Sunday, May 31, 2009

*Old Dogs and New Tricks

The old adage, “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks,” is just not true. It may seem improbable, but it’s not impossible. The difficulty lies not so much in learning the new, but unlearning the old. That is, provided the old needs forgotten. Remember, “What made you great, keeps you great.” To forget this is to reduce oneself to nothing, even less than nothing. (1Sam.15:17)

But as arduous as it is to train old “Rover” fresh techniques, it is even more grueling to teach new dogs old tricks. Young “Trixie” may have some cute little tricks up her paw; but the question is, will such antics bring a lasting delight to others, or are they potentially dangerous in the long run? Especially this is true as it relates to the next generation.

Pride can keep some of us “Old Dogs” from learning the new; but stubbornness can keep “Pups” from learning the old.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Everything Not Cemented Down

Most things in life can be changed around, they’re not cemented down. True it may take some effort, but they can be positioned to your advantage with a bit of ingenuity. It’s amazing what a little inspiration, with some perspiration, can accomplish. On life’s pathway, one need not stumble at the same stone habitually; it can be placed to the side.

There are people who spend their whole lives living under the circumstances, rather than above them. It’s possible to turn the tables, so to speak. You can make many unpleasantries work for you, if you so desire. Stumbling stones can be made stepping stones. Someone may have defrauded you by selling you a piece of property that was all rocks, but you can build your house with them.

Handicaps need not hinder; they can be made to help. The oyster makes its disease into a pearl. If you’re shipwrecked and can’t swim, you can get safe to shore by using a broken piece of the boat (Acts 27). Zacchaeus didn’t let his small stature stop him from seeing Jesus in that towering crowd, he climbed a tree.

Your outlook determines the outcome. You can major on the problem, or see the potential. Some only see the obstacle, others the opportunity. Out of the twelve who went in to spy out Canaan, ten saw giants, Joshua and Caleb saw God.

God will do for you what you can’t, He’ll not do what you yourself can!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No Apology Necessary

My oldest son, Andrew, pastors a church in Santa Cruz, here in California. He has some great one-liners, such as: “If love never fails, why try anything else?”; “Having an infallible Bible doesn’t make us so”; and, “You can’t run from your humanity.” But the one I think could be the most profound of all is, “We need to stop apologizing for the Will of God.” Think of it, we often come across as being apologetic for the blessings of God upon our lives. Many, it seems, live in constant condemnation when blessed above some others.

We feel we need to explain to everyone, almost embarrassingly at times, for the good things that have come our way. If we are blessed, we need not be ashamed before the brethren, but simply stay humble before The Blesser. If, on the other hand, God has seen fit to withhold the “goodies” of life, we need not be bitter, but rather content in whatsoever state we find ourselves. This is a great gain in itself; so says the Apostle.

But this truth goes much deeper than material things. Yes, He makes both the rich and the poor, as the wise man says; but it also covers God’s dealings with His Elect in every area of their lives. We are told He makes one vessel to honor, and another to dishonor; He made the seeing, as well as the blind; what’s more, He makes the deaf and the hearing. To those who would question such things, Jesus says “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?

Therefore, it is not for me to question, but to obey. And if I am obedient, I can know, most assuredly, whatever lot falls to me, He is the disposer of the same. Or as the song writer so ably put it, “Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.” May I ask you a question that Elisha’s servant asked the great lady of Shunem, after the loss of her dearest possession? “Is it well with thee? She answered, It is well.”

You can never lose what you have given to God!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

*A Wise Little Saying

Those who are familiar with our writings know how I appreciate little quips that can be applied to Bible truths. One such aphorism is, “Empty that which is full; fill that which is empty.” We wonder why our lives are not fresh, why they seem to be stagnant. Could this be the explanation? Is this the answer to our blessings breeding worms? (Ex.16:19-20)

The Scriptures are filled with illustrations of God filling that which we empty out. For example, just to site a couple; the widows pot of oil (2 Kgs.4), also the barrel of meal in 1 Kgs. 17. Whenever there is a vacuum for the glory of God, you can be sure He will fill it up again! But he doesn’t fill what’s already full.

Jesus emptied Himself for us; and God, in turn, filled His Son’s life with all the fullness of God. He certainly proved out His own teaching, “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over…” As the cliché goes, “There is more where that came from.”

Monday, May 25, 2009

*After Victory

It was after the Voice from Heaven said, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased,” that the devil tempted Jesus forty days and forty nights. It was after Joshua’s victory over Jericho that he suffered the humbling defeat by little Ai. The devil will allow us a victory if he thinks he can spoil us by it. After feeding the five thousand, they attempted to make Jesus a king, but He got alone and prayed.

The hour of victory can be a more sever testing than when we experience defeat. We learn a lot from adversity, but little from prosperity. We can be richer by failures sometimes, and poorer by our successes. Many of us can take the barren, cold of winter, but not the heat of summer with its ripe fruits.

The real test of a Christian is seen after they slay their giant. It says of David, the shepherd boy, “David behaved himself wisely.” He was not consumed by pride. He acted as though he had never slain Goliath. His friends did not have to daily listen to him recounting his triumph, feeling obligated to compliment him each time the story was told.

We often tarnish our victories by putting them in a showcase for all to see, and all that happens is that they gather dust. When Paul said, “forgetting those things which are behind,” it included our victories also.

Enjoy your victories, but keep a watch.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

*Failure is Not Final

“For he knoweth our frame…” Because of this knowledge, He also is aware of our frailties. Therefore, our failures do not take Him by surprise. We all wish we would never fall on our faces, but there is no such animal! Falling down is no disgrace; staying down and refusing to get up is the disgrace. Some people spell failure, F-I-N-A-L. But this is not so. Failure is just another rung on the ladder of opportunity.

There’s a lot of truth in the little adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” We are not to lie down and wallow in our failings but arise and walk by faith. As Paul taught, we’re to forget our failures and forge ahead. No past failure makes future victory less possible. Our failures can turn us into humble, brokenhearted people with a deeper dependence on God. No one is ever beaten until he gives up the fight.

Many a saint on his deathbed will realize, with remorse, that what might have been could have been, had they gotten up one more time. Failure shows what a person is made of, and, like they say, it’s hard to keep a good man down.
Success is getting up one more time than you fall.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

*A Life Worth Living

Many Christians follow the Epicurean philosophy: “Let us eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die.” They indulge, but they don’t enjoy, in spite of the fact we are told God gave us all things richly to enjoy. Why, then, the emptiness when they are full? the hunger pains after eating? and the sorrow after elation? It is because they have left God out of their lives. Like the man in Ecclesiastes who had it all but found life was not worth living without God.

To de-thrown God is to lose the key of life. All knowledge, mirth, and wealth leave a restless soul, apart from Him. Life is valueless without God. Every blessing becomes boresome, if He is absent. We become cynical, pessimistic, and even fatalistic. God is the Spice of Life, and without this Divine Ingredient, life is bland.

The wise man put God out of his life and lived only for the things “under the sun,” leaving him severely depressed. It’s beholding the One “over the sun” that makes life, and all that’s in it, an enjoyment. When we look into the mirror, we need to see the Creator’s image. If not, you’ll experience the vanity of an unyielded life.

There are those with lost souls, but saved lives; there are those with saved souls, but lost lives; I want a saved soul and a saved life.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Heroes Can Hinder

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord.” This is the personal testimony of Isaiah, as found in the sixth chapter of his book. It was not until his earthly king passed away, that he was able to see his Heavenly King.

Uzziah was, possibly, Isaiah’s hero. And it seems, in this case, that his hero hindered him from seeing the Lord. There is much talk today about young people having godly heroes. I think this can be very dangerous, since we are told that
“man at his best state is altogether vanity.”

I believe Jesus Christ is the only hero anyone needs. He is the one Person we will never be disappointed in. Sooner or later, all our earthly heroes are proven to be made of clay.

Hero worship will ultimately leave us standing alone and dejected, at a freshly dug grave in some cemetery .

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We Judgmental Jerks

Like A.W. Tozer, there are some words used in today’s vernacular that absolutely cause me to cringe when hearing them. Such words as: share (it used to be give), awesome (which I personally reserve only for God), and life-style (usually connected with immoral living).

One such word that heads my list of no-no’s is the term judgmental. The world wants to do away with this type of person, so it will leave the field open to live any way one wants, without the nuisance of their conscience nagging them. One man in the Bible beheaded a judgmental prophet thinking to sooth his.

Interestingly, you will find the people who advocate silencing judgmental persons are themselves harshly judgmental of those very individuals they wish to hush-up. Life is made up of checks and balances. Take away judgment and you’re left with a
“false balance.”

When the scripture speak of not judging, it is referring to one’s motive. I cannot judge why a person lies, commits adultery, murders, or steals; but I can judge the fact they have done these things. For you to judge a man who staggers as drunk, could be wrong; but you have every right to say, “That man staggers.”

“Only God has the right to judge me,” usually comes from the lips of someone who is in the wrong!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Shocking Truth

My dear friend and mentor, Dr. Joe Henry Hankins used to say, “None of us are as spiritual as we like to think we are.” That is why we loathe crisis situations. Contrary to some people’s thinking, a crisis does not make the person; but rather, it reveals the person.

We’re prone to think more highly of ourselves than we actually are. Many of us go around drunk on self-esteem most of the time. But if God pulled back the shades of our hearts, showing us what is hidden therein, we would all be recluses.

Peter thought, like some of us, that he was a little better, and different from his brethren. But found to his chagrin, he was like the rest of his crowd. His problem was thinking “all men” could, but, never “him.” We need to be careful in thinking what we will, or will not, do (1Cor.10:12).

For those among us who have come to realize the frailty of the flesh through some humiliating experience, I quote the scholarly, yet humble, C.S. Lewis:
“One falls so often that it hardly seems worth while picking oneself up and going through the farce of starting over again as if you could ever hope to walk. Still, this seemingly absurdity is the only sensible thing I do, so I must continue it.”

Christian living must be founded upon self-abhorrence and self-distrust because of indwelling sin.
(J.I. Packer)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Kind Of Prophet

We hear much today about “Prophets of Doom,” but little or nothing of the “Prophets of Doubt.” The one has to do with the future, the latter with the present. There is a subtle movement abroad today within Evangelical circles that is questioning historic, tried and proved, Biblical truths. But God’s people need exclamation points in their lives, not question marks.

Doubt invariably begins with a question. Interestingly, each time Satan speaks in the Scripture, he starts with a question. And as any Bible student knows, he is the father of doubt. Using the law of first mention, we find him getting our first parents to question God’s Word.

Intellectual inquisitiveness is fine, as long as one is delving only into “… those things which are revealed belong[ing] unto us and to our children.” But one is way out of bounds when he or she attempts to probe into “The secret things belong[ing] unto the Lord our God!” (Deut. 29:29) That is none of your intellectual business; it is strictly out-of bounds. It’s no-man’s land. Wanting to be a little god will get you into big trouble.

Enjoy the overall scenery; leave the minute details to God.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Your Worst Enemy

The evangelist D.L. Moody said, “No one gives D.L. Moody as much trouble as D.L. Moody.” The old adage, “You’re your own worst enemy,” is true of all of us who belong to Adam’s race. Our enemy is not without, but within. It is called in scripture, “The flesh.”

In spite of the fact that we are distinctly told that the flesh is weak, unprofitable, cannot please God, filthy, corrupt, and that there is no good in it, we are obsessed with persistently trying to improve it. We are continually in a re-modeling program of something God has condemned. Jesus said, “…flesh is flesh”; you can’t change it! Therefore we are to make no provision for it, for it has no inheritance in the Kingdom of God. We are admonished not to “…trust in the flesh.”

Because of the above truths, it is of up-most importance that we take this “Old man” to Calvary each day; and leaving him there on the cross, go by way of the empty tomb, leaving our grave clothes behind. Remember, my dear friend, without a death there can be no resurrection! Unless we daily drop off the old man at Golgotha, there can be no walking in newness of life.

What Saul spared ultimately killed him!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Way Out is Up

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” This Old Testament promise was given to Jeremiah, “while he was yet shut up in....prison.” Similarly, in the New Testament, Paul writes from a Roman dungeon, “Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”

The bars of our circumstances do not confine God. Peter was chained between two sleeping soldiers, and an iron gate kept him prisoner. He would have stayed in that condition, “...but prayer was made without ceasing...unto God for him.” It is then that we read, “And his chains fell off,” and that, “the iron gate opened.” The only way to shake this world for God is by the means of prayer. We’re told of the early believers, “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken...” May God, “teach us to pray...” like this. The Lord, not one time, found fault with anyone for asking too often, or too largely. We all have only one problem today, and it’s a prayer problem.

The devil may use circumstances to temporarily shut me in, but he cannot shut me out from my eternal God.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

*There's No Back Doors

The Old Testament Tabernacle was designed in three parts: the Outter Court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. Each had one entrance. The first was known as The Way; the second was referred to as The Door; and the third was called The Veil. In the New Testament, these three descriptive names are attached to the person of Jesus Christ alone.

In approaching God there were no back doors! If you did not come in by the one entrance He ordained, then there could be no communion with, or worship of, God. Jesus himself repudiated every other way, “…no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The right way leads to God, the wrong way leads from God. Crossing the right threshold means entering into the very presence of God Almighty.

The old-time Missions used to have lighted signs high over their buildings reading, “Christ is the Answer.” And He still is, my friend. He is not only the lone answer for salvation, but for all of life’s problems. If you will learn to immediately put Christ into the equation, you will find every problem that arises will have an answer to it; by leaving Him out, you will never get a correct or satisfactory answer.

It is a destructive addition to add anything to Christ. (Richard Sibbes)

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's Darkest Before the Dawn

“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them…” The disciples were in the midst of the sea, toiling in the storm. Jesus was on high, praying. It was when His elect were engulfed in darkness, with the wind and the waves raging all about them, that Christ left His place of intercession and came to them, walking on a liquid floor.

Throughout the Scriptures, you find God always showing up at the last minute. You can look for Him when all hope is taken away. He waits till the fourth watch, when it’s the darkest, so that we will not be tempted to say later,
“…mine own hand hath gotten me this.”

And so it will be with His Second Coming. The darkest hour of the night is just before the dawn. The morning watch (3 a.m. to 6 a.m.) is when those who are watching can see the “Bright and Morning Star.” As the night intensifies, you can look for “The Star” to show up. This is not a Doom’s Day approach; it’s about His Glorious Appearing.

Precisely because we cannot predict the moment, we must be ready at all moments. C.S. Lewis

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Shave and a Haircut.

Speaking of Samson, the Bible says, “The hair of his head began to grow again.” And referring to David’s men, we’re told that their enemies, “…shaved off the one half of their beards”; to which the King counseled them, “Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown.” In the first instance, Samson brought the shame upon himself; in the latter case, it was someone else that caused the embarrassment.

But no matter, whether your fault or that of another, there is a natural process of time that both must go through. During this waiting period, it is of up-most importance that those who fit into the former category not constantly condemn themselves. As to the second group, bitterness toward the culprits needs to be put away. After forgiving oneself, and, or, others, both need to move on; and make plans for when your time comes again.

And your day will come, but not by constantly setting your clock back; that only delays the natural process. And habitually looking in the mirror to check if things are back to normal will only bring continued frustration. As my Granny used to say, “A watched pot never boils.” Having one’s head completely shaven, or sporting a bread that is only half of what it ought to be, can be overcome. Many of today’s useful and fruitful saints went through the same humiliating experiences.

“But when the fullness of the time was come, GOD...”

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Uncle Buddy

In the little paperback book entitled Sunshine and Smiles, the old-time Nazarene preacher, known as “Uncle Buddy” Robinson gives his life story. Like the man himself, his life was an unusual one. And so it comes with no surprise that his sermons and sayings, to say the least, were pleasingly unique.

One of his quaint outlines is on The Three Dispensations of the Trinity. I quote him: “Under the dispensation of the Father, salvation was measured to us by the cup. The Psalmist said: “…my cup runneth over.” Under the dispensation of the Son we had wells of salvation. Our blessed Christ said in John 4:14: “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” Under the dispensation of the Holy Ghost we have salvation in rivers. Christ said in John 7:38-39: “He that believeth on me as the scripture hath said out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water…this spake He of the Spirit.”

I was thinking as I read this, how God, throughout the scriptures, always does things “…exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Notice, the cup runs over; the well is an artesian one, forever springing up; and it’s not a river, but rivers that gush forth. This certainly is not just life that God is speaking of, but an abundant life He has promised to each of His children. I wonder if we who are saved and sanctified can truthfully say that we’re also satisfied? If not, why not?

You may not be able to hold much, but you can overflow lots!

Monday, May 11, 2009

*Our Lot in Life

“Thou maintainest my lot.” After Israel conquered the Promised Land, each tribe, except Levi, was assigned a special lot by inheritance. What a joy it is to let God choose our lot in life, instead of acting like the world and fighting for our place in the sun.

Be careful of planting your life somewhere other than where the Lord hath chosen! Jesus warned, “Every plant which my Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” The little saying, “Bloom where you’re planted,” will only blossom if it was God that did the planting.

Wherever the Lord plants us, you can be sure it will be a bed of roses; but He does not promise it will be without its thorns. He delighted to do His Father’s Will, but it, too, was not without its thorns. His promise is that He will maintain, as well as sustain us, wherever He places us. Therefore,
“Play the hand you’re dealt.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

How to Shirk Responsibility

Refusing to take responsibility for one’s own actions began in the Garden of Eden. Adam was the first to blame a parent for his predicament (Gen.3:12). Since then, it is one of the classic characteristics of the human race. The blame game seems especially popular among this generation of young adults, from their thirties downward. Maybe it’s because those who are older have lived long enough to realize the futility of pointing the finger. Someone said, “You are not responsible for the programming you picked up in childhood. However, as an adult, you are one hundred percent responsible for fixing it.”

The purpose in blaming parents, or others, for one’s miserable life and all the mistakes they’ve made, is so that it does not fall upon them. It is easy to make someone else the scapegoat, excusing everything you have ever done. After all, who wants to accept responsibility for such colossal, and sometimes inexcusable, blunders? The one bad thing about not taking personal responsibility is that you give up the power to change; it leaves one impotent to improve. If you mess up, ‘fess up! The prodigal got out of the pig-sty when he acknowledged it was him, and no one else at fault. It is a terrible thing to grow old blaming parents or others for the way we are. One thing is for sure; this kind of person has never honestly faced the face they see when looking into the mirror!

But, “There is hope in thine end, saith the Lord.” The way to a fresh, vibrant, and meaningful life is found in simply taking personal responsibility. To re-phrase the Gospel song, “It’s not my Father, or my Mother, or someone else, O Lord; but me standing in need.” I heard an old preacher say once, “The secret of David’s relationship with God was that he was a good repenter.”

We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until... we have stopped saying "It got lost," and say "I lost it." ~Sidney J. Harris

Thursday, May 7, 2009

*Patient Praying

Today it seems you must choose one of two extremes as a Christian. Either you belong to the activist crowd who take things into their own hands, not taking time to wait on God; or, one who has joined in with those emphasizing the sovereignty of God, who end up sitting on their hands, thinking that waiting on God, is wasted time. These seem to forget that it was a sovereign God who made all the prayer promises.

We need to learn again the art of waiting on God with an assured anticipation. No one who does will ever be ashamed. If we will be victoriously patient in prayer then we will be victorious. Men and women who prayed in the Bible were short on words but long on waiting. By the way, God was never critical of anyone coming too often for His help or asking too largely. We need to follow the widow’s example in Luke chapter eighteen.

The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel. (Thomas Watson)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

*Knots on Our Noggin

Most of us are much more stubborn than we will admit. The way we keep ourselves from looking too bad is by comparing ourselves with someone worse. When it comes to justifying this sin, as well as other taboos in our lives, we find great solace that there is someone worse than what we consider ourselves to be.

Most of our problems stem from a stubborn determination to do our own thing. When Moses told Israel, “Go not up…” We are told, “…they presumed to go up…” And the result: humiliating defeat. Thus came to pass Moses’ words that if in their stubbornness they did go up, “…it [would] not prosper.”
While setting outside on our patio recently, I kept hearing a continual, small, bumping against the skirt of our mobile home. After investigation, I found a small grasshopper attempting to make a way through that metal sheet to get under our house. Though one may admire his persistence, sadly, in the end, it would all be futile. The poor little creature illustrated the proverbial saying about, “Beating your head against a wall.” And so do we, when we stubbornly try to get our own way with God.

*A Tribute to an Old Methodist Preacher

At the beginning of my Christian life I had the privilege of sitting under the ministry of the late Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. For some two weeks the old preacher drove home his Biblical philosophy of life. I can still see him cup his right hand around his mouth and shout out, “Do right if the stars fall.”

Whole messages were built around little, but powerful quips, such as: “You can do what you ought to do”; You’re either master or mastered”; “Keep on keeping on”; “Learn to blame yourself”; and “Finish the job.” Such aphorisms, lived out, can replace a limp backbone with a railroad spike.

A year of this kind of preaching in our pulpits would revolutionize our churches. It would once again produce real men and women who could stand up to any Goliath the devil sent their way. But I’m afraid there are far too many, milquetoast Christians who do not care for this brand of Christianity.

Oswald Chambers says, “Sometimes one must live as if there were no God.” This doesn’t sound spiritual, but there is more to it than meets the carnal eye. Those of us who have gone on in spite of feelings, circumstances, etc. have found God honors such raw courage in His children.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cowboy Quips

There is something I’ve observed over my 75 years, and that is this: When Western Movies are popular, patriotism seems to be at its zenith. My daughter Leah gave me a book this past Christmas (‘08) that proves my point. The title of the book is, Cowboy Values, Recapturing What America Once Stood For. Its author is James P. Owen. It’s a must read for all patriots, as well as you cowboy fans. The pictures are worth the price of the book.

In his introduction, the writer says, “It’s time for the cowboy to regain his place as a leading American icon.” He goes on to say of this era, “It’s a culture in which character counts above all.” I especially like the line, “Cowboys stand for something—which means they have a clear, unshakable set of beliefs they live by each day.”

The following are some little quips from the book; they’re given in hopes of whetting your appetite, and that you might receive a blessing.

It’s not how you’re buried; it’s how they remember you.

A cowboy finds out how much a mere human can do, and then they do a little more. They reach beyond themselves.

There ain’t a horse that can’t be rode; there ain’t a cowboy that can’t be throwed.

Always tighten your own cinch.

If you’re lookin’ for a helping hand, try the one on the end of your own damn arm. (Sorry, but this is my favorite).

Do what needs doin’; scratch what needs scratchin’.

It ain’t about the hat and the boots.

Never cut what you can untie. (This is my second favorite).

A man who would die for something has everything to live for.

Never say “Whoa” in a tight spot.

A cowboy knows that the best things in life aren’t things.

‘Pard, you’ll do to ride the river with.” (The highest compliment a cowboy can pay to another—I say it of my wife, Salle, who has been at my side some 48 years).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Salutations and Such

Paul’s prison epistle to the Colossians ends with “The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds.” Most all of the Apostle’s letters were dictated; but generally the salutations were by his own hand. Like our own signature at the end of a letter, it lent authority and credence to the correspondence.

I imagine as the old saint reached out his hand to take the quill, he became conscious of the weight of the chain around his wrist, and the Roman guard to which the other end was attached. It was a reminder of his confinement for Christ. And so in three simple words he makes a prayer request “Remember my bonds”. He took it that they were a thinking people; he did not have to spell it out for them. They certainly would understand all the implications.

I have found that those who are devoted to Christ and His cause are bound to something or someone and, if they could, would choose rather to be free. But how few of us realize that in our “dungeon of darkness”, like Paul of old, we do our greatest work; thereby becoming a great blessing to others.

Blessed chain that binds one to the Will of God!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The King's English

Grammarians tell us that the first person pronouns, I and me, are always placed last in compound constructions. But you will not find this so in “The King’s English.” Throughout God’s inspired writings we find Him breaking with this rule. For example, when speaking to Abraham, He says, “And I will make my covenant between me and thee.” Again in the New Testament, Jesus sets aside our so called “proper English” in His conversation with Peter. In the story about Peter finding a piece of money in a fish’s mouth for the purpose of paying their taxes, our Lord says, “…give unto them for me and thee.”

You may have proper sentence structure but with an improper life. My, Me, and I, never come before, Thee, Thou, and Thy. The “Great Grammarian” wrote, “…He is before all things.” We should not only have the right sentence structure, but our lives should be structured according to Him and not the world. That is, He always comes before me. And I don’t give a care what the grammarians say!

The Song Says it All

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

I wonder, when was the last time any of us came to our devotional time with any thought of obeying what we read? It seems the main thing for most of us is getting our required reading in for that day. As long as we can boast that we read our Bible through X amount of times in any particular year, that’s all that matters. We mistakenly believe this is all that is necessary to be blessed of God and to make one happy.

But the little book of James tells us that only those who obey the Word are blessed (Ja.1:21-25). And Jesus told His disciples, “Happy are ye if ye do them.” God’s top priority is unquestioning obedience to His Word. Some pseudo-sacrifice will not suffice with the Lord. You can’t buy Him off, no matter how impressive the gift. Saul found it’s possible to sacrifice without obeying; but it is impossible for one to obey and not offer up an acceptable sacrifice.

I close with a quote from the prolific pen of C.S. Lewis. “The Father can be well pleased in that Son only who adheres to the Father when apparently forsaken. The fullest grace can be received by those only who continue to obey during the dryest in which all grace seems to be withheld.”