Saturday, April 30, 2016

Don't Get Ahead of Yourself

Not only is our Sovereign the God of eternity, but He is the Lord of time. He controls every aspect of it. He can make it stand still, go backward, or run it ahead. But He is distinctively the God of the present. And why is this? I think C.S. Lewis put it best when he said, “Where, except in the present, can the Eternal be met.” Therefore, as they say, “There is no time like the present.”

But we must be cautious that we do not mistake a seemingly right situation for the right time. Take Simon Peter’s case for example. The Lord had told him how he would die (John 21:18-19). And in Acts 12:3-6 the circumstances would lead one to think this was the time his Lord had spoken to him about. But though the situation was right, the timing was wrong, for this memorable event could not come to pass until, as Jesus had said, “…when thou shalt be old.”

It is not the circumstances, but timing, that counts. Let us keep our eyes on God’s clock and not on the conditions. If we do, we, like Peter, will sleep better.

Timing is Everything!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Unsavoury God

“...thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.”

Job tells us something unsavory is tasteless. Have you ever wondered why some among us no longer have a taste for God? Men, women, and young people who once hungered for Him? The reason is they no longer possess their spiritual taste-buds. He is like the white of an egg to them. He has become bland (flavorless) in their lives.

Darling David challenges us, “O taste and see that the LORD is good.” Sample taste, if you please. But this is not so with those who have gone back and are now feeding upon the world's “leeks and garlic.” They could taste all day and never savor the sweetness of God. When God’s people of old were right with Him, the manna tasted like honey; but as oil to those of the mixed multitude.

Beloved, do you still hunger for God, and even more so, than you did in years past? When Jesus said, “He that cometh to me shall never hunger,” it only means after a different kind. A.W. Tozer sold peanuts on a train when a young man. He said he would start out giving away a few free ones to each passenger. Later as he went through the cars selling them, he said he’d sell out. They wanted more of the same sort.

Maybe the reason many professing Christians hunger after another kind is because they are members of the “mixed multitude,” who were never part of God’s elect. They always had the taste of Egypt in their mouths.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Asking Too Much

“Such as I have give I thee.” Would to God some of today’s Christians could get hold of this great truth. Peter may have lacked in some things, but common sense was not one of them. A person cannot give what they do not have. If they do, there is reason to suspect it was ill gotten. You can’t get a quart of milk out of a pint bottle.

I’ve been guilty in the past of saying, “God wants 110% of our lives.” Such little clich├ęs may be inspirational, but they are not scriptural. Each of us can give 100%, but even with this statement it must be qualified. It needs to be realized, when I give my best, it may not be as good as another who excels me in capacity. But God accepts both as the same. It has been, and always will be, in His sight, “…according to our ability.”

Don’t let Satan or anyone else push you beyond your God given limitations. Let us not be guilty of asking, or expecting, of a person more than they have. Even the Lord doesn’t do that! As A.W. Tozer says, “God is easy to live with.” And so should we be.

Remember, along with our God given abilities, there is God given limitations.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

They're Not Just For Kids

Children’s stories in the Bible are for every child of God. To lightly pass over them is to take the Bible lightly. Some of the deepest and most profound truths are to be found in stories that have erroneously been designated, for the most part, to children only.

For example, in the account of David and Goliath, I personally have gleaned at least fifteen rare nuggets from that rich vein of truth. One of which was when David put off Saul’s armour. He had no use for artificial armour. Rather than be a little man in giant’s armour, he chose rather to be a giant of a man in God’s armour. It’s embarrassing to be clothed in an extra, extra large, when you are a regular. The thing I like most about walking in my own shoes is that they are so comfortable.

I think it would be a good idea for those who are constantly tripping over the supper-sized garments they wear, to become quick-change artists. You will be surprised at how nice fitting things are that come from your own closet. You will also discover that people will like you so much better in your own duds!

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. 
Dr. Seuss

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Love for "ALL" the Brethren

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.”

Years ago an old preacher friend of mine who came into a large inheritance, held a Bible conference in the Ohio- Kentucky area. He rented out a large number of rooms at a motel, along with their conference hall. The purpose was to get Independent Baptists to love one another. A worthy cause.

If you’re familiar with your New Testament you know this was the constant theme of its writers. But their emphasis was not on one small segment in the Body of Christ; it was all-encompassing. It included those who did not cross their t’s and dot their i’s the way they did. Their love ran over.

You do not have to agree with a person to love him or her. Insecure saints are fearful to show love toward those with whom they differ, afraid some might think they’re in agreement with them. This sort suffer from the fear of man. They are led by the flesh, certainly not by His Spirit.

We’re commanded to love our brethren, as well as God. A command has to do with the will. You “will” to love it doesn’t have anything to do with your feelings, that’s a by-product; they may or may not be involved. Reading the little book of 1 John, occasionally, would help us along these lines.

John Newton, in the book, “Letters of John Newton,” puts what I have been trying to get across better than anyone I have ever read, “In a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now.”  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

High on God's List

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus.” Where would all the evangelists, pastors, and missionaries, be without Godly couples such as these to help us on in our ministries? Every preacher knows the value of an Aquila and Priscilla—or should know.

Such people score high on God’s list of the laity. They labored together as husband and wife as tent makers, opened their home for church services, instructed ministerial students in the deeper things of God, and were willing to lay down their lives for God’s man. This humble couple was known and respected among all the churches. They were part of Paul’s team. They weren’t stars, just players.

I thank God for all the “Aquila’s and Priscilla’s” who have given their hands, hearts, and homes to help this unworthy servant along the way. It is such people, I’m sure, the writer of Hebrews addresses when he writes, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”

“Who they were, nobody knows; what they did, everybody knows.”
(inscription on tomb of unknown Confederate soldier)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Coming Out of Nowhere

After spending a number of years among a small group of preachers and churches, I was then introduced to a large number of pastors from across the country. After preaching to this particular fellowship of men, one of their wives asked me, “Where did you come from? When I explained, she said, “You seemed to have come out of nowhere.”

The truth is, no one comes from nowhere, everyone comes from somewhere. And while how you arrived there may be a providential mystery, you still need to be content wherever that “somewhere” is. For it is from “there” God will call you to that one all-important task for which He created you. John the Baptist’s wilderness experience is a good illustration.

The famous basketball coach, John Wooden used to say to his players, “No time spent in preparation is wasted.” Being is much more important than doing! For the former determines the quality of the latter. The Man Christ Jesus, spent the first thirty-years of His life in obscurity, in preparation for His final three.

Such eternal plans have no time limit. In some cases it is longer compared to others. But in many if not most lives, it’s just the opposite; “A flash in the pan,” as they say. You go off the scene as quickly as you came on. The Bible is full of such examples. But all these “passing shadows” had one magnificent characteristic, they did God’s bidding.

A little unnamed Jewish maiden, taken captive by the Syrians, never to see loved ones or land again, became a servant girl to a military man, a mighty man of valour, Naaman by name. But he was a leper. She was instrumental in his cleansing and new life. We never hear of her again. But she is recorded in God’s eternal record Book. She only did one great spiritual thing in her life, as far as we know, but it was for the Glory of God!  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mechanical Christians

There is a marked difference between having good spiritual habits and allowing them to become mechanical. One of the definitions of the first word is: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. As to the latter, its meaning is: acting or performing without
spontaneity, spirit, or individuality; that is, automated.

Things such as daily Bible reading, prayer, witnessing, etc., are good habits until they become mechanical; then routine turns to rot. When what we do is “same-o, same-o,” it ends up being boring, and so do we. Variety is the mark of a healthy Christian. Doing the same thing everyday doesn’t have to mean doing it the same way. Break out of your mold!

“I think sometimes robots have more versatility to them than many Christians.”  
(rds)   

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Passing of a Kind

“And it shall come to pass in that day,that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive” (Zach.13:4)

Zechariah says the old-time rugged prophets of his day, and those before, were characterized by their “rough garments.” It could be some of these rough, hairy garments were from the skins of the sacrifices from the altar. This may have been true of Elijah. And John the Baptist might have gotten his from a dead carcass in the wilderness. One way or the other, without doubt, they were among those who, “wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy).”

There are many in our pulpits today, as in Zechariah’s, who try desperately, but with embarrassing failure, to emulate these one-of-a-kind stalwarts. Years ago I heard a feminine-like preacher say in his sermon, “We need more John the Baptist’s.” I whispered to my wife, “It’s one thing to say it and another to be it.” It was a sad thing, I’m sure, for the old western generation to see the rugged buffalo pass off the scene; but how much more devastating for us to see this breed of “rough and rugged” preachers to go into extinction!

True, there is a small remnant of them still clinging to the old-time ways, but as a whole, their voices have been silenced; replaced by teachers, tickling the ears of the play-acting Christians occupying the pews. No longer is preaching offensive; no longer are preachers’ lives threatened, no longer are tears shed in the pulpit, as well as the pew; no longer are young men called to preach and to the mission field; no longer is there preaching on sin, judgement, death and hell. And what is worst of all, no longer does anyone seem to care!

I thank God I cast my lot almost sixty years ago among this breed of manly men, and I’ve never been sorry a day in my life. And I am confident I will not blush upon meeting my Lord, nor before men such a Jeremiah, Paul, Peter, John the Baptist, and a host of others who were hated and despised by the religious apostates of their age. Like the king of Israel said of one such, “Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”

A closing word to my preacher brethren: “KEEP ON PREACHING TILL THE PREACHER COMES!” It will be worth it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sitting Before the Lord

And David the king came and sat (in his house) before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God?”

In one of his magnificent sermons on prayer, C.H. Spurgeon mentions the beauty of one sitting in an easy chair, with head bowed, lifting his or her heart to the Lord in prayer. I can attest to this fact. I cannot count the times, over these many years, I have walked in on my wife while she was communing with her God, head bowed, the Bible open in her lap, hands clasped, sitting in her favorite rocker, praying to her Sovereign God and Lover of her soul. With the glow of the Glory of God on her face.

Years ago, I listened on the radio regularly to a godly black pastor. I especially liked one particular term he used frequently. “Bow the knees of your heart,” he would say. Your physical posture is of no consequence if the heart is not humbled before Him. A bowed head and a bowed knee count for nothing if the heart is not bowed in reverence. We see darling David’s heart in the first words that came out of his mouth. The greatest king on earth, over the most powerful kingdom, says to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords,  “Who am I, O LORD God?”

If you want to lose that little extra something you have with the Lord that can’t be explained, then you just forget the dung-hill He dug you from. Every saint should read from time to time the story in Luke chapter eighteen of the Pharisee and Publican praying. Also of Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel chapter two. Especially dwell on her admonition, “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth.”  Evidently the Pharisee had never read this; if he did, it wasn’t heeded.

“From the hole of the pit to heavenly places. Let us not forget either.”
(rds)