Friday, August 31, 2012
Dr. Bob, the next speaker, complimented Dr. Rice’s message saying that was the way he had always wanted to pray, but being truthful to the people said, “I’ve always been a man on the go, traveling in evangelistic campaigns, and building a college. I pray while I’m shaving, then as I walk across the campus to speak in chapel, on the train headed for a conference, etc.” “But,” said Dr. Bob, “I have never entered the pulpit or tried to accomplish something for Jesus that I didn’t think I’d die if He didn’t bless and get the glory.”
What am I trying to say? Simply this, do things the way you’re most comfortable with. You’ll usually enjoy and accomplish much more in your spiritual life. God knows our situations as well as our limitations. He is not a tough taskmaster!
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I wonder—what part of our children’s lives are we the most concerned with? Is it that “outward form” that appears to man, or the “inward part” that only God sees? That part that determines who and what a person really is.
My mentor, Dr. Joe Henry Hankins used to say to me, “Sonny boy, remember, get their hearts. When you get a man’s heart, you’ve got the whole man.” The wise old man knew, as Jesus taught, that the heart is where the real issues of life lie.
If the kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, and He turns it whithersoever He will. He can surely do it with our grown children!
Monday, August 27, 2012
These people sold themselves into life-long slavery so that they might win those who were themselves in bondage. They joined leper colonies, knowing the suffering that awaited them and their families. And what was this little remnant’s secret? Simple, it is recorded they had round-the-clock unbroken prayer for 100 years.
Their missionary banner cry originated from one of the two men to first sell themselves into life-long slavery. Both boys were barely out of their teens. As they pulled away from shore, a loved one from the dock cried out once again the repeated question, “Why are you going”? After a moment’s pause, one of the young men cried at the top of his voice, for all to hear, “May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of his suffering!” And may nothing ever be added to this!
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Have you ever heard the old adage, “He rubs me the wrong way?” If we only realized what God is doing in our lives, we wouldn’t make such foolish statements. He is actually taking a lot of time with us, allowing other stones to rub off our “rough edges.” This friction is necessary, this is God’s way. Ask Jacob about Laban.
You remember when David went to the brook; it was five “smooth” stones he chose to kill Goliath (the other four being for his brothers). Imagine in that prolonged process of preparation, when other stones were colliding constantly with it, smoothing off those rough edges, did that little stone ever dream it would be used to bring down a giant? Nor do we, my friend.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
“…and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” To have faith to move mountains is a wonderful thing, but it is not the chief thing. Paul tells us one can move mountains and yet be void of the main ingredient in the Christian life, “Love.”
There used to be an old song entitled, “Love and Marriage.” One line in it says, “They go together like a horse and carriage.” Well, that is to be true of faith and love. Paul always couples these together. For example: “The fruit of the Spirit is, love… faith.” Again, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith.” And again, “…putting on the breastplate of faith and love.” And yet again, “Hearing of thy love and faith.”
It seems Christianity has always been “wowed” by the externals. But greater than a “great faith” that can move mountains, is a great internal love life. Before Jesus preformed that great miracle of faith in raising Lazarus from the dead, we read, “Behold, how he loved him.”
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.”
Thursday, August 23, 2012
When the disciples asked Jesus, “teach us to pray,” He told them a story of a man in need, who asked a friend for a definite number of leaves of bread. Then He went on to say that if you ask for bread, fish, or an egg, He will not give you something opposite from that thing you asked for.
Let us not be afraid to ask God for particular things that we need in our lives and ministries. And, yes, He also gives those things we desire, at times. If Sears can deliver to you the exact item you ordered from their catalogue book, I am sure our God in Heaven can send us whatever we have ordered from His Book.
Do we not yet understand how important answered prayer is to God? Jesus said, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
All God’s prayer promises are legitimate. The “whosoever” in salvation is not open for debate. Nor is it in our text. “Whosoever” and “whatsoever” are valid terms. The problem is never with God, but always with us. In salvation, He gives a “whosoever” invitation, but there are few who accept it. And so it is in prayer. It’s just as baffling to try to understand why there are those of us who will not claim what He offers us in prayer, as it is to understand those who will not accept His offer of salvation.
Let us then not forget where our difficulty in prayer derives from; it has to do with us, and not God. The desperate father who brought his devil possessed son to Jesus said, “If thou canst do anything…” Jesus’ answer to him was, “If thou canst believe all things are possible.”
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I personally believe Jesus wanted His disciples to take what He said about moving a mountain in a spiritual sense. The reason I lean this way is because of the fact, you do not find the disciples going around moving literal mountains or even attempting to. But we do see them moving a great many obstacles that were mountainous in their and others lives.
But, as I said, the text can still be taken literally, for literal mountains are moved in scripture. For example, we are told “…every mountain and island were moved out of there places.” And Zachariah tells us of a mountain cleaving in the middle. Paul certainly believed in literally removing mountains. And David says, “…and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”
And what does all this teach us—the literal and the spiritual? Simply that if God can move physical mountains, it’s a very little chore to take care of the spiritual ones facing us today!
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
When discussing the New Birth with Nicodemus, this Jewish rabbi thought Jesus was referring to the physical, when it is plain He was speaking spiritually. And when Christ spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, His hearers took it literally, when the context shows He was presenting a spiritual truth. Again, speaking to the disciples, He warned them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and so they, being literalists, took it that way. They did not understand He spoke of their doctrine.
It is important to remember at all times that God is a Spirit, and that the Bible is a Spiritual Book. It is to be interpreted by a spiritual man or woman, by comparing spiritual things with spiritual. What a challenge to be Spirit-filled when coming to God’s Spiritual Book. If not, we are in danger of making certain scriptures literal and physical, when God is speaking in the spiritual sense. The carnal Christian, along with self-appointed scholars will invariably follow Jewish tradition of old. That is, taking literal many important passages of Scripture God intended to be understood as spiritual.
Monday, August 20, 2012
A dear, departed preacher friend, Dr. Tom Malone, used to tell an amusing story that illustrates my point. As a boy, he was challenged by his big brother to jump across an exceptionally wide creek bed. He said it was a good jump for a little fella with short legs. Beneath were jagged rocks with prickly bushes. Finally, he got up enough faith to jump. He took a long run and leaped. He said, right in midair, he heard a voice within him say, “Tom, you know you can’t jump across this creek.” “And,” said he, “I didn’t.”
Let us be leery of those thoughts that would invade our faith. They will always come as soon as we take a leap of faith. But pay no attention to them. Abraham is to be the example in our life of faith. You will remember he was placed in an impossible situation by the Lord. And having every reason, humanly speaking, to doubt, it is written, “...he consider not.”
Do not allow anything or anyone to invade your faith today. When doubt sticks up its ugly head, ignore it!
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Zerubbable of the Old Testament is a good illustration of a mountain-mover. He realized the task that lay before him could not be done in his own strength, for the Lord had said unto him, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the lord of hosts.” And so, in the following verse we read, “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbable thou shalt become a plain.”
Did you notice Jesus told us to speak to the mountain of our difficulties, and command it to be removed?” Is there something standing in your way today, keeping you from accomplishing God’s will, and living a fuller, richer, more victorious Christian life? Rather than passively accepting it, why not, on the authority of Jesus’ Word, command it to be removed, so that you can move on for God.”
There is nothing so important in the Christian life as knowing and doing the will of God! We are told in Romans that it is “good…acceptable…and perfect.”
It is GOOD—therefore we can’t complain about it; we would be ingrates.
It is ACCEPTABLE—therefore we should not reject it; we’d be fools.
It is PERFECT—therefore we cannot improve on it; we would be ridiculous.
Let each of us this day embrace the will of God to our bosom, and say to our Maker above, “I delight to do thy will, O my God.” Even if it means bearing a cross.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
As Aaron fashioned the calf, so have many Christians formed their own Christ in their minds. Paul speaks of, “Another Jesus.” And Luke, in his gospel uses the tern, “The Lord’s Christ.” Even so, saints too, can personally invent in their fallible minds, a Christ not found in the infallible scriptures.
Beware, child of God that in this narcissistic age, God accuse you of what He faulted Israel with, “thou thoughtest that I was altogether [such an one] as thyself.” It is always good to keep in mind, “For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
But their agreement ended at that point. There was a division over whether or not they would be able to subdue it. The main concern seemed to be, there were giants in the land. It was ten against two, the two being Joshua and Caleb. There was a majority report by the “timid ten,” and the minority report by the “trusting two.”
It went something like this:
Ten: “We are not able...” (Num.13:31)
Ten: “It is a land that eateth up the inhabitants…” (13;32)
Ten: “The cities are walled and very great…” (13:8)
Ten: “We be not able to go up against the people…” (31:21)
In every difficult situation in life we have a choice. We can look at the “giants,” or we can look to God!
Monday, August 13, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
1) He who has Christ can have no more, for Christ is all. Why fear I any need, if He is my all?
2) If Christ is all, then the creature is nothing at all. Why then fear any man? Should clay fear clay?
3) If Christ is all, then my evaluation of Him is to be above all. If there was a jewel which contained in it the worth of all other jewels, would I not prize it above all others?
Put what you will in the balance with Christ, He will infinitely outweigh it. Is life sweet? Christ is better. Are relations sweet? Christ is better. He who has Christ need no more. He who has the ocean needs not a cistern. The world has the fat of the earth, but we Christians have the dew of Heaven.
Immediately, I thought to myself, what thing in my life do I hold precious, depending on it to hold me up? It is about time, don’t you think, some of us offer our “crutches” to Jesus? Wouldn’t it be wonderful as a Christian to rid ourselves of our crutches and walk without artificial helps? An old divine once said, “It is interesting no cripples ever followed Jesus.” He applied this truth to spiritual cripples.
You’ll remember when John was in prison and had doubts, he sent two of his disciples to Jesus asking, “Art thou he that should come?” To which Jesus replied, along with other things, “I make the lame to walk.” And He is still doing it today, Praise His Name!
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Peter is a good example of playing a “miniature God”. We all are familiar with the scene where Jesus told His disciples He was going to suffer and die, then raise again, this being God’s will for His life. And how did Peter respond to this truth? “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”
Here we learn a stark truth. Whenever we attempt to shield loved ones from the cross God has placed in their lives, Jesus says, “thou savourest not the things that are of God, but those that be of men.” To be blunt, our Lord tells us, doing so is to be satanically inspired. Let us not be spiritual thieves, robbing loved ones of “the fellowship of His sufferings.”
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
An interesting word study in the New Testament would be, “Continue,” as it relates to the Believer. For example, we are told of the early Church in Acts, “They continued steadfastly…” And Paul exhorted those living in the hard times of the last days to “Continue thou…”
I read something interesting about William Carey, “Father of Modern Missions.” He told a loved one before his death that if anyone wrote of him after his decease to tell them to simply attribute any success he might have had (humanly speaking), to the fact, “I can plod…I can persevere in any definite pursuit…to this I owe everything.” Then he added, “Anything beyond this credit will be too much.”
Monday, August 6, 2012
Saturday, August 4, 2012
The “Year of Jubilee” was a special year for Israel. It occurred only once every fifty years. This coming week, August 9th, will also be a very special time for someone I love dearly, my firstborn son, Andrew. On the date mentioned he will celebrate his 50th Birthday.
I still remember the unspeakable happiness that filled my soul when the nurse told me I had a son. Or putting it scripturally, “[She] who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad. And again it says, “For joy that a man is born into the world.”
And what a man he has become! He is everything that a Christian father desires in his son. To start with, just to list a few of the qualities he possesses: He is manly; a wonderful father and husband; a delightful grandfather; a true friend; a loving, compassionate pastor; a man of character and great integrity; and most important of all, he is godly to the core, loving his God with all his being.
The one thing for which I am most thankful to God is that which the Lord said to David, I believe it’s true of my son also. “…for I have chosen him [to be] my son, and I will be his father.” Is it any wonder Andrew’s life verse is, “But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou [art] my God from my mother's belly.”
This Lord’s Day, my wife and I will travel from our home in San Andreas, CA to Scotts Valley. We will attend Cornerstone Bible Church and listen to one of the greatest preachers of this generation. And then, after the service, along with his faithful flock and family, celebrate his 50th year on God’s good earth.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am so thankful you know what it is like to be a Father and have a Son you love so much!
Friday, August 3, 2012
This is in spite of the fact that Paul’s writings are specifically to this Church Age. All the Bible is for us, but not all of it is to or about us. Jesus and the twelve ministered to the Jews; Paul, to the Gentiles. Lift Paul’s Epistles from the Bible and you would be in complete darkness as to most of the great doctrines (Resurrection, Atonement, Justification, etc.), as well as how Christians should live today.
Someone has said, “Christianity is the only religion that teaches by letters.” This being the case, every saint should be familiar with Paul’s Letters. You should not be long out of them.
The following is from my own personal Bible study. Notice the progression in Paul’s life and teachings (Prov. 4:18). Here are three examples of it: 1) Early in his ministry he seemed to believe in the immediate return of the Lord, while toward the end, the imminent return. 2) He cast out devils at the offset of his ministry, but at the last, I believe, taught individual saints how to instruct others to do it in their own personal lives (2 Tim. 2:24-26, notice v 26. 3) He healed at the commencement of his ministry, but toward the end, left sick saints unaided by him (2 Tim.4:20). He also travelled with Doctor Luke in many of his journeys.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Each time I read my Bible through, before beginning a new, I read the dedicatory in the 1611 A.V. There is a phrase in it that the translators use which illustrates the type of person I’m speaking of, even way back then. They wrote, “…we shall be maligned by selfconceited Brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil…”
Some of us need to start listening better; while others among us need to cease being wooden Indians, and speak up. It should be a mutual admiration society. One of the philosophers said, “Every man knows something I do not, therefore every man is my teacher.” Now that’s a quote worth quoting!