Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Needs of the Needy

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Paul had been a great blessing to the saints at Philippi in that he ministered to their spiritual needs; therefore they believed it their obligation to care for his material ones. It seems for a brief time they, for some providential reason, were unable to fulfill their desire and responsibility to him; something they felt was their duty. But now they were once again able to resume their care of him. 

As an old disciple of Jesus Christ my advice to God's people is, you take care of God's man and God will take care of you. And to God's men I say, You feed God's people and they will feed you. God promises to give to givers, no matter the amount or type the gift. He does not stipulate. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

Whenever we give to others, according to what we have, God pledges He will give us according to what He has! When we supply others' needs from our meager cupboards, God supplies ours from His treasure chest. God recompenses us according to our treatment of others in need. Giving does not deplete our coffers, it enhances
them. God seems to tell us there is no need in the lives of those who supply the needs of the needy.


"For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Robots or Robust

“I can do all things through Christ…” Not as we hear from some circles, that Christ works through us, but rather, just the opposite. One will be hard pressed to find God doing anything through a believer. We are told we have “…peace with God through our Lord Jesus,” and that we are to mortify the flesh “…through the Spirit."
Also that “…we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” The list goes on and on. Look it up for yourself.
When Israel “…passed through the sea,” it should be plain to all that the word “through” meant, not that the sea went through them but they went by way of it. The major difference between the Christian and non-Christian is that the former goes by the way of God when facing the problems of life, whereby the latter faces them head on in his own strength.

To teach Christians to be passive, and to let God do it through them, produces a robotical being, rather than a responsible one. It is we who put on the armor; it is we who do the wrestling; it is we who wield the sword; it is we who stand our ground. And as we do these things, all the time, we are looking to God to help us. Therefore, let us rise up and be doing!

"The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." The sword was God's, but Gideon wielded it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Making Straight the Crooked

One of the crowning days in a Christian’s life is when he or she ceases attempting to straighten out the world and its inhabitants. It can be most tedious and frustrating, trying to straighten out a bent iron bar with weak hands. When will we learn, it is the Lord who accomplishes the straightening out process. “I will make…crooked things straight,” says the Lord.

The woman who was bowed together for eighteen years, and could not lift herself up, was not helped by friends, loved ones, or the local pastor, no matter how well-meaning they may have been. It was when Jesus took charge that it says, “…immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” Even if you were Atlas, you couldn't have accomplished this amazing feat

God is the great “straightner-outer.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fashionable Saints

When I use the word fashion in this essay I'm not referring to a form or shape, but rather as a fad or craze. Something popular with widespread acceptance. Today we'd say , "It's in vogue."       

Personally, I've always made a difference between fashion and style. The former is temporary, and in time becomes obsolete and passes away. As C.S. Lewis says," The more up-to-date the fashion, the sooner it is out-of date." But this is not so with style. The worldling tells us style is, "out of Fashion," but I say, on the contrary, style will outlive a thousand and one fashions.


Fashion rules the hour and draws all such as are uncomfortable in their own skin. If it's the fashion, it must be done, say these conformists. It is the law of the chameleon; their number is legion. Oswald Chambers commenting on fashion says, "It is the common consent of fools." 

All fashion finds its roots in someone who dared to be different. These bold souls do not follow the fashions, they create them! Those with style can be described as particular, individualistic, distinctive, creative. Which all can be summed up in two words: tailor made. 


Being fashionable, physically or spiritually, only shows we are not content with what God made us. We give up the original copy for a smudgy carbon. 


Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Pastor After God's Own Heart

In the book of Jeremiah we find these words: “I will give you pastors after mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” The shepherd David, we are told, was “…a man after [God’s] own heart.” I wonder if one reason for this was the fact that “…he fed them [God’s people] according to the integrity of his heart.”

God says through his prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” I think Azariah described our day as well as his own when he said, “Now for a long season Israel hath been…without a teaching priest, and without law.” Would to God every pastor could say with the Apostle Paul, “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the council of God.”

God told Job that there were those who spake "…words without knowledge.” Hannah tells us that “…the Lord is a God of knowledge.” A pastor can’t learn anything on the run. Samuel told empty-headed Saul, “…stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the Word of God.” I find God’s people are sick and tired of shallow preaching. They come to the trough looking for food and find nothing but husks. His Lambs deserve better!

Each of us, this Lord’s Day, should thank our pastor who feeds us with the knowledge of the Lord. I know I’m going too. For those who do not nourish you, I suggest some fervent praying be done on his behalf.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

God Can Top Our Faith

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Think for a moment about the the greatest, most difficult, absolutely impossible thing you could ever ask God to do for you; now read the five underlined words in our text. If this scripture teaches anything, it teaches God can always top our faith!

Our prayers are generally within the realm of possibilities. Our problem stems from the fact we think God is altogether such an one as ourselves. The word "altogether" includes, like human limitations. But Jehovah's abilities are far beyond what we are able to comprehend. That is, He can surpass our wildest dreams. It has not entered our hearts what God is able to do on our behalf. 


We are still crying out with the brokenhearted father, "If thou canst do any thing...help us." And Jesus' answer is still the same, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." The rhetorical question, "Is there anything too hard for thee? will always come back with the same answer, "There is nothing too hard for me?"  


"Jesus answered and said unto him...thou shalt see greater things than these."


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hurting By Helping

“Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Peter was a self-appointed protector. He would shield his Loved One from suffering. Oswald Chambers called such people “amateur providences.” Many of us seem to know the will of God for others better than we do for our own lives. Life is bitter-sweet, and we must all drink of that cup on our pilgrim journey from time to time.

It is possible to think we are helping loved ones by keeping them from suffering; when, in reality, we are hindering the perfect will of God. Instead of allowing God’s purifying fire to burn away the dross, we pluck them from the flame prematurely and diminish their worth. When our Lord is doing business with another believer, we need to remember Jesus’ words, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”

Where is the safest place for your loved ones...in your hands, or God’s?

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Room Full of Doors

Our Heavenly Father would have His children live by faith. There is no other way to please Him. It is the greatest compliment we can bestow upon Him. To stand before our God and say, “I believe You, no matter what”—is the highest respect and honor we can pay Him.

But this is not an isolated incident that happens only once in our life. It begins at our conversion and ends with its consummation. It’s “from faith to faith.” “The just shall live by faith.” It is a daily, moment by moment trust in the Almighty for both life and breath, and all that comes in between. We are so prone to live by, and trust in, circumstances, feelings, temperaments, and an unending list of other broken reeds. But God’s desire for us is a life of faith.

The way in which the Lord teaches us this vital lesson is to “shut [us] up unto the faith.” He puts us in impossible situations and shuts every door but one. After we are weary and worn from trying all the locked doors, in desperation we finally try the door of faith. When we do, we find that all the time it was the way out, just waiting for us to enter through it.

At the end of the natural is the supernatural, and, at the end of self is God.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Here or There?

“What doest thou here..?” “And [God] blessed him there.” An old preacher used to say of our text, “Whatcha doin here, if ya oughta be there?” God will not bless you here, if He wants you there. Never be fearful of there, for if He put you there then He will bless you there!

On the other hand, if God is blessing you here, there is no need to go there. To do so is to go out full and end up empty. There is a time to get out of the boat (Matt.14:29); and there is also a time to stay in it (Acts 27:31).

How then does one decide between here and there? I found in my own life and ministry that a sure sign to leave here for there is when the brook dries up.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Wholeheartedness of God

"Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good...with my whole heart and with my whole soul."  These nine words jumped out at me, so to speak, in a recent devotional time. Again, I was puzzled that not one of seven commentaries I have gave any space to this heartwarming statement. To think that the Eternal God, creator of heaven and earth, puts His whole heart and soul into joying and caring for the likes of us, His weak, sinning, faltering children. It's more than one can take in, is it not?

Is it any  wonder everything God's darling David did for his precious Lord was with his whole heart and soul, from dancing before the Ark of his God to building His Temple? Should we think it a strange thing his life was filled and overflowing with God? And what was the key to Paul's perennial blessings? Most certainly, his wholehearted love and loyalty to God, his dearest friend. Don't you agree? It is not to be thought odd then, that such a man was filled with all the fullness of God! God delights in like-minded men and women! 

We see then that "wholeheartedness" is a two-way street. "We love Him, because He first loved us." He is always, first and last, the great initiator. God says, in essence, because I put my whole heart and soul into your life, I would expect you to want to do the same for me in return. Jesus put it this way, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." That is: the emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and physical. THERE AIN'T NO MORE!  




Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Old-Timey Way

“…ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Have you noticed most of our contemporary conferences on how to live the Christian life leave us no better and, many times, confused and worse off. Like the woman who had the issue, we have “…spent all…and [are] nothing bettered.”

What was it that gave our poor, ignorant, unenlightened Christian grandparents such inward peace and contentment, which is sadly lacking in us their grandchildren today? To begin with, I believe it was the fact that they didn't get involved in other people’s business. They felt their own problems were enough, and they didn't need to add to them.

Secondly, as unspiritual as it sounds, they were not basically concerned as much with the interpretation and meaning of the Scriptures, as they were in obeying and enjoying them.

The third thing was that they were happy in their own skin. They accepted who and what they were. They changed what they could and didn't worry about what they couldn't. They didn't spend all their time in a lab, dissecting themselves.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Losing Your Edge

“Iron sharpeneth iron…so a man sharpeneth…his friend.” By friction is one iron instrument sharpened by another. And so it is with us, when we become dull and lose our intellectual and Spiritual edge. God has ordained an instrument made of the same material to be used in taking off our rough, blunt edge, thereby making us sharp once again.

A recluse is invariably a one-sided person. This is one reason, no doubt, we’re told, “It is not good for man to be alone.” We need to learn to mingle with those with diverse opinions and viewpoints. People who’ll make us think, that keep us from being intellectual and Spiritual sloths. Brisk, lively, spirited conversations can not only be enlightening, but even enjoyable.

There is great gain to be acquired from conversations with those possessing superior knowledge, mainly the increase of wisdom. Need I point out Timothy and Paul as an example? Challenging conversations are advantageous to all parties involved. Anytime we’re provoked to independent thinking, it will always be to our profit.

Those who “pick up their marbles and go home” in disagreeing debates, have lost their marbles. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

And the "ROCK" Cried Out!

"And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost." This is when the "ROCK" cried out! It is upon this "ROCK" (Cornerstone), God began to build His Church, as Jesus told Peter. If there be any doubt to whom the "ROCK" refers, Paul explicitly tells us, "And that 'ROCK' was Christ." 

Our Catholic friends tell us the "ROCK" was Peter. But I say with Moses, "For their rock is not our 'ROCK,'" (Deut. 32:31). Notice, it has to do with a capital letter.

Those who has build their home, church, school, business, and yes, their entire life on any thing other than Jesus Christ alone, face ultimate doom. As someone has said, "Sand is good for a lot of things, but you don't want to build on it." Only on the solid "ROCK" can one find sure footing.

David told us when his heart was overwhelmed that he cried unto his "ROCK" that was higher than him. And in another place he said, "He only is my "ROCK" and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved."  Thank God, I can say, "David's "ROCK" is my "ROCK!"

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Saints Galore

All, I think, would agree as to  what is meant by the word, “galore” (plentiful), but not so with the term, “saint. There are two major definitions of this word. This possibly is do to the influence the Church of Rome has had on society world-wide. The main difference between the Catholic and Protestant Church is one of interpretation. All other distinctions between the two stem from this singular doctrine. Rome holds that the Church is the soul interpreter of the Bible; whereas Protestants believe in the priesthood of all believers. That is, each child of God is to read the Holy Scriptures through their own specks, so to speak.

Rome’s traditional interpretation of a saint, for the sake of simplicity, is a special person. To enter sainthood is a long process that involves meeting certain standards, such as miracles associated with the recipient, etc. But the making of a saint is all God’s work! It doesn't happen when the Church canonizes a soul, but when Christ converts a sinner.

In Paul’s Epistles, he refers to each Christian in that particular assembly he addresses as, “saints.” Even those in the carnal church at Corinth. To the church at Rome he admonishes them to receive Phebe “...as becometh saints.” And to the Ephesians, such sins as fornication, all uncleanness, and covetousness, is unbecoming to a saint! The Apostle’s words could not be any clearer. In essence, he tells all of us, “If you're a saint, then live like one.” The question is, are we?

A little boy was sitting in a church where the sunlight was shining brightly through stained glass windows. The boy asked his mother who the figures in the glass represented, “They are saints,” she replied. After a moment the child said, “O, so a saint is someone who lets the light shine through them.”  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Those Blessed Blessers

"God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you." I don’t think it necessary to relate to my readers the almost indescribable sufferings of Christ, both  physical and spiritual. Most, if not all of you, are well aware of the agony He went through, both in body and soul, especially the latter. It is unfathomable to understand, to say the least.

He paid a high cost personally to be a blessing to us individually. And so it will be with all who would follow in their Master’s steps. There will be a dear price to be paid if we’re to hear those most coveted words, “You've been such a blessing to my life.” Such valued souls have only become such by passing through God’s refining fires, thus burning away the dross, making them of great worth to others.

Therefore, from henceforth, whenever we see or think of one who has been a huge blessing to our lives, let us remember, to be so, they had to spend a long time in the firey furnace, alone. Their experienced anguish may be an external affliction, that all can see; but it can also be an internal agony, that only God sees. One way or the other, to be sure, these blessed “blessers” have paid the uttermost farthing for our benefit!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Slavery

"Paul, a servant (slave) of Jesus Christ." This is the only place in Paul's writings he uses this exact term. Interestingly it is to the church at Rome. They certainly would understand what he meant by the term. Historians tell us one-half of the population of the Roman Empire were slaves at this time in history.  

Paul told the Roman centurion he was, "free born." that is, he was not born into slavery to Rome, but had all the rights of a Roman citizen. But the Apostle knew this was not so in the spiritual sense. He, as all mankind, was born a slave to sin. And the only way to be free was to accept the Great Emancipator's offer to receive HIM as one's Master. Who, in turn, gave each his or her own freedom.

But Paul, as the slave in Exodus Chapter twenty-one, who had been given his freedom by his master, chose to say along with him, "I love my master... I will not go out free...and he shall serve him for ever." Since that momentous day, millions have followed in Paul's train. Thereby making Jesus Christ the greatest slave owner the world has ever seen. 

And more important, each one of this unnumbered host of slaves became so voluntarily. They take great personal pride, as Mary, in calling Him, "Rabboni; which is to say, MASTER!" 
   

Sunday, June 1, 2014

God Leads His Dear Children Along

In John chapter six we are told of the disciples rowing across the sea of Galilee at evening when it was dark. Jesus had stayed behind on land that He might have some time alone in prayer. Soon, those in the boat, found themselves in a storm, "a great wind blew." At that very hour Jesus came to them walking on the water saying, "It is I; be not afraid." It was then we are told, "immediately the ship was at the land." 

There are times when the storms in our lives seem to end as quickly as they started. But this is not always the case. In Acts chapter twenty-seven Paul, along with two-hundred and seventy-six other souls, was in a storm, and there was a, "tempestuous wind." And they were, "exceeding tossed with tempest." All hope of them being saved was gone. At this point, Paul shows up on deck and says in the midst of this violent gale for all to be of good cheer and not to be afraid. Everything would be alright.

Interestingly, unlike the storm in the gospel account, this one did not immediately end, but continued on. After Paul's assuring words the ship was still "driven up and down," and violent waves broke the hinder part of the ship, so that all had to swim or float to shore on broken pieces of the ship. But notice in both cases, the gospel account and Acts, they all came through the storm. Like the song, "God Leads His Dear Children Along," some one way, others another. One thing we can be sure of, we'll all stand together safe on His eternal shore!