Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our Way or the Highway

“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 them. 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 ministries, we would be wise to give others a little elbow room. Room to breathe in, if you please.  

Some peoples’ standards would suffocate an angel. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Inside Out

“…sin dwelleth in me.” The apostle reinforces this truth by repeating it two more times in this chapter (Rom.7). At this writing, Paul is a seasoned saint of more than twenty five years. He desired that these primitive believers would know that their main problem in the Christian life would be indwelling sin. That it was a permanent resident in their house of clay and did not move out when the new nature moved in. They were to realize the civil war they were experiencing in their souls was a life-long struggle, and that these two natures (old and new) were opposites that loathed one another.

The old saint didn’t believe that his condition was derived from some imaginary, psychological sickness, but knew it came from inward sinfulness. They were to understand that this horrid malady came from within, not from without. Temptation doesn’t put anything into the heart that is not already there.

Samson was told “…the enemy is upon thee,” but he should also have been told, “The enemy is within thee.” Jesus taught this in Mark seven. He said all of our sinfulness comes from within, out of our hearts, not from without.

Sin is not the result of outward attraction, but of inward appetite.
(S.J.S)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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 later 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.
(R.D.S)

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Long War

“Fight the good fight of faith.” The Christian life is a life-long battle, “and there is no discharge in that war.” Pacifists lose every time in this spiritual conflict. We are to fight all the way to Heaven, for there will always be conflict against corruption. Let me remind you there is more to this fight than being able to take the blows of the enemy. We are not to cower in a corner. We are expected to get in some blows ourselves. We hear much about yielding, but that’s to God. We are to resist our adversary.

To fight this battle in the flesh will result in defeat. It’s a battle entered into by faith. For our warfare is not carnal. We do not war “after the flesh.” The rest Joshua led God’s people into was not by a passive faith, but by a fighting faith. May our dying testimony be that of the old, battle-scarred warrior: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Satan hates God, and the only way he can attack Him is by attacking the objects of His love.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

*A New Trend in Christianity

There is a legitimate place for the psychological as long as it is not camouflaged and substituted for the spiritual. Today there is a trend to transfer spiritual problems over into the psychological realm. We are led to believe our problem is not a spiritual one, but only psychological. Therefore, personal responsibility is diminished. The blame is placed upon someone or something else. It’s because of our “genes,” a disease, or whatever—it is definitely not our fault.

The old Puritans of three-hundred years ago were experts in this matter of the Christian’s problems. They always went directly to the root. They had a thorough knowledge of the workings of the human heart and the Lord’s dealings with His people. Read John Owen, John Bunyan, or John Newton. These men probed the dark depths of the human heart. When you put down their books, you’ll be tempted to say, “This man knows me.” If you plan to go to these spiritual physicians for help, don’t expect a comfortable couch and analysis of the mind; instead, be prepared for the knife and open-heart surgery.

God promises to give us a “new heart”; it’s clear; He knows where the trouble lies.
(R.D.S)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Vested Authority

“...and set him [Christ] at his [God’s] own right hand in heavenly places, Far above all...dominion.” “God...hath raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” When Jesus raised Lazarus, He didn’t leave him in a grave yard. The next time we see this risen saint, he is seated with our Lord. And so it is with us; we are called from the grave, in grace, to be seated with Him in Glory. Our union with Him necessitates this. The text is not a prophecy of the future but a fact of the present. We are seated with Him now in Heavenly places.

Because of this, we are no longer under Satan’s dominion. We have been translated out of his earthly kingdom of darkness into the Heavenly kingdom of God’s dear Son. We have been turned “...from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” We have been delivered “...from this present, evil world.”

Adam lost his dominion power to the devil. We regain it in Christ. We need not run from him but use our God-given authority to make him flee from us. Once we accept, by faith, our Heavenly, God-given position in Christ, we can exercise our rightful authority over the power of darkness, both in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Satan is not fearful of our vested authority as long as we do not exercise it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Cost of Closeness to God

Without question, one, if not the greatest of life’s blessings is being close to God. But coupled with this closeness is a tremendous price to be paid.

Listen to the testimony of a few Bible saints who drew near to God. Job said, “I am vile”; Isaiah cried, “Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips”; Peter pleaded with Christ, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” And what of the great apostle Paul? “O wretched man that I am!” says he. Prior to these heartrending sobs, we would have considered each of these to be good and godly men.

All the sinful dirt and religious filth in one’s heart is shined upon in the glorious light of His presence. Is it any wonder then we love the security of the shadows, where we can pass ourselves off as being something we’re not? To live in His presence means we must daily carry in our bosoms the stigma of who we really are. And to what end is this purpose? “That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

When you hear someone say they thank God they’re not as other men, mark it down, you’re listening to a person who is “standing afar off” from God!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lost in the Croud

“Thus have they loved to wander.” The people of God did not go astray because of adversity; it was not necessitated by something outside themselves. They wandered because they loved it. They delighted in it. Their very disposition was to do so. The song-writer knew this when he penned, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it/Prone to leave the God I love.”

There is much concern today about the sheep who have wandered from the flock. My burden is for those who are wandering within the flock. They are always looking and longing—wanting something other than the Good Shepherd. You can stake out a sheep with a hundred yards of rope, with green pastures all around him, yet he will go to the limit of his line, even to the point of choking himself in his attempt to go beyond his shepherd’s care and control. Only love for the Shepherd can cure our love for wandering.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hearts in Heaven

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” If Christ is truly our treasure then our hearts will be where He is. It is only when we see the “...things on the earth” from heavens viewpoint that we can live our lives aright on this earth. Paul did not look at the things which are seen but those things that are not seen. The one is temporal and will pass away, the other, eternal.

Things of the earth are not to be despised, neglected, or rejected, unless they stand between us and Christ. He is to be our one and only desire. David knew this truth when he penned, “...there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee”. Our affection is to have wings and constantly be flying heavenward.

Why would anyone try to hold to things they cannot keep? It would be well for us to remember the words of the old patriarch. “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither.” One was asked how much his rich friend left when he died, and the reply was, “All of it.”

We are not to “…love the things that are in the world” but the One who gave them.

                                                                                                   

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wasting Time in Prayer

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest…” Jesus said external worship cannot make up for internal wrong. Outward sacrifice doesn’t impress Him if there is inward sin. Ceremonial cover-ups will not suffice if there’s a callous condition of the heart. Trying to balance evil with good, thinking the latter will make up for the former, just won’t fly.

God knows our inward disposition and deals with us accordingly. “If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” We are not to scrape up morbid things, because we are overly sensitive, but we are to face-up to the conviction of conscience placed there by the Spirit of God. To disregard this will be disastrous.

I speak with the utmost reverence when I say, until we right our wrongs, we should leave God waiting at the altar. I said, “I say,” but actually, “He said.” If we remember at the altar and neglect to take care of that thing, we’ll regret it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Heard, but Not Seen

“Who art thou?/ What sayest thou of thyself? /I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” John knew both who and what he was. He didn’t consider himself with the greats, such as Elias of old, but he did know he had a place in God’s plan. The people’s testimony of him was, “John did no miracle, but all things that John spake of this man [Christ] were true.” Because he could not do the spectacular, did not silence him.

One need not have the effect of “a great and strong wind,” nor to shake foundations as “an earthquake,” or be a consuming “fire.” A “still, small voice” can get the job done when God is in it. Though a man is Divinely confined to the solitary wilderness, such a one will still have an audience to articulate the awesomeness of God.




Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Blood of Jesus Christ

Paul speaks of having, “faith in His blood.” Like many other cardinal doctrines, we hear very little of the blood of Christ today. But certain truths are to be repeated over and again. Peter puts it this way, “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth.”

I do not know how many lambs were sacrificed in the Old Testament picturing Christ upcoming death in the New.  Hundreds of thousands, I imagine, during that long period. I’m sure, had they all been killed at one time it would have produced a mighty river of blood. But the writer of Hebrews tells us not one drop of any animal’s sacrifice could ever take away sin. As the song writer so aptly put it, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

To put one’s faith in His blood will accomplish a number of treasured things, advantageous to a Believer. To list only a few: it redeems us to God; cleanses from daily defilement; it justifies, freeing us from all condemnation; brings peace to our souls; draws us nigh to God; gives us boldness in our approach to God; and makes us overcomers of Satanic powers. There is not a second of any day when we do not need His life-giving blood to sustain us. O, THANK YOU, GOD, FOR YOUR SON’S PRECIOUS BLOOD!

An old preacher was getting a blood transfusion. The attending nurse said, “It’s amazing, we can now keep blood for almost a hundred years without it losing its effect.” To which he replied, “Dear, I know of a blood that is over two-thousand years old and is as powerful now as the day it was shed.” ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mountain Climbing

“Give me this mountain.” These are the words of an 85 year old man. When others were petering out, Caleb was pressing on. This is the man who had the testimony; he had wholly followed the Lord all the days of his life. Caleb was Bunyan’s Mr. Greatheart, which is the meaning of his name. He was not looking for comfort in his last years, but for challenge. He never stopped growing. He was not a spiritual retiree.

The caliber of this man is fast becoming extinct in our day. He could stand alone. The old man had a godly, optimistic faith. He had spiritual ambition to the end. His motto was: “It is never too late.”

Men with Caleb’s character make it possible for those with lesser  to hide behind. He was a pillar of strength to a younger generation, who had never seen any example of courage like this aged man displayed. This ancient of days is the only one who expelled utterly every giant that faced him. Just think if he had stopped half-way up the mountain.

Mt. Hebron was a powerful stronghold. It was fortified, and the giants in it were not a few. But it was his rightful inheritance. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah were all buried there. The enemy had no right to that ground. It belonged to his forefathers, and to him.

Mountain climbing can be dangerous. It’s uphill all the way. But it is a wonderful thing when you finally reach the top. To view the valley of despair that you came from, to breathe the celestial air, is worth it all. But the most thrilling of all is to stake down your banner and see it unfurled in the heavenly breeze, for all who are in the valley to see. How blessed to realize that it is still possible for an impossible man to do impossible things. Don’t content yourself with the good, but the best, in life. KEEP CLIMBING!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Infallibility

“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right.” David believed in the infallibility of God’s Word. That is, it is incapable of error. But herein lies a great danger for the child of God. Because we believe the Bible is infallible, we are prone to think of ourselves as impeccable (without defect or error, flawless). Only the Scriptures are infallible. For a saint to believe otherwise causes him to become inflatable.

This is the reason the Bible is its own interpreter. For God to have committed this to a defective church (Rome) or deficient individuals (Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Dispensationalists, or Reformed), would have been disastrous. God’s Word is always right, but because of various influences in our backgrounds and the nature of our temperaments, we are not. Balaam’s dumb ass spoke God’s Word, but that didn’t change what he was.

You can’t tell a know-it-all anything.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I Know God

“Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.”

Jesus professed His knowledge of God before the religious crowd of His day with the greatest certainty. He was not afraid or ashamed to do so. Three times in this one little verse He attests to the fact of His intimate relationship with God. To do otherwise, says He, would make Him a liar. As Matthew Henry brings out, He not only knew God by His name, but by His very nature.

The Bible teaches we can know God personally. Job, David, and Paul all unashamedly declared their personal knowledge of God. John, in his first little epistle declares we too can know God. In chapter two, verse three, he writes, “Hereby we know that we know Him.” He tells us we can know we know. And how did both He and Jesus tell us we can know that we know God? Our Lord says the proof is in keeping God’s sayings, and John states the same, by keeping His commandments.

God’s moral law was not negated at the Cross; Paul mentions the keeping of the Ten Commandments (the Sabbath excluded) in his letters, not to be saved, but proof that one is saved. I personally am a little sick and tired of those who break their backs trying to convince themselves and others that their loved ones, who continually break God’s Commandments, are saved! Mathew Henry spells it out in a plain fashion, “There are many who claim-kindred to God who yet have no acquaintance with Him.” These types, I think, “worship an unknown God.”

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

*The Miracle of Means

"Yet doth he [God] devise means.” Many times when we think only a miracle will get us out of our dilemma, the means is staring us straight in the face, right under our nose, as they say. We see this illustrated in the book of Judges. It may be an ox-goad, a nail, a barley cake, a pitcher and trumpet, a piece of a millstone, or the jaw-bone of an ass. Look and see what’s around you, what’s available. It may be a means to a miracle!

We need to heed the preaching of the old Puritan: “Man cannot do anything without God; but God will not do anything without man.” Man is God’s means to accomplish His purpose on earth. Paul said of himself that he used “all means” to fulfill God’s purpose in building up His Kingdom.

God promises to make my bed in all my sickness, but He uses loved ones or a nurse to do it.
(R.D.S)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Twin Promises

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Romans chapter eight is believed by many to be the greatest chapter in the Word of God. It begins with no condemnation and concludes with no separation.

These are two of Satan’s most effective tools for discouraging a Christian. His condemnation comes by way of accusation. We are told in the last book of The Book that he accuses us before our God day and night. The second Satanic tactic comes during those times of isolation we experience, making us believe that it is separation from God’s love.

But God has provided us with two Royal resources to combat these twin lies. In dealing with the accuser we use our judicial weapon, the Blood of the Lamb. That is always a sure cure for overcoming him. During those times we feel alone, for one reason or another, we are to cling to God’s parental promise that He loves us with an everlasting love. Remind your adversary that there is nothing you can ever do to make God stop loving you.

The reason there is no condemnation by God or separation from God is because of our justification in Christ.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

When Right is Wrong

“O God…renew a right spirit within me…Then will I teach…thy ways.” The prerequisite for my teaching right is my being right. Someone said, “What’s wrong with being right?” Plenty, if you’re not right! Who wants to eat a sweet apple that’s been stored in a bucket of vinegar? And who wants to hear truth that has been preserved in a bitter vessel?

Year ago, I remember someone describing a certain preacher who spoke on hell often. They said, “He seemed as though he enjoyed the fact that people were going there.” But having said this, we should remember that just because someone has a wrong attitude does not justify us disobeying the truth. Jesus, speaking to His disciples concerning the Pharisees, who had some accurate truths, but with the wrong spirit, said, “…whatsoever they bid you…observe and do; but do ye not after their works: for they say, and do not.”

But how is one to know when they are in such a wretched condition as the Pharisees? Simple, you know you’re wrong when you’re head says you’re right, but your heart still condemns you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

He's Already Been There

“I will send mine angel before thee!” Are we fearful of the future, of what lies up the road? We need not be, for our Lord has gone on ahead of us. He is a Pioneer—a great Maker of roads. He is our Scout, our advance Man; He will always open the way before us.

The Lord will look after the road. Our job is to travel it. When we hit rough places, you can be sure He knows all about it. But still he left them for us, knowing it would be for our good. Rough places make us appreciate the smooth ones.

Wherefore, as we journey down the King’s highway, let us not be forgetful that all we may experience, He has already faced. If we watch for the signs He has left, there is no reason to be anxious about what awaits us around the next bend. Certainly there are some warning signs, but there are also a lot of rest places. And who doesn’t enjoy pulling over when he sees a scenic sign to behold all the beauty that lies before him?

Who minds a rough road, if it leads home to the Father’s house?

Monday, May 7, 2012

*Patience and the Eternal

“...God waited...” Isaiah tells us what to do at a time like this: “And therefore will the Lord wait...blessed are all they that wait for him.” It is not easy for we who are eternally impatient time-checkers to wait on an eternal, timeless God. One of whom it is said, a day in His sight is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. God is never in a hurry—we are. You see, if you have eternity on your side, you can afford to wait.

There is no” Big Ben” in Heaven, everything is measured by eternity. God’s clock has no hands and His calendar has no days. Therefore, settle it; our eternal God is going to take His good old time, and nothing or no one is going to hurry Him up. If we will but patiently wait for Him to accomplish our deepest desires, we will find, “He [makes] everything beautiful in his time.”

“To lengthen my patience is the best way to shorten my trouble.”
Puritan saying
                                                             

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Stand Your Ground

And after him [was] Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

Both 2 Samuel and 1Chronicles record the heroic deeds of valiant men who followed David. Shammah is listed third among the first “three mighty men” who stood with their king during his exile. But why defend a field of lentiles? Because the land belonged to the Lord and Shammah was not going to let the Philistines have control of what belonged to Jehovah. Therefore, Shammah stood his ground!

Throughout Scriptures we are told to “stand.” This is Paul’s main thought when discussing the whole armour of God in Ephesians chapter six. Four times he admonishes the Christian to “Stand.” We are not to fight to get the victory, but to keep it. God “hath” (past tense) already given it us (Eph.1:3). Every major war ever fought was over real-estate. It is no different with the devil; he wants the Holy Ground we inherited in Christ. Is it any wonder then that Paul tells us, “…neither give place to the devil.” NO! NOT AN INCH.

But it is well for the brave souls who stand their ground to consider the wise words of Matthew Henry concerning this text. “The Lord wrought a great victory.” Note, "How great soever the bravery of the instruments is, the praise of the achievements must be given to God. These fought the battles, but God wrought the victory. Let not the strong man glory in his strength, but let him that glories glory in the Lord."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

*Powerful Words

“…they…so spake.” These believers spoke in such a way as to influence and bless a great number of people. They were not necessarily eloquent words, but their articulated breath burned in the hearts of those who heard them. Their words knocked at the gates of a man’s soul.

One of our great needs today is that Christians will individually speak with inspirational impact. Or, as the old Quakers used to say, “Speak to the condition.” But, sad to say, too many of our words “fall to the ground.”

If we are to “so speak” as the early Christians, then, of necessity, we must also be anointed by the Spirit, as they were. For Jesus plainly told His disciples that it was the Holy Ghost that teaches one when, how, and what to speak.

Wholesome words can make a person whole.
(R.D.S)

Friday, May 4, 2012

*It's Habit-forming

Someone has figured out it takes twenty-one days to form or break a habit. I don't know about that, but it seems to have worked for Daniel (chap.10).We are told both Daniel and David had a habit of praying three times a day. Anything continual will soon become habitual.

It was said of one of the Puritans that after he died, they found two grooves in the hardwood floor next to his bed that were made by his knees from praying throughout the years. That’s not a bad habit to get into. It’s one habit you wouldn't want to break.

"The act of prayer is blessed, the habit of prayer is more blessed..."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Transformed Lives and Ministries

“And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand?” “Cast it on the ground.”

In the front of one of my old Bibles, I pasted in the fly-leaf a little saying: “LET GO AND LET GOD.” I have come to realize through the years that to God it is not what we have given up that is so important, but, rather, what we are holding to. How we love to keep back something for ourselves.  We are like little children, who, when a parent reaches out to take something from them, clutches it to their bosom, turns away, and says, “MINE!”

Moses found what God could do when one is willing to let go of something they’re clinging to. You will remember his rod was supernaturally changed by simply letting go of the natural. The one thing that could be hindering our relationship with God may be that person or thing we are unwilling to let go of. If we seriously long to see a real transformation in our lives and ministries, then we must, at this very minute, “LET GO AND LET GOD!”

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

*God's feeble People

“For he knoweth our frame: he remembereth that we are dust.” It is for this reason we are told our Heavenly Father pities His children. For our frames were not made of steel nor our dusty substance from iron ore. Why would our Creator make His creatures with such frail frames as bone and feeble flesh from dust? The answer is found in just one word: dependence. God intended for man to always look to Him for his every need. He was not created to go it alone, but to always look to his Divine Helper.

When Jehovah formed man out of the dust of the ground, and framed his body, He knew its limitations and how much he could bear. Because of this, we can be assured He will never put upon us more than we can handle. Contrary to what we sometimes think, we can always carry those heavy packages our Father places in our arms. If we can’t, it is proof we are carrying something He didn’t place there.

The only thing God will ever weigh us down with is an “eternal weight of glory.” All else is but “light affliction” (2Cor. 4:17).
(R.D.S)