Monday, August 24, 2009

Give Them Some Space

“Master, we saw one…and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not.” The disciples had a problem with anyone who was not just like they were. It was not good enough that they had their own ways; they wanted to impose them upon everyone else. They could not grasp the fact that anyone not like themselves could be used of God.

Because a man or a woman took a Nazarite vow, must everyone else do it also? Should other families adhere to the tradition of the Rechabites passed down by their father? Can all believers meet the standards laid down for church officers in the New Testament? Any spiritually intelligent, thinking person, knows that the answer to these questions is an emphatic, “No!”

Since all of us come way short in one area or the other in our lives and ministry, we would be wise to give others a little elbow room; room to breathe in if you please. Some people’s standards would suffocate an angel.

In essentials, UNITY; in non-essentials, LIBERTY; in all things, CHARITY. (St. Augustine)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Mighty Victor

In past years, I have been asked by some belonging to a certain “Deeper Life” group, if I had the victory. My answer, I’m afraid, to their dismay was, “I don’t always have the victory, but I always have the Victor.”

This is why the old Divines used to say, “When you fall, shout the victory.” They knew victory is not something you get, but rather something you have, a present possession, if you please.

We are told, “The gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.” But it is also written, “Thanks be unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

If you truly have Christ dwelling within, you have eternal life. To doubt it only means you don’t enjoy it. And so it is with victory. Defeat doesn’t change the fact you have the Victor within. The old Divines were right!

When an Olympic contestant, representing the U.S.A., wins the gold, we say, “We won, we’re the victors.” Actually we didn’t do anything but simply bask in the victory another won for us. HALLELUJAH!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Greatness in Overalls.

It says of both John the Baptist and Jesus that they were great in the sight of the Lord. Though certainly not in the eyes of the world, God visualized them as such. In their case, greatness was in the eyes of the beholder.

The lesser is not necessarily void of greatness. In fact it can be equal. “God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.” When Jacob blessed Pharaoh, carnality saw only the lesser blessing the greater. But the spiritual eye saw the opposite.

We need to be couscous as Christians that we do not equate greatness with position. It’s not rank, but relationship that determines greatness with God. As C.S. Lewis says, “One is sometimes (not often) glad not to be a great theologian; one might easily mistake it for being a good Christian.” Greatness and goodness do not always walk in the same shoes.

I’ve seen greatness in overalls behind a plow, in an apron washing dishes, and in a thousand and one other disguises that the world does not, and cannot, perceive. It would be well for each of us who profess to be God’s kin, to remember that the lesser in His Kingdom is the greater.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Life in the Fetal Position

The picture of an unborn babe in the womb has always fascinated me. In its fetal position the child is in the same posture as a person in prayer. On the other hand, just as interesting, when one is dying, he or she reverts back to that original fetal position.

Is God telling us we are born to pray? That all our life, from our birth into His Kingdom, to the very end of our existence on earth, we are to pray? The first thing said of Paul at his birthing into God’s family was, “behold he prayeth.”

We cannot be on our knees physically every moment. But the “knees of our heart” can be bent to the Lord throughout the day. We are told to “continue in prayer,” and to be “instant in prayer”; “Praying always.” David tells us that “he gave himself to prayer.” When we do this consensually, each day, the Holy Spirit will carry on this ministry for us, even when we are not conscious of it. Proof is seen at different intervals, when, for no reason at all, we break out into prayer, or when a sudden emergency arises and our first words are, “Oh God...”

We do not know how or what to pray for. Therefore, let us give ourselves over to the indwelling Spirit, who will fulfill the ministry of prayer through us. Allow Him to carry out His intercessory work in each of us today—even when we’re not aware of it, except for the groanings within us that cannot be uttered.

God can pick sense out of a confused prayer. (Richard Sibbes)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Promise and a Prayer

The last promise of the Bible is made by Jesus, “Surely I come quickly.” And the last prayer in the Bible comes from John the Beloved, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” There are only two important days on the Christian’s calendar: “today” and “that day.” Primitive believers looked and longed for His return. One of their greetings was, “Maranatha” (The Lord Cometh).

It seems today with all the bickering, dogmatism, and controversy associated with His Coming that many have lost the blessing of the Blessed Hope. I personally have never known of a bride awaiting her bridegroom’s arrival, who was overly concerned with the particulars of that event. That is, the type of luggage, transportation, friends, etc. that will accompany him. She only cares her lover is coming; all else is incidental.

If you cannot pray, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus,” then one of two things is wrong. Either your life is not in tune with Heaven, or your interpretation of prophecy needs fixin’.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Saul Syndrome

“Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” When Saul heard this saying, we’re told it, “displeased him.” He was willing for David to have come close, possibly even to equal him, but never to excel him. This is what I like to call the “Saul Syndrome.” This cancerous trait is still among us.

The test of true spiritual humility is seen in one’s attitude when another is of greater blessing than they themselves. I have noticed the “lesser- blessers” try to hold the greater back. I guess they are fearful that the people will say that they have been a blessing, but the latter has been ten times that.

Though the front door be closed to them, back door blessers are just as effective.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Let Me Dream On

Years ago an old-time evangelist and his wife were traveling to a meeting by bus. One of the stops was at a little mountain store in the Carolinas. The preacher’s wife, looking out the window, noticed a humble country woman hanging up her wash. She jokingly said to her husband, “Vance, she doesn’t know the rest of the world exists,” to which he replied, “For goodness sake, don’t tell her!”

Until recent years, God’s plain people were content with simply believing heaven was a place with streets of gold, gates of pearl, a river of life, etc. But nowadays they are being told that all these things are to be taken spiritually; that they are figurative, and not meant to be taken literally. The one thing wrong with this is that none of these know-it-alls replace the common people’s hope with anything better.

The word scholar is derived from the Latin word, schola, meaning “school.” The Bible’s definition, as well as the dictionary’s is, “a student or pupil” (1Chron.25:8). Maybe some of the so-called scholars of our day ought to go back to school and continue their learning.

I have photographs of beautiful, breathtaking places where I’ve been, but not one picture captures what the reality was really like. Dear saint of God, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it. If heaven is not all you thought it to be, it will still surpass your fondest dream. So, dream on!

Nothing is more contrary to a heavenly hope than an earthly heart. (William Gurnall).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Sweet Tooth.

My sainted mother was addicted to sweets, especially chocolate and little candy orange slices. When it was necessary for us to move her to a Christian rest home, we made sure upon each visit that we brought her some type of sugary delight. I inherited this craving, but now find to my dismay, I’m a border-line diabetic.

Well, God has no such ailment. He is not a diabetic. He loves sweets; you cannot give Him too much. In the Old Testament sacrifices we read of sweet incense,  sweet spices, sweet odour, sweet savour, sweet smell, and sweet wine. Is it any wonder He had an affinity for David, “The sweet Psalmist?”

One of God’s indictments against His people Israel was, “Thou hast bought me no sweet cane.” Not brought, but bought; it’s to cost us something. One of the thrills my mother got when presenting her with a large, expensive box of chocolates was the fact that she knew I’d paid a dear price for it.

This, no doubt, was the secret of how darling David wiggled himself into the heart of God. Let us listen and learn, “Nay; but I shall surely buy it…at a price: neither will I offer…unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” When is the last time any of us brought the Lover of Your Soul something sweet; something that cost us dearly?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rotten to the Core

“I am vile”… “O wretched man that I am!”… “Woe is me! for I am undone”…” Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Each of these men’s confession (Job, Paul, Isaiah, Peter) brought an end to self, nevertheless, it was the beginning of God in their lives. We are never as good as we think we are; but we are always worse than we think we are. When we come before God, it is possible to be too good, but we never need fear feeling we are too bad.

I am not speaking of morbidity that manifests itself in a false humility, but, rather, accepting sane, Scriptural facts about our inward condition. Until we see the utter corruption within, and stop making excuses, we will feel no reason for forgiveness. The Blood of Christ cleanses sin, not excuses. And we need not despair at the greatness of our sins. His grace is always greater.

In God’s sight, the Pharisee was a good bad man; the Publican, a bad good man.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Ministry of Distruction

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” There are two sides to every coin. On the one side, “He was manifested to take away our sins.” But on the flip side we find, He was manifested to destroy the devil’s works.

This is the ministry of destruction! He destroys nothing that is good and beautiful, only the evil and ugly. He cuts out the cancer, not the healthy tissue.

For years, Satan had bound a dear woman so that she could not straighten up. But when Jesus came on the scene, she was able to walk tall. In an instant, our Lord destroyed eighteen years of the devil’s work. And, by the way, since He is the same today as He was then, He is still able to do the same for us.

There is no knot that devil can tie that Jesus can’t unloose.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

That Seat is Already Taken

“What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask…to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.”

Everything in the Bible is not, so to speak, set in stone. On the other hand, some things are eternally cemented and settled; predestinated and pre-determined, if you please. Man’s freewill and God’s sovereignty is something that has been debated over two-thousand years. And with all the great and godly minds on both sides working over-time, they have still not figured it out.

Each side covers the holes in their arguments, but with tissue paper; and any diligent observer can see through the patch work. I agree with C.S. Lewis on these two opposing factors: “Until (if ever) we can see the consistency it is better to hold two inconsistent views than to ignore one side of the evidence.” In other words, “Don’t throw the baby out with the wash.”

The Scriptures plainly teach that there is a HIS PART and OUR PART in the lives of saints. None will ever be held accountable for not knowing the former, but we sure will for not doing the latter. To cop out by saying you neglected to accomplish the second because you didn’t understand the first, won’t fly with God! Each knows the part they’re to play here; He’ll explain the other, I trust, in the hereafter.

When in a buck-board and the horses run wild, pray, and hang on tight!

Monday, August 10, 2009

*Those Embarrassing Falls

“Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” How many times have I heard it said, “How could they do such a thing? I could never do that.” Oh, yes we can. We are capable of doing anything anyone else has done. When we think or say such a thing, we have stepped from the Solid Rock onto thin ice.

David thought himself secure within his own house. Yet, this is where the serpent bit him (Amos 5:19). And is not this the man who said, “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart?” Peter, warming his body around the enemy’s fire, never realized what could come out of his cold heart. Had he not boasted and believed, “Though all men shall...yet will I never”? When we think ourselves the safest, we are the most vulnerable.

If you have experienced one of life’s embarrassing falls you might want to read Prov.24:16; Psl.37:23-24).

David fell while walking; Peter fell while standing; you’re not apt to fall while kneeling.