Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tenacious Obedience

Exodus 10:24 KJV
And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.

I had always only considered that Pharaoh's demand that Israel leave their cattle behind was a compromise to insure Israel return. There are two other possible motivations:


Pharaoh may have intended to keep the cattle in return for those of his that had died by the plague.
Often the world expects God to pay them for the consequences of their sins.
• We get a deathly illness contracted as a direct result of our sin and expect God to heal us of it
• We get in trouble with the law and then expect God to prevent the sentence
• We spend our money without discretion and expect God to meet our needs.
Pharaoh had hardened his heart against God and wanted to be compensated for the consequences.

By sending Israel into the wilderness without the cattle he would surely have been sending them to their deaths.
Without milk and meat they would have died before they met their objective. There have been times in world history, their are still places in our world, and the Bible tells us there will once again come a time when this world will no longer tolerate the existence of the believer. Oppression and persecution will not be enough, they will strive for the complete annihilation of the Christian faith.

Moses' response is the only acceptable one for the believer; tenacious and steadfast clinging to our faith and worship of the True God.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Above the Worldly

Exodus 7:1 KJV
And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

God made Moses a god before Pharaoh. The term is the plural, Elohim, which may refer to rulers and judges in the ordinary sense. Strong's Concordance says it is here used in the superlative sense.

God elevated Moses from the position of one of the Jews to a man with credentials. The miracles that were done reached a level that Pharaoh's magicians could not duplicate. Pharaoh, though still not in agreement with Moses' demand to let Israel go, yet did see Moses as more than a simple slave.

We ought never try to make ourselves appear to be more than we are. But God does lift us above the average men of the world to use us as His representatives. The Christian is not often agreed with in the world, but he is separated in this world. He is unique. He is different. And the difference is made by God, not religion.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Space to Repent

Revelation 2:21 KJV
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

The graciousness of God is amazing.
Jezebel speaks of the lowest forms of idolatry. Verse 24 calls it "the depths of Satan."

The judgment of those involved in the doctrines of Jezebel is terrible.
But God still gives Jezebel and her children space to repent. Would to God they would do it! God doesn't fill us with false hopes of a world wide revival but foretells to us that she would not repent. I see so many who are calloused spiritually. They come to church, they hear the word of God but they leave unbroken.

The Bible says it is they who will experience great Tribulation. May God move so that her children repent even if she does not!

Risky Business

Exodus 5:4 KJV
And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens.

When Moses fled Egypt he had been a member of the Royal family. After forty years of herding sheep, he returned and was identified with Israel and her burdens. He did have an audience with Pharaoh, but that did not negate his burdens along with Israel.

In returning to deliver his people
He risked his wife and children
who did not come into Egypt with him.

He risked his life
because identifying himself as Moses, even the new Pharaoh could have carried out the charges of the one before. Surely there were records.

He risked his freedom
As a shepherd in the wilderness he was no royalty but he was free. Coming into Egypt he might have been enslaved for the rest of his life.

Trusting God is risky business. And it doesn't always have the outcome one might expect. Moses questioned the Lord saying since he had come, things had gotten worse. But trusting God has huge rewards. It was because Moses trusted the Lord that a nation of people was freed to pursue God's plan for their lives. The name of Moses is remembered for ever because he trusted the Lord.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

No Pass

Exodus 4:24 KJV
And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

Moses was unquestionably called of God to deliver Israel from Egypt. He was about the business of God's call when, because he had not circumcised he son, God sought to kill him.

Too often those who are about the work of the ministry believe that, because they are called of the Lord and busy for the Lord and especially if they perceive themselves to be successful for the Lord, they begin to justify small acts of neglect and disobedience in their own relationship with the Lord. Serving the Lord is part of a relationship with the Lord so that there can be no relationship without service. But service is not the relationship and can be no substitute for it.
• Perhaps the preacher is busy about the work and neglects the raising of his own children.
• Perhaps he has allowed himself indiscretions with other women.
• Perhaps he is loose with the finances God's people have given to the work of the Lord.
Whatever the case, Moses gives evidence that God's call into ministry is no pass from personal obedience in fine details of faith.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gaius, Diotrophes, Demetrius

3 John 1:1 KJV
The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

Churches are composed of people and people are of all different sorts. The Apostle centers this epistle around three of them.

Gaius
To whom the letter is addressed. The apostle's word to him is cheerful and encouraging. Concerning those ministers of the gospel, he has received them, been charitable toward them and helped them on their way. This serves as a Biblical model for Christian care of missionaries and preachers.

Diotrophes
Does not seem to be in any authority in the church but sure likes to think of himself as such. Diotrophes casts people out of the church, probably not in any official capacity but through his a wicked demeanor in the church. The Apostle urges Gaius not to follow his example.

Demetrius
Once again does not appear to have an official position of authority in the church but is a powerful influence none the less. The most important members of the church are those who rub shoulders with others every day. The word of God being preached is powerful but only impacts the world as those who hear it obey it.

There is in every church, someone to encourage, someone to care for, someone to avoid and someone to follow.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Did the Prophecy of Levi Come to Pass?

Genesis 49:5-6 KJV
Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

Jacob's prophecies over his sons include Simeon and Levi being bound together as the ones who had attacked Shechem in retaliation for its defiling their sister Dinah. Jacob pronounces that no honor will go to them and that they will be scattered in Israel. My interest is in Levi who, despite this prophecy, was separated by God as the priestly tribe, rather than requiring the first born of every family God took the tribe of Levi as a whole.

On the one hand I see the grace of God that one who had received such a pronouncement of doom and one who had practiced such cruelty would be set aside as God's in this way. But then, even in the blessing of being set aside, there is a fulfillment of Jacob's prophecy. They indeed were scattered throughout Israel, possessing no piece of the Promised Land as their own.

And their cruel nature is evidenced all the way through to the cross where it was Levi, the tribe of priests, who led in the mob's insistence that Christ be crucified.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christ Breaches Culture

Genesis 48:18-19 KJV
And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

The custom and culture of the day was for the blessing to go to the first born. So Joseph brought his sons to be blessed of his father and purposely guided them into their grandfather's presence so that the elder would receive the blessing of the firstborn. Jacob, though elderly and blind, knew what he was doing and laid his hands upon them so that the younger received the greater blessing. Joseph was troubled by it and said so to his ailing father. But Jacob pacified him saying he knew what he had done.

A person might accuse me of taking a leap here but I see a break in cultural custom for what was perceived by Jacob to be the will of God and I will use this to emphasize that Christianity is not bound to operate within the confines of specific cultures but should in fact become a culture unto itself. Christianity is a culture. Christianity ought to create a brand new culture wherever it reaches.

Some will, like Joseph, be troubled by our breach in their culture. But that should not sway our direction. We follow the Lord's guiding. Ideas about faith, family, morality, appropriateness and etc. should all be influenced by our faith. These are not issues of upbringing and background. These are issues of righteousness established by almighty God. And how we interpret and apply them are not subject to the ideas of fundamentalism versus evangelicalism versus liberalism. God has spoken and our responsibility is to obey.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Magnanimous

Genesis 45:5 KJV
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Joseph developed in his life a testimony that is perhaps the most magnanimous in the Scriptures.
• His brothers had sold into slavery only after throwing him into a pit and debating killing him
• He had spent years as a slave and as a prisoner all because his brothers were jealous of his relationship with his father and because God had revealed to him that one day his brothers would bow before him.
I know that everything worked out for Joseph. But the circumstances he endured before they worked out were trying indeed. And that he missed his father all of those years is obvious in his questions concerning him before his brothers. Joseph requested that when he died, his bones be taken back to the Promised Land; evidence that he had not accepted Egypt as his home.

Still, he told his brothers not to be either grieved or angry about selling him as a slave. He said it was all of God. It is not, as some have suggested, that he thought they should feel some sorrow to repentance, just not overly sorrowful. He did not say that. He said that God used them to send him ahead and they should not feel badly about that at all.

We would be a whole lot better off if we would learn to not have to see the one who hurt us hurt before we forgive them or move on emotionally.
• If we would learn to trust God that He is at work
• If we would give God leave to use any method He pleased to bring us to Christlikeness and to bring glory to His own name
• If we would come to rely upon God so fully that we didn't get offended at any injustice committed against us
how much happier we would be.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mistaken Treasures

Genesis 43:23 KJV
And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.

When the sons of Jacob returned home and found the bags of money in the food sacks the last thing they thought of it as was a treasure. In their minds
• They had barely escaped Egypt with their lives
• Their brother Simeon was still there as a prisoner, and
• They were strictly forbidden to return without Benjamin
The money in their sacks was just one more reason why returning to get Simeon, and more food, was an impossibility.

But when desperation overwhelmed them and it became essential that they return, one of their first priorities was to return this money. The money in their sacks was indeed a treasure, but not the sort we are prone to think. Their treasure was not that they possessed money; their treasure was that God had intervened in their sin and had preserved their brother and a means for Israel to grow up as a people separated from this world and wholly given to God.

We often mistake our real treasures for a curse. God's purpose in our lives is Christlikeness. That purpose can often appear to bring curses rather than blessings because we tend to believe blessing is always rewarded in real and earthly time.

The best rewards will always be heavenly ones.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Faithfulness Prepares

Genesis 41:40 KJV
Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

God certainly prepared Joseph in Egypt.

• First he was over all the house of Potiphar.
• Next he was given the charge of the prisoners.
• Finally Pharaoh placed him over all of Egypt.

We never know what God might use to build in us those qualities that make us useful to His purposes and bring glory to His name. Faithfulness in all things is our place.
• Faithfulness is the key to God's purpose being fulfilled in us
• Faithfulness is the key to our finding God's blessing

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Which We Have Heard

1 John 1:1 KJV
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

The Apostle's message was a personal one concerning Christ. He had seen Him, heard Him, to touched Him, and been taught of Him. The Apostle spoke with passion concerning Christ.

In so many respects, that sort of passion is an impossibility today because Christ's physical life is not present with us today. However there is a personal witness concerning Jesus that is still true for the believer.
• The assurance of His witness within us
• The conviction of His saving us
that is something that we who have it know to be true.

That is the message we should be sharing with people around us.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Always a Stranger

Genesis 37:1 KJV
And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.

Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger. Hebrews implies that Jacob considered himself a stranger there too. Isaac was born and raised there. He never left that land his whole life and for one hundred and forty years dwelt as a stranger in the land that he might otherwise have called home.

Jacob tried to live among his kin and, although it wasn't all the way back to the Ur of Chaldees, he found he wasn't at home there either.

And so it is with the Christian.

God's call upon our lives sets us apart from this world. We are never quite at home here. There are places and there have been eras when Christians fared better on the earth, but this world has never been our home. We must learn, like Isaac, to dwell in this constant tension of being content in whatsoever state we are in, but always longing for a better, that is a heavenly country.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Don't Die Before Death

Genesis 35:28-29 KJV
And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.
And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Genesis 27:1-2 KJV
And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.
And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:

Isaac lived forty years after the mess with mixing the blessings up on his sons.
• He lived through Jacob's twenty year trip to Haran
• He lived through twelve years of Joseph's enslavement in Egypt
• He also lived to be five years older than his father Abraham was when he did
All of the grief that his family went through was, to a large extent, the result of Isaac thinking he was about to die when his death was still forty years out.

None of us know how long we will live. And it is, I suppose, wise to have our affairs in order. But much grief is caused when a person lives every day thinking that's the day they will die. Too much is lost living in fear or even anticipation of dying. Much better it is to live each day with full expectation.
• Sure, one day we will die
• Sure, sometimes health slows down how much and what we can do
But to let poor health become our identity; to let age and health concerns preoccupy our lives: that is a waste and a tragedy.

Live!

• Live like nothing is wrong with your body
• Live as if you age has somehow forgotten you
• Live fully each day

Don't die before death.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Like Precious Faith

November 16, 2011

2 Peter 1:1 KJV
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

The word obtained interested me. Not everyone obtains this "like precious faith."
• Some obtain a crude replica
• Some obtain what they believe is an alternative
but they are precious few who obtain this "like precious faith"; few enough that those who have it tend to be drawn to one another. This "like precious faith" is opposed and very often attacked by those who do not have it. Having gotten their own faith by their own will, they are very often prone to madly oppress and persecute those who have obtained a faith that is the gift of God and not of works.

The very word "obtained" means "to gain by lottery." It is not that those who are genuinely born again are saved by arbitrary chance. But it appears that way in the world. This gift of precious faith
• Is available to all
• It is free for the trusting
• It is sufficient for the whole world
Christ came to seek and to save the lost; any lost.

So why do so very few obtain this "like precious faith"?
• For some it is that Satan has blinded their minds
• For others it is that they have never heard
We who have obtained this "like precious faith" have the blessed opportunity to
• Pray for those who have not obtained it
• Tell it to those who have not heard it and
• Preach for the conversion of those who have been blinded against it

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Back

Well, I am back at it. You have noticed, I am sure that I have not posted by daily visits with the Lord for several days. I have been faithful to visit with the Lord but have not been in a position to post those visits.
We took the teens from our church on a camping retreat this time two weeks ago. My wife and I left from the camp so I could preach a series of meetings for my good friend, Darrin Goodrick and the Yaquina Baptist Baptist Church.
Came home from that trip and had to get busy with the messages for our last Sunday.
So, I am back and glad to be.

I trust these expressions of my personal times with the Lord will be a blessin to you.

Is That Move of God?

Genesis 31:2-3 KJV
And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

Jacob could see that Laban's countenance had changed toward him, but he did not leave toward the Promised Land because of that. Jacob had stayed through twenty years of deception.
• Laban had cheated him in the matter of Rachel and Leah. Yet Jacob stayed.
• He had cheated him during his six years of further service. Yet Jacob stayed.
Certainly he recognized that Laban's countenance was not the same toward him but he did not leave until God said to go.

Too many times people take their circumstances to be the leadership of God. They think of them as synonymous. Because times are hard and because they believe it will be better somewhere else, they will claim that the Lord is leading them away. That is not what happened to Jacob. He stayed through the circumstances and only left when God told him to. He did not look for God to confirm what he already wanted to do. He served Laban with all his power until God told him to do otherwise.

Too many Christians today have wander lust. Believing that something has to be better somewhere other than where they are, they constantly look for excuses, opportunities or means to move somewhere else. When whatever they look for comes along they take that to be the confirmation of the Lord that it is His will. It is more likely God just giving them over to their lusts (read Romans chapter one). And in many cases they push through their own will, claiming to have God's leadership, to their own destruction or that of their family's.

The Lord does move people. But there is a difference between their being moved because the Lord led in it and their claiming God moving them when they just wanted to do it. The Biblical plan for a move begins with those God has placed over us knowing before we know that a move is coming. Saul and Barnabas did not know they would be sent out as missionaries until after those in authority in their church knew.

There is so little stability in Christian families today and much of it because there is so little stability of Christians in church. We have the notion we are free to move about the country and from church to church on a whim. The accountability for Christian growth is broken down because the authority of our local church is diminished.

Would to God Christians would stop making decisions based upon their emotions, will or circumstances and serve God with all their power where they are until, if and when God sends them elsewhere.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Faithful Creator

1 Peter 4:19 KJV
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

JFB gives a thoughtful statement at the end of the commentary this verse; "…the believer rests implicitly on the Creator's faithfulness."

The context is that of suffering in the will of God. Any suffering we endure, whether for righteousness sake or because of our own sins, even if it is suffering on the account of someone else, is by the will of God, has a good purpose and we may not see the reason for it until we get to heaven.

So we commit the keeping of our souls to God, being assured that He is faithful.
• Faithful to forgive our sins
• Faithful to keep us through trial
• Faithful to seat us with Christ in heavenly places

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Unresolved Issues

Genesis 27:45 KJV
Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?

Jacob left for Padanaram expecting that within a few days his mother would send for him and tell him it was safe to come home. Why Rebecca never sent for him is a mystery.
• Esau had said that he would kill him after his father was dead and she died before Isaac did.
• Perhaps she never could discern that Esau's anger was eased.

Jacob must have thought his trip would be more than five or six days because his trip was longer than that. Also he promised to work seven years for Rachel so he expected to stay that long.

But he would also have expected to hear from his mother and never did. And still he remained faithful. He was dispossessed of his home. He was separated from his mother and father. He was alienated from his brother. But he did not play the part of a victim. He labored and pressed toward a future.

Life sometimes brings disappointments; some of them of our own making, others of the world's making. We often live with unanswered questions. Pain may beset us for decades. The answer is not to fixate on the pain but to press forward.

There came a time when Jacob knew he had to face Esau and find a resolution even though he had not heard from his mother. But until that day he worked. He produced, he married, he had children: he lived.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lively Stones

1 Peter 2:5 KJV
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

The Christian is seen as three parts of the Lord's house

First he is one of the living stones used of the Lord to build His spiritual house today.
God's church is not made of wood and brick but of the flesh and blood of His people.

Second the Christians together are that spiritual house.
The Holy Spirit inhabits every believer but the Lord inhabits us, not as individuals but as an institution. He inhabits the corporate body. To be outside of the body is to lack the present dwelling of God.

Third the Christians are the priests of this house.
We offer up the spiritual sacrifices to the Lord. We are all the ministers and every function of the house is a spiritual sacrifice unto God.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Strangers Scattered

1 Peter 1:1 KJV
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Because of Peter's relationship as the apostle to the Jews it is not difficult to see these strangers scattered as Jews. But the context of the book makes it clear that this refers to believers in general since they are referenced as Gentiles in chapter two verses ten and eleven. And this is a profitable way for us to see ourselves:

As strangers
We are travelers in this world. We do not fit in and would do best if we did not get too settled in. This is not our home.

As scattered
It has never been God's intention that His children huddle together into a safe group but that we be scattered amongst this world to represent and bear witness to the faith God has given us.

The calling of the strangers scattered is a challenging one. We all want to have a home. But we must take care to await the Lord's answer for that promise. We must not, as Abraham, find our own way to have what God promises.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

James; the Practical

November 10, 2011

James 5:10 KJV
Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

So much of the epistle of James is of a practical nature. There is plenty of doctrine in it to be sure but the thrust is practical and down to earth. And James says the believer should take the prophets as an example. Suffering for the sake of faith had not changed in the transition between Old and New Testament. With the changes Christ introduced this remained a constant; those who opposed a pure faith opposed it violently.

The answer had not changed either. The answer for the prophet and the answer for the child of God in the New Testament is, in both cases patience in suffering.

Little has changed in our day except that we suffer so much less and we have come to expect a life of ease.

May the Lord grant that His children take seriously James' words to take the prophets as an example.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Friendship With this World Deprives Us of the Grace of God

James 4:6 KJV
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

I was intrigued at the connection of friendship with this world, envy and the transition from that to God resisting the proud and giving grace to the humble.

Friendship with this world leads to lust which breeds in us envy. Envy is the reason there are wars among believers Humility in this case is the lack of envy Grace is the treasured prize of the believer (not those things that the friendship of this world covets and lusts after.

Grace is received, not to break pride (which in this passage is synonymous with friendship of the world) but after pride has been broken.

A believer must then separate from this world. Its friendship will always withhold from us the grace of God.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Abraham stood yet before the Lord...

Genesis 18:22 KJV
And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

Things were moving on. The Lord had tarried there a good while. Abraham had received word of God's promised son, not some day, but in just a year's time. He has also heard what is the Lord's intention in Sodom.

The two angels with the Lord turn and take up their journey. But Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And the Lord remained there with Abraham. The prayer of Abraham and the Lord's answer is here recorded for our benefit because Abraham stood yet before the Lord; he lingered there just a little while longer. After the meal was finished, after the message was delivered, even after the meeting was disassembled and others had gone their way, Abraham remained and so did the Lord.

I wonder how much is missed by those who never stay yet a little longer before the Lord?

Monday, November 07, 2011

To the Lord of Glory Only

James 2:1 KJV
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

I found the phrase "faith... With respect of persons" a fascinating one this morning. Worldliness promotes the respect of persons. Those who have achieved, those who have been born into, or those who have earned some sort of notoriety, wealth or success are lifted up as heroes and examples.

We do the same thing in our churches, promoting various preachers as leader of leaders or pastors of pastors usually because they have built large churches or in some other way achieved a result a number of preachers would want to achieve.

But the word of God insists that, while it is possible to have faith in Christ with respect of persons, faith in Christ is to exclude respect of persons. And it is easy to see why; Christ is the Lord of glory. His glory is so high above that of any person that it levels all men to the same playing field. In respect to Christ's glory any greatness a man may have achieved is but a bump. It is nothing. It is certainly nothing to be in awe of. Respecting persons is an evidence of having not seen Christ. It would be impossible to look into the glory of Christmas and be awestruck at a person's achievements at the same time. I live under the shadow of Mt Rainier. This mountain so towers above the others that one forgets she sits surrounded by no small mountain range. It is practically impossible to view her and see the others at the same time.

The faith of our Lord Jesus Christ is really counter to this aspect of culture. We are to refuse respect of persons, even if it is insisted upon by the religionists who surround us.

To the Lord of glory only be glory and honor and majesty and power.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Up South

Genesis 13:1 KJV
And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.

Abraham had been in Egypt and traveled north to reach the Promised Land, here called the South because he entered into the southern part of it.

The reference of the Bible is the Promised Land, not Egypt. Later the reference will narrow more specifically to Jerusalem and then the Temple there. Today that Temple has been replaced not, as some falsely believe, by our bodies, but by the local church.

The lesson is that the church which God places us as members of ought to become the reference point for every aspect of our lives.
When we are away we are away from our church.
When we return we ought to return towards our church.

As we consider a move, consider how it will impact our church or our relationship with it. It is the church Jesus gave himself for. It is the church Jesus will present to himself without spot or blemish. It is the church which must be the balance upon which all that is our lives rests.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Our Altar

Hebrews 13:10 KJV
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

Gill has a great piece concerning this. Jesus Christ is:
Our altar
Upon which the sacrifice is made

Our sacrifice
Which we enjoy the benefits of both blood and flesh.

Our priest
And who has subsequently made us priests unto God. Christ is our answer. Christ is Christianity.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Faith is Thicker than Blood

Genesis 9:10 KJV
And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.

I am reminded that the settlers of what became Babylon and later Iraq are originally brethren to the Jews. Years and generations cause families to grow apart. People who once grew up playing together forget their childhood enjoyment to take on differing opinions of philosophy, politics and religion and, in just a generation or so, family loyalties are forgotten.

Blood, though they say it is thick, only holds a family together for a generation. After that there has to be something more enduring.

I would propose that something, in order for that something to be enduring, it must be faith. And even then it must be a right faith. Only faith in Christ is able to cross generations, gender, cultures and even eternity to bind a family together forever. The family of God is that one family that clings together regardless of the differences time brings.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Singled Out

Genesis 7:1 KJV
And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

My thoughts span chapters six through eight of the book of Genesis as God singles out Noah from all of humanity. This isn't the first time, nor will it be the last.

Of the first two sons of Adam,
• God singled out Cain
• God the singled out Enoch and then
• God singled out Noah

God will later in the Bible
• Single out Nimrod
• Single out Abraham
• Single out Moses and
• Single out David
• Single out Job

Sometimes the Bible singles out people, but their impact doesn't seem so large as the above mentioned;
• Rahab the harlot
• Joshua and Caleb
• The woman at the well and
• The woman who gave her two mites

I note that not all of those that were singled out were positive people. But that of all of those in the world, God brought into focus, for his purposes just one person out of the blur of the millions.

God sees, I am confident, each individual as clearly as if there were no others. His eyes go to and fro beholding the evil and the good. He knows the very number of the hairs on our head and even a sparrow can't fall to the earth without His knowledge. But from time to time God picks out a person to be separate from the blur. Perhaps I want to seek the Lord so that, when he separates me, I will be in the group of the just and not in the crowd with Cain and Nimrod.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Perfection

Hebrews 10:1 KJV
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

The apostle's concern as is discovered in a number of other Scriptures is the perfection of the children of God. The perfection of the saint is also the chief work and concern of the Father and of the Son.

2 Corinthians 13:9 KJV
For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.

Matthew 5:48 KJV
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

But here we find what will not make us perfect; the law. It never has and never will. It was not given to make a man perfect but to bring a man to Christ who can and will perfect us.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Sight

Genesis 3:6 KJV
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The sense of sight is one of our most precious faculties.
• To take in the beauty of the ocean waves crashing on the shore
• To gaze at the size and grandeur of Mount Rainier
• To drink in the beauty of one's spouse
Who could challenge God for giving us this gift?

But our eyes can be the most useful tool in the devil's arsenal against us. We are so quickly drawn into sin with our eyes.
• Lust
• Covetousness
• Desire
are driven by the sight

And so Job said, "I made a covenant with mine eyes... " How needful is this covenant in our day of access to every form of worldly advertisement; not to mention immodesty!