Sunday, July 19, 2009

*Spiritual Geography

After everything is said and done, a person’s salvation comes down to one simple fact: where he or she is geographically, Spiritually speaking, that is. We are either “In Adam” or “In Christ”. There is no other place for the human race to be. To be “In” the former, “All die”; but “In” the latter, “All are made alive.”
In the garden of paradise, Adam gave up God’s will for his own. In the garden of Gethsemane, the second Adam (Jesus) gave up His will for God’s. Adam gave up his dependence on God to live a life of complete independence. Christ gave up a life of independence to live a life totally dependent upon God.

This is the one sure way of telling who is “In Adam” and who are “In Christ”. It is either “We will not have this man to reign over us,” and live a cursed life; or a life of blessing, by saying, “[We will not] henceforth live unto [ourselves], but unto him which died for [us], and rose again.” God says, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse.” Choose!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Camping Out in Capernaum

“Thou, Capernaum...mighty works…have been done in thee.” These people were blessed above all others in Galilee. Our Lord chose Capernaum as “His own city.” It was His headquarters, so to speak. He did more mighty works here than in any other place. In Matthew, chapters eight and nine, there are ten miracles recorded; half of them were performed in Capernaum alone. We are not told these people ever mocked, ridiculed, or threatened Jesus; they were simply indifferent to all He had done among and for them.

You can understand the unregenerate living such a life, but for a saint to settle down in Capernaum, that’s difficult to grasp. To have seen the Centurion’s servant healed; an unclean spirit cast out of a poor soul; a bed ridden man to walk; water turned to wine; and a son at death’s door raised to life again; would these not leave a lasting impression? Would they not have left an indelible mark upon one’s own heart? But sad to say, how much like Israel of old they were, as well as ourselves. We’re told, “They soon fogat his works.” The Red Sea experience, manna, water out of the Rock; “They remembered not.”

Whenever God gives a promise for future blessings, He reminds His people of the past great things He accomplished on their behalf. For example, He promises, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” But the first part of the text says, “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt.” To forget past miracles is to forfeit future ones! If you’re dwelling at Capernaum, it’s time to pack up and move out! No good can ever came from a Christian camping out in Capernaum.

Where reason cannot wade, there faith may swim. (Thomas Watson)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Wordsmith

“And as soon as he (Jesus) had spoken, immediately…” The man with leprosy found David’s words in Psalms to be true: “For he spake, and it was done.” As they say, “He (Christ) had a way with words.” But this does not surprise His own elect who know Him as “The Word.”

Is it any wonder then that we find such statements as those of the centurions at Capernaum “…speak the word only, and...[it] shall be...” How we need to emulate the nobleman whose son was at death’s door; “And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.”

The apostle Paul lived by this rule. When all was dark around him, and there was no human hope of survival, Gods Word assured him all would be well. To which he testified openly, “Be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”

“A man is as good as his word,” they say. Well, The Man is as good as His!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

There is Just Like Here

Before my conversion to Christ, and having been recently discharged from four years in the Air Force, I decided to leave my hometown and live in S. California. My reason, I told my Mother, was that I hated the town in which I was brought up. Her reply, as always, was a simple and wise one: “Son, you’ll find things there are pretty much the same as things are here.” She went on to explain the geographical landscape may look different, but life is the same wherever one goes.

I used to have a sermon entitled, “What Demas found in Thessalonica.” It was from a text found in 2 Tim.4:10. I pointed out that one of the things he found upon his arrival to that city was himself. Remember, part of the baggage you carry from one place to another, is you. A change in geography does not necessarily bring a change in character. If you’re going to move on, make sure you’ve changed before you seek a view change.

The Prodigal found the above truth to be so. In fact, “there,” can be much worse than “here,” if you carry a deformed disposition into the far country. You think it’s bad where you’re at, wait till you get where you’re going! I have found in many cases that a person must first come back to here, before they can move on to their desired there. God is still in the business of calling His Jacobs back to Bethel. It was when Jacob returned to Bethel and his God that he was able to move on with his life.

Obedience gets us on the right road; and it always ends up at the right place!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Asceticism

One of the definitions Mr. Webster gives for the word “ascetic” is: “one who leads a simple, non-materialistic life.” A non-materialistic life? Neither Jesus nor His followers practiced this kind of life-style. Though many professing Christians adhere to this type of teaching today, it is foreign to the Scriptures. God made matter, and that matters. He made the world; He created all the physical, materialistic things in it, and He tells us we are to enjoy them. We’re told the first Tabernacle was “worldly.”

C.S. Lewis says, “There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. We may think this rather crude and unscriptural. God does not; He likes matter. He invented it.” Need I remind you that in Jesus’ spiritual, resurrected body, He enjoyed eating? We will still retain flesh and bone throughout eternity. God does not separate the physical and spiritual in the Christian’s life; only we do that. If it is not sin, then we can enjoy it (1Tim.6:17b).

If the things Jesus and John said about Heaven be literal, then Heaven is a very physical, materialistic place.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Peer Pressure

“The fear of man bringeth a snare.” We hear much today, both among the younger and older generations, about “peer pressure.” The word is derived from the Latin, meaning an equal. And when adding the latter word to it, we come up with a complete definition; “Pressure from one's peers (equals) to behave in a manner similar or acceptable to them.”

All temperaments are prone to yield to this common temptation, but some succumb more readily than others. For example, Peter was more apt to surrender to the whims of others than say, Paul. The former would be enticed to play the part of a chameleon much quicker than the latter (Gal.2:11-12).

“Peer Pleasers” ultimately find the old adage true, “You can please some people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time.” Therefore, it is best to set out to please the Lord alone, and if that pleases everyone else, fine. And if not, tough!

Why should clay fear clay? 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Prayer and Supplication

“Be careful (full of care) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I’ve never had a problem with the prayer part of this text, but I have wondered about the supplication half of it. Most understand prayer is the asking and petitioning; but what is to be made of the supplication portion?

I asked the wife of a dear friend, if she could help me out on this. She is a real word-smith (etymologist). The following is the result of her study:

Supplication:
Latin – supplet, suppliant supplic: bending readily without breaking or becoming deformed. Sample given: (like a branch on a tree). Responsive, compliant, yielding.

Indo-European root words: sup + plak
Sup: having supper
Plak: to be flat, calm, humble

Enough said, I’ll let the Holy Spirit do the applying, lest I spoil it for you.

Friday, July 3, 2009

*What Might Have Been

A line from the famous poem, Maud Muller says, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been!” Or as the wise woman of Tokoah told King David, “[We] are as water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.” The popular idiom puts it this way, “Don’t cry over spilt milk.”

Whatever else these sayings might convey; one truth stands out above all others: “What’s done is done.” You can’t undo past history in your life. Only an illogical fool would disagree. But all sensible, sane persons would also admit; although it is impossible to reverse the past, one can begin a new history today.

Most, if not all, of us have said, “If I had to do it again, I’d do it differently.” Who among us in this imperfect life has not taken a wrong turn, or made an error in judgment? And though there are no u-turns in many instances, or overturning verdicts in others, we can learn from our mistakes and correct them. We need not repeat our history!
We all need to be astute historians when dealing with our past blunders.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Before We Can Move On.

How thankful I will always be for a dear, elderly Christian lady who helped me when I was a babe in Christ. I was troubled with my past, trying frantically to deal with it, but all to no avail. After I explained to her the regrets that lay behind me, she simply opened her Bible and had me read Philippians 3:13, “...forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” This, she said, was the secret of Paul’s perennial success as a Christian and it would work for me also, she confidently affirmed.

That was over 50 years ago, and I can give testimony to the fact that it really does work. I could never have made it this far had I tried to drag the ball-and-chain of my yesterdays along with me on my journey to Bunyan’s Celestial City.

There is no moving on, as long as we live in the past. May God help us to forget, and to leave behind all of life’s failures, sins, heartaches, and shattered dreams. We must bury them, and make sure to throw away the shovel so that we cannot dig them up again.

We must decide, each day, whether we want history or future.