne, but he did not live long and a second son, Asa, was crowned. Asa reigned many years and, it seems to me, would have had trouble keeping up with who he was fighting in the northern kingdom. During Asa's reign Israel went through at least four, (and sort of five) not kings, but royal families.

Jeroboam's entire family was murdered. Then Baasha's entire family was murdered. The nation then went through Zimri, the seven day king. For a spell the Israel itself was divided and had two kings; Tibni and Omri. Eventually they settled on Omri and his family became the royal family in Israel. But for approximately thirty years they just had turmoil. They went through kings so quickly the citizens literally did not know who their king was at times.

And such it is with rebellion. It cannot breed stability but always only destruction and uncertainty. The sin nature exists even in those who seek the Lord by faith so we are certainly not perfect and have our own struggles, but among those who rebel against God, the promise of instability, uncertainty, unrest and discontent is sure and quick.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Taste For God with a Passion for the World

1 Kings 14:16 KJV
And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.

Jeroboam wanted to hear from the man of God but did not want to obey the man of God. He had a superstitious respect for the preacher but no real heart for the God the preacher served.

This is the trouble with so many of that day, and of this; they want to hear but they do not want to heed. They have a taste for the things of God but their passion is in the world.

Unless the heart is given over to Christ no amount of preaching or teaching can turn the sin from its final outcome of death.

Monday, November 15, 2010

No Surrender, No Excuse

Romans 7:17 KJV
Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

In the last half of this chapter Paul describes the war between "Saul of Tarsus" and "Apostle Paul." The battle was real and it was going on even in one used of the Lord so much as Paul. The chapter ends with Paul in defeat. The old nature is winning and his hope is not in the flesh but in Jesus Christ.

That is where every believer today ought to find themselves. We cannot win this struggle in the power of the flesh because it is in fact a struggle against the flesh.

But this war (with the flesh) must be maintained - this is no reason for surrender. We do not give in to the flesh because we cannot defeat the flesh but we mortify the deeds of the flesh more and more.

The law is not sin. Obedience to the law of Christ (as opposed to the law of Moses) is the expectation of the Father upon us. May God grant us the strength of the Holy Spirit to mortify the deeds of the flesh.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What motivates righteousness?

Romans 6:9-11 KJV
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

• We know that Jesus died and rose again.
• We know that He will never die again.
• We know that Jesus lives unto and with God.
Therefore we are to reckon ourselves dead unto sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ.

Knowing the truths about Jesus; the Christ is to consider himself in the same stead as the Lord.
• We are dead to sin.
• We have been crucified in Christ
• we have been buried with Him in baptism
• We are now dead to and free from the power of sin
• We have been raised again, out of the water of our baptism to walk in newness of life
May God grant that such newness is the truth in us.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Faith - Justified - Blood

Romans 5:1 KJV
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:9 KJV
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Verse one says we are justified by faith and verse nine says we are justified by His blood. I see this as a line graph where justified is the center.

On one side is God's place in justification.
We are justified, so far as God is concerned, by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. His death paid the wages of sin and satisfied the justice of God. God is just in justifying because of His Blood.

One the other side is our place in justification.
So far as our part is concerned, we are justified by faith. Faith is the instrument through which we have access to the righteousness of Christ and His shed blood.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Then Hear Thou...

1 Kings 8:32 KJV
Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

1 Kings 8:34 KJV
Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.

1 Kings 8:36 KJV
Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.

1 Kings 8:39 KJV
Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)

1 Kings 8:43 KJV
Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.

1 Kings 8:45 KJV
Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.

1 Kings 8:49 KJV
Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,

It is a significant thing that Solomon began to pray a dedication for the Temple after the glory of the Lord appeared.

Once in prayer he began a theme in which he expressed various scenarios in which the people would need the Lord and call out to Him. Seven times Solomon pray, "hear thou from heaven." If the number seven represents completion then this represents every possible need a man might have. In every case the response should be to pray and in every case the answer is that God would hear in heaven and meet our need.

That is our need today: to return to God and to return to earnest and heartfelt prayer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Inward/Outward

Romans 2:28-29 KJV
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

This has forever been a point of trouble for the Jew.
• After centuries, even millennia being trained in the importance of outward traditions; especially in that of circumcision.
• After reading of Moses' confrontation before God because his sons had not been circumcised and of Israel's mass rite of circumcision on the banks of Jordan prior to entering into the Promised Land
to now be told that the physical rite isn't as important as the spiritual one: no wonder this is hard for the Jew to swallow even today.

And though it is a genuine struggle for the Jew, it is also a representative struggle between the spirit and the flesh in the Gentile believer. Everything in us wants to keep religion in the realm of the flesh precisely because it is easier than dealing with matters of the heart.

Mind you, this in no way excuses us from deep obedience to God in the flesh. But it urges us to learn a new motive for that obedience; it is to be stirred up from the working of the Spirit of God within us. It is to be the result of a "circumcised heart" and not from the flesh's attempt to earn favor with God.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Faith To Faith

Romans 1:17 KJV
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

I am always captivated by the concept of the righteousness of God being revealed "from faith to faith."

Paul's intense desire to go to Rome and preach the Gospel was for that very reason. He knew that the sharing of his faith would spread faith from one heart and soul to another. He also knew this would not be a one way street. He knew they would mutually comfort one another in the Gospel.

The believer is wisest
• First to recognize his dependence on others of faith to encourage and increase his own
• Then to see that faith is never to be held alone but that it is to be spread "from faith to faith."

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

No One Gets Away With Sin

1 Kings 2:43 KJV
Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the LORD, and the commandment that I have charged thee with?

The other day I counseled a young couple planning to marry. During the session I spoke of the importance of the vow. I reminded them that God holds us to our vows and, while it might look like a lot of people get away with breaking vows, I am sure that is not so. God will require justice at some point.

This verse, and indeed this chapter illustrate the principle. Joab and Shimei appear to have gotten away with great sins. Joab killed two innocent men and seemingly got away with it. Not true. There came a day when his sins came home to roost. Shimei was given a condition: one which he vowed to keep. But three years later he broke his oath and was required to pay.

Americans are the worst at keeping our word. We appear to be getting away with every evil imaginable. But I am sure that is not true.
• It could be that things like the economic malady we face right now is judgment from God for enabling vow breakers, homosexuality and baby killers.
• It could be they are not God's judgment and God has reserved up much worse.

What is certain is that no one gets away with sin. The lost man awaits the wrath of God. The Christian may expect to be lovingly but consistently chastened of His heavenly Father.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Direction in Decisions

Acts 27:6 KJV
And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.

The Centurion found a ship... I was thinking today of the great responsibility that lay upon this centurion and men like him. He is in charge of a number of prisoners and the soldiers who guarded them he is not only in charge of the detail, he is in charge of securing whatever passage he might to achieve the purpose of making Rome. No one has gone ahead of him and worked out the details and purchased tickets for the trip. He is on his own to make good his charge. He found this ship. There may have been many or few, we don't know.
• It might have been this ship would be his only opportunity to travel for some time.
• It might be that ships were pretty busy and not every ship would have ability to transport so large a troop.
He found this ship having no idea what would be the outcome, but being responsible for whatever it would be.

Every day the centurion would be called upon to make unforeseen choices. But he is not left to himself. His decisions are all guided by one overlying principle; he is taking his charge to Rome.

None of us knows what is ahead of us. Tomorrow will present brand new obstacles and decisions will need to be made. But we are not left to ourselves in these decisions. We too have an overriding principle; stay focused on Christ. Our destination is heaven regardless of what lay ahead of me; my choices must be choices that move me ever nearer to the Lord.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Act of Giving

2 Samuel 24:23 KJV
All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee.

David's sin of numbering the people had come home to roost. 70,000 people had died of the plague and the angel of death was at Araunah's threshing floor. David, seeing the angel, approached Araunah with the desire to purchase the place and it's possessions for an offering.

The Bible says that Araunah, as a king did give King David these things. It is a kingly, royal thing to give.

Not that Araunah was either a king or that he had great wealth. We see neither to be the case. But the act of giving elevates a man to another level.

Giving to the king was kingly. Giving to the work of God is godly.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A Passion Beyond Reason

Acts 25:27 KJV
For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.

This whole affair with Paul was "unreasonable" in Festus' head.
• It was unreasonable to condemn a man without seeing his accusers face to face
• It was unreasonable to condemn a man over things that have to do with faith
• It was unreasonable to send a man before a higher judge without having any real crime laid against him.

Religious people in general are an unreasonable lot. Believing things passionately is no unreasonable thing. Attempting to force others to believe, or exterminate them if they won't; that is unreasonable. It is so easy to fall into the trap of taking our passion for Christ beyond reason.

We must love even those who do not love what we love. In no other way will we genuinely win them to Jesus Christ.

Friday, November 05, 2010

True Exercise

Acts 24:16 KJV
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Paul worked at having a conscience that was void of offence both toward God and toward men.

I am reminded of the two great commandments; love God and love thy neighbor. I see three things.
First this free conscience did not come by accident but only through exercise.
We must not assume such things but must work toward them.

Second a sound conscience must be toward God first.
It is impossible to have a conscience void of offense if there is an offence toward God.

Third Paul's conscience was void of offense even though men were offended with him.
I cannot please everyone. I can live in such a way that, though people have not understood, my conscience knows I worked at expressing the deepest love and concern for them.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

God Has

2 Samuel 22:1 KJV
And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:

The Psalm is one of praise and rejoicing but it is also a song which reflects great troubles. David indicates that
• Waves of death compassed him and ungodly men had made him afraid (vs 5)
• His enemies were too strong for him (vs 18)
• That there were men that hated him ( vs 41) and
• That he had been delivered from the violent man (vs 49).

None of these should be taken as metaphorical or exaggerations. David's enemies were too strong for him and it was the Lord who had delivered him.

What joy comes to the believer when he, without ignoring that he has faced an overwhelming battle, recognizes that; not only God can but God has delivered him.

It is one thing to hope God will. It is a whole new matter to see that God has.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Serve Now, Live For Then

2 Samuel 19:7 KJV
Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.

King David is well into his Kingdom. Years have passed and there has been much success as a king. Still Joab's assessment of the king's life and reign is that it has been with "evil that befell thee from thy youth until now." From a certain point of view, Joab is correct. David's life, though blessed and used of the Lord, had seen its shares of real challenges. But Joab seems to focus on that evil. He has carried bitterness to its conclusion more than once. David, though tried, seems to always bring trials back to resting upon the Lord. What is the difference?

David's heart was not on the earth. He lived for other, heavenly things and that is why he was so slow to anger and get frustrated over those things that happened in his life here.

He served where God placed him but he lived for another world.

And that is the key to blessing in this evil world, serve now, but live for then.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Name Alone

Acts 21:13 KJV
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul's overriding principle was the name of the Lord Jesus. He was willing both to be bound and to die for that name.

Over and over he had been warned and urged and some say even forbidden to go to Jerusalem. But none of those things moved him. The name of Christ was all to him.

We are too easily swayed by the press of man.
• We hear their warnings
• We heed their lessons and too often
• We head in a direction our faith would not have us to go

Paul not only was willing to be bound and die but later testified that his binding had proven to be for the furtherance of the gospel and later still, that he was ready to die for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

May our Lord give us such faith; to live for Christ - or die.

Monday, November 01, 2010

What Burden Binds Us

Acts 20:22 KJV
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Paul's burden for the Jews was so deep that even the sense that afflictions awaited him could not cause him to shake the urgency of the trip.

Paul seems to have known that this trip would be his last - at least as a free man. He told them he knew they would see his face no more. But his burden bound him, compelled him into the danger for the sake of these souls.

And they were not the souls of men who were completely without testimony. There is a church there. To say that our only burden should be for those who have never heard is then, not a Scriptural statement. Paul's burden was for the lost and for other saints. He raised money for those who had already heard the gospel, but were in difficult straits.

What burden for souls binds us? What concern for others compels us to hazard ourselves and give deeply of our own financial resources that others might be born again and encouraged in their walk?