Friday, September 19, 2014

GOD AND GIVERS

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

I learned very early in my Christian life you can’t out-give God. As Paul tell us, “Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” God is no man’s debtor. Although one’s motive cannot be ‘give to get,’ still it’s a fact. I find many Christians, like the Dead Sea, want to always be the recipients, but not the bestower. Thank God our precious Lord Jesus didn’t have that attitude.

We, like many of our readers, live on the cutting edge, financially speaking. But we try to keep a little in reserve for emergencies, ours or others. Within the last few weeks, a dear friend, who has suffered much over the years, entered the hospital for another surgery. I told my wife to mail them a certain amount out of savings. Less than an hour later, a supporter e-mailed us saying God had blessed them and that they were sending us a special offering; yes, the exact same amount we sent.

It is only reasonable to give back to God what was His originally. David grasped this truth, “ But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”

I love the way Luke puts how God will give to givers, “...pressed down, and shaken together, and running over…” How often, as a boy, I saw the old-timers press down things in a container, then shake it to settle it to the bottom, and continued this till it was running over. Bless His Name, He does the same with all those who graciously give!

“It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been “had for 
a sucker” by any number of impostors; but it would be a torment to know that one had refused even one person in need .” C. S. Lewis

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guilt and the Christian

I'm told a great majority of those in mental institutions are there because of guilt; something they've done in their past they cannot rid themselves of. No Christian should ever have what has come to be known as "a guilt complex." If a Believer had no other text to lean on, Hebrews 9:14 would be more than sufficient to hold him or her up, "How much more shall the blood of Christ...purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." 

Guilt in the saints' lives will be used against them in one of two ways: first, either the devil will constantly bring it up to keep one back from going forward; or, secondly, self-seeking loved ones or friends (intentionally or unintentionally) will regularly mention it in order to hold you down; that they may be in control of your life. One way or the other, you lose all your effective potential for God.

Peter denied the Lord but repented with tears. After that dark experience he never mentioned it again. Yet, after Pentecost, he accuses his brethren of denying the holy and just One. He did not fall for the sick idea he had no right to condemn others for what he himself had done. He lived by the scriptural philosophy, "What God hath cleansed let no man call unclean." He didn't accuse himself or allow anyone else to do so! He was cleansed and forgiven. THAT WAS IT! 

A.W. Tozer mentions that when God cleanses and forgives a man it is as if he had been newly created; like he had never sinned. It is true, as John tells us, the accuser of our souls accuses us to God night and day. But just as true, says old John, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Throne. And, by the way, He has never lost a case!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Life's Interruptions

I don't like to be interrupted, whether it be when I'm eating, reading, praying, or a score of other involvements. We're all familiar with, "Do not interrupt me while I'm speaking." I think down deep we'd like to say to God at times, "Do not interrupt me while I'm _________ (you fill-in the blank). But I find God does not recognize, "Do not disturb" signs. Interruptions are a way of life, accept or reject them, their a reality; get used to it.

Jesus' life and ministry was filled with Divine interruptions. For example, Nicodemus coming to Him at night after Him spending a long day in ministering. That patient one was never ruffled by such inconveniences. He knew He had a short time, but realized interruptions were the stuff life is made of. He was always conscious these oft disturbances were a part of God's plan. They deepen one's soul, making us aware it is not all about us. 

Concerning our subject, C.S. Lewis writes, "The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life-the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one's 'real life' is a phantom of one's own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it's hard to remember it all the time."

Monday, September 15, 2014

Specialized Ministries

The Bible does not discourage specialized ministries. On the contrary, it is the instituter of them. But there is a danger each specialty carries with it: thinking it is special in and of itself. I mean in the sense of being more important or necessary over others. All of them are to work together for the glory of God. It's important to remind oneself, he or she is not special because they may have a different type ministry from another dear brother or sister. We're all on the same team.

To mention just a few within this danger area are: evangelists, prophetic teachers, printing ministries, children's homes, deeper life, church builders, drug and drink rehabs, finance consultants, music seminars, defenders of the faith, family institutes, youth ministries, the elderly, skid-row missions, etc. etc. 

There is mainly a twofold risk which singular ministries carry with them: first, as mentioned, believing you're the main cheese. Paul put it this way: "And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you." The second being, you lose your balance. You're the only one on the teeter-totter. Over-emphasis leads to a "unbalanced" Christian life. You hone in on one subject in the Bible rather than the whole council. All you can see or look for in the scriptures is something that will under-gird and promote your particular kind of ministry.

I have often stated, a pastor is possibly the most balanced of all the gifts. I liken him to the old-fashioned country doctor, a general practitioner. The original saying was, "A jack-of-all-trades, master of one." Being a master of one, let none of us be guilty of neglecting the others. Or thinking of them as obsolete!   

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The One Thing Job Didn't Lose

Job, most certainly held his wife and children close to his heart. Without question, his health, like our own, was dear unto him. And though he did not seem to be such a man that clung to his possessions, still they were a great blessing and enjoyment to his life and that of his family. But in God's stripping of His servant there was one thing (other than his life) He left job, a thing the old saint clutched tightly to and refused to let go of: his moral integrity. "...till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me." 

The word integrity comes from the Latin and old French, meaning: 
innocence, blamelessness, chastity, purity. It carries the thought of wholesomeness and soundness  in moral and ethical principles. This was the one dominating characteristic in Job's life, and everyone knew it, both in heaven and in earth.

The whole issue between God and Satan concerning Job was his integrity. After Satan hit the old patriarch with his first wave of heartbreak, God throws in the adversary's face, "...still he [Job] holdeth fast his integrity." Even his wife knew her man to be a man of integrity, "Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Wonderful thought, is it not, you can take everything a man or woman holds precious, but you can't rob him or her of their integrity. One can only lose this (integrity) by willfully surrendering it. 

May our testimony be that of darling David, "And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Indelible Commandmernt

The written Ten Commandments were distinctively given to the nation Israel, under a theocratic form of government. God chose this people, not to be a pet, but a pattern for all nations and peoples to follow. Because of Israel’s habitual refusal to conform to God’s statutes, they were scattered among the very nations they were to influence with Jehovah’s moral laws.

After their dispersion, to their amazement, I’m sure (and ours), they found God had long before, written His laws on the internal, fleshly tables of man’s heart. Yes, way before He wrote them to Israel on external tables of stone. No matter where they went, they found hints of their own laws among the pagans.

Mankind can attempt to rid himself of the Ten Commandments, but he will never be able to erase them from his heart. They may be removed from the schoolroom, judicial system, and all of society; but you’ll never remove them from the ark of the heart. They are indelibly written there, from birth to death.

When Paul was shipwrecked on the island of Melita, because of the rains and the cold, he was gathering sticks for a fire. While doing so, a venomous viper bit him, which he shook off into the fire. Upon observing this, the heathen islanders said, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.” This certainly shows, “...the work of the law written in their hearts.” We must conclude, then, the only way to get rid of God’s commandments is to cut out one’s own heart.

The Law by which God rules us, is as dear to Him as the Gospel by which He saves us. (Puritan Saying)

Friday, September 12, 2014

When He Returns

"...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Now, whether our text is speaking of "The Faith," referring to the essential body of truth found in Christianity, or a personal faith, as in individual Christians lives, is of little matter. Either depicts a sad condition on earth when He comes. Personally, because of the context, I lean toward the latter interpretation. 

If you will go through the four Gospels you will find when our Lord speaks of His Return, in fact or in parable, there is not some glorious utopia awaiting Him. But everything is out of kilter so to speak, simply because He is not in His rightful place up to that time. I care not what you call them: dispensations, periods, ages, times, etc., each has ended in chaos. Man at his best always makes things worse. He's depraved, you know.

If there was ever an opportunity for a dreamworld, a Shangri-la, if you please, on this earth, it was at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was poured out in mighty power, there was a love and unity among the people of God, godly men and women were everywhere to be found, thousands were being saved, and the Church was growing by leaps and bounds. Yet, no Millennium. One thing was missing: Christ, and until He comes to earth, there will be no such thing of an age of righteousness, bliss, and peace. 

There cannot be, will not be, peace on earth till the Prince of Peace returns a second time to Rule and Reign!  Allow no politician or anyone else to convince you differently.  "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."