Monday, March 27, 2017

Successful Saints

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
(Joshua 1:8)

SUCCESSFUL-BUT UNAWARE OF IT   

Years ago, I held a meeting in a country church in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. After preaching a sermon in which I exalted the common layman, an aged couple approached me. With tears in his eyes the gentleman said, “Preacher, for fifty-years my wife and I thought we were second class saints, until we heard you tonight. We have always been made to believe preachers and full time workers were the most important.” Thank God He doesn’t see things the way we do.

WHAT IS SUCCESS?

The old-time evangelist and president of the college named after him, Dr. Bob Jones Sr., used to say, “Success is finding the Will of God and doing it.” He went on to say, “The little bird is happy flying in the heavens and the fish swimming in the waters, because that is what God created them for.” Dear reader, if you are where God wants you to be, doing what God wants you to do, be it ever so humble and seemingly insignificant-THEN YOU ARE A SPIRITUAL SUCCESS!

GOD’S HOW-TO BOOK ON BEING A SUCCESS

The word success is found only once in the Bible (our text). But in it you have all the ingredients that go into a successful life, Look at Joshua. Anyone considered successful who does not follow this pattern, may be considered successful in some peoples’ eyes, but, in God’s, they are successful failures. They certainly do not impress God in the least. Who would believe the godly scrub woman on her knees and the saintly farmer behind the plow, would have their names in lights in Heaven?

THE CARPENTER FOREVER PUT HIS STAMP OF APPROVAL UPON THE LIFE OF THE COMMON LAYMAN.”

Saturday, March 25, 2017

So You Can't Measure Up

HIGH STANDARDS-BUT LITTLE PEOPLE

In all my years as a Christian, I have never found any man or woman who measured up to God’s standards. We all come short in some area; all of us fail to pass muster. Why then are these lofty commands given? It is because the Lord would have us aim high, so to speak. And though we will never hit the bulls-eye in this life, we’ll get closer than if we never had given it a shot.

GOD GIVES ELBOW ROOM

But it is very important to remember, God wrote His Rule Book with His Pen of Mercy. Therefore, you’ll find His requirements are not as rigid as the religious legalists would have you believe. David wrote, “I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.” Be careful when you draw God’s Sword to lay down His Law for others that you do not slice yourself with the opposite edge.

GOD REGARDS WHAT MAN DISREGARDS

The priests of Jesus’ day would not have taken Him into the priesthood, because He lacked the right credentials; nevertheless, God made Him a Priest. So says the book of Hebrews. Our Lord has a way of qualifying what man disqualifies. For example Jephthah, as found in the book of Judges, chapter eleven. Things which are broken are no longer of any use to us, so we discard them. But God doesn’t use anything until it is broken!

"HE was rejected of men, but approved of God.” 

Friday, March 24, 2017

The "ONE" True Altar

"We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle."  
(Heb.13:10)

THE BOOK OF HEBREWS

Reading the book of Hebrews through at a single sitting one is impressed that it’s predominantly a book of contrasts. It contrasts: shadows with substance; physical with spiritual; type with anti-type; outward with inward; seen with unseen; earthly with heavenly; and yes! Moses with Christ.

THE ALTAR OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

The New Testament churches knew nothing of altars in their assemblies. The Jews objected to them not having a literal altar. The Christians’ answer was, “We have an altar”; a spiritual one, Christ. He was both their gift and sacrifice. He sanctified the gift. The altar, offerer, and sacrifice, were all closely connected. Being associated with the altar identified one with the sacrifice.

ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Rome invented an altar in their churches, emulating apostate Israel. This was soon followed by the Protestants copying the Catholic. But Christ is the only altar God owns. The only one that must be recognized by Christians. Those, like the priests who trusted in ceremony and tradition, are excluded from the benefits of God’s true altar-CHRIST JESUS!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Using God's Name to One's Advantage

“And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.
Gen. 27:20

As only a boy (seventeen), in the Air Force during the early fifties, I had, before it was acceptable, a best friend, a black man. He told me a funny story about some of his brothers. It seems they would buy cheap suits at Goodwill, then sew a Hart Schaffner and Marx label in them.

Some people think cheap things are of more value if you put the right name on the tag. Jacob, like most of us, thought if he put God’s name on the label of his manufactured scheme, it would make it more honorable and ease his guilty conscious. It was not God who prospered him, but his own hand.

How many of Jacob’s carnal clan believe if you put God’s name to it, it will sell, that it will be acceptable to other worldly Christians. We put that blessed name to everything from the commercialization of the gospel to the approval of fornication, under the guise of God’s love.

To use God’s name in vain to support your personal agenda in gaining acceptance with this apostate age, will never be acceptable with God. You may tell Him you have done many wonderful things in His name, but there will be no commendation, if you're looking for that, only a “I never knew you.”

“But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.”

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Stone From the Brook

"The waters wear the stones.” The sense here is that constant changes are going on in nature. Over a period of years, as the swift waters flow over these ragged-edged stones, and they continually collide with one another, they become smooth. Such a process is not accomplished in a day.

And so it is with God’s elect. We lie in the stream of life, tossed to and fro, and are battered about until the rough edges are gone. It is then that a greater than David reaches His nail-pierced hand into the swift-moving current and lifts us out. And, for what purpose? To do with one insignificant smooth stone what Saul’s entire army could not do: take down a giant. Marvelous, is it not, the potential of one little stone?

The next time you’re “rubbed wrong,” remember; God is taking off the rough places.

Friday, March 17, 2017

As I Grow Older

MORE CONVINCED THAN EVER

After almost sixty-years of studying God’s Word and observing people, I have added to my short list of core convictions two more, and set them in cement. I have always strongly believed in both, but not to the almost radical extent I do now. I’m referring to my belief in God’s absolute sovereignty over man and matter, and the total depravity of man in every area of his being.

WHEN ALL'S SAID AND DONE

As to the former, in the above mentioned, the certainty that an omnipotent God is in control of this insane world today, is the only thing that’s allowed me to keep my sanity. A world where the inmates are now running the institution and the sane people are considered the “crazies.” It is wonderful to know at such a time, as Daniel of old said, “There is a God in Heaven.” And when things have run their course according to His plan, He will step in! And when He puts His foot down, I guarantee all will know it.

CROOKED AS A CORKSCREW

Concerning my second persuasion, as Isaiah says in the first chapter of his book, man is tainted with sin from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. No part is left untouched; he is depraved in all aspects. Left to himself, free to act and think as he pleases, he will invariably choose his own interests above God’s. Total depravity entails total inability. That is, he has lost all ability to understand or accomplish anything truly Spiritual. Cornelius Van Til put it something like this; “It’s not that unregenerate man is not sharp; he can saw as good, if not better, than a Christian. The problem is, his saw is crooked, never allowing him to saw a straight line.”

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saints Enslaved

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1Cor.6:12

IT’S NOT LAW
Good habits are a good thing, that is, until they become a law. It is then a good habit becomes a bad habit. What I mean is when you do not do certain things the same way, every time, in a regimented way, you’re constantly condemned.

SUPERSTITIOUS SAINTS
For many us who are under or have known this ritualistic power, it is like having a voodoo spell cast upon you, believing there is nothing you can do in such cases. There is more than one way in which Satan spiritually enslaves a saint.

GOOD CAN BECOME THE ENEMY OF THE BEST
Evangelist D.L. Moody, commenting on marking your Bible said, “It is a good thing to do, until one becomes a servant to your marks.” If not careful, a saint can become slave to his or her devotions, prayers, Bible reading, and witnessing, and a host of other things. Can I also  throw in the same old, same old church services?

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

How monotonous uniformity can be. But let me warn all who dare break out of their shell of conformity, there will be some adjusting at the first. The radio preacher, Chuck Swindoll, tells a story that illustrates my point. It seems he got fed up with shaving the same way week in and week out, for years. So, says he, “I thought I’d do things different and shave opposite from what I was accustom to.” The result? He went on to say his face was full of nicks and cuts. But don’t worry, my friend, they heal up.

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
“And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.”    

THROW AWAY THE MOLD!  

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Cost of Closeness

ROTTEN TO THE CORE

“I am vile”… “O wretched man that I am!”…”Woe is me! for I am undone”…”Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Each of these men’s confession (Job, Paul, Isaiah, Peter) brought an end to self, nevertheless, it was the beginning of God in their lives. We are never as good as we think we are; but we are always worse than we think we are. When we come before God, it is possible to be too good, but we never need fear feeling we are too bad.

ONLY THE SICK REALIZE THEIR NEED OF A PHYSICIAN

I am not speaking of morbidity that manifests itself in a false humility, but, rather, accepting sane, scriptural facts about our inward condition. Until we see the utter corruption within, and stop making excuses, we will feel no reason for forgiveness. The Blood of Christ cleanses sin, not excuses. And we need not despair at the greatness of our sins. His grace is always greater. In God’s sight, the Pharisee was a good bad man; the Publican, a bad good man.

ON THE PSYCHIATRIST'S COUCH          

The psychoanalyst (shrinks with big heads) would have a field day with the the aforementioned four men thought to be maladjusted. They definitely had a problem with self esteem and you wouldn’t want to ask them if they were comfortable in their own skin. This kind are rejected not only by the world, but what’s worse, many times, by their own Christian family, friends, and acquaintances. Ask the man Christ Jesus, if you doubt me.



Monday, March 6, 2017

Why God Uses Some We Wouldn't

A CLOSE KEPT SECRET

An associate of a great, but controversial, preacher of the past, describing why God used him so mightily said, “God and him have something between them that neither has let the rest of us in on.”

THE CLICHE OF OUR DAY GIVEN TO THIS PARTICULAR CLAN

We like to say of these embarrassing, undesirable ones, that “God uses him or her in spite of themselves.” But that won’t wash, as they say. If you’ll pardon my crudeness, God is not hard-up for people to use.

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER

The Lord uses a person exactly because of who they are, not in spite of the fact. God’s fivefold laughable army in 1 Corinthians bears this out. He purposely chose, “...the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” Few stand in awe at qualified saints.

MY BROTHER-IN-LAW HAD IT RIGHT ALL THE TIME

When just a babe in Christ, I was having problems coming from a deep life of sin. My brother-in-law, a baptist preacher, now in his nineties, would say to me, “You may not be what you want to be, you may not be what you ought to be, but you’re a whole lot better than you would be without Christ.”

“A cur dog that recognizes his master’s ownership is better than a thoroughbred that refuses to do so.” (rds)  

Thursday, March 2, 2017

In the Name of Jesus

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT THAT NAME

Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” Plenty, if it’s the name of Jesus. At that name, “every knee [will] bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” It’s this name on your check that can withdraw large amounts from Heaven’s bank. It’s at the name of Jesus that lame souls can, “rise up and walk” again. At the mention of this name, from a heart of faith, there is remission of sins, evil spirits flee away, and every type of wonder under Heaven is done.

THE WORLD WANTS TO MUTE BELIEVERS

No marvel, then, that the early believers were threatened “that they should not speak in the name of Jesus.” Yet they were not intimidated. They were willing to “hazard their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Yea, even to “die...for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

TAKE THE NAME OF JESUS WITH YOU

David met Goliath in the name of the Lord. Our giants will fall also when we approach them in the name of Jesus.