Thursday, March 31, 2011

Things You Didn’t Ask God For

“Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou…of the rest.” The widow was concerned only for the moment, how she could keep the creditors from taking her sons to be bondmen to pay off her indebtedness. She, no doubt, never imagined there would be an addendum to her immediate need being provided. And neither do many of us.

I don’t think most in this life will ever fully grasp the promise, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” God has a marvelous and blessed way of replacing our periods with a comma, and continuing our sentences. When David lost everything at Ziglag he asks the Lord, “Shall I pursue…shall I overtake?” Two questions. God answers him, then adds, “…for thou shalt surely…without fail recover all.” Too good to be true, David? Yes! Nevertheless, true.

If, at times, He answers before we call; He can certainly add to our requests after we call. (R.D.S.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life Stories

How would you like for your life to be recorded like many of the saints were in the Bible? Oh, I don’t mean the cosmetic part, but that underlying layer with all its hideous blemishes of character. That part we daily add extra make-up to lest any see us for what we really are. I, for one, am so thankful for God’s mercy in not writing of me and placing the biography in the bookstores for all to read.

Yet, it has pleased the Lord to record the lives of some of His children (Moses, David, Peter, Samson, etc.) as an example and warning, so that we might see the consequences of going our own ways. God did not intend these tell-all biographies to be punitive to these individuals, but to be informative to us. It’s the same principle found in Romans eleven. Their fall is our riches. I’m sure they were sorry for their sins, yet had joy in the fact that it kept back some others from emulating them. Thus, they were “…as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”

Anyone can play the fool once without being a fool. But when fooled twice at the same point, it is then that we truly become fools. As the saying goes, “There’s no fool like an old fool.” I certainly do not want to be a “vintage fool.”

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Chicken or the Egg

To settle the proverbial argument of which came first, the chicken or the egg, would be of no real consequence to anyone. But settling the Divine order of God’s Love and Truth—well, that is an entirely different story. In this case, the effect upon one’s life can be disastrous and far reaching if they’re arranged improperly.

In this sensual age in which we live, where the emphasis is on emotion, even Christians have come to believe love comes first. But they say this because everything in their life is judged by feeling. Therefore, they are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. They are as changeable as the weather. This type can experience all four yearly seasons within a twenty four hour period.

When God gives order to things it does not always mean that the first is most important, and those following are of lesser value, for example the Trinity. Truth comes before love. If not, you have no authority to assess if it is truly a God-like love. I find Christians who emphasize love before truth generally are trying to justify an ungodly life-style.

Biblical love is not born from one’s feelings, but originates in the will. We are told to love our enemies, and this certainly does not stem from our emotions. Love is an act of the will that manifests itself through our affections.

We’re told love rejoices in truth, and Jesus tells us the Word of God is truth. If one does not love and live by His book, it is because they have the wrong kind of love! If you don’t think the Bible is important, you might want to give ear to darling David. “For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”

You can put the cart before the ox, but you’ll go nowhere but backward. (R.D.S.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Temptation

“[Christ] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” We’re told in another place, these “points” consist of three: “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” This trio, we are further told, is “common to all men.” They may not be the same in kind, but can be in degree. The converted immoralist does not have any more fire in his bosom to sin than the moralist with his inferno within.

C. S. Lewis writes, “A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is…A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist.”

When the “temptee” says, “You don’t know what it’s like,” you can bet they’re ready to yield.” (RDS)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

School Days

I was a teenager in the late 40’s and early 50’s. One of the fads of that day was to wear metal taps on the heel and toe of your shoes. The object supposedly was to keep them from wear; that is, from running over. But I must admit in most cases it was pride that was running over! When walking (strutting) down the marble-like floors in the hallway of the school you would have thought Fred Astaire had arrived!

It’s possible to do something under the guise of one reason, while all the time having an ulterior motive. Personal agendas hide behind many a pseudo respectable life. It may have seemed like a modest request when James and John asked to sit on either side of Jesus in His kingdom. But who would have been the first to be seen by onlookers after gazing upon our Lord? The worst type of pride is the kind that keeps one from admitting their proud.

George MacDonald writes, “It must be remembered that a little conceit is no more to be endured than a great one, but must be swept utterly away.” It might be a wise thing for all of us to go to our broom closets right now?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

God Knows How To Get Our Attention

“Therefore Absalom sent for Joab... but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come. Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field… go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire. Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom…and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire? And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee, saying, Come hither.”

The text is self-explanatory, but I’m fearful that many pass over its practical application. That being, if we will not come willingly to God’s twice invite, He knows how to get our attention, so that we will come the third time, although the invitation card may be a little charred around the edges.

You can come willingly or unwillingly, but you will come, if that’s His pleasure. True, you may go away the way you came, but you will show up, sooner or later; even if He must drag you all the way. Paul put it like this, “If I do this thing willingly…but if against my will.” Notice, one way or the other, it would be done by him.

The important question for us to ask ourselves is, “Can I smell smoke? Is my field on fire? If so, as my Kentucky Granny used to say, “You’d better get a leg on.” If you don’t move soon, there will be nothing but ashes left. Salvage what you can now, before all goes up in smoke.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The King’s Key

“He that hath the key...he openeth...” How frustrating to be locked in a room; and how exciting to hear a key turn and the door open! Jesus has the master key; in fact, He is the Master Key. He can open any and all situations that have locked us in, and that keep us from being or doing what He has planned for us. We are told that He can open hearts (Lydia); understanding (the Ephesians); eyes (Bartimaeus); the Scriptures (the Emmaus believers); and Heaven itself (John the Beloved). There is absolutely nothing closed to Him that He cannot open.

He has keys on His side (availability); He can open at random. He carries a key on His shoulders (strength); it’s His burden to see things open up, not ours. The Philadelphian believers were not strong, but they were faithful.

Some of us feel chained to something, and that iron bars are keeping us in an undesirable situation. Take heart, imprisoned saint; after prayer was made, it says of Peter in prison, “...his chains fell off...” and “...the iron gate opened to them of his own accord.” “It is no secret what God can do; what He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.”

When God opened the prison doors for Peter, Peter was resting,not restless. (RDS)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Something Better

“To obey is better…” There is no addendum to this; it has no equal. Not even sacrifice will suffice. Offering external, spiritual, temporal, ceremonial substitutes will not get us off the hook with God. We can’t impress Him with anything we try to replace obedience with. He will not excuse disobedience. Is it any wonder then that Martin Luther said, “I’d rather obey than work miracles”?

If we are to be loyal to Jesus Christ, we must be obedient. Loyalty and obedience are like Siamese twins that cannot be separated. If you try, the result will be disastrous. Loyalty to Lordship demands obedience. “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say.” We need not fear the afterward consequence of obedience. Leave that to God. But know this for certain; He promised to give the power of His Spirit to those who obey Him.

Anytime we have a problem in our relationship with God, it can be traced to our questioning God’s commands to us. To debate God is to disobey. Our intellect can sometimes get in the way of obedience. May our testimony be that of Paul: “I was not disobedient…”

The Christian life flourishes when obedience is preferred before being spiritual. (RDS)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Blame Game

It all started with man’s Fall in the Garden of Eden. Adam blamed God for giving him the woman who had given him the fruit; and Eve passed the blame on to the devil for beguiling her. But no soul has ever been freed from the pig pen of self-justification until he or she, in sincerity, cries out from his or her heart, “It’s not my brother or my sister, but me, O Lord…” Passing the buck, so to speak, will always leave one a pauper in character. The scriptural term, I believe, is “weighed and found wanting.”

Many spend their lives trying to convince themselves and those around them that it is someone else’s fault they are the way they are. But intelligent people are not taken in by such shamitry. For they see clearly standing before them an individual who is desperately trying to vindicate his or her life-style of miserable existence. For they know for them to point the finger at themselves would mean swimming up-stream, against the current. And with this sort of creature, the effort is not worth it.

Breaking or throwing out all the mirrors in our lives doesn’t solve anything. Only by taking a good, long, and honest look at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word will we be truly changed for the better (11Cor.3:18).

There is no fortune in blaming others for our miss-fortune.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

When Time Stood Still

I both like and use little quips. But you must be careful you do not equate them with the scriptures. Many have Bible principles, but many of them do not. One proverbial saying we use falls into this latter category: “Time stands still for no one.” You would have had a difficult time convincing Joshua of this.

“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day… Sun, stand thou still…and the sun stood still… So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man.”

Someone may ask, “How do you explain such a thing?” My answer is, “You can’t explain a miracle, else it would not be a miracle.” It is not important to know the “how” of the miraculous, but to believe in the “fact” of it. The God who will one day say, “Time shall be no more,” has no difficulty in stopping the clock for one of His elect.

The practical teaching of this story is that God will give the necessary time to his child to finish the job He has entrusted him or her with, even if it takes a miracle to accomplish it. When things get to moving too fast for you, He will bring things to a stand still. No sooner did Joshua ask, than it was done. And so it is with those fulfilling His Will.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones was stricken with cancer toward the end of his ministry. He called his family together and asked them to pray God would stay His hand till he was finished with a couple of manuscripts for books. God did just that. Then the dear man of God requested his loved ones to cease their intercession on his behalf.

God says through Isaiah, “Concerning the work of My Hands command ye me.” And Joshua did just that.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Child with a New Toy

As a young Christian, some fifty-two years ago, I had the wonderful privilege of listening to that golden voiced tenor, Jack Holcomb. I sat spell-bound each night of that two week revival. I heard him sing such heart-warming old hymns as,” Tell Mother I’ll be there” and “Its Real.” But the one that captured my heart, and has held me a willing hostage these many years since, was a song entitled, “I Found the Answer; I Learned to Pray.”

When a saint truly discovers prayer, as a delight and not just a duty it will be the dawn of a new day in his or her life. He or she will be like a little child with a new toy, all excited, and taken up with their newfound happiness. A little tyke does not concern himself trying to figure out the creator’s part in the manufacturing of the toy he enjoys, but simply takes advantage of the benefit that has been so graciously afforded him.

And so it is with this marvelous thing called prayer, it is better experienced than explained. Or as the old camp meeting preacher said concerning attempting to describe salvation, “It’s better felt than telt.” In the Holy Scriptures we find God has a part, and He has given to man a part. We are only responsible for ours. God is more than qualified to fulfill His part. As my dear Mother used to say, “Don’t you worry your pretty little head over it.” Mark it down, prayer will never be a blessing in your life until you cease from your own wisdom and understanding of it. O, child of God, just pray, and leave all the rest to Him!

“The Lord Jesus is still praying,” wrote S.D. Gordon. “Thirty years of living,; thirty years of serving; one tremendous act of dying; two thousand years of prayer. What an emphasis on prayer.”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Unappreciated Gift

God gave Aaron and the priesthood to Israel as a gift from Himself. But then we are told He gave the Levites to the priesthood for a gift to them. The latter was given so they might help in menial tasks those that were ministering to the Lord. Though the Levites may be seen by some as having a lesser important job, nevertheless they were held in high esteem in God’s sight.

God has given to each of us someone who keeps us going, who keeps us on the firing line, so to speak. Someone who may be in the shadows, and who is little or never noticed, for the important tasks they perform for us. Moses had Joshua; Paul had Timothy; Aquila had Priscilla; Esther had Mordecai; etc. Have you thanked God for that person, or persons, that God brought into your life that has been such a help and blessing to you? Remember, they are a gift from the Lord to you, “And I, behold, I have taken your brethren… from among… you… [they are] given [as] a gift for the LORD, to do the service… (Num.18:6).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Youthful Yoke

“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” The aged patriarch had experienced tough times in his younger years, and knew the benefits it could bring in later life. If one would only submit to the suffering of their times, and silently endure, the fruit would be patience and great calm in latter years.

It says of our Lord, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” Is it any wonder the people of His day thought He may have been Jeremiah? Both men knew suffering and deep deprivation in their young lives. Taking the easy way, and the one of least resistance, makes for soft sons.

Parents need to learn not to overly protect their children during troubled times. For it is not easy to bend a neck stiffened with age or a heart hardened by custom. Such people are like “…a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke.” Truly great people have the marks of the yoke upon their necks that they bore in their youth.

You can make life easy for your children; but it will be harder for them when they’re old. (RDS)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pick and Choose

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil… therefore choose life.” God does the picking, but He has seen fit to leave the choices up to us; although in His great mercy, at times, He tells us which of the choices are best for us (as in our text); but not every time.

It is God who picks our lot in life. He selects everything, from our gifts to the kind testing we are to endure. The types, times, places, and all in-between are at His discretion. Then, after He picks, it is up to us to choose either to accept or reject. But once He picks, we can also choose to let Him choose for us, if we so desire. Wise David did this on at least one occasion (11Sam.24:11-14).

For the most part, all of you reading this article are who you are, where you are, and doing what you’re doing, because of a choice that was made by you in the distant or near past. Because of this, it would behoove each of us to waive our right to choose and let God decide for us. For God’s good is better than our best!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Mountain-Mover

Job, referring to God, says, “Which removeth the mountains.” God is “Mountain-mover.” In fact, when He finishes He does not just make the mountain into a molehill, He leaves no hill at all. When God removes our mountains, He levels everything before us, leaving not even the smallest obstacle in our path.

Listen to the Lord as He speaks to the mountain standing in the way of His surrendered servant: “Who art thou O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” What a Divine Excavator!

Many of us, who are facing a mountain of difficulty today, need to put our infallible God between us and our unscalable mountain. God tells Ezekiel, “At my presence...the mountain shall be thrown down…”

For the mountains shall depart…but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

When the World is Falling to Pieces

“…and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity…Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.”

The above scripture, found in Luke chapter twenty one, is generally considered to be part of our Lord’s Olivet Discourse. Matthew and Mark’s accounts have a more Jewish flavor. Luke seems to be addressing Gentiles, thus omitting the strong Jewish element. Some believe Luke’s description is the fulfillment of the siege of Jerusalem in A.D.70 by the Romans. There are elements that could be applied, but the context overwhelmingly lends itself to the future coming of our Lord back to earth.

Most of the the crisis events listed in this prophetic chapter, (political, social, and religious) have always been characteristic, (geographically) in every age to some extent, but not world-wide in their scope. Their increase and intensity will be greater than ever seen, as His coming draws near. For example, there have always been earthquakes, but not in “divers places,” (simultaneous) as our Lord predicted. I recently found on-line three- hundred and fifty-nine in the past seven days world-wide.

Some day will be the last days of this old world. Jesus said we’ll know them by a universal distress among the Nations. Earth’s population will tremble, their hearts terrified with fear, with the coming events that will cast their shadow upon all of mankind. These calamities will be more than humanity can handle or endure. When this world begins to unravel at the seams, humanity will be, as Matthew Henry puts it, “dispirited and unsouled.”

Many believe Christians will be delivered from all these atrocities, others that we will go through them. The question for both sides is, “Are you ready? As to the former, are you ready to suffer for His Name sake? To the latter I would inquire, “Are you ready to stand before God and give account of your life? “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best” The latter can easily be fit in to our schedule. It’s the wise person that prepares for the former. Just in case.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

*Our Almighty God

Just before his hundredth birthday God reveals Himself to Abraham as “Almighty God”. This is the first time in scripture the Lord makes Himself known by this name. An old puritan said, “One Almighty is more than all mighties.”

It is important for those who are in impossible situations, as the old patriarch was, to know God by this name. The name refers to potency, and this potency is combined with promise; thus, it becomes the ground of faith.

So we see it was because of this Divine title that the old man believed the Omnipotent One was able to perform all He had promised. He found that at the end of self was the beginning of God. When we come to this point in our lives, we also will see the Almighty performing mighty things on our behalf!

God demands the impossible of us all. But as Samuel Chadwick said, “With God, all that a man ought to be, he can be; all that he ought to do, he can do.” I like the way Augustine put it, “Give what Thou commandest, the command what Thou wilt.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

Don’t Mistake the Apostate

An apostate is one who has “known the truth, embraced the truth, and, afterward, rejects the truth.” I believe this is what the book of Hebrews is all about with its multiple warnings. If you believe, as I do, that the above definition is correct, then you can see how the word is attached to many individuals, churches, and groups unfairly.
For example, contrary to various Bible scholars, teachers, and reference materials, etc, the Laodicean church was not apostate. A random reading of the text by an uninfluenced novice of the Word proves this out. These were Christians who were loved and chastened by the Lord, but not forsaken.

There is a teaching that is growing in popularity among many, that God is through with the Church—that the Church Age has ended. No, God is not through with His Church; but He is outside of it. In Revelation three we find He has been locked out of His own house. For we’re told the door He’s pleading to enter has to be opened from the inside.

By observing the deadness in many Fundamental and Evangelical churches today, I can understand how one could be persuaded that God is through with the Church. Jesus tells us, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Though He has not left dead, lifeless churches, still He is noticeably absent. Nothing ever remained dead when Jesus was present.

If you want to see a resurrection, you must first roll away the stone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bloated Convictions

A simple definition of the word conviction, in its non-legal setting, would be, “a fixed or firmly held belief.” As I have advanced in age and grown in the Lord, I find I have fewer convictions. That is, things I would die for. For if you’re not willing to give the ultimate for what you say you believe in, I doubt seriously it is a conviction. I think it might be listed under preference. To die for the precious Blood of Christ is one thing, to give my life for my preferences on personal separation, is another.
It is not difficult to proudly spout off an unending list of one’s convictions in the cool of the day. But when you stand before the open door of the furnace, the heat seven times hotter than it is “wont to be,” then it’s another story. I’m sure, at that time, the perspiration falling from our brow on to our cherished list, will cause the number of items to fade significantly.

Make sure your convictions do not keep you from obeying God. I’m sure Isaiah’s convictions did not agree with him walking around for three years without his clothes on. And what of Hosea being told to marry a harlot? Don’t you think he might have had some firm beliefs against such a thing? So, too, with Abraham, would he not flinch when asked to offer up his only son, like the heathen around him, who practiced such rites?

Most certainly, these were exceptions to the rule. But it surely shows that God may call upon us to lay aside our personal convictions temporarily, to fulfill His plan. When Samson was set on marrying a woman from among the Philistines, his parents, orthodox Jews, had strong convictions against it. Yet we are told in Jud.14:4, “But his father and his mother knew not that it [was] of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines.”

But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? A legalist could never have done this!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

*A Christian in Name Only

Charles Spurgeon said, “To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other.”

The old Negro spiritual says, “Everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin there.” I remember my kind and gracious pastor, whose ministry I was converted under, who lived up unto his nineties, making a startling statement, over fifty years ago, from the pulpit. He said he believed, judging his people from the scriptures alone that half the church was lost. I wonder what he’d think today?

Jesus taught His followers that at the judgement day, many who professed to believe in His Lordship, and did many wonderful things in His name, will be told, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Again, quoting that great Prince of Preachers, “Bearing the name Christian is not the same as possessing the nature of a Christian.

Going to church doesn’t any more make one a Christian than going into a garage makes you a car.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Honey or Oil

The sad result of neglecting the Bible in one’s daily life is ending up with an anemic Christianity. John tells us in his first Epistle that the Word of God makes us strong. This, no doubt, was the reason why the early Christians gave themselves continually to the Word. It could truly be said of them that they were devoted to their devotions. The definition of which is: 1) zealous in loyalty or affection, and 2) earnest attachment to a cause or person.

In speaking to a young mother recently about the importance of the Bible in her life, she replied, “But I don’t like to read,” To which I responded, “What if your young husband wrote you a love letter?” With a smile, she answered, “Oh, I’d read that!” The truth is we all read what interests us. It’s just that many are embarrassed to admit they have no interest in the Bible.

In the 119th Psalm, which is all about the Word of God, God’s darling David mentions on eight different occasions how he loved God’s written Word. Is it any wonder then that he was able to wiggle himself into the heart of God?

The Bible likens itself to the manna of the Old Testament. It is interesting to note that when Israel was right with God, its taste was like honey; but it seems when they were out of sorts with Him, its flavor was like oil. Which is it with us?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

*Where Did You Get Hung-Up?

“…and salute no man by the way.” Jesus is going to make a tour of various cities, and so He sends out the seventy, two by two. They’re His advanced evangelistic team, to prepare for His arrival in each town. It is in this setting that He admonishes them to not get side-tracked from their main goal. Even to the simplest thing, like a greeting to others (2Kgs.4:29). Jewish greetings were not like ours, but rather long and drawn out. Involved in this was asking a whole list of questions related to the individual and his or her family’s condition. It was time consuming.

The Christian’s one main objective in life is “to know Christ.” Everything and everyone else is to stand by the roadside as we travel the main thoroughfare. Not family, friends, or even Spiritual ministries are to distract from our relationship with Him, no matter how virtuous. Not preaching, not singing, not prophecy, not politics, not missions, not the Church, not Bible study, not soul-winning, not ministering to others, as good and worthy as these may seem. NOTHING COMES BEFORE HIM! “He is before all things.” As the writer of Hebrews tells us, “For this [man] was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

*Satisfaction in Sanctification

One should never be satisfied with his or her Christian life. We sometimes hear professing Christians say, “I’m satisfied with my life the way it is.” Whenever you hear such a statement, mark it down, you are listening to a spiritual pigmy. Most certainly, we should always be satisfied with Christ, but never ourselves.

There is both positional and practical sanctification. As to the former, in Gods eyes, it’s a done deal. But the latter is an on-going, day to day process. David mentioned the time when he would have complete satisfaction with his personal sanctification. He penned in the Psalms, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”

A.W. Tozer wrote, “If we feel that we are what we ought to be, then we will remain what we are. We will not look for any change or improvement in our lives. This will quite naturally lead us to judge everyone by what we are.”

Such small minded, miniature saints, invariably end up thinking God is altogether such a one as themselves (Psl.50:21). It is this sort that makes a mental god after their own likeness; that is, with the exception of the strings. For theirs is a puppet god!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Strange Bedfellows

Life seems to go in a full circle. That is, we end where we started. For example, we came into this world from a fetal position, and we leave it the same way.

We are told, in its infancy, “there was a great persecution against the church.” I personally believe there will be a repeat of this before our Lord’s Second Coming. We have refused milder remedies to unite us as a people, who are to affectionately care for one another.

God may just compel us by hardship and persecution to keep His commandment. Affection is not basically built on agreement, but relationship. I can disagree with a person, but still love him or her.

When the world points all of its artillery at us and begins shooting, we are going to be surprised who is in the fox-hole with us. I heard an old preacher once say, “You can know your friends if you both have the same enemies.” Or as C.S. Lewis so aptly puts it, “Those who suffer the same things from the same people for the same Person can scarcely not love each other.”

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rightness

It is never too late to make things right…to do right…to be right. Never look at your clock and imagine it’s too late for you. Look at God’s timepiece. It has no hands on it.

Nothing can keep a person from righting things, if they have a mind to. The only thing that can prevent them is themselves. Advanced years cannot stop one; look at the old patriarch, Abraham. Depraved sins committed can’t keep you back; read the story of the wickedest man in the Bible, Manasseh. Broken, ruined relationships can be restored; remember Jacob and Esau. And even when at the brink of eternity, things can be turned around; don’t forget the thief on the cross.

If you want to make things right…do right…and be right, be assured God will do right toward you. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” It’s never later than you think when it has to do with rightness in your life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Know Thyself

The ancient Greek aphorism "Know thyself,” is inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi– It has been attributed to several ancient Greek sages, such as Socrates, etc. Nevertheless, it’s a wise man or woman who knows his or her limitations.

David, it would seem, knew his. “LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul [is] even as a weaned child”.

It takes maturity to both know and accept oneself. As one writer put it, “David was as a weaned child, sitting upon his mother’s lap, no longer fretting over milk.” David was comfortable in his own skin. But, at the same time, he was not in love with his own shadow.

The shepherd boy was not “educated beyond his intelligence.” He was content within his own intellectual sphere. He did not attempt to flex academic muscle he didn’t have. That is always embarrassing, for invariably, sooner or later, someone will put you to the test.

David knew certain things were too great and lofty for his mind; therefore, he did not intrude into those areas, especially those “secret things that belong [only] to the Lord.” He realized some things were too high, beyond his reach. He preferred the Biblical world with its limitations, rather than pseudo-mystical probing.

Intellectual contentment comes when one is able to say, I don’t know.”