Tuesday, September 30, 2014

David and God's Timetable

I can understand Hosea saying to God's children, "Iis time to seek the Lord; but for David to say to God, "It is time for thee, LORD, to work...," that can be frightening. One would of necessity have to have heavenly approval for such seeming brashness. Without such authority it would be presumption at its very worst. 

But, thank God, we need not fear and tremble in approaching His throne with such boldness. Our great God has condescended to His human creation making such statements as: "Command ye me"; "Ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, And give him no rest, till he establish..."; "Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou..." These, and many other like scriptures, give divine credence to such seemingly nervy praying. 

David's prayer was not one of impatience, he knew how to wait on the Lord, but rather one of imminence. In his current circumstances, the situation had become out of hand. Truly, it was literally out of his control. Therefore, it was obvious it was time for divine intervention. Thus, "It is time for thee, Lord, to work." Whenever the natural has exhausted all its means, it is then the supernatural is to be called upon. God invites us, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord." God okays us to sit down and reason with Him. As Job said, "Order [your] cause before him, and fill [your] mouth with arguments." 
    

Monday, September 29, 2014

Good Advice

“…with the well advised is wisdom.” My wife did an excellent article recently on advice. I thought I'd emulate her example to my readers. Only ignorant pride keeps us from taking good advice. I know Christians whose lives are now in shambles, simply because they refused to ask advice and if they did, rejected it, when given. And, of course, there are those who boast of both listening to and taking counsel from others, but who, after investigation, took the advice only because it was in agreement with their plans.

Jeroboam was such a person. He asked the advice of the aged men; but forsook it for the younger men’s, who were in agreement with him. His problem was the same many have today. The elders had been where he was, but he had never been where they had been. What fool asks someone about a road they themselves have never traveled?

David, in spite of a set mind to do one thing, was changed by the godly advice of a weaker vessel. After hindsight consideration, he says to Abigail, “…blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from________.” I cannot tell you the good advice I have had through these long years that has kept me from_________. How about you? It’s not too late to ask, listen, and heed, good advice.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Undoing the Done

“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so must the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The writer of Hebrews uses godly Isaac as a “figure” of Christ’s death and resurrection, but only once. On the other hand, our Lord chose to use backslidden Jonah as a picture of that great event and did it on more than one occasion in the Gospels.

There are several lessons we can learn from this. I’ll mention just two. First, you cannot take every detail of a story or parable as applicable. Who would compare our sinless Savior in every area of this sinful servant’s life? Many sincere Bible students have gone off the deep end, because they did not follow this simple little rule. This is especially true when it comes to prophecy.

Secondly, we find from this story of Jonah how God can take the raveled, mess of the threads of our lives, unravel, and knit them into something that will bring glory to Him. If this seems mysterious to us, we all might want to read and ponder Paul’s words about the Elect: “Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?”

Only God can undo what’s been done.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Prelude to Big Prayers

"I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Some of us, I believe, need to get out of the wading pool and go to the deep-end where there are waters to swim in. We have splashed in the baby pool long enough. It's paradoxical, but the deeper you go with God, the higher you will go! One area in which we should launch out into the deep is in respect to our prayer life.

Don’t you think one of the reasons little prayers are offered up is because of the fact we have created in our hearts an image of a "little god?" What an insult it must be to our Great God, when we only ask for small things. We treat Him as a pauper rather than a King. Charles Blanchard, in his book on prayer, mentions God never found fault with anyone ever asking too much of Him.

“We are coming to a King,
Great petitions let us bring;
For His love and power are such
That we can never ask too much!”

Just as parent birds fill the mouths of their young as long as they keep them open, so our God promises to fill ours. He is the God who, Giveth to the young ravens which cry.” And, “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things.” He who feeds the fowls has given His Word that He will do for us, His children, “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

God began with His chosen people by doing great wonders for them. And thereafter, as in our text, reminds them of it when challenging them to ask and expect great things from Him. Daniel is one example of the many who  took God up on His challenge. And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand...therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications.” AND HE DID!

O, my beloved, God is as powerful and able during the dark times in our lives to overthrow the horse and his rider, in the mighty waters, as He was then!

“Prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tormented by the Temporary

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Some time ago, we had to buy a new washer/dryer. My wife commented to the delivery man how fragile they seemed compared to our old ones. He replied, "These days nothing is made to last." He was right on one point but not the other. The truth is, since the Fall, nothing has ever been made to last. As a verse in the hymn says, "Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day; earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me."

Paul tells us if you can see it with the natural eye, it's temporal. The Bible refers to the material as, "stuff"; which will perish with the using thereof. Our little play things we hold so dear to our hearts are ultimately going to end up in ruins; rusting or rotting away. They're destined to pass away, they're fleeting as a cloud. Our houses, cars, clothes, computers, and books, along with a host of other "stuff," will in the end, have to be said farewell to. Jim Elliot had it right: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

A.W. Tozer reminds us the unseen world described in scripture is the only real world. Therefore, we, like Moses of old, need to keep our eyes fixed by faith on the invisible. Only the eternal and spiritual are lasting! Sooner or later, you and I are going to have to part with our possessions, and I'm not necessarily speaking of this happening at death, ask Job. It may happen sooner than later. To the worldly-minded saint, the fact that nothing in this life is lasting is tormenting to him or her.

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fickle Friends

"Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" 

It will be of great benefit to the reader of the book of Galatians to know the inhabitants of this city descended from the Gauls, a people of unstable nature. They were quick to receive impressions and just as quick to give them up; impulsiveness and fickleness characterized them. Thus, one can better understand our text. You might refer to them as "fair weather friends." Great when the sun is shinning, but nowhere to be found when clouds arise. 

But Paul was accustomed to this sort of wishy-washyness; the type who receives one with enthusiastic joy, only to reject him or her after being told the truth about themselves. The old warhorse was used to experiencing situations in which one minute he could scarcely keep people from worshiping him and in the next, they were ready to stone him. It is a real paradox, writes this seasoned saint, he told the Corinthian Christians, "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." 

Evidently this sort of human being is not familiar with the wise man's teaching, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." They're difficult to figure out. They have a real dislike for the doctor who is instrumental in their healing. They fit comfortably with the crowd that cries one day, "Hosanna in the highest," and the very next, "Crucify Him." It can truly be said of them what is said of Samson and his friend "Whom he had used as a friend." Friends are not to be used, but rather cherished and held dear to our hearts.

If you have been let down by someone you trusted, remember "There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

HELD UP BY MERCY

"When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up." O, The wonderful mercies of God. We are told in scriptures that His mercy is: great, rich, manifold, plenteous, abundant, sure, everlasting, tender, new every morning, high as the heaven, fills the earth, and is God's delight. Is it any wonder then that darling David said, "will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities." Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous, is it not, to be one of God's, "vessels of mercy?"

How often in life have I have cried out to "The God of my mercy, "I'm slipping Lord, 'Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.'" And each time, in mercy, that invisible Hand has reached out and caught me, as Peter of old, just before I sank. When I could no longer stand, all strength was gone, and sinking was inevitable, I found the words of the old gospel song true, "Mercy there was great and grace was free." From that memorial day so many, many years ago, when I prayed, "God be merciful to me a sinner," until this present hour, mercy has followed me; and I'm sure it will all the days of my life. 

"Take notice not only of the mercies of God, but of God in the mercies. Mercies are never so savoury as when they savour of a Saviour."
(Puritan Saying)