Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thanksgiving Prayer

“For mercies countless as the sands,
Which daily I receive
From Jesus, my Redeemer’s hands,
My soul, what canst thou give?

Alas! from such a heart as mine
What can I bring Him forth?
My best is stained and dyed with sin,
My all is nothing worth.

Yet this acknowledgment I’ll make,
For all He has bestowed:
Salvation’s sacred cup I’ll take,
And call upon my God.”
(John Newton , 1725-1807)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It's Not Mandatory

“If he offer…the sacrifice of thanksgiving…” A number of the Levitical offerings were mandatory, but the thank offering was voluntary. It was not “when ye offer,” but “if ye offer.” As far as I can find, no one offered this voluntary sacrifice of thanksgiving until David—not Moses, not Aaron, or anyone else. For close to 500 years, God had not smelled a sweet savor of a thank offering. Is it any wonder this shepherd boy, who became a man of God, had wiggled his way into God’s heart? How pleased the Lord was with such sacrifices. God seems to have an affinity for those who are most appreciative.

The Scriptures abound with the subject of thanksgiving. “In everything give thanks”; “Always giving thanks..;” “Come before his presence with thanksgiving.” If the Bible did not teach the giving of thanks, common courtesy would demand it for all God’s goodness to us. “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good.” In Jesus’ prayers, He said, “I thank thee, O Father…” That’s an excellent example to follow. Let me suggest the next time you have the hum-drums, to try thanksgiving.

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?"

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Watcha Waitin For?

And now, Lord, what wait I for? ” A good question to ask, especially at this time of the year, when it is drawing to a close. I find all of us, in one way or the other, have made a profession out of procrastination. Some of us have become very proficient in it. We like to wait for the turn of the year until circumstances change, or when we have arrived, wherever that might be.

There is a lot of truth in the little quip, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” One of my philosophies in life, though I do not always adhere to it is, “When you know what God wants you to do, do it. If you don’t, the devil will talk you out of it.” Again, one of my homespun sayings will fit here: “I’m gonna never done nothin!” Begin now where you are. We’re not promised tomorrow, only today.

Let’s lay aside future resolutions and resolve today to take care of the task at hand!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Trusting God Around the Clock

When I first started preaching, I believed there should be a one-time committal by a believer to trust God with their life. As the years went on, I narrowed it down to a daily trust. I now see the Lord wants us to trust Him on a moment by moment basis.

David knew this blessed and revitalizing truth. In Psalm 62:8, he admonishes us to “trust in him at all times...” Not some of the time, but all of the time. We’re to depend upon God to perform all things for us. We are to have a habitual confidence in Him. Every second of the day, on every occasion, whether it be in emergency or elation, we’re to trust in Him.

On the screen of my cell phone I have put “Trust in God.” It matters not if the sun is shining, or in the blackness of night. The time, place, and circumstances do not change what is written. If I call for help, or just chat with a loved one, I always see the words, “Trust in God.”

In the future, may the Holy Spirit help each of us, when looking at a clock or watch, to remember we are to trust in God, no matter what time it is.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

On Our Way Home

After my tour of duty in Korea in 1951, I remember as just a teen, the commanding officer calling me into his office and saying, “You're going home, son.” I have no words to express the exuberant spirit that came over me. Home: Mom, loved ones, friends, all awaiting my arrival. And I longing to see them. Generally speaking I find what you don’t desire you don’t love.

I sincerely feel sadness for those Believers who, for lack of a better term, have put all their eggs in this world’s basket. Most certainly, we’re to enjoy life and the things God has given us, but always remembering this earth is headed for the ash-heap. He’s going to remake it. This world, as we know it, is only an inn where we stay on our way Home. Home is not only where the heart is, but where God is!

C.S. Lewis writes of going home to Ireland and applies it to Heaven: “These last few days! Every little nuisance, every stale or tiresome bit of work, every feeling of that estrangement which I never quite get over in another country, serves as a delightful reminder of how different it will all be soon. Already one’s mind dwells upon the sights and sounds and smells of home.”

Again, Lewis speaking of our final Home: “ We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard.” And to quote another writer, Henry Jowett: “Truly we are like children going home, jubilant and glad. We have been in the far country and our garments are stained.”

“Even the tired horse, when he comes near home, mends his pace,”
(Thomas Adams~Puritan)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Intellectual Biblical Scholarship

Nothing is harder to digest than an “intellectual snob,” that is, unless it is an “ignorant slob!” When the Bible says that some of Jesus’ followers were “unlearned and ignorant men,” it does not mean illiterate, but simply that they were void of any formal education. That Spiritual and intellectual giant A.W. Tozer, had only a ninth grade education. But he was known as the “Master Wordsmith.”

I was associated for years with a group that felt that anything that had the smell of intellect or scholarship associated with it should be viewed suspiciously. In fact, in most cases, it was just downright rejected from the first. It must be wrong, they reasoned, for it had “brains.” To them, God had rejected any and all great thinkers. This is, no doubt, the reason that little comes from this group that is worth reading. They equate scholarship with liberalism. To be sure, when one opposes godly scholarship they’re allowing their insecurity to show through!

I, for one, thank God for humble, Spirit-filled scholars. For example, where would we Bible students be without some of their reference books? And who would defend our Christian position before the intellects of the world? Usually, this type (worldly intellects) only give ear to their equal, or one who is superior. Intellectual scholarship has been used of God to bring many an intellectual infidel into the Kingdom of God. Thank God for men such as Cornelius Van Til, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, etc., who have influenced thousands from among the worldly wise to join Christ’s Blood-bought band.

Scholarship without the Spirit is like having an arrow without a bow; it can’t get the point across…while ignorance is like holding a bow without an arrow; you have no point to make.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Lasting Legacy

“…this woman was full of good works…” This was Dorcas’ lasting legacy. She put into practice what Paul preached: “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works.” She not only had a pattern for the coats and garments she made, but, more importantly, she left them a Godly “cut-out” that they might pattern their lives after.

Seneca was one of the greatest of the Stoic philosophers. He was falsely accused by Nero of conspiracy and ordered to take his own life. He was refused the right to leave a will. Turning to his weeping family and friends, he said he would leave them the best thing he had— the pattern of his life.

Good works speak louder than great words.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Laying it to Herat

If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.”

The glory of God is the one aim and end of the saint's life. It is the main principle and rule for our very existence. The awful result of not doing so is to have God curse one's blessings, spiritually as well as materially. The things that God provides for our wealth, like the Jews in our text, can become our want.

King Midas thought it a blessing that everything he touched turned to gold, until he touched his daughter. Then the blessing became a curse. It’s a serious thing to not take God seriously. Christianity is a serious business. Cross-bearing is not for the frivolous! In Bible times, if you saw a man carrying a cross you knew he wasn’t going to a banquet.

God is not against “fun and games,” but in the midst of them we’re to remember the tremendous price He paid that we could enjoy fullness of life. Our joy and happiness came at a great cost to both the Father and Son. In the midst of the cheerfulness of a wedding,  Jesus had the Father’s business on His mind. He laid it to heart. Should not we?

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

There-Was a Man

In todays population I can understand a little how God must have felt when He told Ezekiel, “I sought for a man among them…but I found none.” I’m not speaking of what the world defines as manly, but God’s description. The former always looks on the outward appearance, while the latter views the inside. And so, let us be clear, we’re not addressing a physical roughness, but ruggedness of character. It is possible to be big on the outside, with a midget of a man on the inside. On the other hand, I’ve met many a man who was small of stature, but who was a giant of a man within.

We have so-called Christian writers today who, while posing as a man, stand hiding themselves behind a fountain pen. And many in our pulpits want to pass themselves off as real men, who stand for something, but are actually only kept up by the starch in their clothes! My personal description of a man is one who does what needs to be done, simply because it needs doing, regardless of the cost. My Grandpa Morrison worked as a night-watchman forty years at a paper mill, and he never missed a day in all that time; while raising a family of seven. He proudly received his gold pocket-watch at retirement. He was 5’2’’ and weighted 125 pounds. WHAT A MAN HE WAS!

When a male was born in Bible times he was referred to as a, “Man child.” In other words, every male child was born with the potential of being a real man. Only by either neglect, or by training and conditioning, will he be otherwise. Feminization of the male spirit is unnatural! This is why a single mother must keep her son(s) around manly men. Timothy’s mother and grandmother did a super job; but it was Paul who put the icing on the cake. From childhood, I cannot remember a day that I have not admired manliness, and wanted only to be a part of their clan. On my tomb-stone, I know of no greater epitaph to have than what was said of John the Baptist, “There was a man.”

Friday, November 13, 2015

Its Gotta Be Earned

I find many in today’s shallow and unprincipled culture believe unconditional love automatically carries with it unequivocal respect. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The former is free, the latter earned. The first is a gift, the second is merited.

People who possess real character are so constituted that they refuse to give (or accept) respect on a wholesale basis. Never mistake a person accepting who you are, for thinking they approve of the way you are.

We are told in the scriptures “…the Lord had respect unto Abel…But unto Cain…he had not respect.” From this we find that if one is to gain God’s respect, a body must be presented Him as a living sacrifice (Ro.12:1-2).

A father may love all his children alike, but that doesn’t mean he respects them all the same.