Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Leaning on the Lord

  1. No need going to Greek and Hebrew lexicons when seeking the meaning of words in scripture. In 98% of the cases, our English Bible (1611 A.V.) will interpret them by comparing scripture with scripture. For example, the wise man in Proverbs chapter three tells us, "lean on" is to "trust in." And in the book of Second Kings, the eighteenth chapter, "trust upon" is equated with "leaning upon." We used to sing in our churches: 

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
  1. Leaning on the everlasting arms;
    What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
    Leaning on the everlasting arms.

O, how we as God's people in this day of turmoil, chaos, and unrest, need once again to lean heavily upon our Lord. I like the story of the elderly missionary woman who was all-in, as they say, after years of toiling and ready to give up because of the heavy trials. Seeing her sitting there discouraged on the floor of her hut, her servant girl (who loved her dearly) sat with her back to her mistress and said, "Lean hard, Missy, lean hard!" David tell us, "Cast thy burden upon He Lord, and He shall sustain thee."

The wise man said if we lean on the Lord He will direct our paths; Hezekiah found there is deliverance for those who lean on the Lord; and in Song of Solomon, we find it is the way out of the wilderness, "Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?" John the Beloved shows the way to intimacy with God and have questions answered is to lean upon the Lord."Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake...[and] Jesus answered." 

Like Jacob of old, who when dying, leaned upon his staff, we should lean upon the Lord to the very end!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Take Your Medicine

“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake, and thy often infirmities.” Some pertinent truths are missed in this text simply because of two factions trying to prove their position on wine.

First, Good and godly people, as Timothy, have sicknesses.

Second, we see that some infirmities are on-going.

Third, God uses means to temporarily relieve our discomforts.

Fourth, whatever the medication, it is to be used in moderation.

Fifth, he does not tell young Timothy to pray, be anointed, or to claim healing by faith, (all of which are legitimate), if God so leads. In this case he is simply to take his medicine. Doesn’t sound very spiritual, does it? But it seemed to have worked.

Sixth, we see progression of certain truths. Early in Paul’s Epistles he looked for the Lord’s return in his day. But later on his position seemed to have changed from an immediate coming, to an imminent one. So it was with healing. In his latter ministry, rather than using his apostolic gift, he left one brother sick at Miletum, and another, in prison with him, had been sick unto death. And, of course there was Timothy.

Seventh, for any super-saints reading this, who are tempted to look down on those who visit a physician in their sickness, it might be well to remember, Paul’s constant companion was Doctor Luke, the beloved physician. Also, the Great Physician Himself told us that sick people need a physician.

An addendum- I question seriously if the reference to wine was grape juice, if so, I doubt he would have cautioned him to use it moderately, “a little...often."

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Someone Has To Do It

"But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab." When a young man, I asked my dear mother, who was soaked in character, why she cleaned toilets and scrubbed floors for others. This wise woman, with that eternal twinkle in her hazel-green eyes said, "Someone has to do it, Son." Malchiah was such a one, his job like my Mom's, was a humbling one, but it was his lot in life. Who of us would not like to be standing at the "east gate" when He returns? But we who are hid away need not fear. He knows where we are, and we can be sure He'll look us up. He knows where all his precious jewels are hid! They sparkle even from seclusion.

These ten gates of Jerusalem are an interesting study in themselves, for example. When you left the "old gate" on the west side, and continued downward (south), you came to the "valley gate." Then at the very bottom, before starting upward, was the "dung gate." The spiritual lesson is obvious to the enlightened mind, after you put the old behind you, you pass by the valley. Then comes the "dung gate," where all the filth, trash and refuse is carried out and burned. It is then, on your journey, you start upward, and the next gate you come to, after leaving all the garbage behind, is the "fountain gate," where one is refreshed and cleansed. Everything is downward until we leave the, shall I say, "dumpster gate."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Man's Chief End (part two)

"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever," so it is written in the Westminster Shorter Catechism of 1647. In a previous article we wrote on the glorifying of God in our lives; in todays writing I want to deal with the latter remark, enjoying God forever. There is no possibility of one experiencing this second blessing, of enjoying God, who has not fulfilled the previous act of glorifying God in their everyday life. It seems to me that many today have as their chief end, not the enjoyment of God, but rather their own lusts.

"Enjoying spiritual communion with God is a riddle and mystery to most people. Everyone who hangs about the court, does not speak with the king," so pens Thomas Watson. The enjoying of the pleasures of this world, without the enjoyment of God, is like drinking from a golden chalice with no wine ("that cheereth both the heart of man and God") within it. They have full coffers but empty lives. When the earlier and latter rains come from heaven, they are but dust (Deut. 28:24). 

How anyone can think or say he or she will enjoy God in heaven for eternity who do not enjoy Him in their daily lives now, is way above, as they say, my pay-grade in understanding. It is a great day indeed when we prodigals, who have spent our all on this world, return to our Father to enjoy Him, and Him alone. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Man's Chief End (part one)

The Westminster Shorter Catechism was completed in 1647. The first question is, "What is man's chief end?" The answer: "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever." It is these two most important aspects of life I will be commenting on in this article and the one that follows. I say boldly, it is better to have never lived than to have lived and not to have fulfilled and experienced these two Divine requirements and privileges

We are told in scripture to give God the glory due His name. I like the comment of one of our old Puritan brothers, "It's the yearly rent we pay to the crown of heaven." Many, I'm afraid, go through life rent-free! Is it not a shame that everything God created naturally gives Him the glory, except mankind? The heavens, the beasts of the field, all creation glorifies their Maker, but the worm known as Man. This one creature wants all the glory for himself. 

God has given us, His saints, many things, but says, "My glory will I not give to another." Like king Pharaoh, after giving Joseph his ring and golden chain, and putting all things in his kingdom under him said, "Only in the throne will I be greater than thou." God has entrusted to us, His people, His Glory. We can go through life either gratifying our flesh or glorifying our God. Peter is a good example. He started out doing the former but finally and joyfully submitted to the latter, "To him be glory both now and for ever," were his last words.

Let each of us, from this day forward, be God-admirers! Let's make God look good. May we be so taken up with God, so awe struck by Him, the world will take notice. And let our testimony be that of Paul, "They glorified God in me." This should be a life-long commitment, even to death. This was true of both Peter and our Lord. Jesus told Peter before his death how he would glorify God in it. So the old faltering disciple glorified his God right up to the grave. And just before His death, Christ prayed to His Father, "I have glorified thee on earth."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Our Greatest Ally...Almighty God

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” If God is for us, it matters not who may be against us. On the other hand, if God is against us, it matters little who is for us. God is our greatest Ally. Nothing else counts. When He is for us, we need not count heads in the opposing ranks.

David had the assurance Paul speaks of in our text. No wonder the shepherd boy of Israel could face lions, bears, and giants. He tells us in one of his Psalms, “This I know, for the Lord is with me.” This saint was living proof of the adage “You and God make the majority in any situation.”

I have taken an excerpt from one of my sermons entitled “God is Not the Minority” to close this article with:

“God is the Supreme, Eternal Majority. He can out-wit, out-vote, out-fight, out-think, out-maneuver, out-last, out-run, any and all from eternity to eternity. He has the last say and deciding vote in every situation. He is the Eternal Majority of One.”

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear; What can man do unto meThe Lord taketh my part with them that help me.”
(Psl. 118:6-7)

Monday, July 20, 2015

God Makes the Difference

C.H. Spurgeon said, "The possession of a God, or the non-possession of a God, makes the greatest possible difference between man and man. Esau is a princely being, but he is “a profane person.” Jacob is a weak, fallible, frail creature, but he has a God. Have you not heard of “the mighty God of Jacob?

I have an old sermon entitled, "When God Gets in It." Whenever and wherever He enters the scene, things begin to change. Water turns to wine, a common scrub bush is set on fire, a timid farm boy is transformed into a mighty man of valour. God always makes the difference!

If you have the Lord God Jehovah as your God, then as one old sage said, our whole history is covered; past, present, and future. God, from eternity past, anticipated every possible situation and circumstance we would find ourselves in while we sojourn on earth. And He prepared for every emergency.

We need never fear the storms of life, no matter how great the tempest, even when it seems we're sinking, if Jesus is in the ship with us! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

With God in Secret

​It's been said, the most important part of a saint's life is the part only God sees. If there are no witnesses, there is no motive for us to glory before men. I think the less we are praised by our peers the safer we will be from satanic inflation. It seems some cannot function for the Lord unless there is a constant barrage of​ cheers and applause. We need to learn that "Hosannas" can turn to "Crucify Him," over night. 

Jesus warned those of His day of the great danger in seeking the accolades of men. "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" Somewhere along the way, we Christians got it into our heads doing great external exploits would make us great in God's Kingdom. But it is not what others see in public, but what God "seeth in secret," says our Lord.  

It was undetected to all eyes, except God's, when the young shepherd boy, David, killed both a lion and a bear with his bare hands, no less. Only out of necessity was it ever made known. And what of the widow and the pot of oil? It was when she "shut the door," leaving only her and her boys, secluded with God, that the miraculous took place. 

And so it is with us. When we enter our closets, shutting the door behind us, alone with God in secret that the groundwork is laid for the unthinkable and unbelievable great things God is going to do for all eyes to see! " 

We are to always be in the wings, the spotlight is to be forever upon "HIM"; the eternal, "BRIGHT STAR!"    

Friday, July 17, 2015

U-Turns

One of the common denominators in the ministries of Jesus, the Twelve, Peter and Paul was that each emphasized the necessity of repentance. They taught repentance leads to restoration of God’s favor, and impenitence to ruin. Thinking that we need not do a complete u-turn from vices in our lives, to practicing Godly virtues, is a destructive delusion.

Repentance is acknowledging and admitting we are rebels at heart, who must lay down our arms. True repentance is the right view of sin, self, and the Saviour. Real repentance is more than eating crow, it’s agreeing with Gods estimate of your sin. It is taking God’s side against the person you hold dearest: You!

It is shameful how many of us are so shameless today. In Ezra’s prayer he said, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee…” I’m afraid we are more like the people of Jeremiah’s day, of whom it is said, “…they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.” We need repenting that doesn’t need repenting of. There is far too much heartless repenting in each of us.

The old preachers used to preach there are three steps to Biblical repentance: First you get mad; then you get sad; but then you get glad.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

God's Pathway To Citizenship

Our Lord often presented truths that had twofold meanings, both an earthly and heavenly. The following is my feeble attempt to emulate our Master . 

Although God's love is unconditional, His requirement for entering His Heavenly domain has stipulations. There are stringent rules prior to becoming a citizen of God's country.
Jesus said, "...that [whoever] entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." That is, those climbing over the wall and not entering the legitimate way, are law-breakers.

In the book of Ephesians chapter two, Paul gives a vivid picture of we Gentiles, who he refers to as, "aliens and strangers," having absolutely no hope of ever becoming citizens of Heaven, and there was a great enmity between those who were citizens and those who were not. But God made a gracious pathway to citizenship for us foreigners, if we would submit to His one and only way. 

And for all those who do adhere to God's rule, the Apostle tells us the glorious result: "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God." We become one people, one nation under God. And what divided us, is removed. Thus, doing things the lawful way, brings peace and tranquility for all concerned!