Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Glory's Gone

IT REALLY HAPPENS IN OUR DAY ALSO

Many today, as an old friend wrote to me, are on the verge of giving up on the church. You may dismiss this Ichabod (departed glory)  theory, if you will, but I believe it will be to your own detriment. It is a fact that scores of believers are leaving churches, and not all of them can be written off, nonchalantly, as "backsliders." Some of them are spiritual people who, in good conscience, can no longer keep their families in a dead orthodox church that resembles a graveyard with lifeless corpses more than it does a lively body.

THE OLD TESTAMENT OUR EXAMPLE

Because of God’s people going apostate, the prophet Ezekiel tells us he saw the glory of the Lord depart from God’s House: it moved from the altar to the threshold; from the threshold to  outskirts of the city; and from the city to a mountain. This can, and does, happen to churches in the New Testament. Read the last book of the Bible, chapters two and three. I have a denim shirt whose brand name is, “Faded Glory.” This is sadly true of many assemblies today, I’m afraid.

LOOKING GOOD DOESN’T COUNT

Paul tells us, in the last days the apostate church will have, A form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” Like the man with the lost axe head in Elisha’s day, rather than stopping everything till we get God’s glory and power back, we keep up appearance by going through the motions. In spite of the fact, no longer do chips fly and trees fall.

“Without a spiritual inventory from time to time, your shelves will soon be bare.”
(rds)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Burden of the Lord

WHOSE BURDEN?
“…ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the Lord…Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD.”

MANUFACTURED BURDENS
The people of Jeremiah’s day were using the term, “The Burden of the Lord,” lightly. God told them to cease from this carelessness. In certain circles today we hear such phrases as one having a “crushing burden,” or being “bowed down with a burden.” Such burdens are self-imposed; they are manufactured by the bearer, not the Lord. These kind of expressions may sound spiritual, but they’re not scriptural.

ONLY WHAT WE’RE CAPABLE OF CARRYING
God has promised to not allow anything to be placed upon us that would be, “above that ye are able to bear.” If you are overwhelmed with the load you are carrying, be assured God did not place it upon you. A little tyke seemed to be weighted down with Christmas packages as he waited for his parent outside a store. A passerby offered to help the encumbered lad, to which he replied, “No thanks, my father never puts more on me than I can carry.”

THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK
Jesus promised, “My burden is light.” If we’re under the yoke with Him, how then could ours be heavy? When our four children were small we had a game called Break the Camel's Back. You were to put as many match-sticks on his back as you could, without causing him to cave in the middle. O, dear child of God, He who knoweth your frame will not place one more care upon you than He knows you’re able to sustain. His promise is, “I will put upon you none other burden.”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Staying on Top of Things

LOOKING AT THE WAVES
“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary... But when he (Peter)saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

AN ADMONITION FROM A SONG
The children sing in Sunday School, “Be careful little eyes what you see.” Looking at the wrong things can have an adverse effect upon one. It can cause deep depression, sin in the heart, paralyzing fear, and a host of other deplorables. It is possible to produce our own problems by a look.

THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL’S GOAL
If the unholy three can divert our attention away from the object of our faith, Christ, they know we’ll sink in the sea of despair. Looking to our blessed Lord keeps our head, so to speak, above the troubled waters. They put blinders on horses to keep them from being spooked. We need to ask our Master to equip us with a pair!









Friday, November 25, 2016

God Doing Things The Hard Way

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
When he [Jesus] had heard therefore that he [Lazarus] was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” Why wait? Our Lord’s friend, whom He loved dearly, is at death’s door. And, as a result of His tarrying, Lazarus does die, which, as Martha stated, would not have happened had He been there. Why does Christ wait until the situation is impossible before showing up? Simple; to show He’s the God of the impossible, and to manifest His glory.

BURNING UP THE WATER SOAKED
This is the same God of who was going to answer Elijah’s prayer by fire. And so, what did the prophet do? He had twelve barrels of water poured on the sacrifice, wood, and altar, and then filled the trench around the altar with water. All this was not very conducive to a plan for God to burn up the sacrifice and everything connected to it. But the man, who was “of like passions” as we are, knew nothing was too hard for the Lord. Do we know this?

“God is not rushed, but He’s reliable.”
(rds)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful Not Boastful

A PRAYER PROBLEM
“I thank thee, that I am not as other men are…even as this publican.” It’s not the first part of this man’s prayer that got him into hot water, but the latter. After all, what godly woman doesn’t thank God she is not a harlot, etc.? And what good Christian man is not thankful he isn’t a drunkard or something worse? The problem with the prayer is not in evaluation but elevation.

ALL ARE MADE FROM THE SAME MOLD
It is not wrong to be thankful you’re not like other men. But it is to think you’re better. We are all cut from the same Adamic “cloth,” and as such, are capable of anything and everything anyone else does. As it is said, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” To be humbly thankful you have not experienced another’s misfortune is one thing; but to be haughty and boastful of this fact is another.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

From Start to Finish

A FEW OF MANY PRECIOUS PROMISES
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”; “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”; “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it”; “Sit still...until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.”


GOD DOESN’T START AND STOP-HE FINISHES THE JOB
C.H. Spurgeon writes, “It is not to be imagined that He who has helped us in six troubles will leave us in the seventh. God does nothing by halves, and He will never cease to help us until we cease to need. The manna shall fall every morning until we cross the Jordan.”


LESSONS FROM THE FOWLS
Job tells us, “Ask now... the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” We are told, as long as the baby birds in the nest keep their mouths open, the mother will continue to feed them. And the Lord had that great observer of nature, David, apply this to prayer in the life of God’s little fledglings. “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”


“YESTERDAY HE HELPED ME, TODAY HE DID THE SAME. HOW LONG WILL THIS CONTINUE? FOREVER! PRAISE HIS NAME.”

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Talking Won't Change It

DON’T WASTE YOUR BREATH
“And the Lord said unto me…speak no more unto me of this matter.” In essence, God is saying to Moses, “Don’t waste your breath or my time.” Some things in our lives are irreversible, and it is futile trying to get God to change them. It’s like the little girl who wrote on her exam paper that Cincinnati was the capital of Ohio. After being told by her mother differently, and knowing the teacher would grade the papers the following day, she prayed, “Lord, just for tomorrow, let Cincinnati be the capital.”

DIFFERENT AFFLICTIONS BUT THE SAME PAIN
Paul had a similar experience; he spent half his life asking God to remove a thorn in his flesh He had given him. But after the suffering saint’s third request, it was revealed to him that it was to be a permanent fixture in his life. It was for God’s glory and Paul’s good. And so, because we do not know what constituted his thorn, we can justifiably suppose our situation to be a kindred one. Therefore, when the messenger of Satan drives our thorn deeper, God tells us His grace accompanies it to the same depth that it is driven, enabling us to bear it.

SOME THINGS ARE BETTER LEFT ALONE
My younger daughter, Charity, and I have a bad habit of not leaving a sore alone; we are always picking at it, making it worse. I find I am tempted to do this in the spiritual realm also. It’s a wise thing not to personally try to remove our thorn; it only brings one unnecessary pain. And we get enough of that from Satan’s messenger. We need not add to it. As C.S.Lewis writes, “I suppose the only way with thorns in the flesh…is not to press on the place where they are embedded.”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Strength to Keep Going

STRONG BUT WEAK-WEAK BUT STRONG
Whenever I feel I do not have the strength to go on, invariably I find it’s because I’m attempting to go under my own steam. My problem is not my weakness, but my strength. The latter is not an asset, but a liability. It hinders me; it does not help me. Our problem is not that we are too weak, but too strong. King Uzziah was marvelously helped till he was strong. Jacob became a prince, having the power of God, once his own strength had withered. God tells us His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Paul found it to be so. He writes, “…when I am weak, then am I strong.”

EXAMPLES THAT ENCOURAGE
The Hebrew heroes of the book of Hebrews , we are told, “…out of weakness were made strong.” Those little shrimps became whales in their weakness. Those who are giant-killers testify, “The Lord is the strength of my life.” It is not our strength we are to offer to the Lord, but our weakness. It is then God takes the non-entity and infuses him or her with divine power. And be not mistaken, whoever He infuses, He uses!

ACKNOWLEDGING OUR INADEQUACIES
If we would only confess our inadequacy, and abandon our reliance upon our natural abilities and resources, then would come to pass, “…the lame take the prey.” But this will not happen until we are content to be nothing, and let Him be everything.He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sinful Saints

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

SINLESS SAINTS-THERE AIN’T
These followers of Christ had an evil nature, that is, an inherent sinful disposition, found in all of God’s children. The new Divine nature received at conversion does not negate the old sinful one. Paul is explicit about this in his epistle to the Romans, chapter seven.

HATE FOR THE TRUTH
The great radio Bible teacher of the past, Dr. M.R. DeHaan, once brought a series of messages on “The Blunders of Paul and The Sins of the Saint.” He mentioned afterward that he had never received so much hate mail from Christians. They mistakenly believed, as many still do, that Bible saints were somehow special creatures.

THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
If this were so, why then did Jesus teach His disciples (and us) to say, “Forgive us our sins,” in the Lord’s Prayer? The truth of the matter is, all of God’s people that receive answers to prayer fall way short in their personal lives. And any saint listed in the Bible would be the first to tell you it was so in their life. Have you never read God’s Hall of Faith in Hebrews eleven? A perfect person you’ll not finad!

IT’S FOR JESUS’ SAKE
My beloved mentor, Dr. Joe Henry Hankins, used to have a sermon entitled, “How Can a Holy God Forgive Sinners?” Of course the answer is, “On the merits of Christ.” We might also be prone to wonder, “How can a Holy God answer my prayers, with all my sins and shortcomings?” Same answer! As one of the verses says in a song my wife sings, “I come in the merits of Jesus.”

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Reverse Roles

THE SHOE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT NOW
It is of utmost importance a child of God realizes that at his or her conversion there was (is) a reversal of roles. But sad to say, most learn this all important truth way too late in life; and some, never do. I mean the fact that saints are no longer under the domain of Satan. And that power has been vested in us by our Sovereign over Satanic powers. Paul puts it this way, “...to turn them from...the power of Satan unto God.” And Jesus told His followers, “Behold, I give unto you power...over all the power of the enemy.”

CHRISTIANS COWERING IN A CORNER
We are to be warriors, not weaklings. Not whipped dogs cowering in a corner, shivering! We’re told to put on the armour of God, then stand our ground, as David’s mighty men did. We are to be against the evil forces on earth and in the heavenlies . The devil is a defeated foe. He has lost the war, although he still fights. Our Commander in Chief conquered him at every turn: at the great temptation, during His earthly ministry, in Gethsemane, at the Cross, at the empty tomb, and His present intercessory work, he will be chained at Christ’s coming, then ultimately cast into an eternal lake of fire.

A BLESSING FROM MY DEVOTIONAL TIME
As I was going through the book of Isaiah recently I came across the following text, “...and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.” God tells his people, after a lengthy miserable state of being captive to their enemies, that He will make them rulers over those who had once dominated them. When our Lord ascended, we’re told, “He led captivity captive.” That is, our Beloved captor who captured us from the kingdom of darkness and those who once were our captors, has made them to become our captives; this by the authority of the KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS!