Friday, October 31, 2014

Eat What God Gives

Ezekiel 3:1
Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.

Barnes Notes remarks on the similarities between this and the Apostle John's command to eat the book and notes that it is sweet to eat but bitter in the belly. This is representative, says Barnes, that it is a great blessing to be called into the ministry but at the same time it carries with it great sorrows.[1] 

I notice that Ezekiel is not merely to eat whatever but to eat what he finds. It is not his to determine his message (or even that piece of the Bible that he would meditate upon) but to expect that to be given from the Lord. 

We have too much of a man centered Christianity today. We have boiled the faith down to a certain number of chapters read each day, a certain number of hours spent in church services, a certain amount of time spent as witnesses. We have lost the dependence upon the Lord in many cases. We have developed a sort of religion that is capable of functioning without Him. What we need is to get back to God. To once again look for what He gives and to then be content with that. 

[1] Take my remarks then to apply to ministry (the Word of God) and not the literal food.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Feet to Concern

1 Peter 4:8 KJV
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

The word charity carries with it the idea of action all by itself. Charity reaches out. Charity puts feet to concern and, in one way or another, attempts to express that concern through some good deed, be it financially, providing a needed benefit or personal visitations. Charity is love in action.

But Peter presses the point and says "have fervent charity". Strong's concordance associates it with intent. This charity is purposeful, intentional, thought out. It is planned so that it is not neglected. Peter wants to know that this charity is more than considered. He wants it to be carried out.

Strong’s goes on to connect the word fervent with the idea of without ceasing. We do not quit this charity. As Paul expressed it in 1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV, And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. This charity abides. It continues on and on. It takes no rest. It is not like a vocation where a man may be ply his trade from eight to five, but go home to take on an entirely different function. This charity is not something a person does but it is something a person becomes. He does not choose times to exercise charity; he exercises fervent charity at all times because he is, by character, charitable.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Unique Fellowship with God

1 Peter 3:17-18 KJV
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

When we suffer for well doing we enter into a unique fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone could suffer for sins and bring us to God. But we, who suffer for well doing share in that work of Christ.
·       When we suffer rather than recant
·       When we suffer rather than return to the old life
·       When we suffer rather than compromising truth to make it palatable to the world
then we share in bringing others to God. Compromisers claim to bring people to God, but I contest it is not the God of the Bible. Friendship with the world is enmity with God so to come to find a god who is comfortable with worldliness is to find a god other than the one of God's Word.

There is a sort of suffering the just do on behalf of the unjust when we choose to reject the gods of worldly Christians to stand with the God who calls us to come out of this world and be separate. It is only when we make this stand that the unjust have hope of finding the God of the Bible.

There is a kind of death in the flesh that the believer experiences when he chooses this God over the comforts of worldly popularity and friendships.

But there is also a kind of quickening by the Spirit that happens when a separation from worldliness happens. There is a joy in fellowship with the Lord. There is a hope in the return of Christ and there is a filling of the Spirit of God that energizes and enlivens the life of the believer who is walking is such fellowship with the Lord.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

No Hope There

Lamentations 4:17 KJV
As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.

This period of history saw the two empires on either end of the Fertile Crescent, Assyria to the north (at this time conquered and controlled by Babylon) and Egypt to the south, contending with one another for domination of the whole. Israel found itself right in the middle and generally believing that Egypt was an ally or at least a lesser threat than Assyria. As the Babylonian armies approached Israel, not willing to surrender as Jeremiah had preached they should do, had looked to Egypt for help. Fact is Egypt was powerless to do so.

I have witnessed time and again, people who, realizing they are in trouble, look for help, but refuse the help God offers. They know the choices they have made have been the wrong ones. They want to correct the consequences that have resulted from those choices, but they are unwilling to look to God for the help. They look instead to other things:
·       The legal system
·       The counsel of mental therapists
·       The aide of government sponsored programs
All of these offer the promise of help. They seem to be well financed, authoritative and powerful, but they are, in reality, impotent in comparison to the power of the corrupted flesh in allegiance to the devil. God is the only hope and the only help. But, as Judah had learned, God is uncompromising in His help. He calls us to follow after righteousness and to love Him with all of our heart and strength and mind.

To seek God's help for the consequences of rebellion to His Word while at the same time continuing to rebel against God's Word just will not do. We may watch all we wish for help from sources other than God, but they cannot save and they cannot help. If we would be saved, we must come to the Lord.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Not For Themselves

1 Peter 1:12 KJV
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

We live in a self-centered time
·       When parents brag about spending their children's inheritance
·       When our government wantonly spends into a debt our great grandchildren will be left to pay
·       When a person might steal from a neighbor not because they have need or even because the item has value but just because they can

In contrast to that God speaks of the prophets who preached His Word, not for the benefit they would receive, but for the benefit to future generations. They sacrificed everything for their great grandchildren and for those who would come many generations later.
·       They paid a price
·       They endured difficulty
·       They suffered painfully
For people they would never know and for children who could never pay them again.

If it had not been for men and women like this our country might never have come to be. People gave their reputations their fortunes and their lives that we can enjoy a freedom they might never have had.

Would to God we see a revival of that sort of spirit and heart; those who minister not unto themselves but those who come many generations after.