Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Walking Wonder

PRAISING GOD

As a new convert, I was privileged to sit under the ministry of a godly old evangelist named Lester Rolloff; it was in a two week tent revival. I remember that over the platform hung a sign with large, red letters, reading, “PRAISE GOD ANYHOW.” The thought being, no matter our circumstances or condition, we should praise God anyhow. And why do this? “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.”

IT’S A LIFELONG THING

In Psalms 71, the Psalmist is reviewing his life before God, taking us from his birth, youth, and to his mature years. He thought possibly because he was now of old age that he might be exempt from certain troubles, but realized such reasoning was only wishful thinking. He found the wise man to be right when he said, “There is no discharge in that war.” Problems will plague us unto death!

PRAISE-OUR LIFE’S CRESCENDO

The turning point in the Psalm is in verse 14 where he says, “I will…yet praise thee more and more.” That is, he would add praise to praise; his praise would be over and above the previous praise. It would be praise upon praise; it would increase. He would accumulate praise, store it up, if you please! The old man was a walking wonder (V7). Such a person is ready for heaven. It’s all they do there!

PURITAN JOHN LIVINGSTONE HAD IT RIGHT

“An hour of praises is worth a day of fasting and mourning!” 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hungry Sheep

EMPTY TROUGHS

We hear much, through the media, about starvation around the world. This is tragic, and our hearts are moved when we are told of it. But there is something of greater concern than physical hunger. Literally untold numbers of God’s sheep are going to the feeding troughs this Lord’s Day, only to find them empty, and having to go away hungry.

PASTORS INDICTED

God’s great indictment against His shepherds of old was that they had not fed His flock. The last thing our Chief Shepherd commanded His chosen underlings, after His Ascension back to the Heavenly storage bins, was to “feed my sheep.” Not one of them could accuse their Good Shepherd of ever giving them day-old bread, it was always fresh!

GOD’S HEAVENLY BAKER

During that time of great dearth on earth, Pharaoh’s words are worth heeding: “Go unto Joseph.” Our Heavenly Joseph is able to open God’s storehouse of plenty for the man who wants to feed God’s hungry people. No sincere pastor can pray, “I have nothing to set before them,” and not “receive as many as he needeth.”

FRESHLY BAKED BREAD

Let us pray God will send a revival into the hearts of those who minister the Word of God that, if they’ve been serving moldy leftovers from the past, they will begin today to get hot bread from Heaven, as it leaves those fiery ovens.

LOVE TO FEEDER

I once saw a sheep run to a dear farmer’s wife, bestowing upon her all the love and affection possible for an animal to give. She explained to me, “Please forgive Fluffy; I fed her from the time she was a little lamb, and she loves me to death.” A wonderful sight indeed, to see God’s sheep gathered around their pastor in appreciation, after feeding time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Walk of Faith

WALKING INTO THE FUTURE

“Walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham.” The beloved and colorful old evangelist, Vance Havner, when asked if he thought Pentecostals were going to Heaven replied, “Yes, if they don’t run past it.” Faith is a walk; it begins with an initial step, and in turn, becomes a habit. Once this journey is started it lengthens into a sustained walk with God.

GOD’S ALREADY THERE

We Christians sometimes speak of “a leap of faith,” but in reality it is simply putting one foot in front of the other, trusting God each step of the way. We need never fear the future; God is always ahead of us and waiting there. He has made all the preparations and arrangements, whatever awaits us. We can have faith in His faithfulness!

FAITH FOR THE PRESENT

Therefore, faith does not question where it is being led, it needs not  know the how and why, only that God is directing into the future. Faith does not concern itself with what is up ahead but only in doing the next thing! The writer of Hebrews speaks of a “Now Faith,” not something far off. Don’t worry yourself about tomorrow's faith; do you have enough faith right now to take the next step?

“Where reason cannot wade, there faith may swim.”
Thomas Watson


Settling It-Is Settling

ALL MUST DO IT...SOONER OR LATER

There comes a time in every saint's life when he or she must ask themselves that all-important question, and answer it honestly, “Am I going to go all the way, no matter what? This comes at different stages in each Christian’s life, but generally at a Red Sea experience, when all human possibilities have been exhausted. It’s not difficult to affirm  positively, “YES!,” when lying on flowery beds of ease. But when the waters are about to cover you, as in David’s case, it’s a different matter.

ONE OF THE GREAT DECLARATIONS OF FAITH

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” James tells us the old patriarch is our example when, so to speak, one’s back is against the wall. Previously, Job’s life was more or less serene. But now the very heavens are falling in on him. And what is his testimony? Out of the ash heap of despair this broken man cries, “Though He multiply my sorrow, increase my pain, and add torment  to my already tormented soul, I will go to my grave clinging to Him. As with Jacob, “I will not let thee go.”

TRUST, NO MATTER WHAT

The words that win God’s heart is, “I’LL TRUST YOU, LORD, NO MATTER WHAT.” “I’ll trust you like Moses at the Red Sea; as Daniel did in the lion's den; like the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace; as Hezekiah did on his sickbed; when shut-in like Joseph; when I lose everything dear, as Naomi; when everything is going against me, as Jeremiah; when my very life is being slowly drained from me, like the woman with the issue of blood; and yes, when suffering on my deathbed, when it seems even YOU have forsaken me, as in your Son’s case, I’ll trust you!”

ISAIAH SAYS IT ALL

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation...Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. “ Isaiah 12:2; 26:3-4




Saturday, September 17, 2016

An Appetite For the Divine

TWO KINDS OF APPETITE

There is a fleshly appetite and a soulish one. We are are all familiar with the former, but not so much with the latter. Isaiah speaks of a man’s soul having an appetite. Few there be today, I believe, who have a real hunger for God. It seems many are satisfied with religious junk food. I guess because it’s “fast food,” no need to wait.

JESUS’ DISCIPLES HAD TO LEARN IT AND SO DO WE

On one occasion, Jesus’ disciples were overly concerned with food while our Lord, on the other hand, was taken up with His fellowship with God. His appetite for God was greater than that for food. This is seen in His statement at the time, “But He said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.” His was a diet of Deity!  

THE CHURCH-A REFLECTION OF ISRAEL

“They saw God, and did eat and drink.” What a sad experience!  Strange, it affected no permanent transformation. This brief encounter with God satisfied them, but left no desire to go deeper into fellowship with Him. Only a short time later, after eating, they’re seen worshiping the golden calf. Notice the order. By putting the flesh first they ended with carnal worship.

DO YOU AND I HAVE THE SMELL OF GARLIC UPON US?

Many of us, like in Jesus’ parable,“dureth for a while,” and then are drawn away by our taste for other things. The leeks and garlic of Egyptian bondage seem more inviting to some than the sweet manna of wilderness liberty. The mixed multitude never longs for the latter! God’s elect have, as it were, a spiritual “sweet tooth.”



Friday, September 16, 2016

Seeking The Wrong Thing

EXPERIENCE IS NOT THE BEST TEACHER

The book of Proverbs teaches the best way to learn is by instruction; the following book, Ecclesiastes, written by the same man, shows experience is not the best teacher. Ask any child who was told not to touch the stove, lest they get a painful burn, but who was dead set to find out for themselves. I guarantee they’ll testify to the fact I present.

THE OLD PURITANS HAD IT RIGHT

I learned a great truth early in my Christian life from reading the Puritans. It has helped me throughout these many years. “We’re to seek the Apostles teachings, not their experiences.” Not only attempting to emulate Bible characters’ experiences is dangerous, but also saints whose lives we read of in Church history. We all need to read more objectively.

IT’S WHAT THEY SAY, NOT WHAT THEY DO, THAT COUNTS

We cringe at the saying, “Don’t do as I do, but do as I say.” Yet this is exactly what Jesus taught His followers on one occasion.All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” I might add, it is not a question of what would Jesus do, but what did Jesus say?” For example, He drove them out of the Temple with a whip. I wouldn’t recommend that.


Monday, September 12, 2016

The Miraculous

I’VE THOUGHT THE SAME THING MYSELF

And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”

MIRACLES MATTER

The miraculous is an integral part of Christianity. Disregard miracles and you have taken the very life out of it. One good definition of a miracle is, “An observed event that triggers an awareness and awesomeness of God’s presence and power.”

THE NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL

It’s important to point out that God uses the natural when performing the supernatural. Natural things become supernatural when God is associated with them. Things like an axe head, water pots, a barrel, ravens, and a teenage virgin, to name just a few. We see from these examples that generally miracles interrupt, but do not disregard, the usual course of nature. Nevertheless the God of nature is not tied to its laws.

AN IMPORTANT REMINDER

We do well to remember, in Bible times, as far as I know, no one ever saw a miracle while looking for one. The supernatural occurred while he or she were busy doing what came naturally. As that blessed man, A.W. Tozer, has written,"Miracles follow the plow."

EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE

Not often will the Lord do His part if we neglect to do ours. But He can and will, if it so pleases Him! And praise His name, He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Favorites

MY FAVORITE NEW TESTAMENT STORY

I think most, if not all Christians have their own favorite Bible stories. My favorite in the New Testament is the following; it’s found in John chapter four, verses forty-six through fifty-three.

“So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told [him], saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.  So the father knew that [it was] at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.”

ALL AVENUES EXHAUSTED

I believe parents will agree with me that this father had tried all avenues open to him for the healing of his son. From the medical profession to homeopathic remedies; possibly, even some quack cures. All doors were closed and locked to him. He was literally “shut-up unto the faith.” He was at his Red Sea with no place to turn.

BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES

There seems to be a principle in the scripture: God loves it when His children come to the end of themselves. When all hope is taken away. When there is no man to help. Someone has written—

“God is a tower without a stair
And His perfection loves despair.”

A THOUGHT THAT HAS HELPED ME

From our scriptural story, God gave me a little saying that has helped me these many years.

“Act as though it were, And you’ll experience it as it is.”

NO MAGICAL BOOK

Paul tells us the Word of God works effectually in them that believe. There is nothing magical about the Word. Wishing will get you nowhere, believing it will take you a long way.

DON’T LET THE WEAKNESS OF THE FLESH TROUBLE YOU

You can have a weak flesh with a strong faith, look at Abraham’s life of faith. He staggered on the outside but the inner-man stood strong. The wise man declares, “The root of the righteous shall not be moved”. The storms can bow the limbs, but never the root. Like a buoy, you may be tossed to and fro on the surface, but underneath it is steadfast!  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.”

"At the end of self...you’ll find God.”
(rds)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Riding It Through

A BOY ON THE BUS

When just a little tyke, around seven, I rode the bus to town from time to time, to the movies. Rather than coins we’d use small tokens in its place to drop into the change box. That small token always got me to where I was going.

DAVID’S TOKEN

“Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.” Not, “Shew me a sign, or “Shew me a miracle,” but simply, “Shew me a token.”

TOKENS IN TOUGH TIMES

At this particular time in David’s life, he was in dire straits, and felt the need for some, small token of God’s affection. Some little something that proved God’s pleasure with him. Something that would unquestioningly manifest Divine favor. Something that those contrary to him would observe. Something that would show he was God’s friend. I would remind my readers that God is still handing out such tokens.

A PRAYER FOR BOTH YOU AND ME

"O, Lord, give me a token that I might ride this storm through and get home safely. I’m just a little child and am fearful of the storm, as your early followers were. Help me to know you’re in the driver's seat and all will be well. Getting your children through storms has never been a problem for you. Just a “Peace be still” will calm everything. Help me not to look at the flashing lightning, or listen to the clashing thunder, but to keep my eyes on thee. I pray in the name of the One who rode through the greatest of all storms, AMEN!”

Friday, September 9, 2016

One Smooth Srone

NEXT TO MY EASY CHAIR

My computer, that I write all my articles on, lies within reach of my old easy chair. Close to the computer is a small smooth stone, a bit larger than a quarter, on which I wrote with a permanent marker, “It only takes one.”  This is a constant reminder to me that it only takes one to bring down the giant, when he shows up to challenge me.

WHY DAVID’S FIVE SMOOTH STONES

If it be asked, why the four extra stones, did not David have faith one would do it? Could it be the others were just in case. That is, just in case his brother’s showed up, as they did when David was old. The Bible indicates Goliath possibly had four other brothers (1Sam.17; 2Sam.21; 1Chr.20). In one place one is referred to as his son, in another, all were called his brothers. Discrepancy? No! Each were by his mother, thereby, brothers. The only answer in reference to  the son is that he was by incest (common then, as today), making him also his brother.


CONFIDENCE IN GOD AND GIFT

David shows he had faith in God but also confidence in His gift. Saul’s tribe, the Benjamites, were naturally gifted with the sling; David’s was God gifted. David had confidence in his gift thereby enabling him to use it effectively. Each of us has his or her own spiritual gift, but not all are effective with it. The reason being, our gifts must be honed, like other things in life. God’s gifts to us are perfect. But, because we are not, we must constantly be perfecting them. Example, “Perfecting holiness.” Like playing a piano, or preaching, you must work at it. David did not hit the mark, I’m sure, the first time he slung his sling. Find your God-given-gift, then give to it your time.