Monday, November 30, 2015

2 Kings 21:1-2 (KJV) The Will of God We Ought to Seek

2 Kings 21:1-2 (KJV)
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah.And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
Mannaseh must have been born three years after his father prayed for and received fifteen more years. If Hezekiah had died when Isaiah originally pronounced it, Manasseh would never have been born. We can never know who would then have been the next king or if he would have been a better king than Manasseh. We do know that Mannaseh was an evil man.
This is one Biblical evidence that it is possible to pray and change what appears to be the will of God. It is also evidence that it is not necessarily the best thing to do.
Though there is a good and acceptable will of God, the one we ought to seek is His perfect will.

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2 Kings 21:1-2 (KJV) The Will of God We Ought to Seek

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

2 Kings 18:5 (KJV) Never Think Much of Self

2 Kings 18:5 (KJV)
He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.
Few people in the Bible serve to me as a warning more than does Hezekiah. The Biblical account of him is so positive at the first that it is difficult for me to comprehend his end. How does a man with his testimony end up being thankful that his mistakes won’t harm him but his children’s children instead?
Hezekiah reigned in a very difficult time. Though he led the nation to greater obedience than any king since David, he faced the most powerful enemy in his nation’s history. He watched as the northern kingdom of Israel was defeat and decimated by Assyria. Hezekiah faced tough choices as Assyria fixed her attention on Judah. He tried to appease them but that never really works. All that was left was to either surrender to them or resist them. He chose resistance. Pressure mounted as the Assyrians laid siege on Jerusalem. But then God intervened and Assyria was destroyed without Judah having to fight a battle. Hezekiah was overjoyed!
Then came the situation of his health. God told him he was about to die but Hezekiah prayed and God gave him fifteen more years.
I think Hezekiah got puffed up. With such victories in times of such overwhelming circumstances he got his eyes off God and began to think too highly of himself.
That’s the warning. Never think much of self. Even great victories are always about God and not the victor. Keep God as our focus and our perspective of others will stay clear.
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2 Kings 18:5 (KJV) Never Think Much of Self

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

John 1:13 (KJV) Salvation is of God

John 1:13 (KJV)
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Bible insists that the salvation of a soul is completely performed by God:
Not by bloodAt first glance this looks like physical birth but I think it convey much more. The word blood is plural and likely has reference to a number of Jewish traditions:
  • The blood of circumcision a cultural distinction 
  • The blood a sacrifice a religious ritual
  • The blood of Abraham a familial ancestry
None of these actually affect the new birth.
Not by the will of the fleshSalvation is not a choice we make. It does not happen because we decide to follow Jesus.
Not by the will of manNo one can make a man be saved. As much as I might desire salvation for my children, grandchildren or, for that matter, any other person, salvation is not the result of any man’s efforts hard work charisma or position.
Men are born again by the will of God. He planned it. He paid for it. He gave us His Word. He calls men into ministry. He teaches us all to be witnesses. He gave us the Holy Spirit who brings conviction and regeneration.

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John 1:13 (KJV) Salvation is of God

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Luke 24:5-6 (KJV) Why seek ye the living among the dead?

Luke 24:5-6 (KJV)
And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
I recognize that Matthew’s account of the exchange between these women and the angel’s includes the words, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Luke’s account omits that phrase and focuses instead on a question, also spoken by the angels, that could almost be viewed as a rebuke; “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”
Jesus was not to be found at the empty tomb. There has been, for more years that I can remember, an interest among believers in the empty tomb in Jerusalem. That interest seems to be growing among those in the circles with whom I fellowship. I do not have the same interest in traveling to Israel for at least these reasons:
The tomb in Jerusalem cannot be proven to be Christ’sThere are in fact two tombs that are claimed as Christ’s. I doubt that either is truly it.
The nation of Israel is not the focus of this eraWhile I believe we should as a country support Israel I do not believe it is because God’s plan for today is to bless Israel above all others. The focus today ought to be on winning souls of every kindred and organizing them into local Baptist churches.
Christ is not to be found at the empty tomb. He will not be found on the old streets upon which He walked. Christ will be found in the Words of the Bible and it is in those words we are to find our faith and build our relationship with the Lord.
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Luke 24:5-6 (KJV) Why seek ye the living among the dead?

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Luke 23:11 (KJV) Making Christ Nothing

Luke 23:11 (KJV)
And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.
Herod had, for a long time, wanted to see Jesus perform a miracle. His interview therefore with Jesus was a happy occasion for him. His happiness was soon squelched, however, when Jesus refused to do a miracle or even answer a question. Herod then turned against Christ and “set Him at nought.
The phrase is the interest of my devotions this morning. Strong’s Dictionary says the word means despised or contemptible. Gill says it means they made nothing of Him.
I am afraid our world is filled with “seekers” interested in seeing Christ do a miracle for them or answering the challenging questions for them and, though they may seek for some time, eventually they are “stung with disappointment” and turn against Christ, making Him nothing in their eyes.
Christ is God, the king of the Jews and Saviour of all who believe on Him whether He does any miracles for you or not. He is whom He is whether you get all your questions answered to your own satisfaction or not.
You may turn on Him but it will be to your own doom and in no way will change whom Christ is.
It would be far better to trust Him.
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Luke 23:11 (KJV) Making Christ Nothing

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Luke 22:27 (KJV) The Issue of Greatness

Luke 22:27 (KJV)
For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 
Despite the warning of Christ in this passage the issue of greatness has never been satisfied. Men, in a multitude of camps, strive to be known as the greatest.
Truly the greatest was and is Jesus Christ. Yet if He were to come today in the manner He came two thousand years ago, the spiritual leaders of our generation would want about as little to do with Him as the Pharisees did back then.
Jesus was;
  • Followed by only a hand full 
  • Always more concerned for the truth of His message than the reception of His message 
  • Despised and rejected and
  • Killed at the urging of the multitudes
Jesus’ own testimony was that His followers would accomplish far more than He did (saving that He alone could take the sins of the whole world).
Greatness is misunderstood today but I expect that it is never found in this life but rather is evidenced by the influence a person has long after they have left this life.
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Luke 22:27 (KJV) The Issue of Greatness

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2 Kings 16:10-18 (KJV) An Old Testament Type of Transitioning Faith

2 Kings 16:10-18 (KJV)
And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus.And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar.And he brought also the brasen altar, which was before the LORD, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of the altar.And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king’s burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to enquire by.Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon a pavement of stones.And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king’s entry without, turned he from the house of the LORD for the king of Assyria.
I once was given a book entitled Transitioning that was meant to lay out in step by step measures how to turn a church from conservative philosophy to modern.  The person who gave the book to me did so to help me recognize when a church is making such a transition and it was not long before I saw a number of churches, including some with whom I had connections, begin the transition.
Transitioning is not, however, a modern problem. Ahaz transitioned Judah thousands of years ago. He used the same facilities Judah had always used for worship and made gradual, in some ways, subtle changes:
He built a new altar to be the centerpiece in the Temple courtyard.I understand this altar would have been smaller perhaps seeming more functional.
He did not remove the old altar but moved it to a less prominent place.Transitioning pastors will very often say that they are not really changing things but making things more efficient and functional. Many time they will not completely abandon conservative worship but simply make a new time slot for those who want to continue in the old fashioned services.
He removed the laverWhich was a vessel used to wash prior after the offering and prior to entering the tabernacle.
Transitioning pastors want little to do with sanctification and separation.  Their whole “come as you are” mentality is geared to make the sinner feel good about themselves.
He changed sea for a pavement of stones.The sea, many believe, represents heaven where God’s throne is seated upon a sea of glass. The stones are more “earthy”.
Transitioning pastors want to make church relevant and practical. They aren’t as concerned about heaven and hell as they are about “your best life now.”
Ahaz was a modern transitioning pastor. The Bible gives us specifically what was God’s opinion of him,
2 Kings 16:2
Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.

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2 Kings 16:10-18 (KJV) An Old Testament Type of Transitioning Faith

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Luke 20:6 (KJV) Committed to Christ?

Luke 20:6 (KJV)
But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
The same people who would later cry out they wanted Jesus crucified here would have, the Pharisees believed, stoned them for speaking lightly of John the Baptist.
  • It is easier to accept a man is a prophet than to accept He is God
  • It is easier to support a good man than to stay faithful to Christ as Saviour 
  • It is more natural to defend the character of a leader than to defend the deity of Christ
Whether they would have stoned the Pharisees is impossible to tell. We do know that, though they were intrigued with Jesus, in the end they turned against Him.
Professing believers ought to take this to heart and examine closely their faith. Are we merely loyal to a preacher and intrigued by Christ? Or are we genuinely committed to our relationship with Him?
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Luke 20:6 (KJV) Committed to Christ?

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Luke 16:31 (KJV) Something More than the Bible?

Luke 16:31 (KJV)
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. 
We live in such a materialistic, flesh driven world that we believe people need something more than the Bible and faith to believe. We have therefore created any number of ways to “attract” people to the truth with something other than the truth.
Sometimes it’s excitementSomebody gets all pumped up and tries to get others pumped up with them.
Sometimes it’s entertainmentSomebody focuses a so-called ministry on entertaining music and messages and then tries to sneak in a piece of truth here and there.
Sometimes it’s opulenceSomeone presents himself as wealthy and successful and implies his followers can have the same if they only believe.
Sometimes it’s staged miraclesSomeone claims to be able to do miraculous things like healing the sick pronouncing new prophecies or even raising the dead. The rich man in hell thought if someone was raised from the dead his family would believe.
Interestingly, Jesus did raise a man named Lazarus from the dead. Did people believe? No, the Pharisees sought to kill the resurrected Lazarus to prevent people from leaving Judaism.
Abraham told the rich man a truth we need to grab hold of; if they won’t believe the Bible they won’t believe at all.

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Luke 16:31 (KJV) Something More than the Bible?

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Luke 15:6 (KJV) Be Happy God is Happy

Luke 15:6 (KJV)
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 
There are two parables where the subject calls on others to rejoice with them for their success. In the third parable this same rejoicing is had except we are given the account of the older son who refuses to rejoice.
Life is filled with people who, for whatever reason, cannot bring themselves to be happy for the successes of others.
This same can be said in the spiritual world. Some, usually those who see themselves as better than others, refuse or at least find it difficult and unnatural to rejoice
  • When a backslider repents
  • When a lost man is saved
  • When a fallen one gets back up
There are a lot of reasons they may not rejoice in these successes
  • Maybe they feel they ought to have more successes
  • Maybe they don’t trust that the one recovered has truly gotten right
  • Maybe they see their success as competing with their own
  • Maybe they just don’t want them celebrating that someone is, in their eyes, being rewarded for failure
Whichever excuse we might have for not rejoicing in their success I propose a fix. That is to rejoice that God rejoices. If you are unable to rejoice with the one who has been lifted, then rejoice with the one who did the lifting.
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Luke 15:6 (KJV) Be Happy God is Happy

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2 Kings 12:4-5 (KJV) The Business of Every Believer

2 Kings 12:4-5 (KJV)
And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the LORD,Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found.
Though this passage is directed to the priests, it has a New Testament application to every Christian. The King instructed the priests to take whatever money was given and to apply it “wheresoever any breach shall be found.” There was:
  • Personal responsibility 
  • Personal accountability and 
  • Personal participation 
expected of every priest and every man the priest could recruit.
It ought to be the same in the work of God today. God’s business is not the business of a certain group of believers only. It is the business of every Christian to:
  • Identify the breaches in God’s work
  • Recruit others to help repair the breach and
  • Use whatever God has given them to get the work done.
This project was not successful until some were commissioned to organize and supervise that it be done. That is the work of the pastor today. He is not called to do the work alone. He is called to organize God’s people so it gets done.

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2 Kings 12:4-5 (KJV) The Business of Every Believer

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Luke 14:31-32 (KJV) The Condition of Peace is Truth

Luke 14:31-32 (KJV)
Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 
I am told that, during the Revolutionary War, a commander was expected to put up some form of battle before surrendering, even if he knew there was no chance of victory. It was a matter of honor and I suspect was a measure to discourage cowardice among the officers.
But there were exceptions. The Continentals, for instance, took Ticonderoga with hardly a shot being fired.
The lesson of this parable is not intended to encourage cowardice among believers but:
  • Alertness
  • Soberness and 
  • Vigilance
Taken with the accompanying parables we find the Christian characters of:
  • Sacrifice 
  • Persistence and
  • Forethought 
The condition of peace is truth.
Sacrifice, persistence and planning leads to truth being victor.

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Luke 14:31-32 (KJV) The Condition of Peace is Truth

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Luke 13:17 (KJV) Putting Our Enemies to Shame

Luke 13:17 (KJV)
And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

I imagine that this is where we get the phrase, “Putting your enemies to shame.” The Pharisees had issued a rather hasty order for a new problem, “When is it permissible to heal the sick?” It’s almost laughable, isn’t it, that they would even consider such a question? If someone is able to heal the sick let him do it! They were so trapped in their religious rules (which had long ago quit being from God’s Word) that they could not grasp how ludicrous it was to try to stop Him from healing this crippled woman, even if it was on the Sabbath.
Jesus answered their objection by pointing out an obvious exception to their rules; every one of them would feed and water his animals on the Sabbath. In another passage it is added that if an animal falls in a well on the Sabbath no one would let it die there. They would pull it out. How much more ought we to do all in our power to help a suffering person, even on a Sabbath?
Common sense slays a whole lot of religious idiocy. I am not calling for a rejection of faith. Common sense could never out match God’s Word. But when religion leaves the Bible it generally throws good common sense out with it.

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Luke 13:17 (KJV) Putting Our Enemies to Shame

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

2 Kings 10:5-9 (KJV) Loyalty to the Things of God

2 Kings 10:5-9 (KJV)
And he that was over the house, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up of the children, sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes.Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be mine, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master’s sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king’s sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up.And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel.And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king’s sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning.And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these?
The commentaries I possess all focus on Jehu claiming that he has done and said all this in an effort to lessen the appearance of his own culpability in the deaths of the family of Ahab. That may well be the case yet Jehu has a point. Regardless of the reason, that the very men tasked with raising up these seventy sons of Ahab would kill those sons rather than die protecting them is a mark of
  • cowardice 
  • carelessness and 
  • lack of any sort of character
That this happens in the house of Ahab is significant. It stands to reason they would betray their loyalties as they had already betrayed their loyalty to God and to the family God had set up as the royal family in Israel. The next chapter takes us to Judah where indeed men and women of faith risked their lives to protect the royal seed.
This does not mean that the lack of character exhibited in this account never happens among the professed people of God. It does serve as a warning to those who would please the Lord that loyalty to the things of God is the premium.
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2 Kings 10:5-9 (KJV) Loyalty to the Things of God

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Friday, November 13, 2015

2 Kings 8:4-5 (KJV) Worldly Indeed

2 Kings 8:4-5 (KJV)
And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.
I note two men of worldly character, one interested to hear about Elisha and the other, excited to tell such an important man what he knows about Elisha. Neither of them is interested in either, talking about or hearing about the Lord.
There is a lesson for us here, if we will hear it. To make all our Christian conversation about great men of God, to either want to tell our own experiences or else to wish to hear about someone else experiences with them, and to have those conversations to the near exclusion of the Lord, is worldly indeed.
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2 Kings 8:4-5 (KJV) Worldly Indeed

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