Sunday, September 30, 2007

Spirit and Life

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

Barnes says that this verse tells us not to take Jesus' words about eating His flesh and drinking His blood literally but spiritually. In this case it is obvious that Jesus spoke metaphorically and not literally.

Nevertheless, when Jesus said His words are spirit and life that can and should be taken for exactly what it says. Spiritual life comes from the Word of God.
Through it we gain the faith to believe and receive Jesus Christ as Saviour
Through it we gain insight and wisdom as to how to lead others to a saving knowledge
Through it we grow in our knowledge and understanding of God and thus in our relationship with Him.

These words are spirit.
They can only be understood through the spirit. No man will know the Bible who only knows it on the level of his flesh. They must be accepted by faith.

These words are life.
Like eating a nourishing meal after a time of fasting, the Word of God restores the soul and refreshes the spirit of the child of God who takes it in.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Wave Breast and Heave Shoulder

Leviticus 7:34 KJV
For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel.
In the last couple of weeks I have made mention of the stones that the priest wore on his shoulder, bearing the names of the twelve tribes and of the breastplate of jewels also bearing those names. The priest was to, in symbolic form carry the burdens of the tribes on his shoulders before the Lord and then carry the love for those tribes on his breastplate near his heart.

Here I find the reciprocation. God here gives the priests, from the sacrifices of those people, the wave breast, and the heave shoulder of their peace offerings. The one who bore the spiritual burdens and heart of the people received from them material blessings equal to their responsibility.

God provides for His own. We can trust the Lord to know our needs and to meet them in a way that is more than just.

What a loving and just God have we!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Just Judgment

John 5:30 KJV
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Jesus said His judgment was just because He sought not His own will, but the will of God the Father. It is impossible but that we who are Christians will have to make judgments and, with it, accept the accusation of being judgmental.

We must judge between right and wrong
We must judge what is sound doctrine and unsound
We must judge concerning those qualified to serve in the Lord's work and those who are not.
We must judge concerning who is appropriate companionship and whose companionship will draw us away from Jesus Christ.

Those who love darkness will always judge those who shine light into the darkness, but that does not mean the light should not be shined.

We learn a lesson from Jesus Christ concerning that judgment; it can be just so long as we seek the will of God the Father and not our own.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

We Heard Him Ourselves

John 4:42 KJV
And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

There is, without question, the need for faithful energetic, excited, convinced witnesses. This woman’s' witness in the city would have been more than half-hearted. She is the type who would not have spoken to the majority of the people in her city prior to this. She is at the well in a time of day when no one would be there - no doubt to avoid contact with others. But she has met the Messiah and that changed her. She went into the city to draw attention to Christ; not fearing what people would think of her for her attention was completely swept up in Christ.

Nevertheless, the real story of this story is not her witness, but that of Christ's. They believed, not because of her enthusiasm, not because of he excitement, not because of her conviction; but because they heard Jesus themselves.

That's what we need today. We need to get the attention off of ourselves and onto the Lord Jesus Christ. People don't need to see our conviction, excitement, enthusiasm; they need to see Christ. They do not need to hear our testimony, they need to hear Jesus.

“O Lord, make that so! Lord speak to the hearts and souls of men and women and children. Reprove of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We can never convince the soul. We can only encourage the lost to "Come see...." You must convince them so they believe.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What Condemns

John 3:19
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Boil the sin problem down to its basic nuts and bolts and here is what you have; men loved darkness rather than light.

The light referred to is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the righteousness that is available to men through Him. It is a walk with the Lord in fellowship and peace. When we get to heaven (those of us who are saved) we will find that there is no need for artificial lights such as the sun and the moon. Jesus Christ will be the light of that place. (Revelation 21:23)

What a grand day that will be when there is no night; when there is no sin. When there is no sickness, death, evil or pain.

Yet men love the darkness rather than the light.
They would rather stumble in the darkness of self-will.
They would rather endure the pain of sin and agony of death than to walk in the pure light of the Lord.

We who desire to walk in the light should never be ashamed that others run from it. We who are anxious to dwell in the light of the Lord should never step into the darkness, even if the light offends some we would love to win to Christ.

Monday, September 24, 2007

We Have Found Him

John 1:45 KJV
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
We have found Him...

This is a confident statement.
Philip is an unlearned man. He is not one who would know the intricate details of prophecy, doctrine or Scripture. But he knew Jesus was the One the Word of God said would come.

This is an exciting statement.After all these generations, waiting for the promise of the Word of God, finally, the promise had been fulfilled. It would not have been difficult to keep quiet about what they had seen. Yet Philip anxiously told Nathaniel, even though Nathaniel did not respond with the same excitement as Philip may have supposed.

What a difference we might make in our world if we would tell what we know about Christ with both the same enthusiasm and confidence that Philip did.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Slow of Heart

Luke 24:25 KJV
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

These words could just as easily been spoken to the believers of today as to those two so many years ago.

These were witnesses of the life of Jesus Christ
There were those who had heard Him speak of His death and resurrection
There were some who had heard from the women themselves that Jesus Christ had risen

These were believers. These were not mockers or scorners of even doubters. These were believers John Gill says Cleopas is the same as Alphaeus, the father of James and Jude and the brother to Joseph, who was the husband of Mary, the mother of Christ.

Yet they were slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken. It was not that they did not believe some of it. Their Jewish background was such that they likely considered themselves believers of the Word of God. Still, there were those things in the Word of God that they could not reason. They were not slow in the mind to believe. Nor were they slow in word to say they believed. But they were slow of heart. The truth of the death burial and resurrection of the Saviour had not sunken in yet. Nor had they gotten hold yet of the victory that was won for them through this miracle.

Today God's house will be filled with believers. I do not question the sincerity of anyone who will come to worship the Lord. However, many of us will be slow of heart to believe all that God's Word will say to us. We will claim to believe. We will believe that we believe, but unless God burns His words within us, His message will reach only the head and not the heart.

O Lord, please expound the Scriptures to us today!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Every Man...Looked

Exodus 33:7-9 KJV
And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.
And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.

And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.
The people had sinned horribly with the golden calf Aaron had made. God had plagued the people because of their sin.

Now Moses was about to go before the Lord for them.
Would God bless them with His presence once again?
Would God forgive their sin and remove the plague?
Would God still direct them to the Promised Land, or would they be destined to die right there at the bottom of the Mount?

Every man came to his tent door and watched as Moses went to meet God for them. And they watched until Moses was inside the tabernacle and God's pillar had descended upon it. Moses serves as a type of Christ, who is the Mediator between man and God. Only through Jesus Christ can the condemnation of our sin be forgiven. Moses also serves as a type of the minister of Jesus Christ who gives himself to prayer and the ministry of the Word of God.

Men are no less sinners today and under no less condemnation even right now. Our world is riddled not with one plague, but one plague after another. The need today is for someone who meets God for them; someone who will intercede. The need today is for a man (or men) who can plead to God for Jesus' sake that men and women and children who are bound in sin may be free.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What Would Follow

Luke 22:49 KJV
When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
The situation was obvious. Jesus and his Apostles were there in the garden, and a multitude of soldiers and Jewish leaders had assembled around them. They were not there for a message from the man of God.
They knew what would follow.
They knew Jesus was not on the most popular list with the leaders of the Jews.
They knew that Jesus had told them He would be betrayed.
They knew what was on the faces of the multitude that drew near.

I consider this a statement of real faith, "...Lord shall we smite with the sword?" There was no way humanly speaking they could defend themselves against this multitude. They either believed that Jesus would miraculously help them or else they would and were willing to die right there with and for Him.

Sometimes we can tell what is about to follow too. We will find ourselves in situations where the intention of those around us is very clear. At those times two things seem very wise;
First, have faith. Our Lord can receive glory in the most impossible of circumstances. Believe and trust Him in them
Second, ask Him what to do. Sometimes the thing that seems most obvious is not the thing Jesus will lead us to do at the moment.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ear, Hand and Foot

Exodus 29:20 KJV
Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.

Here is a hint about the work of the priest. God wanted to anoint
The tip of their right ear.
Symbolizing that he must be careful first about what he hears. He ministers the Word of God. Therefore care must be taken that he receives the truth and not false doctrine. Ours is not to hear a little bit of everything and pick and choose what we like. Ours is to stick with the truth of God's Word. Someone told me that in Acts when the Greeks said of Paul, "What will this babbler say?"[1] That the word babbler traces back to a type of bird that picked out the seeds from other birds dung. By saying "What will this babbler say?" They were saying, "Let's find out who he's been listening to." We ought only to be listening to the Word of God.

The thumb of their right hand.
Symbolizing our activity, our work. Placing the blood on the thumb also seems to me to be indicative of the difference between man and beast. With the exception of some primates and a couple of other species, only mankind has the opposable thumb which has led to fine motor skills and the development of the use of tools. Could it be that the anointing of the thumb serves to remind us that we are to do our work, whatever kind it is, as unto the Lord?

The great toe of the right foot
Symbolizing our travels. Wherever we go and whomever we meet in those travels, we are to be dedicated to the Lord. We ought to only go places where God would be pleased and we ought only to go there when it would please the Lord.

It was the right ear, hand, and foot which tells me that we give God our best and our strongest. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and allow Him to take care of our personal needs.

It was not just Aaron, but Aaron's sons as well who were to be anointed. The priesthood does not correspond to the pastors of today so much as to the saints of today. Every Christian is a priest of God; with both the privileges and responsibilities of that office. We may all come to God with our prayers and concerns and we may all study the Word of God for ourselves. But we must all also dedicate our ears, hands and feet, even our very lives to the cause of Jesus Christ.

[1] Acts 17:18

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Upon His Two Shoulders

Exodus 28:12
And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

The names of the tribes of Israel were engraved on two stones that were carried on the High Priest's shoulders.

I imagine these stones as being relatively large. I do not know what they would have weighed, but it must have been enough to remember they were there.
I imagine the names to be facing upward toward the heavens because they were to be born "before the Lord."

They are only the names of the twelve tribes and not the names of each and every person. The tribes represented as a whole each person as an individual.

As a type of the work of the ministry,
I see the stones as bearing the burdens of each other in the church. We are not as the Israelites were. We are all priests before the Lord and we each have a responsibility to minister to the other for the sake of Christ.

I see those names being lifted before the Lord as representing our responsibility to pray one for another.

I see the fact that Aaron had the names of the twelve as representing the concept of delegation. In the church, if the pastor will lift up the names of the assistant pastors and deacons, and if the deacons will be assigned the names of several families in the church, then every family can be lifted up before the Lord.

I see the fact that the stones were fastened to his clothing representing the idea of keeping those names with us wherever we go. We can lift up those we love and are responsible for when we are at work, when we are at home when we go about our personal business.

I am going to take it literally and begin to carry the names of our families with me daily.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

That Stone

Luke 20:18 KJV
Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
I saw this passage from two points of view this morning.

First from the negative, when one stumbles upon Christ; when a person hears the Gospel message but rejects it, there is no hope of salvation for him. Only through Christ are we able to be whole, healed and saved. Only through Christ are we able to claim a home in eternal heaven. When a person trips over Christ, he is surely lost.

But it is worse than that because once one has fallen on the Stone, then the Stone falls upon him. The devastation of being lost is worse than not going to heaven; it is ultimately going to hell where a soul suffers in the fire and brimstone eternally. The wrath of God is poured upon the lost, not for a moment or even for a day, but forever.

On the other hand, there is a positive way to view this verse. When one comes to the stone, Jesus Christ and falls before him in confession and contrition
He is broken in the flesh,
He dies to self, but
He is born again through the Spirit of God.

O what sweetness is being broken before the Lord Jesus Christ! Through this braking comes our salvation from sin, our birth into the family of God and our assurance of a home in eternal heaven.

But it is better than this because when once we fall before the Stone, then the Stone falls upon us. Through the rest of our lives on this planet, Jesus Christ continues to grind and crush to powder the vestiges of flesh that is worldly-wise and wicked. He sanctifies us and cleanses us. He convicts us of our sin. He chastens us and corrects us so that one day He may present us before the Father without spot or blemish.

It is up to us, which application will be ours.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Because They Thought

Luke 19:11 KJV
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

Jesus spake a parable because some thought the kingdom would immediately come. Even though Jesus gave them this parable, still, in Acts 1 they asked Him if He would restore the kingdom at that time. They just did not get it. They were so focused on the kingdom of God come immediately that they had difficulty seeing the message Jesus wanted them to get.

I wonder how many times we completely misunderstand what is the Lord’s true will? So often we have our preconceived ideas of God's plan and our idea so clouds our understanding of God's Word that we cannot see what God is doing through what we have predetermined is God's plan.

I want to seek the Lord's help to wash away the sludge that clouds my vision of God's truth so I can see clearly what is the will and plan of God.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thou Hast Polluted It

Exodus 20:24-25 KJV
An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.
And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

The Lord is here either speaking of another type of altar than the one He would later give instructions to build for the tabernacle or else, this is a provision for an altar prior to the construction of the altar they had in the tabernacle.

God said concerning the altar of stone, that if they lifted a tool to change the shape of the stone, they had polluted the altar. This was to be an altar made entirely of that which God provided, not touched with the art and craftsmanship of man.

I am reminded that when the Temple was built the Bible says that all the stones were hewn out of earshot of the building site so that no sounds were heard in the building. I am also reminded how that when the brazen altar was constructed, it was crafted by men, not with natural talent, but men who had been gifted by the Spirit of God.

I do note that man has his place of service. God did tell them to make the altar of stone. There is human responsibility in the work of worshiping the Lord. However, men were not to lift a tool upon that stone, which reminds us that whenever we take what God has given, and mold it in any way, we corrupt and pollute it.

There is the fine balance in the work of worshiping and serving the Lord. That balance is kept when we do our service, not in the strength of our own will and natural abilities, but in complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit in us.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Exodus 18:4 KJV
And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:

Moses' testimony, through his son Eliezar (the name means literally "God of help"), was that the faith of his father saw him through his times of trouble. Amram's faith, though Amram was personally only able to have a small influence in Moses' life, brought Moses to that same faith. And it was the God he placed his faith in, the God he had learned to trust through his father that had helped him in his time of greatest need.

The faith of the father cannot be emphasized enough in our families. A believing dad, who walks with God and sets that example for his children, passes down to them the greatest asset a person can have in this world; a relationship with the "God of help."

I pray that my boys, though they will face their own trials in life, will find that the God their father taught them of is their help.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Unto the Lord

Exodus 15:1 KJV
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

Twice in this verse, the Bible says they sang "unto the Lord."

A couple of weeks ago I taught a Sunday school lesson on the subject of "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." The point is that not all worship singing is directed "unto the Lord." There is Christian singing that is rightly and legitimately directed to the believers, and maybe in some cases to the lost.

However, a Christian ought to realize that every song we sing is at the very least heard by the Lord. Whether the song is directed to the Lord or is meant for the edification of the Christian or even if it is meant to warn the unbeliever;
Our music out to have a spiritual content
Our music ought to be doctrinally correct
Our music out to be exalting to Christ

He is on the first row listening to every song we sing, whether with our lips or just in our heart, whether coming from our own motivation or coming from the fact that we are listening to it through some outside medium (radio, CD, mp3 or other)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Disciple

Luke 14:26 KJV
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Three times in Luke 14 Jesus said that if certain conditions were not met a man "cannot be my disciple." The question can be raised, is being a disciple the same as being saved?

The word disciple means pupil or student. It is evident that not all of Christ's disciples were completely loyal to Him for the Bible says in John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (KJV)

The disciple or student of Christ must of necessity be devoted to Christ.
Like a college student who never showed up for class.
Like the High School who never did his homework
Like the trade school student who never practiced his craft
The disciple who is not devoted to his teacher is not really a student of the teacher.

When I taught at college level, I never understood the student who paid for a class he did not work at. This is exactly what Jesus meant. It does not matter if you call yourself a disciple of Christ or not; the only real disciples are those who forsake all to follow Him. (vs 33)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

God Expects Fruit

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

The Word of God only has one interpretation, but it has many applications. The one interpretation of this passage has to do with the Jewish nation and their lack of repentance toward God. God had been gracious and patient with them. God's kindness toward Israel cannot be over stated. But there came a day when that patience was through and judgment came upon them.

Barnes makes this application; "We may also remark that God treats sinners in this manner now; that he spares them long; that he gives them opportunities of repentance; that many live but to cumber the ground; that they are not only useless to the church, but pernicious to the world; that in due time, when they are fairly tried, they shall be cut down; and that the universe will bow to the awful decree of God, and say that their damnation is just."[1]

So the interpretation is toward the Jews. An application may be made toward the lost, and I would like to suggest that another application may be made toward the believer.

Who can deny God's kindness and grace toward us in sending His Son to die for us? We, who are born again, recognize the goodness of God in Christ, to say nothing of the other kindnesses the Lord places in our lives. Yet we too can be guilty of producing no fruit to the glory of the Lord. God has been so gracious to us, is it not true that God should expect that we would produce the fruit of
Good works,
A Christ honoring lifestyle and
Souls led to the Saviour through us?

The Lord expects fruit. This is the gist of the parable no matter to whom we apply it.

[1] E-Sword 7.8.5, Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Friends

Luke 12:4-5 KJV
And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Even though there was a multitude present, verse 1 tells us that this whole sermon is spoken chiefly to His disciples, no doubt referring to the twelve.

First, I see that He calls them His friends.
What comfort and joy can be found in that term. That our Lord would call those who are His disciples, also His friends means the relationship is more than academic or institutional.
He loves us.
He is close to us.
His heart is for us.
He is not a God who is far off. His relationship with us is one of affection. Praise the Lord.

Secondly I see that His promises to us really have little to do with the protection of the physical body. He does tell us in this sermon not to toil for food raiment and stature. Those physical necessities will be provided by our Heavenly Father as we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. But the implication of these words is that those who can kill the body can kill even the bodies of the believers.

This is not saying that Christians have to fear being cast into hell. We are saved and we can't go to hell. But we still need to fear the One who does cast into hell and not the powers of this earth. Godly fear of the Lord is a distinctive of the believer, but it is a distinctive that is being lost and with it our ability to influence the world for Christ.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

With What We Must Serve the Lord

Exodus 10:26 KJV
Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.
Moses insisted that they take everything with them into the wilderness because they knew "...not with what we must serve the Lord..."

He could not budget
He could not deal with Pharaoh

They had to take it all with them because they did not know what all the Lord might desire.

We must remember that this was before the Law had been given. They did not know yet which kinds of animals the Lord would require for His sacrifices or how many of them. Everything was new.

It is true that there are some things that are already known among us.
We know salvation is only through the Lord Jesus Christ
We know that we are to gather on the first day of the week
We know we are to bring to the Lord on that day our tithes as He hath prospered us
Still, we do not know the specific dynamics of any given day of worship.
There will be a combination of people there that is unique to that day; some who usually attend won't be at church., some who have never attended will be there.
Every Sunday school class will be unique for the day; students will have experienced things the previous week which will give them perhaps a different spirit than they have had before.
From time to time there will be news brought forth at the services that will impact our own spirit in the service; perhaps the death of a saint or that one who is important to us is ill and in need of prayer.
Sometimes there will be a need that is unique to the particular service; a missionary may be there and an offering is taken for him, or else someone who usually performs a ministry is not there, and we will be called up to take their place.
Each week we, "...know not with what we must serve the Lord until we come thither." So each and every service we ought to come bringing everything before the Lord
Our time
Our talents and
Our treasures

And be ready to give any or all.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Go Your Ways

Luke 10:3 KJV
Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

My mind stuck on the words, "Go your ways...."

They did not all go the same way
They would not have all had the same experiences.

Some of them would have gone to towns and villages where they were received and well cared for while they preached.
Some of them would have gone to towns and villages where they had to leave, shaking the dust off of their feet.
Some no doubt would have run into difficulties with the religious of their day.
Some of them might have gone to places where they preached unhindered.

But all of them when they returned to Jesus did so with joy.

They did not complain about the trials
They did not mention those who refused to hear

They were back in the presence of the Lord and their only reports were of the successes of the Gospel.

I see this as similar to our case today. We each have our own way to go for the Lord. We do not experience the same successes. We endure different levels of difficulty and hardship. But when we stand before the Lord the only things we will want to report about are the joys we have had in living for the Lord.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Lord God...Hath Sent Me

Exodus 7:16 KJV
And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.
This seems to me to be the age-old problem between preacher and congregation. The preacher believes the Lord hath sent him. His message is more than entertainment. What he speaks, he speaks from the viewpoint that the Lord as given him the message.
He views it as urgent.
He views it as life changing.
He views it as commanding

But like the Pharaoh, the congregation does not hear. Oh, just like Pharaoh, they give audience to the message. They hear the words of the preacher, but they do not accept them as from Almighty God and consequently, they do not obey the message.

Just like Moses with the Pharaoh, the preacher approaches his congregation time and time again. He brings the same message, but each time from a different angle, praying that some time the hearers will hear.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So Great Faith

Luke 7:9 KJV
When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Jesus gave this centurion just about the highest praise I think a man can receive. His faith is great.

So I got to thinking about what made his faith so great and the one thing that appears to highlight his faith is how "matter of fact" it is. He told Jesus, "say in a word, and my servant shall be healed."

His faith was simple
His faith was sure

His faith had nothing to do with his own worthiness. He knew he was not worthy. He did not try to impress Jesus with his presence. He simply understood. Jesus, as the Son of God, had perfect authority to "say in a word" and what He said would be done.

The problem with our faith is
Not our lack of faithfulness
Not our in ability to pray beautiful prayers
Not our unworthiness

The problem with our faith is that we do not see it as a "matter of fact" as it is. What Jesus has said in his Word is matter of fact. It is exactly what He said it is. Faith is just taking His Word for it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

On Grandpa's Knees

Genesis 50:23 KJV
And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's knees.
This is a cherished picture in my mind. Joseph's younger years were difficult ones. It would not have been hard for a person in his shoes earlier on in life to question the goodness of the Lord.
Hated by his brethren,
Bereaved of his mother,
Sold into slavery,
Imprisoned falsely
Joseph could have easily grown bitter and against the Lord.

But he did not. His faith stayed true and he was eventually honored of the Pharaoh and used of the Lord to save his father and brethren from starvation in the drought.

But the mark of the blessed man is right here; he was able to bring up his grandchildren on his knees. The strength of the Jewish family in those days was the fact that generations stayed together. By means of honoring grandparents and even great grandparents, they passed down the faith of the first generation to the next.

One of Satan's most effective tools in destroying Christianity has been the destruction of the extended family. We move away as soon as we can, looking for success in the financial world; and we do it at the sacrifice of the spiritual world.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Just Pray

Luke 5:16
And He withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed
It should be noted that this passage tells nothing about what Jesus prayed, but only that He did pray.

We have all our books about prayer; some classics like the EM Bounds series and others more recent like The Prayer of Jabez book so popular today. Too often we want to know the secret of prayer. We want someone to teach us how to unlock the mercies and gifts of God through a system of prayer.

What we need today is to pray. To trust the Holy Spirit of God to lead us in our prayers with requests that are the desires of the Lord placed in our hearts and with groaning which cannot be uttered.

We don't need a prayer list
We don't need a prayer tool

We need prayer.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fools Despise Instruction

Proverbs 1:7 KJV
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The wisest people are those who, "will hear and will increase learning." As a believer, one of the greatest things that could be said of me is that I never stop learning, never step out of the way of instruction. One of the greatest compliments that could be paid me is that I am a student.

We reach a point where we wished we could have settled our education. We want to be translated from student to scholar. But the true scholar is really just a student with more experience.